The Birth of Impact MMA

This is my first ever Blog. woohoooo…

My name is Kwang. About 2 years ago, several friends who had been training in MMA and their related disciplines (BJJ/Muay Thai) raised an issue to me. They wanted to train, but had no where to train.

They were craving training. Many of the BJJ guys spent hours on the internet, scouring Youtube. The Muay Thai guys jumped gyms, looking for a place to call home. They wanted high level instructors, permanent instructors and a decent place to train.

So the seeds of Impact were born.

I wanted to start a gym with a bunch of like-minded partners which was simple, no-frills, clean, with amenities like shower rooms and air-con.  I would invest heavily in getting top trainers. Not necessarily fancy famous brand names, but trainers who really deliver. I wanted a friendly, “family style” gym which was not commercialised but which didn’t stinge on quality of training.

I began doing my research on Muay Thai/MMA coaches.  It was essential for me to have a local coach as I wanted our gym to have that local flavour and an understanding of the local trainee. I consulted with my good Thai friend Aof, who was a trainer at Supanahong gym and later Asoke gym.  Eventually, after hearing from dozens of people, a name consistently showing up was Bruce Loh. Bruce was Singaporean and a Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) champ.  He was very experienced in Muay Thai and had been teaching MMA and Muay Thai for many years. He was also a BJJ blue belt. The best thing was, I heard he had an impeccable character. He was a true disciple of the martial arts and dedicated his entire career to teaching and sharing martial arts. He worked as a bouncer for some time to help support himself financially while he spread the MMA gospel even in the early days of MMA in Singapore. I kept hearing over and again from many sources that Bruce was an excellent teacher and one of the best in Singapore.  This was definitely someone I wanted as a partner.

I eventually roped in Bruce the following year, who is now our head MMA coach and Muay Thai coach.  Our policy was to staff the gym with trainers who were passionate about the sport and  Bruce helped me put together a great team.

Next, we needed to get a top level BJJ coach. I was advised that Brazil still had the cream of the crop. However, even amongst Brazilian coaches and acadamies, there was a huge variance in quality and standards.

I researched to find out who the best team was in the world. I checked the results on IBJJF website for major tournaments like the Brazilian Nationals and the World Championships. A few names kept coming up, all Brazilian… Nova Uniao, Alliance, Gracie-Barra and Checkmat. The people who really knew about the BJJ scene told me to look at Checkmat. At that time (about 2009), they were a really new team. However, they were taking the BJJ world by storm.  They were already the World No-Gi champions and the Brazilian No-Gi Champions at that time. They were also  placed 2nd in the Brazilian Nationals and 3rd in the World Championship.

I needed to know which team had the best “training system”. You see, many BJJ teams split and re-formed. These blackbelt stars easily won medals, but it said nothing about how they got there, because the training they received actually came from another team in their formative years. For example, Checkmat founder Leo Vieira is one of the best that ever lived, but could you credit that to Checkmat? Not really, because Leo Vieira grew up training under various schools, like Brasa and Master Team.

I wanted to see which team was training champions from scratch and I was totally impressed with Checkmat. They were winning medals at all levels. From beginner to the highest levels.

So, we became a Checkmat affiliate. We were so fortunate that Ricardo Vieira agreed to send his deputy over. Prof Leke is a world class trainer, responsible for training black and brown belts back in the Checkmat gym in Rio. This man, who was part of the team who regularly churns out world class champs was now part of Impact MMA!

I can say that I am proud that our gym has become all that I dreamt it would be. We have a warm close knit community and a friendly atmosphere.  We have a culture where people train hard, train disciplined, yet have fun.  Our numbers have grown, but we have kept our soul. 🙂

So what’s training like in Impact? We train tough, but we have fun. There are no sadists, no egos, no bullies. We have passionate driven coaches.  The training is tough and tiring, I won’t lie, but I assure you it is very fulfilling.

We also have a responsible and moral business ethic. We aren’t pushy with our sales, and we don’t mislead. We keep our prices openly published and answer questions truthfully. In fact, our trial policy is simple, just come join one of our classes and try it out for free so you know exactly what you are signing up for.

All in all, it’s a gym that I am proud of, and I look forward to many more years of Impact MMA.

Big thanks to all the staff, members and friends of Impact. 🙂

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2 Responses to The Birth of Impact MMA

  1. alvin says:

    Wow, really impressive. How did you manage to establish first contact with someone as renowned as ricardo vieira and convince him to send his deputy?

    • Impact MMA says:

      I had a friend, Weixian, who now still trains with us who trained in a Checkmat gym in Sweden for sometime. So he helped get in touch with Checkmat. Ricardo Vieira was very nice and helpful. I am hoping we can bring him to Singapore for a seminar soon. Since we started we have had numerous Checkmat blackbelts come train with us. Marcos Escobar, Alan Finfou Nascimento, Victor Costa, Rodrigo Cabral and of course our coach Prof Leke. It’s been awesome and I’m really greatful to the Vieira brothers for their help!

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