Persistent Parsons: Local kickboxer becomes first woman in Colorado to achieve Muay Thai instructor

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Luna Parsons spars with owner Troy Miller at High Desert Martial Arts where she is also an instructor. She recently earned a high-level black belt .

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Luna Parsons spars with owner Troy Miller at High Desert Martial Arts where she is also an instructor. She recently earned a high-level black belt .

Luna Parsons took up martial arts for the second time at the age of 27.

How far she’s come in only 10 years.

Parsons tested last month to become an instructor in the Muay Thai form of kickboxing, a major accomplishment for any martial artist, but especially for a woman.

Her quest began innocently enough 10 years ago.

Parsons had taken martial arts classes as a 10-year-old, but decided after a year to focus more of her attention on music.

“After my son was born (12 years ago) I decided to get back into martial arts,” she said.

She was shaking from the physical challenge of enduring that first session, but she loved it.

“I was a lifer,” she said, knowing right away it was something she wanted to continue.

A desire to know how to protect herself and, more importantly, her children (she gave birth to twin girls, Kaga and Janae, eight years ago) also inspired her.

“I stayed with it,” she said, even though she’s never had to use any of her martial arts to protect herself or her kids.

“It allowed me to work out a lot of stress, a lot of aggression,” she said.

Eventually, her interest led her into Muay Thai, a kickboxing-based martial art founded in Thailand.

“It’s also a pretty sport,” Parsons said of her affinity for the movements that form allows. “It speaks to who I am.”

By the same token, “It’s probably one of the more physical arts,” said Troy Miller, her instructor at High Desert Martial Arts in Grand Junction.

After earning her first black belt in 2004, she successfully tested for her second-degree black belt two years later.

Parsons even fought in one competition, defeating a more experienced fighter by unanimous decision.

“When she was going to fight, I didn’t want her to fight because she’s too nice,” Miller said.

As Miller quickly learned, once Parsons entered a competition, “She’s not nice,” he said.

Last month she tested for the coveted black ring, which would earn her an instructor’s certification.

It’s one of the toughest instructor tests in martial arts, Miller said.

“She’s doing it the traditional way,” Miller said. “There’s an easier way to do it but she’s doing it the hard way.”

The subject must perform certain techniques in the air, followed by testing with pads against an instructor.

Then comes the hard part. She had to spar, no easy task against an instructor who is testing her mental tenacity as well as physical skills.

In passing the grueling test, Parsons became the first woman in Colorado ever to achieve Muay Thai instructor certification, although she has to teach a class in order to become fully certified. That begins in January at High Desert Martial Arts.

Through her instruction, she wants to pass along her knowledge and appreciation for the sport.

“I teach kids to feel the fear and work past it,” she said.


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