In this instalment of our two-part sports feature, Grayce Tan talks us through her thought process behind taking up Muay Thai and deciding to compete in a Varsity Team Feature. Muay Thai is a sport that involves  tremendous power, maximum efficiency, and raw simplicity.

1. Introduce yourself to our readers. 

Hi! I’m Grayce, 23, studying in FASS with major in sociology and minor in English linguistics.

2. Where have you stayed on campus before? What effect did that have on your athletic journey?

I don’t stay on campus right now, but I used to stay at Tembusu. I was there for two years, then UTown Residence (UTR) for one semester. In Tembusu, I really got to try and pick up new sports such as Netball. Then it was in UTR that I met a bunch of incredible athletes, whose conviction to their craft still inspires me today.

3. How did you get to know your sport, Muay Thai (MT)? How would you describe your experience with it so far?

I joined the Muay Thai recreation classes with a few friends back in year 2, just for fun! I have some background in martial arts and previously competed for NUS Taekwondo, but I wanted to challenge myself to try something new and different. At the end of that semester I auditioned for the Muay Thai fight team, and at the start of this semester, I went for my first ever pro-amateur Muay Thai fight!

My journey has been completely rewarding, in all aspects. I really enjoy the challenge of learning a new skill, and the friends make the hard work worthwhile.

4. What influenced your decision to make a jump and take part in competitions, both as part of the varsity team or external?

I wanted to compete, because I knew it would be a true test of my mental and physical strength. Fight prep is not easy as it involves a great deal of training, but also lots of willpower and determination. At the end of the day I wanted to challenge myself to let go of any fears and expectations and just relish in the process. To give everything to the journey such that I can be proud of myself, regardless of the outcome.

5. Can you give us a brief of what an off-season training session is like? How is it different from the peak competition period?

During the two months before the fight, I was in the gym almost every single day of the week – sometimes even twice a day! I’m very grateful to the coach and other members who came in specially to train with me, and gave me such great advice and moral support. Off season, we have three trainings a week, and I usually attend two due to other school and CCA commitments.

6. Tell us how being in the varsity team and competing in external competitions has impacted your life after taking part in it.

Training for the Muay Thai fight was the first time I committed myself so wholeheartedly to something that was completely out of my comfort zone. It’s true when they say that it’s there where growth happens.

7. Was there any memorable incident that happened? Something funny, surprising, or even sad / emotional, etc.

I think one really memorable moment would be when we had to cut water weight for the fight, so we had to wear sweat suits and run under the hot afternoon sun! One more was the moment right after my competition, where I could just give my friends a big hug and thank them for being there for me since day one.

8. What are some tips you would give to athletes keen to join IVP, a varsity team feature, or other sporting competitions? 

Just do it! There are so many lessons the world can offer you, and sports is one of the best places to learn.

All picture credits: Huiyi, NUS Muay Thai.

Did you compete in IVP, participate in a varsity team feature, or are you keen on taking part? Let us know in the comments below.

Lydia Gan

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