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Posts tagged with "Muay Thai"

We can talk about philosophy and respect and better lifestyle all day, but when it comes right down to it, the martial arts have martial roots. The earliest martial arts came from a need to defend oneself in actual battle. This means that when push comes to shove, a martial art can definitely be extremely deadly. In this list, we look at 3 of the deadliest martial arts around, and what makes them so lethal.

  1. Krav Maga

A staple of police and military training all over the world, Krav Maga is a devastating martial art that aims to end a fight as fast as possible in the practitioner’s favor. This deadly style combines traditional martial arts with street fighting, featuring eye gouging, strikes to the groin, elbow strikes, and other practical ways of shifting the balance of a battle towards you.

  1. Muay Thai

The national sport of Thailand, Muay Thai is an extremely dangerous martial art that features terrifying knee and elbow strikes. Even if the competitive form uses boxing gloves, some three-fourths of all matches end in a stoppage or a straight-up knockout. Muay Thai is actually pretty commonly seen in MMA, particularly in the UFC – major competitors like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre have used the Thai martial art to devastating effect in the ring.

  1. Silat

Silat is a martial art that has its roots spread out across Southeast Asia, particularly in what are now Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. This martial art is designed for killing, and doing so very quickly. So effective is the style, that its users may have defeated 3 different invasions of their homelands by major empires of the times.

Martial arts are for self-defense, but sometimes that means shutting down the aggressor’s ability to fight – permanently. Do you practice any of these deadly martial arts?


In this digital age, kids are often exposed to all kinds of technology – from iPads to computers and TVs. Hence, it comes as no surprise that their idea of fun sometimes means sitting and staring at a screen for hours on end. Unfortunately, such sedentary behavior is unhealthy, especially when it becomes a habit that the child carries over to his or her adult years. This often leads to poor fitness and increases the risk of obesity, as well as other chronic diseases.

If your little one is obsessed with electronic gadgets and would rather stay in to play video games than go to the playground or swimming pool, fret not. We’ve got a suggestion for you: enroll your kid in a martial arts academy to keep him or her active! Besides being a fun and engaging activity, martial arts would also be great for your child’s character development.

Before 9-year-old Stephen Cartagena started training martial arts at Evolve MMA, he was a couch potato.

“He would sit down the whole day after school with his iPad, or play with his PS4,” shares Noble Cartagena, Stephen’s dad. “We tried to limit his time with these gadgets, but since we aren’t home most of the time, we couldn’t really keep track. So we wanted to find him an activity that can keep him active.”

Stephen poses with his BJJ professors.

“My parents brought me to Evolve for a trial class, and then I asked my mom to sign me up” recalls Stephen. He enjoyed himself so much that he actually returned for more martial arts training the following day.

Now, Stephen trains both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Muay Thai on a regular basis at Evolve MMA (Orchard Central) and Evolve MMA (PoMo Mall), and holds a gray belt in BJJ as well as a gray prajied in Muay Thai. During his time at Evolve MMA, Stephen has become much more active and as a result managed to shed some pounds and drop to a healthy weight.

“I was 45kg before I started training, and now I’m 39kg. I train 6 times a week, that’s why I’m very fit and very slim,” he laughs.

Stephen, before and after his martial arts training.

Apart from the weight loss and active lifestyle, martial arts has played a part in shaping Stephen to be a better person. According to his dad, there is “overall improvement” in Stephen’s life. “He became more focused, his school grades improved, and his eating habits got better too,” shares Noble. “He eats vegetables now!” he exclaimed.

At some point of his martial arts journey, Stephen decided to take his training to the next level and put his skills to the test – by participating in competitions.

“I competed thrice so far,” reveals Stephen. “I got a silver at the Evolve competition, and bronze for my other two competitions, in Singapore and Melbourne. It was great to represent Evolve.”

Stephen and his teammates and professors at a BJJ competition.

Besides being an active competitor, Stephen is also popular among his teammates at Evolve and his instructors have only good things to say about him, not just as a martial artist, but as a person too.

“Stephen is a friendly, smart and helpful kid. Everyone loves him,” shares BJJ Black Belt Almiro Barros, who heads the Little Samurai program at Evolve MMA. “He helps others in class and is a good example for other kids.”

Muay Thai Champion Saknarong Sityodtong, who teaches the kids Muay Thai at Evolve MMA agrees. “He always shows good behavior in class; it’s great to have him as a student.”

