“After I suffered a ligament tear about 10 years ago, I couldn’t play soccer anymore. I could still run but I just couldn’t move very fast. My kicking was all haywire. And when you can’t do what you normally do, you get frustrated.

I started to gain a lot of weight. I blame it on the combination of good food and flexibility that comes with my job at Prudential. I work as a Financial Services Manager. So while I was on the path to recovery, I needed to lose all that weight.

I needed an activity that would tekan me. A lot of people asked why didn’t I try running? I hate running. I’m one of those people who would jog two rounds around the neighbourhood and stop for prata if I passed by a prata shop, so I can never complete my run.

I chose boxing because I know that the coaches would tekan me. It’s cardio, really. I also know that no matter how tired I am and no matter how much they ‘tekan’ me, I just have to endure it for one hour. It’s a love-hate relationship.

My kids are still young and I want to be healthy as I grow old so that I can see them grow older. I also do not want to look my age! I box twice a week at Legends now and I feel fitter and lighter. I even managed to achieve my weight-loss objective.

My second reason for joining boxing was to bond with my son, Iman. I have two daughters and Iman is my only son. I wanted to spend more time with him and teach him life lessons through an activity that we can do together.

I grew up with typical Malay parents who were busy working to make ends meet and I was left alone most of the time. I didn’t want to be that kind of parent. I want to be there for Iman, provide him with the fatherly guidance and mentoring that he needs.

And it’s also for Iman’s sake, really. He is small for his age. Many people don’t believe he is already in secondary school. I was exactly like him in secondary school. My school shorts looked like bermudas. I didn’t like it much back then because of my size.

I was one of those kids who always got bullied, pushed to the wall, slapped on the face. Looking at Iman, I did not want him to experience the same thing. So I thought I needed him to learn self-defence. Not to fight, but so that people wouldn’t try him.

There were certain times where he wanted to give up. Transitioning from sec two to sec three was a huge jump and he just could not cope. Whenever I feel the fire dying down, I just need to relight it. So we talked and we bonded and I explained why I do boxing with him.

I said, ‘Iman, you’re my only son. I cannot lose you. If anything happens to me, you are the one leading the family. I need you to be prepared for that. Certain things that I teach you right now, you may not like it. But 10 years down the road, you will realise that my father is correct.

I remember seeing this post of Bruce Lee on IG with a quote saying, ‘Instead of buying all the things your children never had, you should teach them all the things you were never taught. Materials wear out, but knowledge stays.

I think that’s what I’m doing with Iman. I vowed to give him the best things in life which I never got for myself. And to me, teaching him certain things is much better to prepare him for the future.’ – Pendita, Member at Legends Fight Club 

Interview by: Arman Shah