It was a long 6 months but it was worth every single sweat. It all started when our women’s judo coach Queenie Chew stumbled upon the registration to the Malaysian Invasion Mix Martial Arts, MIMMA in short. Queenie informed me and I remembered that Aik Tong once told me of his dream to have a career in Mix Martial Arts. I informed Queenie to register Aik Tong for the trials.This is the story of a journey of turning a dream into reality…
The journey started in January. Aik Tong went with Md Nashriq (Grappling Coach), Khye Ping (Striking Coach), Queenie Chew (Videolady and Chief Cheer Leader) and Kah Joon (Strike Partner). The tryout were held at Paradigm mall, Kuala Lumpur.
The cage for the tryouts at Paradigm mall
The team left Penang early in the morning as registration for tryout were at 10am. At the tryouts, the team met fellow judo friends who are also trying to make a career in MMA namely Gary Maclay and Fahkrul Izzat. Height and weight were measured and participants were tested in 3 areas. The first striking, then followed by grappling. If you passed both the test, you would then be given a chance to showcase your skills in the cage.
Photo-shoot of Aik Tong
Seen here Aik Tong mounting his opponent in the grappling tryouts
At about 7pm, I got a call from a very Queenie saying that Aik Tong has qualified for the ladder match. He passed the striking test easily, then dominated his opponent in groundwork and finally knocked out his opponent via TKO in the cage fight. A good start. The next fight was scheduled a month later.
Through the MIMMA official website, we found out the next opponent in the ladder match was Tan Yong Tan who has experience in boxing, muay thai and grappling. Aik Tong in the meantime started working on his striking.
Aik Tong delivering a barrage of blows just before the referee stopped the match
The ladder match bout was over in less than a minute. Aik Tong won via TKO. The striking training seems to work. I expected Aik Tong to submit his opponents but he has delivered 2 knockouts via striking so far. Next would be the quarter finals. His quarter finals opponent was Lim Yee Wei who is a kick boxing exponent.
Nashriq was not able to accompany Aik Tong this time so I went along. I was already in KL the day before to attend a meeting and I met the team at Paradigm at 10am. I had to admit when I saw the setups I was impressed. The organizers really did a great job.
Lim Yee Wei, delivering the first blow at the start of the first round
Aik Tong was interviewed just before his fight and I remembered him saying, he is confident in beating his opponent. He is not a guy who talks much so it was short and simple. The match started off at a fast pace. Yee Wei tried kicked at Aik Tong only for Aik Tong to parry the kick easily. Aik Tong then delivered a punch which connected to Yee Wei head. You could see that the punch rocked Yee Wei and he could not stand properly. Aik Tong then clinched Yee Wei and delivered his favourite throw, the Uchimata.
Inner thigh throw (Uchimata) seen he as executed by Aik Tong.
After the escape Yee Wei took the opportunity to reign some blows to Aik Tong while Aik Tong was in the guard position. Aik Tong caught hold of Yee Wei’s hand and delivered the arm bar to which Yee Wei tapped out. The whole match lasted under a minute.
Seen here the victorious Aik Tong being acknowledge by Yee Wei like true sports men they are.
So again we looked forward to the next fight. By that time we only had 4 guys left. Aik Tong, Chew Chee Chan, Reeza Azim and Teh Kah Wei. Aik Tong and myself stayed back to study the opponents. At the semi final level, we could see the standard of the opponents are higher due to higher intensity training in the past 3 months.
Queenie later informed me that Aik Tong’s opponent was Rezza Azim. We then formed a game plan to take the fight to the ground as this seems to be Reeza’s weak point. Reeza listed himself as free styler and we noticed that the ground game was not his strong point in his previous match ups.
I did not follow Aik Tong to the semi final match as Nashriq was free to go. I had to stay back to train the Penang Judo SUKMA squad.
To be continued …