Emily Bearden of Five Points Fitness in New York, WKA World Title holder, describes herself as having been a timid, quiet dancer who moved from Virginia to the Big Apple. After a street assault, she saw Kru Simon Burgess training and asked him for self-defense lessons, after which she “just took to it.” For a while, she was the only female training at her gym. Then, about a year later, Kru Simon suggested that she try competition, and after her first time in the ring, it was like an addiction.
Since then, Emily has gone on to the professional level, won national and world titles with the WKA, and achieved a professional record of 5 and 2. She comes from a supportive family of all athletes, and receives tremendous support from her teammates as well. Bearden returns the favor—she works as a trainer at her gym and wants to help as many people as she can. To her, even though an individual steps into the ring alone, Muay Thai is very much a team sport. She describes herself as open and willing to learn something from everyone.
As for her fighting style, “I keep it simple—nothing flashy.” Her opponents and spectators alike note her devastating foot jab more than anything else. Asked whether she gets nervous before a fight, she says that she used to, until she got so nervous before a big fight and then won it that it “turned my head around. Win or lose, you gotta enjoy it.” Most of her time is taken up by the gym and keeping her cardio up by running, but when she gets a chance to relax, Emily enjoys walking her dogs and tries to get in some yoga whenever she can.