Meet the Coaches: Raf Vilches

Steve Jobs says the only way to do great work is to love what you do. No one would argue, least of all TFC coach Raf ‘The Wolf’ Vilches. Raf eats, sleeps, and breathes martial arts—he’s been obsessed with it since he saw UFC 1 on VCR. In fact, once he got a car to drive himself around, joining a gym was the first thing he did.

Raf’s been pretty active since he was four and played just about every sport under the sun. Nothing really stuck… until he tried Muay Thai, that is. His budding interest in Muay Thai grew into a burning passion for the sport. He would train his butt off each day, be dead asleep with exhaustion at night, then wake up in a good mood and do it all over again.

Needless to say, all that passion translated into hard work, and hard work resulted in gaining a formidable knowledge base in the striking arts. He is a student of the game still, but has transitioned into a teaching role and loves to help TFC members reach their goals in his classes. 

There’s something to be said about finding a space you know is meant for you. Raf Vilches feels like he’s on his life’s true path with martial arts. Every day is a new combination to learn, a new program to try out, and a new technique to teach. 

When you train, you sometimes discover new patterns of movement that translate into striking. Raf loves it when he uncovers these moments. More than that, though, he loves passing on that knowledge and watching his students execute them well. In fact, one of his best achievements was witnessing Dan Hearn winning his debut Muay Thai fight! (In case you didn’t know, Dan’s also a Muay Thai trainer now!)


Raf Vilches has been actively competing in MMA and Muay Thai, and has now turned his focus to boxing. You’ve got to play to your strengths to succeed, and Raf has always enjoyed striking from the get-go. His time fighting in MMA has reinforced that his current preference is to let his fists do the work inside the boxing ring.

Of course, Raf Vilches does have a life outside of the gym. If he’s not training or teaching, you’ll have a pretty good chance of finding him hanging out with his dog at the beach. 

Get to know the team!

Nakia Melody

Boum Lambarki

Minh Nguyen