There’s no doubt that even at such a young age, Stephen has reaped numerous benefits from his martial arts training – and will only continue to grow and progress from here.

So tell us, are you ready to get your kid into the best shape of his/her life? Why not let him/her try a class and see how things go!


At some point in your career, I’m sure you’ve wondered where exactly you stand in comparison to your peers.

The more dedicated we are to leveling up, the bigger our goals become. Thus, adding to our arsenal in order to achieve our goals is only natural. One of the essential qualities we can develop is mental toughness. With mental toughness, we’ll be able to face any challenge and solve any problem that may come our way. It also helps us put our emotions aside and remain focused on the task at hand.

Martial artists know the value of mental toughness. It requires them to be at the top of their game physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is what helps them persevere and get through a match when they can barely stand. There’s no doubt we can learn a thing or two from them.

Today, Evolve Daily reveals 5 practices martial artists use in order to hone mental toughness. Perhaps we can use these techniques in our career and our daily lives for us to unleash greatness within:

1) Visualization

ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren has worked hard to become one of the best fighters in the world.

For ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, visualization is one of the keys to his success as an athlete. From the time he was wrestling at the University of Missouri, he would picture his matches in his head and play them out in every scenario possible.

When we believe in something enough, there’s no doubt that we can achieve it. Visualization requires constantly imagining yourself accomplishing your goals. This helps you prepare for what’s coming next.

2) Self-Affirmation

BJJ World Champion Alex Silva works hard at the Evolve Fighters program.

Many martial artists practice self-affirmation. It is a powerful mental process that requires you to constantly remind yourself that you are the best. Eventually, your subconscious mind becomes influenced, and you end up believing it.

The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali constantly practiced self-affirmation, proclaiming in public that he was “the greatest.”  The more we repeat our affirmations, the more real they become.

The more we believe in ourselves, the more we can achieve. We are all capable of greatness; we just have to convince ourselves that we are.

3) Goal Setting

Being well rounded in BJJ means training both in the gi and no-gi.

At one point or another, we feel like we have reached the pinnacle of our careers. We may wonder, “What else is there to aim for? I’ve already achieved all that I can.” Or what if we feel like we aren’t progressing, or that we’re just stuck with a routine? Goal-setting may be the solution to these problems.

By acknowledging that you have goals that you must achieve, it means that you have to work harder. It will truly put your talents to the test and push you out of your comfort zone.

Life is competitive; there is definitely no room for slacking off. We must continuously work on becoming the best version of ourselves or else we’ll get left behind. Remember, there’s always someone who is willing to work harder and take your spot – don’t give them that chance!

4) Focus On The Present

BJJ World Champion and ONE Superstar Brodinho Issa trains hard at the Fighters Program at Evolve MMA.

Sports psychologists say that the average, untrained person has a limited attention span. This has an effect on the way we do our work. When we’re under pressure to meet a deadline, we get into survival mode and do everything haphazardly.

In order to become more focused, sports psychologist Mike Edger suggests practicing the 3 R’s:
1. Recognize when you are off task and take action.
2. Regroup by interrupting your train of thought and prepare to refocus.
3. Refocus by directing your attention back to execution.

Former UFC Welterweight World Champion Georges St-Pierre says, “I only focus on the present moment.” Whether you are trying to complete a task or rushing a deadline, your complete focus is required at all times. This allows you to stay calm and in control under duress and accomplish what you set out to do.

5) Maintain Eye Contact

The elbow is arguably the most dangerous weapon in Muay Thai.

Maintaining eye contact, whether with our colleagues, bosses, friends or even strangers, reveals our personal strength. If you want to appear confident and at the top of your game, make good, lasting eye contact with anyone that you encounter.

Former Boxing World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson says: “I walk around the ring, but I never take my eyes off my opponent. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him.”

The moment you break eye contact reveals how anxious and intimidated you are, giving your opponent the impression that he is more dominant than you. In life, it is important that we demand respect from our peers. Doing so will give us an edge and convey a sense of dominance and power.

The more we think like warriors, the more certain victory is in life. By learning how to adapt these strategies in your career, rest assured; you will be ready for anything. To learn first hand how martial arts helps develop these skills, give martial arts a go!


The teenage years, a time when you have so many choices and opportunities. The formative time in your life where anything is possible. A time where the decisions you make have a long lasting effect on the rest of your life. How you spend your time, and who with, has never been as crucial as it has been up to this point.

