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“When I Was A Beginner…” : FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Instructors Reminisce - Part Two

fama singapore blog when i was a beginner part two cover yo and robyn

Remember the last time your teacher nagged at you on the mats? Whether it is “go harder!” or “you’re only going to do ONE class?”, there is always a good rationale behind this chiding. Having been students before themselves, they know what they are talking about when they say these words to you. Very often, it means that they see potential in you that you are not reaching just yet.

After hearing a little about Kru Yo and Professor Robyn’s early days, we understand that great achievements do not come easy. More than ever now, we miss their gruelling classes, and we cannot wait to be back on the mats with them soon.


Kru Yo

fama singapore muay thai instructors kru yo lamnammoon at age 13
A very young Kru Yo in the year 1990.

I started Muay Thai at the age of 13, after watching my older brother fight. I saw that winning a fight earned him money. That motivated me to get started on Muay Thai as well, so that I could, too, make some earnings. (Read more about Kru Yo’s life in Thailand here and here).

fama singapore muay thai instructor kru yo lamnamoon

After a few years of tough training and countless fights, the most memorable moment came at age 19, when I got my first belt as a Lumpinee champion.

fama singapore muay thai instructor kru yo lamnamoon 4 time lumpini world champion
FaMA's Muay Thai Instructor, Kru Yo Lamnammoon Sor Sumalee - 4x Lumpini World Champion
Kru Yo's first visit to FaMA singapore back in 2017.
Kru Yo's first visit to FaMA back in 2017.

I retired from fighting at the age of 30 and have been coaching ever since. I believe that what is most required for younger students is the discipline: listen to your trainer, and commit to showing up for training. Don’t let laziness set in! As for adult learners, never give up on giving your best. Give your best to the reps, the rounds, the bag and pad work. Train hard, hit those pads hard. You can always go “harder”!

fama singapore kru yo muay thai leading a class

Professor Robyn

A young Professor Robyn getting his first taste of martial arts in 1989.

My journey in martial arts began at age 6, in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. It was a ‘cheap babysitting’ alternative for my mum, who needed someone to take care of me while she juggled three jobs. Later on, I moved on to Karate.

I was a frequent World Championship competitor in karate, and because I was pretty successful in competition, I began to think I was such a great fighter. One day, I met a wrestler who picked me up and dropped me on the ground hard during MMA training. As it turned out, I was not as good as I thought. I lacked ground knowledge. So, I began my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey in January 2002.

In 2004, I showed up to the academy for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) class but did not have a white belt. The teacher told me to just wear my karate belt, which was a black belt. Everyone looked at me not knowing who I was, yet there I was with a black belt. (BJJ black belts in the US were not a common sight back in the day.) I got thrashed that day, and threw up in the alley outside the academy!

fama singapapore Professor Robyn being promoted to Purple Belt in 2010
Professor Robyn being promoted to Purple Belt in 2010.

However, it was my head coach, mentor, and nearly adopted father, Master Ray Neveu, who told me to never limit myself. He was the one who had pushed me to start BJJ when I was winning karate championships.

fama singapore Professor Robyn from November 2017 when he joined the FaMA team
Professor Robyn from November 2017 when he joined the FaMA team.
fama singapore brazilian jiu jitsu bjj professor robyn

As a BJJ instructor today, I advise the kids learning BJJ to make a game out of their training. Kids always excel in making games out of nothing. If they can do this for their martial arts training, it can bring some excitement and fun to their time on the mats.

As for the adults, I would advise you to not rush the process. Many people walk into the gym trying to understand everything. However, martial arts is about reps, practice, and muscle memory. These things take time.

fama singapore professor robyn addressing the kids brazilian jiu jitsu bjj students
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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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