As C3 Athletics started on its third year, during the summer of 2012, the man behind its conception started a personal journey to achieve a milestone of his own—to compete in Muay Thai in New York, Atlantic City and ultimately Bangkok, Thailand.
Today, the gym has secured its place as the premiere, all-encompassing martial arts and fitness destination in Connecticut. It was only three years earlier, however—in March 2009—that an inspirational trip to Thailand planted the seeds that spurred the gym’s formation—and put its owner on the path toward his first fight.
The Road to Success
Throughout his life, Sean George—founder and owner of C3 Athletics—has indulged an insatiable hunger for adventure and new experiences. Upon graduating high school, the self-proclaimed thrill-seeker took a year off and moved to Aspen, CO, to snowboard, waiting tables for pocket money. His life suddenly took new direction when three particular patrons sat at his table.
“Some Wall Street guys sat in my section and wanted to know where to go out afterward,” recalls George. “They wound up telling me to call them when I’m done with college, and that they’d give me a job.”
He did precisely that. He went back to Sweden for his degree at the University of Gothenburg, and sure enough, upon graduating, two of the same men offered him jobs on Wall Street, as promised.
Since that turning point, George has worked tirelessly for his success—first as a Corporate Bond broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, which was housed in the ill-fated World Trade Center and eventually as a Corporate Bond and CDS trader at UBS in Stamford. In September 2000, he took a job at Conseco,—and just shy of a year later, his life was forever changed as the towers fell and over 600 of his former Cantor Fitzgerald coworkers perished in the tragedy of 9/11. Out of that unforgettable catastrophe, George gained a new lease on life.
“People I knew who died that day had dreams left undone,” recounts George. “I realized the worst thing you can do in life is not live. Since then, I’ve done things that other people think are crazy, but that I see as the best way to honor my dead friends—by living life to the max.”
Since that epiphany, the self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie has taken on everything from Great White Shark diving to halo jumping from a jet 35,000 in the air, heli-snowboarding in Alaska, tactical shooting with the Navy Seals in Coronada Island, and flying fighter planes with Air Combat USA over the Atlantic, just to name a few.
Later, as he rose up in the ranks on Wall Street, often beginning his days well before the first crack of sunlight and continuing late into the evenings, George found himself navigating the epicenter of the disastrous financial crisis. In 2007, he took the reigns as the Global Co-Head of Credit Default Swap trading at Bank of America. Two years later, when Bank of America merged with Merrill Lynch, he resigned and took a position as Managing Director and Head of Investment Grade Credit Default Swap and Credit Electronic Trading at Deutsche Bank.
New Discovery, New Vision
It was during a garden leave between his role at Bank of America and upcoming position at Deutsche Bank in 2009 that George first discovered and fell in love with Thai boxing—and found his inspiration to establish C3 Athletics. Because he was on a three-month hiatus between jobs, he seized the opportunity to travel to a completely unfamiliar, far-flung part of the world—Southeast Asia—and immerse himself in the local culture.
“I just happened to pass by a Muay Thai gym in Thailand, and didn’t even know what it was,” George remembers. “At the time, I was 235 pounds, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some days at work, I’d literally be up for 48 hours trying to figure things out to help minimize the effects of the financial crisis on my bank. Sleep and eating healthy weren’t exactly on the list of things focused on at the time.”
After his accidental discovery, he spent two-and-a-half weeks of his trip training Muay Thai daily—often until his feet bled—and came home 25 pounds lighter. George was undeniably hooked, but experiencing an authentic training atmosphere in the sport’s homeland made it abundantly clear to him that no such environment existed near his own home in Connecticut.
The solution? Less than a year later, he opened the doors to his new gym, C3 Athletics, fulfilling his vision for a fitness center focusing on Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and overall cardio conditioning. Today, the 5,500-square-foot facility offers the resources, equipment, and—most importantly—knowledgeable staff to help individuals of all ages, fitness levels, and walks of life to meet and surpass all their fitness goals.
“Teaching our members and making the people who walk through our door healthier, better, and happier individuals is our goal,” says George. “The day that changes is the day I close the gym, because those are all the things I want.”
As C3 Athletics grew, it developed a unique identity. While many martial arts gyms are built on the names and carved-in-stone approaches of specific fighters, C3 focused squarely on the diversity of its own member base, catering to each individual’s distinctive needs. The result: a motivational, open-minded atmosphere where all different styles are embraced, and even cross-training from neighboring gyms is encouraged to supplement members’ development.
“We embrace anything that makes us better,” explains George. “We’re very confident in what we do, and we’re not afraid to let others in. Sports are an evolving art, so there is no absolute knowledge, only the quest for knowledge.”
Currently touting over 300 members as a testament to its success, C3 Athletics continues to expand in new directions to challenge and engage its community—much in the same spirit as its ambitious founder.
A True Test of Self
While George continued with his Muay Thai progress, he occasionally trained at Phil Nurse’s The WAT gym, steps away from his workplace in Manhattan’s Financial District. It was there, in 2010, that he first met seasoned Muay Thai fighter and trainer Sean Hinds. The two became quick friends, and before long, George knew Hinds was the perfect candidate to catapult C3 Athletics’ Muay Thai program to the next level. Since joining the C3 team as an instructor in June 2011, Hinds has helped establish the gym’s Muay Thai course as one of its most successful programs.
George’s first Muay Thai fight was held on June, 22 at Friday Night Fights in New York city. Despite an early head butt in the first 30 seconds, which made George unable to see properly, George completed the fight and lost by split decision.
His second fight was held at Pattaya Stadium in Thailand on January 3, 2012. George won by knockout in the first round. Congratulations from the C3 family!