Fight Club: Whispers, Echoes and Armbars


In 2008 I was writing for the school magazine and school paper. I am not the usual run off the mill student. Never was, never will be. I wanted to cover the big stuff. Crime, social issues, human stories — things like that.So when asked to pitch a story, I decided to push the envelop.

Fight clubs.

I heard whispers and snatches of conversations from the other boys while working part-time as a waiter. Rumours that there were fight clubs in Singapore. The New Paper carried a story about a group of ACJC students fighting at a multi-story carpark in 2006. Could such things exist in shiny, clean and upright Singapore? Mind you the rumours I had heard pointed out that some fight clubs were badder and meaner than a bunch of students scuffling in a multi story carpark.

So I approached some of my friends who were not the most upstanding class of citizen about the rumours. Most told me to go fly a kite. Others said there were willing to talk about it, but not go on record. And so I hit a dead end. Back in class, the other students were proceeding well along for the weekly consultations and I was stuck. The student editor gave me an ultimatum: find a fight club or scrub the story.

I really wanted to cover this story. But for a story to be covered it had to exist in the first place.

So after a lot more digging, emails and tea sessions, I found one – a legalised one. How then to best approach the situation? Would they be spooked by a kid asking for an interview? Would they beat the crap out of me?

I decided the best way to go around covering the story was by participating in it. I very nearly broke both my arms via armbar* with sparring with certain scary army dude. I very nearly got my head kicked off. I very nearly had a lot of things happen to me there.

But I definitely had the privilege of meeting and fighting some of the most awesome fighters there. It was also very academically enlightening to see other various martial arts in application. The guys there were also friendly and were…well…upstanding citizens.

So what happened next? Well you can read the full article that got published in the school magazine, Hype, here.

*Up to that point, I had never encountered a Brazilian Jiu Jutsu practitioner or a grappler. Suffice to say the experience was both painful and enlightening.


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