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A FaMAly Affair: How Fitness and Martial Arts Brought the Dempsey Family Closer

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

What started out as an activity to help a little boy channel his energy and hyperactivity, turned into an opportunity for the whole family to not only get fit together, but also bond on another level.

One year ago, Giles and Karen Dempsey took their five year old Jacob to FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts, for a weeklong trial. Their objective was this: to find an activity that could help the little one enhance his listening and attention skills. “He’s like most boys: full of energy, playful, and easily distracted,” said Giles, “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai have all the right qualities to help him develop his skills, express his personality, and let his energy loose in a controlled environment.”

It was the family atmosphere, as well as the conducive learning environment created by our instructor team, that convinced Giles to sign Jacob up.

He also added candidly, “The padded walls were a real bonus, as he bounced about everywhere!”

From Unfocused Toddler to Strong and Confident Boy

Because of his inextinguishable energy, it was not easy for the fun-loving Jacob to sit with his legs “criss-crossed apple sauce, hands on lap, eyes on teacher and mouth shut.”

“On occasions, I wanted the floor to swallow me up as all I seemed to hear was his name being constantly called in class - ‘Jacob, Jacob, Jacob…’” Giles confessed.

Yet, with patience, perseverance and love, both parent and instructors walked alongside Jacob to shape his discipline and classroom conduct. Eventually, it was evident that the young boy was not only able to be more attentive in class, but also showed tremendous improvement in his martial arts technique!

Jacob currently attends Little Tigers Muay Thai and Medium Monstros BJJ (for 7-9 year olds) classes at least three times a week. One of the smallest in his BJJ class, he is not one to run away from a difficult situation, and embraces challenging sparring matches with his classmates.

“I once asked him after a roll what he thought, and he answered with an eager smile on his face, ‘Daddy, that was really quite hard’,” Giles recalled, “He’d clearly underestimated a strong opponent, but that’s not stopped him coming back for more.”

Something for the Whole Family

It is not uncommon to see parents enrolling themselves in classes at FaMA after 1) seeing the fun and benefits that their children reap; and 2) realising that there are a plethora of classes available for them to take alongside their children.

Giles, a media business owner, can be regularly seen at our BJJ classes. Karen, who is a HR Director, attends our FaMA Fit classes, which allows her to get fit and explore new movements while keeping an eye on Jacob.

What does this mean for the entire family? A whole new way to connect, that’s what!

Because of the concurrent class times, Karen gets to optimise her time with Jacob by being present at his classes, and travelling to and from the gym.

Thanks to the shared knowledge in BJJ, Giles is able to relate to his son’s hobby, boosting the child’s motivation and enthusiasm to keep coming back each week.

“Jacob relishes the fact that he’s more advanced than me, and he loves showing me the new techniques and skills he’s learnt each week. Thats honestly benefited me, and my development!”

Giles adds, “Play fights have never had so much structure, now it’s armbars and guards.”

We absolutely love how families draw closer through our classes, and look forward to sharing more family stories on our blog. In the meantime, if this is an experience you desire for your own family unit, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Like the Dempsey family, martial arts may not be the first idea on your mind as a new hobby or fitness regime. Try it out anyway, and discover a world of benefits that can shape you in more ways than one.


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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.


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