With that being said, it’s important that teenagers spend their time wisely. In this digital world, where there are so many distractions trying to grab teenagers’ attention, it’s more important than ever to find activities that are not only fun but productive as well. One activity that fits the bill is martial arts. Martial arts has become one of the most popular fitness activities to take up in recent memory. People all across the world have picked up different martial arts, everything from Muay Thai to boxing, and wrestling to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It’s not only a great way to work up a sweat, but it’s also a fun learning experience that is as engaging as it is enlightening.

Martial arts has become especially popular among teenagers as it provides many health and wellness benefits while building character. This is essential in a child’s teenage years as this is the time when they develop fully into adulthood.

If you are thinking about enrolling your teenager in martial arts classes, Evolve Daily shares 5 Reasons Why Teenagers Should Train Martial Arts.

1) It’s a great distraction from the modern, digital lifestyle

Kids nowadays are fixated on their mobile phones and tablets, playing the latest video games and surfing the internet to no end. While that’s all good in moderation, there are certainly better ways to spend time.

We all know the web can be a pretty volatile place to hang around, but how hard do we really try to keep ourselves away from the digital lifestyle?

Martial arts provides the perfect distraction from digital media and brings us back to developing what truly matters – our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

The way martial arts pushes and challenges the mind and body, it paves the way for self-discovery like no other expensive piece of technology can.

Getting the blood flowing through exercise does wonders for a teenager’s health and wellness. Just the oxygen intake alone from an engaging martial arts training session can reinvigorate the human body like no other.

It’s time to put down those mobile devices and strap on a pair of gloves. Martial arts training can bring the fun back to being a physically active human being.

2) It’s an awesome after-school activity

Just another awesome BJJ class at Evolve MMA!

When the bell rings and kids are finally out of class, there are so many places they could go and hang out. Martial arts gives teenagers quite possibly the best after-school activity they can be a part of.

Instead of hitting the mall or getting into trouble, martial arts training gives teens a place to burn a couple of hours doing something that they would truly enjoy.

Martial arts is not just a mere workout routine; it’s not just exercise, but also a fun way to learn an activity that helps instill in them focus, discipline, humility, and self-confidence.

Studying the intricate movements of Muay Thai, the swift, smooth transitions of wrestling, and the science of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, teenagers are given a myriad of avenues in which they can focus their learning.

Today, more and more teens can be found in martial arts gyms because it gives them an outlet to release stress and physical tension. It gives them a place to calm their mind and stimulate their bodies.

3) It helps build self-confidence and bully-proofs

Teenage years are some of the hardest times in one’s life in terms of socializing. Nowadays, one of the biggest problems in schools is bullying that happens between peers. During formative years, such as your teens, it is very important not to fall victim to bullying. The scars left by these horrific experiences can affect a person for many years to come.

Through martial arts, teenagers learn how to defend themselves and build their self-confidence. Through the self-defense training that comes with martial arts, children can learn to stand up for themselves and deal with bullies in a non-violent way. This self-confidence allows children to take control of their lives and ensures that they won’t fall victim to this terrible epidemic.

4) It helps develop students physically to reach their potential

The martial art belt system teaches students to set goals, attain them, and see the visual results of these achievements.

The human body is a wondrous thing. There is truly no bounds to what we can achieve when we push ourselves to the limit to discover what we are capable of.

A lot of teenagers who go through puberty are at the stage in their lives when they truly develop themselves physically. As such, it is crucial to steer them in the right direction. Martial arts training does just that.

Martial arts carefully unleashes the full physical potential of the human body. It brings out the best in people, fostering an environment that is conducive to developing laser focus and incredible work ethic.

Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun didn’t start training in Muay Thai until late in his teenage years. Despite this, he has accomplished so much in his career, so it’s certainly never too late to start.

The way a boxing student hits the pads non-stop for minutes on end, or how a Brazilian jiu-jitsu student rolls around the mat over and over until he perfects his technique – all of this calls for maximum physical capacity.

Nothing pushes the human physicality like martial arts training does.

5) It builds camaraderie and friendships

Martial arts teaches teenagers how to respect their opponents, even during intense competitions.


If you’ve ever dreamed of doing a stint training at martial arts schools or camp overseas – why not make 2017 the year you do?

Not only does the experience allow you to sharpen your skills and broaden your knowledge scope, it’s also a chance to develop new cultural understandings.

What better place to do this than the birthplace of your chosen discipline? Whether you’re a seasoned martial artist, or are interested in breaking into the world martial arts, an “in-country” training experience could be just what you need to give your practice some edge (and give yourself a break from the daily grind!).

