Founder, Owner, and Head Coach at Sor Sumrit Muay Thai, Nik Rodriguez has 17 years of training and teaching experience under the mentorship of legendary Muay Thai Champion, Kongnapa Wacharawit. Nik's love for combat sports began at age 8 when he started boxing while his family was stationed in FT Richardson Alaska. The love for the striking arts eventually led him to Muay Thai where he fell in love with the art.
Considered one of the best striking coaches in the South East, He has led his Fighters to 10 Championship Titles and has taken fighters from the amateur level to top promotions like Bellator MMA and Invicta FC. Nik has worked with a "who's who" in the Southeast Fight Community with notable names such as:
Adrian "The A-Train" Henderson
Varon "Mighty Moe" Webb
MMA and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
The wrestling, MMA, and Jiu-jitsu classes are taught by 8-3 Pro MMA Fighter and Bellator vet, Adrian "The A-Train" Henderson. As an amateur, Adrian held Heavyweight Championships in 3 different promotions and held the Conflict MMA Professional Heavyweight Title for two years. Adrian's accolades in wrestling include becoming a 4 time regional champ, 3 time lower state champ, and he placed 2nd at the S.C. state tournament. He has won many other tournaments in freestyle wrestling (Olympic rules) . During high school, he won over 110 matches which place him on the All-star team in 97. Adrian is highly respected for his grappling and is the top Heavyweight in the Southeast.
JUDO and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Joey Dean (along with his wife and children) is a competitive athlete in submission grappling and has been training in combat sports since he was a kid, beginning with wrestling and USA Boxing. Joey is a black belt in Judo under 4th degree black belt Peter Campbell and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under black belt Mitch Coats. Coaching and competing are major parts of Joey’s life, both of which he has been doing since 2010.
H.I.I.T. AND YOGA
A little bit about me.
Leading an active lifestyle has always been a part of my life. Throughout my childhood years growing up in South Carolina, I could be found being involved in a multitude of activities. Life happens though and my focus shifted to other parts of life and taking care of my children, working and other responsibilities. I put myself on the back burner. Once my three children were in school, I happened in to a gym one day and the rest is a journey that has lasted over seventeen years, the relentless pursuit of health and living life to the hilt. We live everyday, we die once quickly became my motto.
In my twenties, I found a love for the gym. Having been overweight after the births of my children, hard work was and is the only way to change and I knew it. Seeing the changes and the power I had over my body and the ability for it to be sculpted by diet and exercise was and is fascinating to me.
During that time, I entered, competed and won a national title in Women's Open Class Natural Bodybuilding Middle Weight.
Muay Thai, Thai kicking boxing, the art of eight limbs, is also in my arsenal. Being introduced to the martial art as a way of working on relieving stress has culminated in my being able to train along side and by the likes of Kongnapa, Smokin' Jo Nattawut, Kaensak, Khunpon. My martial arts practice has continued for nine years.
Cardio quickly became my exercise of choice, it was freeing. A bucket list goal to finish a marathon was my lure to distance running which ended up with my new found love of ultra distance, 50k's, 100k's, 100 milers, 24 hour and 48 hour races, not relays all done alone. Ultra running was my life, I represented the state of South Carolina at a national qualifier in March 2014, as a walk on novice runner and finished 4th overall with the elites in ultra from all over the United States. I have also competed an completed Ironman 70.3 San Juan in 2011.
Due to the extreme endurance distance and damage to my body of ultrarunning, I stumbled upon a Groupon for Bikram Yoga as a mean to get peace back to my mind and heal my body. I entered that door into the hot room in August 2014, my life has not been the same since.
Then along came Gabriella Walters with her creation of Inferno Hot Pilates that couples with Bikram Yoga to perfection. I tried and fell in love with this workout genre. Gabriella came to Columbia, held a teacher training, so there was no choice but to get certified to teach.
My choice of a healthy lifestyle, in conjunction with a daily workout routine has helped me maintain a healthy weight, positive mental attitude and also self love and discipline.
With teaching at Jeep Rogers YMCA - Columbia and at Sor Sumrit Muay Thai - Lugoff, my intention is to empower my athletes through giving them the tools they need to better themselves, gain body awareness and self acceptance. To defy the limits,they have placed upon themselves and show them that anything you want or anything you want to do, is attainable with hard, consistent work. A dose of discipline, determination and dedication...and a whole lot of fun.
Recently I am enrolled and studying to become a vinyasa flow yoga teacher, with the Rolf Gates based program here in Columbia, SC. I will complete the course study in March and am thrilled to be adding that to my skill set, for an even more rounded offering.
As a teen I was always interested in martial arts. Over the teen years I attended several local Karate/Tae Kwon Do schools and took instruction never really sticking to anything or deciding I wanted one
of those styles to be my base art. Around 1999 I met Sifu Mark Mills of at the time was head
instructor of a small school called Columbia Martial Arts. Over the next few years I trained under Sifu
Mills and Keith Mosher in jujitsu, Muay Thai, and Jeet Kun Do. I was privileged to do several seminars
with the likes of Frank Shamrock, Erik Paulson and several other special guest Sifu Mills had over the
years. In 2006 I found myself wonder with all the techniques I had been learning how do I start
sewing all this together. I felt there was something missing. I branched out in my research of schools
in the Columbia area and found Palmetto Jujitsu.This was during a time before MMA became so
popular and me being an older student I knew I had to find something that fit for me. I became really
interested in the Danzan Ryu jujitsu system through a great friend and liked the fact that it dealt with
real life self defense. Danzan Ryu is very structured and encompasses everything from escapes,
throws, constriction/submission, self defense, weapons defense, healing arts, punches, kicks, flow,
and movement. I also loved the fact that it focused on many different arts to make up the system.
Danzan Ryu is based off of the traditional techniques Japanese jujitsu/judo. I also like the fact you
could trace the lineage of the art and there was an accredited affiliation with the American Judo and
Jujitsu Federation. Late 2006 I began my journey under the instruction of Professor Tom Ryan (7 th
Degree Black Belt). Between 2006-2010 I trained as much as I possibly could usually 4 days a week
minimum. I set my mind on the path I wanted to take and put in many many hours of hard work,
sweat and determination. In October of 2010 I tested in front of a national board of professors
demonstrating my knowledge of the techniques and application of them. November 11, 2010 I
received the rank of Shodan (1 st Degree Black Belt, AJJF # 13604-7) After testing for black belt I
continued to train with Professor Ryan for some time until a series of unfortunate events happened.
I first moved from Lexington to Blythewood which was a big geographical change for me, then I was
involved in a severe auto accident where I was struck from behind by an 18 wheeler on the interstate
and had to undergo several surgeries. Near the end of 2014 I began my search for another school
closer to home to train had but has no luck in doing so. All I could find was BJJ schools and they
where opening and closing before I could even research what they did. I hear about a place called
Sor Sumrit but was not sure. I knew they trained the fighters and offered some other instruction, but
did not know if my age would prevent me from fitting in or if I wanted to start all over with other arts
this late in life. I reached out to Coach Nik Rodriguez and he and I talked and he said exactly what I
needed to hear. I ended up coming out and giving it a try and fell in love with the place. Great
people, great training, and tons of knowledge. He had everything under one roof, he had Muay Thai,
wrestling, and BJJ under one roof. Even though BJJ was not my base art. I figured there would be
people to work out with and at the end of the day jujitsu is jujitsu. I quit looking for the differences in
the arts and looked at the similarities and ended up landing at Sor Sumrit and that is where I call
home and train today.