Evolve MMA is Singapore’s premier martial arts academy.
But more than that, it’s also Asia’s top martial arts organization and one of the best training facilities in the world for combat sports. It’s been my personal goal to train here since I started my Brazilian jiu-jitsu journey almost two years ago.
And now, I can proudly cross this goal off of my bucket list.
I spent 30 days training at Evolve MMA in Singapore. And it has been a transformative experience, to say the least. I sold everything back home and jumped on a one-way flight to Asia to get trained by World Champion martial artists.
And here are a few things I’ve learned as a result.
Assumptions Are Often Misleading
Meet Rodrigo Marello; he is one of the instructors at Evolve MMA. A Pan American Champion, No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, and South American Champion, Marello is a BJJ black belt who has been training for over 10 years.
I’ve seen videos of him rolling on YouTube prior to my visit.
He moves with such grace and elegance on the mats; it’s inspiring to see. However, in all his videos, he always had such a serious demeanour.
I never once saw him smile or laugh.
So even though I was entranced with his skill and technical proficiency in jiu-jitsu, he just didn’t come off as very friendly. That is until I arrived at Evolve MMA in Singapore and got to meet him personally. Turns out he’s actually one of the nicest and coolest dudes!
We chatted about martial arts, travelling, goals, and life. He encouraged me to stay committed to training and never give up. And look at that, I even got a smile out of the guy!
The Most Dangerous People Are Usually the Kindest
This is Teco Shinzato, another Evolve MMA instructor with more than 30 years of BJJ experience. He is a 2x Black Belt Mundials World Champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Also, he has won many regional and national tournaments back in his homeland of Brazil.
Teco is a 4th-degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
In hand-to-hand combat, he (and the other Evolve MMA instructors) is among the most dangerous people on the planet.
However, you would never suspect it by looking at the photo of him (or even meeting in person for that matter).
He was kind and respectful; he was also helpful and clearly explained the techniques when we having difficulty implementing them. My first BJJ class at Evolve was intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect walking into a world-class martial arts facility.
Teco was my first instructor and he made me feel right at home with his respectful and helpful demeanour.
Community Contributes to Belonging
Other than my luggage and the clothes on my back, I had nothing when I arrived in Singapore. As a result, I felt out of place many times. I don’t want to go as far as saying, “I didn’t belong,” but I did feel like a bit of an outcast at times.
However, when training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you are part of a community.
I believe this is because BJJ is complex and challenging; the training process is often gruelling. But you’re going through this struggle alongside your training partners. They’re experiencing the same thing as you.
This creates a sense of camaraderie.
So whenever I felt homesick in this foreign land, all I had to do was get on the mats at Evolve MMA to feel the warm embrace of community. It’s quite simple from my perspective: Men going through the same struggle and process together fosters connection. This process creates a unique bond.
Moreover, this has been proven; psychological studies have been conducted on the power of shared struggle. And I believe training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu fits into that category.
Final Thoughts: My Evolve MMA Experience
Training at Evolve MMA was amazing. When I look at the photos and recall the moments, I’m flooded with a sense of gratitude for the experience. But the most rewarding thing about it is the personal pride I feel connected to the congruence I displayed.
I set out to do something difficult, I said I would do it, and I followed through.
Few things can compare to the trust you establish in yourself by operating this way. And I feel that right now. If you need help developing your trust, ensure you check out my ebook, as it will help you align your habits with your desires.