Immediately after Chinese New Year, The Jungle held it’s very own friendly in-house sparring event. Preparations were made since January, gathering the list of interested Jungle members. The team took careful considerations, with regards to how the members were being paired up. We wanted to ensure that the participants going against each other have similar weight and level of experience. With the enthusiasm and support from Jungle members and some external participants, a total of 11 bouts were matched (1 Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ), 2 Boxing and 8 Muay Thai). Each bout consists of 2 rounds of 2 minutes, with 1 minute of break in between. Prior to the event day, there were a few dropouts such as a member having to fly back home, another member sustaining an injury thus not being able to participate. With these changes, the team made their best efforts to find new participants within the limited time left. Thankfully, we managed to find replacements and no bouts were cancelled.
As the event involved sparring, referees were mandatory to keep things safe and in place. The referees were none other than Jungle’s very own coaches, namely Henry, Alain and Aliff. The three coaches came to a consensus in relation to the rules so as to reduce the possibilities of having different refereeing method. The big day kicked off with registration station being set up where the members were to report to once they have arrived at the venue. They had to complete their waiver forms and the staff had to check that they have their necessary equipment. Shin guards and gloves were being lay out for the participants to use during their bouts if they needed to borrow any. Some of them came with their other significant, some came along with a group of friends, some came alone. Due to the Covid situation, it was a closed-door event. As such, the supporters could only wait at the restaurant (Picante) directly below The Jungle. Still, each participant was allowed to bring one corner man / woman along with him / her to assist in wiping of sweat, passing the bottle, or giving tips on how the next round could be better. The mood was lively, with the supporters enjoying themselves, coupled with food and drinks.
The event kicked off with the one and only BJJ bout between two blue belts. It started off from the ground, with Ian sitting on the mats while Russel was kneeling on one of his legs. Russel managed to be on top initially, but Ian soon turned the tables around and passed Russel’s guard. Throughout the match, Ian was seen to be in better control as he maintained his top position and executed a few chokes here and there, causing the Russel to tap out. A little reflection gathered from Russel: “The game plan going in was to rely on the basics and not to try anything too fancy. Especially for escapes from bottom like side control or half guard. The aim was to get into full guard position as that’s where I’m most comfortable off my back and try to go for submissions. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself, i went in with the aim of having fun. Physically, probably not in the best shape. But I drank a lot of water the day before, had a good rest and most importantly eat a banana before the bout to prevent cramps. Monkeys never cramp because they eat bananas 🤓”
The next bout was between Jungle’s two middle-aged gentlemen: Amalus and Nitin. Despite their age, they are both equally enthusiastic towards sparring. However, as one of them wears hearing aids, we kept the bout safe by disallowing head shots. Fair enough, both of them played by the rules, displaying commendable sportsmanship. Their bout showed us that regardless of age, martial arts can still be practiced and enjoyed. Having that said, people who are in your 40s or 50s, do not fear to pick up a new sport such as Muay Thai. You may be surprised that your body is still strong and healthy to go through something that may seem to be strenuous!
The bout that followed was between one of Jungle’s intern (Hakim) and Aloysius. Despite having no Muay Thai background, Hakim put up a good fight by throwing calculated punches and kicks to his opponent. His movement was fluid which allowed him to dodge a few of Aloysius’s attacks. Despite Hakim’s attempt in increasing the pace of the game in the 2nd round, Aloysius put up a good fight by resisting and countering while staying calmed unlike his usual self in trainings. Sadly, the day of the event was also the last day of work for Hakim. The Jungle team can’t be more thankful to have him around for the past few months.
Aloysius said that before the fight, he was a bit nervous. Going into the fight, he started to feel excited with enthusiasm. During the fight, his mind told him that in order to become the best, he needed to feel his opponent’s punches and kicks to develop endurance and then counterattack back. Aloysius also mentioned that “I think with more training and cardio, I can continue to develop even more to excel.”
The 4th bout was between two tall men who exchanged great
deals of blows with one another. Lucas (in long tights) was seen dominating his opponent, Vince, by sending multiple shots and kicks whic
h then caused Vince to cover up. However, Vince continued to fight through and managed to execute a sweep in the 2nd round. Prior to the event day, Vince had a few Personal Training sessions with Kru Nern and worked hard to improve his skills sets. Lucas came for a couple of sparring sessions as well, in preparation for the bout. Both participants put in their best efforts and put up a good show.
