“I used to grapple competitively but stopped because I dislocated my elbow during training. I was caught in an arm bar and should have just tapped out, but sometimes, when you’re in a compromising position, you want to test yourself and see if you can get out of it.

Unfortunately, the situation was not in my favour and I popped my elbow. I wasn’t able to do jiu jitsu or any form of physical training for about six years. My injury got worse during recovery and my rotator cuff was torn to the point where I couldn’t even turn the doorknob.

I stopped working out and put on a lot of weight. I was 65kg but ballooned up to 88kg. I ate a lot and did zero exercise. Music was my full-time profession at that point and that meant a lot of supper and late-night drinking. My health got worse and worse.

I was only 28 then but I felt like a 60-year-old who was going to get a stroke or a heart attack. I felt like I was going to die at any moment. And no matter how much I slept, I still felt terrible. I eventually fell into a state of depression.

So I forced myself to go to the gym and started doing weights. For two years, I lowered my carb intake and cut sugar and alcohol from my diet completely. I was around musician friends who socialised all the time and they thought I had become so dull.

But I stuck to this lifestyle and at the two-year mark, my elbow got better on its own. I then thought that it was perhaps time to go back to martial arts. I’ve always loved boxing so I went online to do some research and discovered tons of boxing gyms in Singapore.

For me personally, the most important thing for my longevity in any sport was the coach. (Head Coach) Ridhwan came across as the most qualified trainer because he was a world boxing champion, so choosing Legends Fight Sport felt like a no-brainer.

I set up a trial class and after 10 minutes, I was ready to pass out. My stamina was so bad because I hadn’t done any cardio prior to boxing. Ever since then, I got a bit scared every time I went for a class. But because I felt that way, I knew that this gym was good for me. 

I’ve been boxing at Legends for two years now. The best thing that I love about boxing is really the mental game. I now work at Apple and do music as a hobby but boxing develops my mind better than anything else that I do in my life at the moment.

The best example I can give is when someone wants to spar with you. Regardless of how big or experienced the person is, I try to force myself to say yes first. Only when I come face to face with the person do I ask what have I gotten myself into.

I think that if you can face a stranger head on, take punches and be able to hug it out after that, everything else you do on a daily basis is going to be so much easier. I don’t think there’s anything else in life that has that kind of mental strength building.

I also realise that I always make the best decisions after a boxing workout. A couple of years ago, I was in a very dark place mentally and I found it very difficult to make sensible decisions. I made a lot of bad choices and they were always in the spur of the moment.

But every time I did a hard boxing session at the gym, I always felt a sense of zen and tranquility. And when you feel at peace, you tend to make the right decisions. Of course some people will think this is bullshit. Why get beat up before making a decision? But it does change your state of mind.

So about a year ago, I vowed to myself that I would never make a big or drastic decision before a workout. That’s the promise I made to myself in 2020 and I hope to stick to it in 2021. Now, whenever I need to make an important decision, I’ll simply come here.” – Brandon, 37

Interview by: Arman Shah