Leke’s BJJ team continued to dominate competitions when our Impact ladies completely swept their opposition as they won gold in each of their categories and then went on to close out the absolute division.
In September Impact was part of the collaboration of teams who organised Singapore Combat Championship which featured wrestling, BJJ and amateur MMA. Again, we scored a big bag of medals and wins. Some of the stand outs were Garie Tang who won gold in wrestling, and our MMA debutantes, Andy Neo and Terry Chua. Both Andy and Terry won their fights. The BJJ team, as usual, took some golds and silvers despite the fact that Coach Leke was not in Singapore at that time. While we were the only team without a coach present, I was touched and impressed to see the rest of our team gather round our competitors to give them some amazing support and backing. More senior students came forward to corner, drill with and support the competitors. Team Impact really banded together and the showed tremendous spirit, and were paid off with great results!
The first big stage pro fight of the year came in October when Juan represented Impact and Singapore at One FC Total Domination against one of Malaysia’s most experienced strikers Alex Lim.
Juan showed his experience fighting a technical and tight fight winning by KO in the start of the second round! Juan now stands at 3-0.
The biggest news of the year came in November when our very own Royston Wee made history by becoming the first Singaporean signed to the UFC. His debut fight will be in UFC Fight Night 34 which will be held right here in Singapore on 4 January 2014. Royston has made Impact MMA, and Singapore, very very proud.
Again, the awesome team spirit is showing itself as I see so many people gathering around to help Royston. Volunteering to be thrown about and punched. Taking time off work. Sacrificing time, effort and talents for Royston’s preparation for his big fight. Adrian Tham came all the way from Sabah to help out! Our opponents don’t just have to deal with 1 fighter, they have to deal with the whole team.
On 30 November 2013, 2 of our up and coming MMA fighters stepped into the cage at Ultimate Beatdown 13. Garie Tang and Nico Soe, both 1-0, were in the UB tournament, competing for the inaugural UB title belts at flyweight and bantamweight. Nico won his fight very quickly in the first round by TKO after a crazy high crotch slam. Garie was the story of the night. He was fighting off a flu for a few days and actually vomited about an hour before the fight. He was definitely not his usual self but decided to proceed to fight anyway. The fight lasted all 3 rounds and Garie used every ounce of determination and technique that he had to stay in control. He eventually won by unanimous decision and was Fight of the Night honours! Super proud!!! Garie and Niko now advance to the semi-finals of their respective comps!
Only 3 weeks after UB, on 21 December, Garie, would fight again at the inaugural Rebel FC. Also fighting for Impact MMA were Nazri and Andy. This would be Nazri’s first MMA fight and Andy’s second. Nazri was the first fight of the night and he finished off his opponent in over a minute with some sweet punching combos and won via TKO. Andy’s fight, which started with a bit of controversy after his opponent failed to make weight, lasted all 3 grueling rounds and Andy won by unanimous decision. Garie finished his fight in style and also very quickly, scoring a win by armbar submission.
The year ends with the annual BJJ promotions. A bunch of deserving guys got their blue belts, but the show goes to Shilong who got a very well deserved BROWN! Shilong has always been a very technical, intelligent grappler who is eager to teach and contribute to everyone else’s development. Shilong in turn gave this credit to Prof Leke during his acceptance speech and later on Facebook saying:
“I entered this sport as a bb in judo and subsequently was a white belt for 6 years. Blue for 1 year and purple for 3, I can safely say the biggest leap in my BJJ came under prof Leke. The introduction of Checkmat’s training methodology and technique philosophy to Impact has been a boon to the scene here and we are all very lucky. Without his influence I doubt I would have started looking/thinking about BJJ differently (for example examining Leandro Lo’s game) and training BJJ in a more holistic fashion rather than a random collection of “moves”. More importantly, Leke’s generosity in not holding back and sharing all his knowledge has been inspirational and I hope as I carry on I can continue in the same spirit of giving and contribution. Thanks again to Impact (esp Kwang for creating a conducive environment for BJJ/MMA to flourish) and my Impact teammates who have helped me greatly and are vital for sustaining the right culture on and off the mats. Congrats to everyone on their promotions as well.“
All the trainers deserve huge credit for our achievements. Bruce, Leke, Noel, Royston, Garie, Shawn, Garrick, Juan, Xavier and adjunct trainers like Sri, Sul, Major, strength and condtioning coaches from the Pit and Quantum Fitness, sponsors like Physioclinic, Burlinson Dental, Siam Arena, and numerous other coaches who dropped by to help either teach the classes or to work with our fighters. I’d also like to thank the whole team, i.e. the training buddies, the fans, the wild supporters, the staff (special shout out to Jennifer who does a fantastic job cleaning up the mess made by all you slobs!). There are too many to name, but each of you have played a huge part.
Another great thing about 2013 is the growing friendship and collaboration between many of the top gyms in Singapore. Events like the Singapore Combat Championship, the Hope for Haiyan Grapplethon, showed that MMA gyms can build bridges and work together for Team Singapore without bullshit politics.
Things are super exciting in the martial arts world in Singapore! Our fighters now have more opportunities than ever and they are taking these opportunities by the horns!
Now I just can’t wait for 2014.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!