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Fri, May 14, 2010
The New Paper
Mum's his fight inspiration
Mum's his fight inspiration
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By Tan Kee Yun

AS THE saying goes, a house is built one brick at a time.

For mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Mitch "The Dragon" Chilson, the bricks that laid the solid foundation for his future success as a professional sportsman was his Japanese roots.

The muscular 32-year-old, oozing testosterone with his chiselled chest and enviable six pack abs, told The New Paper that his mother was the first to tap his potential in combat sports.

He was born to a Caucasian-American father and a Japanese mother in Washington DC in the US.

"When I was six, she started exposing me to different types of Japanese martial arts; first, it was karate, judo; then aikido and kendo (a Japanese form of fencing)," said Chilson, who has been practising MMA for the last 10 years.

"I think it was her way of getting me to connect with my Japanese heritage.

"At 21, I had a chance to step into a muay thai gym for the first time. Two years later, I took part in my first fight and I've never looked back since."

Chilson, now based in Singapore as an assistant instructor at teaching facility Evolve MMA, will fly the Singapore flag at Martial Combat 2010 - Asia's Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Fighting Championship.

The competition, which is being held here for the first time, is one of Asia's biggest MMA events.

Chilson is one of 20 contenders from countries such as Brazil, China, South Korea and Thailand at the two-day championship, which begins on Wednesday.

It was held at Resorts World Sentosa.

MMA fans will be pleased to know that the Martial Combat series will feature similar two-day events every month at the same venue till the end of October.

The fights will be broadcast on ESPN Star Sports TV channel.

MMA is a full-contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques and a mix of traditional and non-traditional martial arts.

Victory in a fight is determined either by the judges after an allotted time has elapsed, by submission (where a fighter admits defeat) or a knockout (where a fighter becomes unconscious).

The bout can also be forcefully stopped by the referee when one competitor can no longer defend himself.

It became popular in the early 90s in the US, where professional fighters would slug it out at the annual international event, Ultimate Fighting Championship.

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