Then came the first female bout, two fiery ladies sparring with a series of good exchange of punches and kicks. Who said only men fights are interesting to watch? These two ladies showed us a commendable bout with each of them giving their best. Niki is a southpaw while the Lis is orthodox. Niki managed to lend a few clean punches into Lis’s face. Not afraid, Lis returned with a few kicks and punches. It is never easy for an orthodox to go against a southpaw, however Lis showed no signs of backing down and went head on as she took the shots and kept her guard up.
The bout that came after was the first boxing bout. Bernard came, clad in full blue while Zach was wearing his usual black gym wear, like he did in normal classes. Two lengthy men were unleashing their inner beasts, letting go of their jabs and punches. There were fakes, body rolls executed here and there. The ring was made full use as both fighters moved from one end of the ring to the other. Zach even had her cute girlfriend by the side, giving him an immense amount of unmeasurable moral support.
It was followed up by the next and last boxing bout of the event. Jay, with a headgear on, was moving in and out swiftly, testing out his range and giving a few jabs to Cephas’s body. On the other hand, the Cephas used his left hand as a shield, moving it up and down while he tried to time the jabs of the man with the headgear. In the 2nd round, both men started to throw more punches, which led to more head slits and weaves to avoid the attacks. It was evident that both parties were calmed in their execution, instead of rushing head on or brawling. Cephas is well known to be a gentle teddy bear in classes, however he showed a different side of him in this event.
On the 8th bout, we moved back to Muay Thai. It was between two men clad in red gloves, one topless (Hanson) and one in black t-shirt (Ryan). Ryan is taller than Hanson, giving him an advantage in the reach that he had against his opponent. When Hanson managed to catch Ryan’s kick, Ryan then countered with a clean punch into Hanson’s face. Even though Hanson had a height disadvantage, he went head on, with remarkable aggression.
The 9th bout was between Shavit and Sujimi. Sujimi is not a Jungle member however he had the most supporters down on the actual day. It was the biggest number (17 supporters), and they had to be allocated to another restaurant due to space constraint. Shavit’s execution of moves was clean, landing a few sharp and clean kicks. Sujimi took them well and continued to persevere through the bouts despite being attacked constantly. Sujimi kept his ground, stayed composed and threw hard kicks in return, he was not fazed by Shavit and was kept his self-confidence high which was applaudable.
The 2nd last bout was between two heavyweights, Conrad and Justin. Clear enough, Conrad is a lot taller than Justin. Justin was seen to be switching between orthodox and southpaw easily and swiftly. The pace of this particular bout was extremely fast, with Justin throwing hits and kicks like a machine gun. Conrad did not lose out either, he was counter attacking well, landing punches and roundhouse kicks each time he executed his moves. Both of them had spar countless of times during normal classes because they were not expected to be opponents with one another. Before going up to the gym for their bout, both men were chatting with one another casually, with not a single bit of hostility against each other despite the fact that they were going to spar with each other. It was heartening to see how friendly they were to one another, because that’s what the whole event was aimed to be: friendly sparring.
The event ended off with another ladies’ bout, which was between Jungle’s new intern (Valerie) and one of Jungle’s member’s sister (Daphne). Daphne was close to a head taller than Valerie, which meant that she had a longer reach as compared to her opponent. Valerie, trained as a boxer, instinctively closed the range and used her hands against Daphne, landing a few head shots which may have shocked her opponent. Both of them clinched a few times, kneeing one another. At one point of time, Daphne managed to make Valerie fall while defending Valerie’s teep. Sadly, the bout came to a stop before the first round ended as Daphne was not able to continue as she as overwhelmed by the face shots that kept coming in.
All in all, the event ended well as no injuries were sustained! We managed to wrap up faster than expected. After the last bout, it was the typical “photo-taking” session and participants were chilling at Picante together with their supporters who came down. There were many takeaways from the event which the team aims to improve on in the next event. We want to bring about a next better, bigger event in June to our beloved members. Stay tuned!