Here are 3 Martial Arts Schools or camps that will tempt you to finally book that ticket.


SHIFU SHI YAN JUN teaching students in Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy


Practitioners of Shaolin Kung Fu will be well aware that it was originated and developed in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan Province.

Perhaps less known is the almost unbelievable opportunity to train with Shaolin warrior monks in Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy, a school located inside the National Park of the Original Shaolin Temple.

In addition to Shaolin Kung Fu training, the school offers training in other Kung Fu styles such as Wing Chun, Tai Chi Quan, Mei Hua Quan, Ba Gua Zhang, Ba Ji, Praying Mantis, Qin Na, and Xing Yi Quan.

Those interested in putting their skills to the test in Kung Fu competitions or the movie industry can also participate in the training sessions specifically designed with these needs in mind.

Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy is the only Martial Arts Academy authorized by the International Liaison Department of the Shaolin Temple to teach foreigners, so if you’re after an authentic Kung Fu training experience which will open doors to new Kung Fu skills and opportunities, this is it.

SHIFU SHI YAN JUN teaching students in Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy

Who will train me?

The Academy’s Headmaster is Shifu Shi Yanjun, a 34th Generation Shaolin Warrior Monk and 17th Generation Disciple of Meihua Quan. As the school covers many styles of Kung Fu, the trainer/s you are assigned will depend on your chosen style. The school houses a number of highly skilled Grand Masters, Masters, and Monks who are noted for their discipline and decades of experience.

Where will I stay?

Students can choose to stay in a hostel-style dorm room or hotel accommodation. The dorm room is shared with a maximum of four students, and includes basic furniture, necessities, and a shared bathroom.

Those opting for the hotel accommodation can choose from a twin (starting at $10/night) or double room (starting at $16/night), with the option for single occupation at an extra charge.

How much is it?

Numerous packages are available, allowing you to choose the focus of your training, length of stay, and accommodation. Our top picks are:

The “One Day Study: Hotel”, which includes training, theory classes, hotel accommodation, three meals a day, and airport pickup. Price: US $160/day

The “One Month Study: Basic”, which includes training, theory classes, shared accommodation, and three meals a day, and airport pickup. Price: US$1090.

For a full price list, see here.

What do past students say?

“Shifu Shi Yan Jun and his school are in my opinion definitely the best for a foreigner to study Kung Fu…He’ll teach you any form you want to learn and he can adjust it to your level and skills.” – N. Mensink.

“If you wish to learn while having fun with distinct direction, I highly recommend this school…I believe that any student who commits to Kung Fu upon arrival will flourish while surrounded by beautiful scenic views.” – J. Fitzsimons.

SHIFU SHI YAN JUN teaching his student in Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy





Featured on various travel shows and documentaries, Tiger has made a name for itself as one of Thailand’s go-to destinations for Muay Thai training. But what sets Tiger’s camp apart from the plethora of local competitors?

Well, its International Martial Art and Fitness complex is a cool 9600 m2, and it also claims the title of housing Thailand’s largest gym. The facilities are modern and well-maintained, and there are separate training grounds for the beginners, intermediate, and advanced programs.

The location certainly helps too – Phuket’s Chalong area, a port town with an abundance of cultural attractions, water sports, fresh seafood restaurants, and a burgeoning nightlife scene. The school itself is situated near the magnificent 60 meter high gold-leafed Karon Buddha, and the short distance to the beach means some classes take place with an ocean view.

The camp also has a very inclusive approach to training. Fitness junkies, holiday makers, and professional fighters are all welcomed in equal measure, and training is adapted to students’ particular level of experience.


Training students MUAI THAI in Thailand at TIGER MUAY THAI

Where will I stay?

There are a numerous accommodation options to choose from within walking distance of the school. Depending on your budget and aesthetic preferences, you can choose to stay in a bungalow resort, guesthouse, or Thai-style budget room (from 12,000 to 16,000 baht a month).

Standard rooms include a large bed, air-con, wifi, TV, DVD, cable, hot water shower, and wardrobe. If you’re after a more premium style of accommodation, there is the option to stay in a local hotel.

How much is it?

Numerous packages are available, allowing you to choose the focus of your training, length of stay, accommodation, and meal options. Our top picks are:

The “All-Inclusive Training Package”, which includes access to all classes at the school. Prices start at 4400 THB per week.

