From bully victim to pro fighter

PHOTO: From bully victim to pro fighter

SINGAPORE - Mr Eddie Ng, 28, knows first-hand what some of his young students at the Evolve Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) academy who are victims of bullying go through.

After all, for about 10 years from the age of four, he had to deal with bullies growing up in a small town in England.

Mr Ng, who was born in Hong Kong, was spat at, pushed and called names - sometimes every day.

As with many victims of bullying, he kept silent about his plight and avoided the bullies by staying back in school and making detours to get home.

He now knows silence is the wrong approach. "You should tell as many people as you can - your parents, teachers, siblings - because this is what will deter the bullies."

When he was about 13, he picked up martial arts by watching competition videos and imitating the moves with his friends and younger brother.

The amateur training was also where he found his competitive streak. He viewed his friends' incredulity that he could be a fighter as a challenge from them.

He went on to train in Thailand, the United States and Japan before moving here in 2011.

Last Friday, he took on top Dutch fighter Vincent Latoel with a broken wrist, in a fight organised by One Fighting Championship (One FC) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and lost.

His overall fight record stands at seven wins and two losses. He stands 1.73m tall and weighs 70kg.

How do you keep fit?

I train at a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym with world champions in various martial arts disciplines, such as muay thai, boxing, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Each form has techniques that challenge your body in different ways. For example, muay thai is a striking martial art that uses the hands, feet, elbows and knees. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling martial art that uses joint locks, submission holds and superior positioning in order to control the opponent.

I train twice a day, with each session lasting about two hours.

In between my training sessions, I conduct fitness classes for adults and Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes for children. These add up to nearly 20 classes a week.

I stick to this training routine for up to six days a week. Training so frequently can be very strenuous on the body, but I somehow manage.

Have you ever sustained injuries from practising MMA?

The worst injury I had was a shoulder injury that kept me away from martial arts training for about six months. It was very difficult for me to accept it as I love going for training.

However, I could still do other forms of exercises like running, interval training and lower body calisthenics (a system of gymnastics exercises).

What would happen if you miss an exercise session?

I would eat a pizza so I feel even more guilty and that would force me to work out.

I believe that you can work out anywhere in the world, as all you need is the resistance of your own body and a small space.

I rarely miss scheduled workouts but if I do, I will try to fit a make-up session at another time of the day.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

I eat healthily so that my body is able to recover and perform at 100 per cent every day.

Making small changes like exercising more often and cleaning up your diet can pay huge dividends.

You don't have to make huge changes all at once, just small steps in the right direction.

What is your diet like?

I don't believe in calorie counting for several reasons but, most of all, because not all calories are created equal.

I tend to focus on food that has a high nutrient density, such as dark leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach and rocket, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, as well as berries, seeds, grass-fed poultry and salmon.

A typical meal plan would start with a homemade multivitamin shake in the morning, consisting of dark leafy greens, berries and seeds all blended together, along with a cup of green tea and a glass of performance multivitamin drink.

Lunch consists of salad made with dark leafy greens; healthy fats in the form of avocado, walnuts and olive oil; topped with chickpeas, beans, quinoa and carrots, among others.

Dinner may be steamed salmon with some broccoli and cauliflower.

What are your indulgences?

There is one day each week when I indulge in food that I would not normally eat. It is my reward for eating clean all week.

The food that I eat on this cheat day varies depending on what I feel like having: Burgers, fries, chocolate, potato chips or cakes.

I do have one staple on this cheat day though - kaya toast. To me, it is the best thing in the world.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I am fortunate enough to do what I love every day and so I never feel like I am working.

I don't feel like I need to differentiate between work and life.

I am just living life, enjoying every second of it and counting my blessings along the way.

What are the three most important things in your life?

My parents, martial arts and my health.

I could be homeless, lose every single penny and thing in my life, and I know that my parents would still be there for me.

I had major self-confidence issues in my younger days but learning martial arts helped me slowly gain it.

Martial arts has made me a better son and a better friend. It also gave me a career.

Health is not merely the absence of disease, but a complete state of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Your body is your home.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

Personally, I wouldn't.

I believe all the "imperfections" that people believe they have are what make us unique and, ultimately, human.

What is ugly to you may be beautiful to another person. No human being in this world is perfect but each of us is unique.

Do you think you are sexy?

Nerdy and geeky - yes.

Sexy, definitely no!

joanchew@sph.com.sg


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