The Beginning of Everything
Apart from being a full-time coach at Jungle, Henry is a seasoned fighter who has participated in different martial arts competitions since young. His martial arts journey started off 11 years ago, when he picked up Shotokan Karate in secondary school as a CCA. As a teenager, Henry has always been intrigued by martial arts and since Shotokan Karate was available in his school, he just went ahead with it. In his secondary school days, Henry was also part of the National Youth Olympic Wrestling team. He then moved on to Judo in ITE. Soon after he entered Polytechnic, Henry joined Impact MMA and embarked on his Sanda / Muay Thai (MT), Boxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) journey. As a fighter, Henry has fought in two different weight categories: strawweight (52kg) and flyweight (57kg).
His fight name “Homicide Henry” came about because he always goes into his fight with the mentality to end his opponent, merciless and fearless. Not everyone is born to be a fighter, but in order to be a good fighter, one needs to enter the ring with the confidence that killer instinct that Henry possesses. “When I see blood, I don’t stop, I go harder and stronger.” When Henry started to practise martial arts, it wasn’t with the intention to compete, but more of keeping himself fit and as an act of self-defense (just like any other martial arts practitioners would say). Being involved in multiple martial arts, Henry has uncountable fight experience. Listing them out vaguely, he has been through 10 Sanda competitions, numerous Judo, BJJ and wrestling competitions, 5 amateur MT competitions, 2 pro MT competitions and 7 MMA competitions. Every athlete has his/her own forms of motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic. Likewise, for Henry, it is more of an intrinsic motivation where it comes from within. Henry enjoys watching live fights, especially Ultimate Fighting Championship. He has a few top favourite fighters whom he looks up to, namely Naoya Inoue (boxer), Takeru Segawa (kickboxer), Tenshin Nasukawa (kickboxer), Rodtang Jitmuangnon (Muay Thai and Jon Jones (MMA). Watching fights motivates Henry to train harder, improving progressively to become like them.
Most Memorable Experience
The most unforgettable fight of Henry’s was his 3rd MMA fight where he had two fights of 3 rounds, 5 minutes each. For inexperienced fighters, having two fights in a day could be draining and difficult to handle. However, Henry was not intimidated by the fact and even won the belt which gave him the title as the No.1 MMA fighter in Singapore and 3rd in Southeast Asia.
Even though Henry is actively involved in different types of martial arts, his favourite one out of all is MMA. The reason is that MMA provides him the outlet to put everything together in terms of what he has learnt from other forms of Martial Arts. Just as the name suggests, MMA is a mixture of different martial arts. having the exposure to the various martial arts before picking up MMA definitely gave him the leverage as compared to fighters who dive into MMA immediately without having exposure to individual martial arts on its own. Some of the fighters tend to think that Henry is more of a grappler and hence will try their best not to go onto the ground when they are up against him. Unlucky for them, Henry is equally skilled as a striker and has an exceptionally long reach, due to his long limbs. His preferred moves to execute are body shots and spinning back kicks.
Fighter’s Biggest Fear
Majority of the people will never understand the difficulty and pain of the weight cut process which all fighters need to go through. Weight cut is important in martial arts as the fighters compete in weight categories. Being able to cut to a lower weight gives a fighter a size advantage over his/her own opponent. Some examples of cutting weight methods include going to saunas, water loading, food restrictions, use of laxatives. The gruesome cutting weight process has always been a debate whether it should be abolished as loss of weight within such short period of time is extremely detrimental to the human body and could even lead to deaths when done excessively. Some fighters even develop eating disorders due to the extreme weight cut process. The latest fight which Henry had one year ago, caused him to end up in a hospital after his fight. Due to a bad weight cut where he cut more than he should, brought his body into an overly dehydrated state which then caused his kidney to be damaged. That was by far the worst injury which Henry has sustained throughout his fighter life. This incident caused Henry to stop training for 6 months and focused more on coaching.
MMA in Singapore
There are only a handful of MMA fighters in Singapore, in order to train properly, MMA fighters tend to move around and visit other gyms to spar with other fighters. The community is small and the fighters respect one another greatly. The mutual understanding shared by the MMA fighters allow them to help each other, train together, learn together and work together to bring Singapore into the global MMA scene. Some martial arts gym in Singapore are not supportive of the idea whereby their own fighters go to another gym to train, because they are afraid that the opponents will have the opportunity to study the fighters before the official competition. Thankfully, that wasn’t the situation that Henry was placed in, thus enabling him to learn and improve through the help of other MMA fighters from other gyms.
Leaving the Ego Behind
Every fighter has his/her own ego. No fighter will enter a fight with the mentality that he/she is going to lose. The ego that each fighter carries, brings him/her to greater heights by having that self-confidence and belief in oneself. Often, people will argue that winning is not everything, and losing is a process. However, winning is still a sought for alternative as compared to losing since it brings about a boost in self-esteem, a reflection of how the efforts and hard work placed into trainings prior to the fight have been well-reciprocated. However, as Henry is a coach as well, he needs to put down his ego during coaching and adopt the mindset that his students can do better than him and will do so. He believes that his students will be able to outshine him and go beyond his achievements. If a coach chooses to keep his ego up at all times, the students will not improve and might even feel demoralised by the coach.
A fighter is still a human being, Henry doesn’t train 24/7. Like a typical young adult, Henry enjoys gaming during his free time out of training. He mentioned that he is able to sit in front of his computer, for hours, without getting tired! When he is not preparing for any fight, Henry eats without restrictions and he loves to spend his calories on fast food.
Entering the Jungle
The offer to coach in Jungle came by chance. Henry was introduced to the Jungle by his sparring buddy, the well-known MMA fighter - Tiffany “No Chill” Teo. He started off as a part-time coach and then eventually moving on to become a full-time coach. Henry enjoys coaching and is delighted whenever he sees improvements in his students’ progress. Due to the Covid situation since 2019, Henry has put his fighting journey on hold till things resume back to normal. Still, he continues to train and practice, to improve and become better than never. Not only focused on his self-improvement, he is also helping his training buddies and students to improve and attain higher level of skills in their respective martial arts.