Rafa Negao

Rafael Negao private lesson


My name is  Asdis Lydsdottir (Muay thai trainers call me banana tree in thai) and i am from Iceland.

I’m a 30 year old anthropologist currently finishing my masters degree in Development studies from the university of Iceland. I live in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, but was born and raised in the northern part of the country in a little fishing village

I came to Thailand 9th of August 2012 and stayed for 5 weeks at Tiger Muay Thai. Five months before I came to Thailand I was in India (Jaipur) collecting data for my masters thesis. About 5 years ago I read an article in a newspaper in Iceland where a Icelandic girl went to a camp called Tiger Muay Thai and she was talking about her experience. I remembered thinking that this was something I wanted to do and wrote the information down about the camp and kept it. When my stay in India this year was coming to an end I decided to go to Thailand before I would head back home to Iceland. I wanted to learn muay thai, get into better shape and loose weight. I remembered about Tiger Muay Thai from that article 5 years ago and I went online found the camp and booked the first 4 weeks. I had never done this type of exercise before since as a teen I trained and competed in basketball so I thought this would be quite a challenge for me.

Honestly I first got a glimpse what BJJ was all about at Tiger Muay Thai. First I was asking around what it was exactly and people seemed very found of BJJ. I really wanted to try it since it has been proven to be quite useful in self defence. I went for the first class and I was horrible but it was fun and exciting.

Well I owe my interest today and the fact that I do BJJ regularly now in Iceland to private lessons in Tiger Muay Thai. After my first session in BJJ at Tiger Muay Thai I really wanted to learn more, at least have learned the basic locks before I went back home. The private lessons helped me tremendously. Before I felt so uncomfortable rolling with other in BJJ classes because of my lack of experience and understanding of basic locks but today Ive have started to enjoy rolling. Private lessons gave me confidence in BJJ and BJJ has given me confidence in myself and life. I will always treasure what I learned in the private lessons because that knowledge was a perfect foundation to built my BJJ experience on. I’m just a beginner still but I’m excited to learn more in BJJ. It is impossible to talk about my private lessons at Tiger Muay Thai without mentioning my instructor Rafael. Rafael is a first class teacher and a great person as well. His patience has no limits.

I only recently started, since I only have been home in Iceland for 3 weeks, in a gym in Iceland called Mjolnir (http://mjolnir.is/?page_id=136). Mjolnir is a branch of SBGi (Straight Blast Gym International) that was founded by the BJJ black belt Matt Thornton. This gym is very popular in Iceland, I think specially after Icelandic MMA fighter and BJJ black belt Gunnar Nelson has made a name for himself in the sport and has recently signed with UFC. I have only been there for a short period of time but I’m very excited to continue training there. I was also very excited to see how many women were learning BJJ in Iceland.


Learning sports like Muay thai and BJJ gives you confidence and sense of security. I would recommend it to everybody but especially to women. You learn sense of control over your body and in a way the situation around you. It gives you confidence to know what you have the knowledge to defend yourself in a difficult situation.