Tierra Brandt fighting in Thailand
They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and in the case of the Brandt family that saying holds true.
Dan Brandt owns Dan's Gym in Mesa, Arizona. He has been involved in martial arts since he was a kid. At the age of 13, he discovered Muay Thai at Nick's Kicks in Phoenix, Arizona.
Dan started competing almost immediately. After a successful amateur career, he turned pro at the age of 19. Fighting for promoter Dennis Warner's WCK Muay Thai promotion, Dan put together a 6-1 professional record. Unfortunately, he was forced to retire from competition early because of a back injury.
There was a silver lining to this, Dan found coaching. Fast forward to today and he is one of the top coaches in the United States. His coaching efforts are helping push American Muay Thai reach competition levels that are up to par with powerhouse countries such as Thailand and Russia. He is an official head coach for the USMF (United States Muaythai Federation).
Coach Dan Brandt
Dan's wife Desiree also competed and now runs Dan's Gym with her husband. As mentioned earlier, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. They had three daughters that all frequented the gym, but one happened to be a super baby. Her name was Tierra.
"She's always been really tough. As a baby, if she fell over and hit her head on the table or concrete she would just get up and keep going like nothing happened" said Dan. "This nonchalant demeanor carried over into her training and as she started sparring she was just a chip off the old block."
Tierra "T Money" Brandt is one of the United States best amateur female fighters and she is only 16 years old. Under the tutelage of her dad, she has started to carve out her own reputation. She started fighting when she was 11, at times fighting girls two to four years older because they couldn't match her up against girls her age.
She has her eyes set on representing her country. With Muay Thai seemingly headed for the Olympics, Tierra has been preparing to go for the gold when the time comes. She has represented the United States at the IFMA World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand the last two years. Both times she has brought home bronze medals. With her determination and dedication, there is no doubt that gold is on the horizon.
Tierra Brandt winning her Bronze Medal
"I love fighting. I strive to be the best at what I do and am willing to do whatever it takes in order to accomplish those goals" said Tierra. "When I get in the ring, I don’t just go out there and brawl. When I fight, I want to win impressively and show that I have the better technique, timing, and pressure than everyone else."
One of the biggest issues that Muay Thai fighters face in the United States is being able to gather experience. In the IFMA's other countries top fighters have close to 100 fights or more. That in-ring experience is invaluable, and that is something that Dan is making sure she gets. At 16 she already has 22 Muay Thai fights under her belt.
It's not just about getting the fights but making sure you are prepared for them. Being in high school, Tierra balances her school work and her training. Once summer comes the gym work takes center stage.
"On a typical day of training, specifically being out of school for the summer, I start my day with dozens of rounds of pad-work and drills with my dad in the morning. Later in the day, a few times a week I will have strength and conditioning with my coach Jason Kamens who works with some of the most elite athletes in every sport" said Tierra. "I usually have some kind of cardio to get in then as soon as I finish, I jump into a 3 1/2 hour team Muay Thai practice. My schedule is super tight during training camp and almost everything revolves around my workouts but it’s all worth it in the end."
The Dynamic Duo of Muay Thai
The father and daughter duo of Dan and Tierra are focused, ready and determined. Muay Thai is still a young sport in the United States, but expectations are high.
As a coach, Dan is as good as they come. In addition to Tierra, he also coaches another Team USA member in Jordan Weiland. He has also helped coach several other American fighters at the IFMA's in Belarus and Mexico.
Tierra has already started to build her reputation as a tough and skilled Nak Muay Ying. It is scary to think that her skill set is at its current level and she is only 16. For any fan of Muay Thai in the USA it should be exciting to imagine the possibilities with her. As she leads the pack for the next wave of American fighters, the future looks bright.
Muay Thai Addict is dedicated to being part of Tierra's growth and road to the gold as a sponsor.