The “Basic All-Inclusive Package”, which includes access to all classes, accommodation, and meal coupons. Prices start at 13400 THB per week.

For a full price list, see here.

What do past students say?

“Awesome place! Trainers really help you to improve you and they really correct you a lot. Beautiful facility, huge and very clean with great space for training!” – S. Bersek.

“It was really the experience of a lifetime. Great coaches in all the rings…The Facilities are all top notch so you can focus 100% on training.” – D. Mayonga.

Students resting after trainings at TIGER MUAY THAI


Many trainees from various countries gather at the Kodokan that is the origin of Judo and are having practice every day. There are many kinds of classes for various trainees.


Where better to hone your judo technique than Kokodan, an institution established by the founder of judo himself, Kano Jigoro? Since opening its doors in 1882, Kodokan has continued its legacy as a historic grounds for learning and achievement. It’s name, after all, means “a place to teach the path”.

Now, the 8 storied building in Tokyo is the headquarters of the worldwide judo community, and welcomes countless students for both judo training and research. Students of all levels are can train at the Kodokan’s several dojos, and there are various classes to accommodate specific training needs.

Due to student demand, the school has continued to grow in size. From a modest 12 tatami mats in its opening year, today the Kodokan has 1206 mats across the five main dojo.

Teachings of Kano Jigoro Shihan

Who will train me?

Training sessions are conducted by instructors with experience in national and international championships. Classes are grouped into the following divisions: Adults Division, Women’s Division, International Division, and Kata Class.

Where will I stay?

Accommodation is not provided by Kodokan, however, there are many hotels suiting a range of budgets in the Bunkyo area where the school is located.

How much is it? 

In order to train at Kodokan, you will first need to become a member (8000 Yen) and obtain a Dojo entrance card (500 Yen).

The general Kodokan Judo School fee is 5000 Yen a month. However, if you have a certain amount of experience, it is recommended your train in the “Randori” class, which comes at a cost of 800 Yen/day or 5000 Yen a month.

For more information about pricing, contact the school here.

What do past students say?

“This is the holy ground which every self-respecting judoka had to visit at last once in its life. For me it was the first visit to the Kodokan, but it certainly will not be the last!” – Nielzs

“The level of the instructors is as good as you expect. They are very down to earth and try to help you to up your game. Randori is tough, challenging but still friendly. Nice atmosphere.” – Uwisser

Judo is a Japanese martial art that aims at strengthening trainees’ bodies and minds through its training.



We’ve all been there before: rock bottom. Maybe you lost your job, ended a relationship, or simply feel like you’ve hit a dead end. Whatever it is, you probably wish that you can start over again, on a fresh page. The thing is, you might not be sure how to go about doing so. Well, let us just remind you that when you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way left to go is up.

Ready to take that first step towards a new beginning? Then why not head to your nearest Martial Arts Gym! Trust us; training will really help make the process better.

5 Ways Martial Arts Can Give You A Fresh Start:

1) It gives you the strength and courage to start over


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enables a small person to overcome bigger, stronger opponents.

You are not your difficult times, your setbacks, or your failures. Although you don’t realize it, sometimes you’re the only one holding yourself back – by focusing on your flaws and weaknesses. When you do, you’re actually preventing yourself from getting that fresh start you deserve, because you’re getting in your own way.

Fortunately, this will change when you train martial arts. This is because martial arts empowers you to take charge of your life and ultimately become a master of your own fate. Also, it will teach you to thrive outside your comfort zone and of course, toughen you up physically and mentally. Hence, you will make it a point to always pick yourself up as quickly as you can, every time you fall. More importantly, you will be brave enough to start afresh – even if it means letting go of whatever you know and doing something completely foreign.

2) It enables you to be present in every moment

Heavy bag work is a great way to build strength and endurance for Muay Thai.

It’s no secret that harping on about the past does nothing but make you feel worse in the present, and possibly even affect your future. After all, you can’t cry over spilled milk. So if you’re letting the past weigh you down, it is going to be very difficult to start over, especially if your mind and heart aren’t in the present.

Training martial arts will teach you to focus on whatever’s in front of you, and more importantly, to be present in every moment. This is because when you let yourself get distracted, you will be putting yourself in a vulnerable position – whether on the mats or in the ring. Once you learn to take your mind off the past and be present, you’ll be able to make every moment count and start your next chapter on a good note.

3) It develops your self-confidence

Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun teaches at Evolve MMA.

