Founded in March 2016, Lake Norman Muay Thai’s mission is to educate and instill passion for the art of Muay Thai. Headed by Kru J.T. Smith and Assistant Kru Matt Riter, Lake Norman Muay Thai has grown and continues to grow through authentic Muay Thai training coupled with a welcoming atmosphere from all of its members.
In addition to the wealth of information and instruction that is a constant at Lake Norman Muay Thai from its instructors and senior members, Lake Norman Muay Thai also rotates in special instructors from in and around the Carolinas to demonstrate variations of technique training and execution. This offers members the opportunity to learn from different teaching styles.
Lake Norman Muay Thai is committed to helping its members reach their goals with Muay Thai. Whether it is learning self-defense, getting in shape or competing, we will help you reach your goals.
Martial Arts Instructors
Kru J.T. Smith
Kru J.T. Smith has been involved in the martial arts for over 32 years. After obtaining his black belt in 1987, he began training in kickboxing. This led him into Muay Thai where he trained under Ajarn Rick Davis of Statesville, North Carolina and Ajarn Pek of Bangkok, Thailand.
Kru Smith has competed in full contact fights on both an amateur and professional level all over the world, including: Canada, Austria, and Thailand. The majority of fights were on the U.S. east coast and he has over sixty fights under his belt.
Also a certified defensive tactics instructor with the state of North Carolina, Kru Smith has trained new law enforcement officers in self-defense methodology and safe, effective arrest techniques for over fifteen years.
The art of Muay Thai has been very rewarding for Kru Smith, providing a degree of confidence and discipline that he had never found in other traditional martial arts.
Though no longer an active competitive fighter, Kru Smith’s intent is to stay involved and give back to this wonderful martial art that has been so rewarding to him. As an instructor, Kru Smith continues to share the art of Muay Thai.
In February of 2017, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Education conferred the coveted title of Official Thai Boxing Trainer to Kru Smith. He is now a Certified Instructor in Muay Thai from the birthplace of this great martial art, the Kingdom of Thailand.
Assistant Kru Matt Riter
Kru Matt Riter began training Muay Thai in 2000 under Ajarn Rick Davis of Statesville, North Carolina. In 2003, he earned his black prajeed.
Kru Riter fought several Muay Thai and Kickboxing matches throughout the southeast U.S including North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. He fought for regional titles and won an amateur US title in 2003.
Muay Thai has been very beneficial for Kru Riter, giving him self-confidence while also helping him develop a strong sense of respect and humility through intense, rigorous training. Kru Riter still trains actively and enjoys coaching and sharing his extensive knowledge of the art with others.
BJJ Instructor Jeff Heisler
Lead Instructor at Lake Norman Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Professor Heisler’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey began in 2008. He is a certified IBJJF black belt under the Gracie Barra association competing and medaling in IBJJF, NAGA, and USGrappling Jiu Jitsu tournaments. Professor Heisler brings 16 years of experience to Lake Norman Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Our programs provide a clean, safe, structured, and positive atmosphere to meet your personal goals. If your goal is to compete in Jiu Jitsu, become a well-rounded mixed martial artist, learn to defend yourself, or just get in shape Lake Norman Muay Thai and Brazilin Jiu Jitsu is the academy for you.
Lake Norman Muay Thai
Make everyone feel welcome
Treat each student with respect
Empower our members
Help members reach their goals
Muay Thai was a way for me to get out of my comfort zone and learn about myself. I'm constantly challenged to become a better version of myself. I've gained a family here.
I not only do it for the obvious reasons (I'm a guy and like to punch and kick things, stay in shape, learn self defense, etc.), but also for the bonding experience between my daughter and me. We absolutely love it. Awesome Muay Thai family here!
I train in Muay Thai with my partner; it's a great way for us to connect while getting an awesome workout. Also, I love working on my strong fearless female persona!
I love Muay Thai; it saved my life. Kru has been a father figure to me, a mentor and a great friend. I wouldn't train with anyone else.
Absolutely the most efficient striking art I have found. Beautifully simple and devastatingly effective when applied properly, Muay Thai should be a fundamental component in any martial artist's toolkit.
I've done Muay Thai since I was four. After taking a long break, I'm picking it back up because it's something I can do with my dad.
16 years ago, Kru Smith introduced me to the art of Muay Thai and I never looked back. He is a wonderful teacher and a tremendous friend. You can't go wrong training with him!