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coaches

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.

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Thor
Vijeh

(aka Skancke)

Owner | Head Coach

Thor grew up in the San Fernando Valley and is a professional mixed martial arts fighter and fight sports trainer.

Thor got his name from his mother who is Norwegian and credits some of his fighting ability to having to defend an uncommon name. Thor has studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA for over 10 years, but he also counts his verbal acuity as a prized weapon.


In 2016, Thor won the "King of the Cage" title belt in the Junior Welterweight weight class. In January 2019 he won his first fight in the Bellator arena against Jesse Merritt with a Monson choke.

Austin
Ahles

Coach (Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai)

A native of Thousand Oaks, Austin is a veteran of nearly any sport you can name. But watching UFC made him fall in love with MMA, especially the striking. He studied Muay Thai and has over 7 years of kickboxing experience. He trained with Antoni Hardonk of Dynamix, learning Dutch Kickboxing, which became his preferred style of striking. Austin went on to win the 2018 US Muay Thai Open championship.

Austin strives to be a better fighter/coach/person every day. He is excited to be a vital part of bringing Pugilist Gym to life here in his home town.

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Kameron Fardad

Coach (Jiu Jitsu)

Kameron grew up in Thousand Oaks, California. After training in various martial arts throughout his life, Kameron fell in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, eventually leading to competition in both BJJ and MMA. Kameron enjoys teaching children and adults, watching as his students and training partners gain confidence on and off the mat.

Kam has trained with Akxe Academy for the better part of ten years. He is Rodrigo Carvalho's first student to be promoted from white to black belt.

Chris
Key

Coach (Boxing)

Born and raised in Thousand Oaks, Chris has well over two decades of boxing experience. He has trained with some of the best. Chris grew up around the sport, hearing stories of his great uncle Gene Tunney, boxing pro and world heavyweight champ and training alongside his Uncle Jimmy Tunney, pro boxer/2 time golden glove champ/celebrity trainer. He picked up a pair of gloves and a love for boxing as a young kid and, as they say, “the rest is history.”

 

It’s not just a sport for Chris, “It’s an art form. A mental and spiritual awakening! Without it, life in all aspects wouldn’t be the same.”

 

Chris has an infectious energy and unique boxing style. He is best known for tremendous speed, power and, precision – a strong foundation that stems from his unparalleled footwork.

 

Chris is also a long-time competitive and multifaceted athlete in areas such as baseball, lacrosse, golf and boxing. He craves physical and mental strengthening and, believes it produces an optimal quality of life!

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Daniel Labastida

Coach (Jiu Jitsu)

Dany is 24 years old and originally from Toluca, Mexico. He has lived in San Francisco and Phoenix before finally settling in Simi Valley.

 

Dany started wrestling in high school and continued at Moorpark College under Lindley Kistler. He started training in Jiu Jitsu in Arizona in 2019 at Henry Cejudo’s gym, Fight Ready, and immediately began competing. In 2020, he began training under the epic Rodrigo Carvalho at Akxe Academy with fellow Pugilist coaches Kameron Fardad and Paul Tiedje. Since then, he has accumulated over 35 wins with more than half by submission, and was the Jiu Jitsu World League 2021 season champion.

 

Dany also recently began competing in MMA. He has an impressive record with multiple wins by submission. 

 

Currently he is a student at Moorpark College because “The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” – Thucydides

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Shannon Jeffrey

Coach (Yoga)

Newbury Park native, Shannon is thrilled to be sharing yoga at Pugilist! Shannon has been in the boutique fitness industry for 10 years and has been lucky to work with all levels of athletes. Her personal transformative experience with yoga lead her to pursue teaching in a way that makes the practice accessible and beneficial for all bodies. 

Ivan Shastak

Coach (Kickboxing)

Born and raised in Eastern Europe, Ivan began studying karate at age 10. As a teenager, he trained with European boxing and kickboxing champions and won a local championship in power lifting. At age 18, Ivan moved to New York City to learn traditional striking techniques and begin his journey in Muay Thai and MMA. In addition to to martial arts, Ivan pursued professional house/hip hop dance, training full time at 5 Point Academy in New York.

Ivan also has extensive experience in ring and cage fighting. 

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dustin
casper

Coach (Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu) 

Casper has lived in many places, but he is. proud to call Ventura county home for the last 20 years. He has trained in boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and MMA. MMA is his favorite discipline and admires the strategy behind martial arts. He loves knowing anyone can win based on hard work and good game plan. Casper has over 16 years of experience as an MMA instructor.

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Anthony Desimone

Coach (Kickboxing)

Anthony was born in Chicago, Illinois and started his journey in martial arts at the age of 12. He originally started with Brazilian jiu jitsu and boxing, but quickly fell in love with every aspect of fighting. He wrestled all four years of high school and 2 years in college. He has a MMA record of 3-1 and is quickly rising up in the California rankings. Anthony is a natural competitor and is a certified personal trainer under NASM and has a comprehensive understanding of fitness/ martial arts. 

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