As you progress in your martial arts journey, your self-confidence will grow. After all, you will have the knowledge and skill to protect yourself in the face of danger. Also, you’ll achieve your goals and watch yourself make progress over time.

When you believe in yourself, you will stop questioning your choices and stop doubting the decisions you make. As a result, it will be much easier to start over – because you will trust yourself with that next move you’re about to make.

4) It teaches you to be kind to yourself

Being well rounded in BJJ means training both in the gi and no-gi.

As much as we hate to admit it, we sometimes seek solace in things that cause damage to our bodies – be it alcohol, cigarettes, or comfort food. Unfortunately, sometimes this becomes a habit, and we end up neglecting our health, whether we intend to or not.

If you consistently train martial arts, you will take better care of yourself by making better lifestyle choices such as fueling up on nutritious food and getting enough rest every night. What’s more, you will be less likely to take a few steps back by making unhealthy decisions after making progress at the gym.

5) It shapes you to become a more optimistic person

The knee can be one of the most powerful Muay Thai weapons.

Sometimes, all it takes is a change in perspective. If you think about it, going through tough times and hitting rock bottom actually helps you to appreciate the good times that much more. If you’re a pessimist, the good news is that martial arts will teach you to look on the bright side of life. After all, there will definitely be times when you have to stay positive even when things don’t go your way in the gym.

Once you’re able to see the good in every situation, there’s no doubt you will be able to seize every moment and of course, start afresh whenever you need to start over in life.

So tell us, are you ready to take control and start all over again? Go on, you’ve got this!



During a routine day at work, ONE Championship atomweight athlete Natalie Gonzales Hills came face-to-face with a terrifying scene, and was powerless to stop it.

While attending university in England back in 2009, she held down a day job raising money for charities, a position that required her to solicit donations in not-so-friendly areas of the country. What began as a normal evening took a horrific turn when Hills and her co-workers ran into the wrong crowd.

“I was attacked while working in a rough area,” the 29-year-old recalls. “It was a racial attack. They called me a [racist term]. I was with a team of five people, and we all got assaulted by 20 or 30 people.”

The attack proved to be the last straw in a string of events that left Hills’ life veering off-course.

Life was a lot simpler when she was a kid. During her childhood, Hills was a good student in the classroom and a dedicated pupil inside the dojo. She practiced her first martial art, karate, when she was 8 years old, and worked her way up to a brown belt.

However, she started getting into trouble as a teenager, something the Philippines-born but England-raised fighter attributes to growing up in a small town.

“It was small town living,” she says. “There really was not much to do.”

As the cliche goes, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Hills began to act out due to her boredom in typical teenage fashion, being irresponsible, drinking, getting into trouble, and mixing with the wrong crowd. 

Despite her behaviour, she continued to excel in the classroom. At the age of 17, she enrolled at the University of the West of England: Bristol (UWE Bristol) where she studied the History of English. The university experience provided Hills a new outlet for harder work, but it was not enough to make her kick the bad habits she had formed.

“When I went to university, that was the first time I had to work to get the grades,” she explains. “During my first year, I still got into a lot of trouble. I was studying, I had two jobs, but I did like to party. I was burning the candle at both ends. I was in an abusive relationship, too.”

In many ways, the aforementioned racially-motivated attack was the last straw in a series of unfortunate events. Tired of feeling powerless, Hills took up the sweet science of boxing so she could learn to defend herself. What she found in those classes, and in herself, proved invaluable.

“When I went to the gym, I had control over my training,” she says. “I was in control of my life. That made me seek out everything else. The more I trained, the less I partied. I kicked bad people and habits out of my life. It was a process.”

Seeing her progress in the gym also kept Hills motivated.

“It was really empowering,” she says. “Training is all about self-improvement and growth. I could feel myself getting fitter, stronger, and more confident. When I first started training, for one week I did not have the best technique, and a couple weeks later I am throwing combinations and doing better at sparring. That made me feel like I was on to something.”

Hills’ love of boxing turned into a love for Muay Thai, which ultimately led her to MMA and the doors of ONE Championship. At ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY on Friday Night, 21 April, Hills will bring the tools that literally changed her life to the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, where she will meet fellow Filipina Gina Iniong in an atomweight showdown.

Despite dropping her last four bouts, Hills, who goes by the nickname “The Kilapino,” will walk into the cage with nothing but confidence. Confidence she first learned in the ring.

“Boxing gave me something,” she admits. “I was peaceful. I did not have that before.”


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