May 20, 2015

ONE Championship: Encounter with the Mixed Martial Arts Exponent!

The ONE Championship Belt
Recently, SGUnfit Runners was invited to the Media Launch of the Asia's biggeest Mix Martial Art (MMA) Competition  ONE Championship and we decided to invite our guest writer, Slacker along. Slacker is a certified Senior Instructor for IFMA (International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur) & AMAS (Amateur Muay Thai Association (Singapore)) and started his fighting journey with Muay Thai more than a decade ago!  He had also dabbled in various other arts like Capoeira, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu before settling for MMA. Bringing along for the ONE Championship launch seems like the perfect idea!

Unfit Runner, FangTai got a lesson 101 from PES E' s good friend, Slacker on Mixed Martial Arts  as  she contemplated on her next move in getting rid of those flabby arms. She pressed him with questions hoping to dig out more about the art.

Q:  Can you explain what is MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) in layman terms? 
A:  Well, glad you asked. MMA as we know it today is a very young sport that began in the 1980s & 90s. It’s basically a Combat Sport like Boxing or Muay Thai except that fights can & do end up on the ground.Fights can be decided via Submissions (joint locks & chokes) or by Tapping out (fighter admitting defeat) besides the usual Knockouts, Decisions or corner throwing in the towel. As the name suggests, it is truly a mixture of different Martial Arts as no single Traditional Martial Art covers all the various aspects/skills needed to excel in MMA. It is multi-dimensional as you have to be well versed in Striking, Takedowns & Grappling to win the fight. Most MMA practitioners would have begun their journey via some traditional form of Striking arts – Boxing, Muay Thai & Karate to name a few. Others may have started from Wrestling (Amateur Wrestling, not WWE!) or Jiu-Jitsu, Catch Wrestling etc.

Q: Where can we learn MMA as a beginner? What are the different progress levels in MMA (in the likes of coloured belts for Karate or Taekwondo)?
A: Our gym (FightG) was the first & oldest gym to offer MMA more than 10 years ago.  In the last couple of years, many gyms have sprouted with many being a stone’s throw away from each other. You can always google & sign up for a free trial to begin your journey as a young Jedi! MMA is not a traditional martial art, thus there’s no internationally recognised grading system. You earn your recognition through your fight record & experience. That being said, however, some schools may have their own grading system.

Q: What are the benefits to ladies in picking up MMA (e.g. Can it be a self-defence tool and help to lose some pounds at the same time)?
A: The benefits are many & we do see more & more ladies coming through our front door.  It’s terribly fun & a great way to lose weight the right way.You also gain self-confidence & composure knowing that you have the ability to defend yourself when the needs arises. It’s suitable for ladies as it doesn't take much strength to lock a joint or immobilise an aggressor once you understand the principles behind the moves (using body weight, spiral movement, opposing force etc.)

Q: Currently, who are the more prominent female MMA professional fighters in Asia, particularly in Singapore? 
A: Well it’s still a male dominated sport, especially so in Asia whereby MMA is still pretty much an infant. Hence, many female fighters are still pretty much just started getting their feet wet & dappling in MMA from their traditional arts (WuShu, Boxing, KickBoxing etc.) We do have Ana Julaton from the Philippines (WBO & IBA Boxing champion), a seasoned fighter who crossed over from Boxing.  From north of the border we have Ann Osman, who’s been making quite a name for herself with her fights.  Locally, I believe you may have heard of May Ooi (former Singapore national swimmer and Olympian). There areothers but as mentioned, most are still trying to make a name for themselves.

Q: In the upcoming Warrior Quest (on 22 May), there's only one female fighting match. Who's your favourite fighter for the win?
A: I hope the more dedicated fighter wins.  It’s super tough training for a fight, eventually your body breaks & you survive based on willpower. When that also gives way then it’s pure heart & grit. Add in the weight cut, media attention, fans & self pressure. Both of them deserve our respect for stepping into the ring (or should I say cage).

Q: On the key match of the Warrior Quest between Shinya Aoki VS Koji Ando: Would you expect the defending light weight champion, Aoki to continue his reign?
A: This is a classic Striker vs Grappler matchup. Well, Aoki is definitely the overwhelming favourite & his grappling is out of this world. Few have managed to stop him. Ando will have a tough time avoid getting caught in Aoki’s spider web but when there’s a will, there’s a way.  Both hail from the land of the Samurai & the Bushido spirit will be there for all to see.  May the Samurai with the bigger heart win.

Q: In your opinion, which are be the most interesting fights to watch out in this coming Warrior Quest ?
A:  Big names sell tickets but do not guarantee a good fight as they may cancel each other out.   I do not know many of these fighters but what makes OneFC interesting is that the fighters come from all over Asia.  This means that they have different culture & have their bases in different Martial Arts. This makes it intriguing as it’s really a clash of styles.  Few years back, my team mate Sherilyn Lim was fighting Ann Osman in an Under Card matchup (means it’s not among the main Fight Card) but for me & indeed many in the crowd, it turned out to be the fight of the night. Any fight can be the fight of the night!

Q:  How is the local MMA scene?
A: The local sports scene leaves much to be wanting.  Locally we do need more support & competition at the amateur level for young blood to gain more exposure.   The scene at our northern neighbour is much more vibrant.  Our guys usually have to travel to Malaysia to take part in competition like Ultimate Beatdown. Amateur competition like Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) is so big that it’s shown on TV! Really hope that Singapore can have such a vibrant scene of its own & perhaps produce our own world champion someday.

Q:  Any other thoughts? 
A: Asia is really the next big thing frontier in MMA.  China has many good up & coming fighters. Russian fighters have a reputation for being tough & scary. We’ve barely scratched the surface of India & the Middle Eastern countries. Take the first time that I saw Narantungalag Jadambaa (ONE Featherweight World Champion) in the ring, I was really blown away by his skills & tenacity.  Hailing from the homeland of Genghis Kang. He is just one fine example of the talents & raw diamonds that we have in this part of the world. Really excited to see more & more fighters from more & more countries coming into the cage & rising to the top.

Q:  Any favourite Ring Girl of your liking? 
A:  It’s not fair to choose, they’re all my favourites!

Fang Tai: That's really cool stuff!!! I did not know there's so much more to the art of MMA and the One Championship fight. It's time to check out MMA with good friend, Lazy Girl. I really want to get toned arms like those of Mel Tan.

The One Champion: Warrior Quest will be held on 22 May 7pm at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Grab your tickets here!

  1 comment:

  1. As the physical improvement your self-confidence also get develop when you start doing MMA. Self-defense from attackers will be an added advantage of this.


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