What makes the FaMA Assistant Instructor team so special? We see strength in diversity. Coming from different backgrounds, each Assistant Instructor has a unique reason for continuing this path of martial arts, and imparting the legacy of their experience to the next generation of practitioners. In this series, we hear more about what led them to where they are at today. Be surprised, delighted, and humbled as they take you on this journey.
“Honestly, I started martial arts because I was being bullied in school; other kids would try to take my stuff and if I didn’t give in, I would get beaten up. Going home with bruises was not uncommon. My first brush with martial arts was when I practiced Japanese Jiu-Jitsu in high school, followed by Aikido in college. I picked up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2011. (Read more about his story here.)
My most memorable memory as a white belt would be at my first BJJ competition. I was really nervous, and during the match, just moved with no purpose. It was complete chaos. I lost of course, but I still keep the video of this match today. I review it whenever preparing for a competition, as a reminder to myself that I can and will perform better.
I never thought I would make it this far, though. Back in the day, it was hard to get a blue belt in Indonesia, and not many had the privilege to train under a Black Belt. So I thought I would quit after my blue belt promotion!
Some of the challenges I faced would be the self-doubt I felt when I was a purple belt; believing that my technique didn’t work or that I was not improving. However, I learned from my coaches to keep on training even if it feels like I am not growing. Perseverance can pay off.
That’s what I would advise other students, whether you are young or old. Keep showing up, never miss a class, never give up. Also, don’t be afraid to tap!"
"I played football since I was young, and even dreamed of being a professional footballer. However, I discovered Muay Thai at 16. I found martial arts a unique and useful way of keeping fit, as it enabled me to learn some self defence while exercising. Initially, this choice was met with some resistance from my parents, as they initially saw it as a violent sport.
Another obstacle came by when I ended up in a motorcycle accident, leaving me unable to walk for over a month. It was one of the lowest points of my life, as I needed crutches to get around, and I could barely do anything on my own.
I eventually recovered and returned to FaMA for training. However, I wasn’t able to kick with my injured leg. Thankfully, the instructors were able to accommodate my situation, and help me improvise my training. This is where I was introduced to boxing.
The best advice I was given by one of my teachers was to “never go 100% all the time”. It works really well because you would not tire easily, and it also keeps your opponent guessing!"
"Growing up, I was never into sports. I just didn’t see a point in exercising. In fact, I had failed the 2.4 km run in my secondary school’s NAPFA exam, and barely made it during the retest. I actually tried Muay Thai at 17, but that didn’t last. I picked it up again at 21 when I moved to Dubai, and was looking for something to do in my free time. After a year of Muay Thai, I discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. That got me interested, as I wanted to learn self defence.
However, I was one of the “weak, girly ones” in my class; in fact, there were not many girls training back in the day. It took me a long time to understand what Jiu-Jitsu was about, and even then, I was not very mentally strong. I was alway thinking about quitting. In fact, I quit after receiving my blue belt, thinking that I knew enough self defence to protect myself. I didn’t know that it takes consistent training to react instinctively.
After my ‘disappearing blue belt’ years, I eventually returned to training BJJ more regularly. Now, martial arts has become a part of my job. Never in a million years would I have expected for things to turn out this way!"
"Soccer and rugby were my main sports as a youth. I loved soccer, but then fell more in love with rugby as it was ’soccer with contact’. I had heard about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu along the way, and was intrigued but too scared to pick it up. In my twenties, I stayed with friends who were practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and always talking about it. I got tired of just hearing them talk, so I decided to follow my roommate to a class. A few weeks went by and I decided to keep it going. I actually attended my first few classes wearing my gi pants inside out and backwards. I also used to call side control the ’side guard’!
Motivation has always been a challenge for me through my years of training. I had won a few competitions and knew that I could achieve more, but I had allowed excuses keep me away from working hard enough to meet those goals. The turning point came when I began working at FaMA and oversaw its opening. I also began helping out in the kids classes. The kids are what helped me to stay motivated in my progress as a martial artist.
I believe that martial arts come with many lessons that one can apply to his or her daily life. I would advise fellow students to look out for these lessons! Also, a great tip for practitioners who are thinking of eventually coaching kids one day is this: to stay energetic and positive. Be consistent in showing good values to the young ones. Be intentionally present and make time for them, as this shows them that you will be there as a coach. This will play a huge factor in their growth!"
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts academy located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from Clarke Quay and Fort Canning MRT stations, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Muay Thai Kickboxing, Kids Martial Arts and Fitness programs are led by experts in their respective fields. So, whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for the whole family.