Leave Your Ego at the Door (Limit is 10 pax)
2020, what a year huh!!!
Wait, what do you mean it’s only end-March? We have another 9 months to go?! Oh boy, it feels like a decade already, with all that has happened. It is a tumultuous time for everyone everywhere in the world and it doesn’t seem to be letting up soon. We hope people are taking the necessary precautions and keeping healthy in this period.
Closer to home, we at Onyx had a whirlwind of a month. Due to circumstances, we undertook the tough decision of leaving 600 West Coast Road. It was necessary, but still a painful decision. After all, the little sliver next to the canal had been our fiefdom for 5 years. Rain or shine, haze or hail, classes continued like clockwork, orange lamps dotting the morning blear and lighting up the night. We had Fight Nights, barbeques, and late-night shouting matches aided by alcohol. We alternated the BJJ, striking, and weights areas, jazzing things up every few months. We hung out at the back with the blue walls, refusing to go back earlier even though there was work early next morning. So many memories built by so many of you.
It was a comfortable time, that was busy and fun and nonstop and routine and punctuated by moments of excitement. We’ve had run-ins with nature: komodo dragons scuttling into the gym, crows hopping around on injured legs, pythons and cobras caught by the swashbuckling Pi Keng. But there was an undercurrent of dread throughout. We’ve had a previous month-long closure brought on by bureaucratic inefficiency, which we feared may repeat at the end of this year. We went through voluntary and involuntary staffing changes. We saw the toilets and facilities fall gradually into disrepair— choked and crumbling apart, with no avenues for help. When it rained, the drains clogged and the car-park flooded. Rodents ran wild in the grassy area behind. These things may make a funny anecdote: “look how wild the gym can be”, but it gets wearisome when it occurs on a daily or weekly basis. This is not how things should be, can be, or was promised to be.
44 Pasir Panjang Road was to be a new haven. A fresh frontier. The salve of salvation. We completed the entire move in 3 days. We took apart the mats, took apart the ring, took down the punching bags, moved them all, along with the weights, the equipment, the belongings, the barang barang, in a matter of hours. Some members came down on a sweltering Sunday afternoon, volunteering their time, sweat, and effort. We are so touched by the kindness and generosity and we will forever be grateful to all of you. The space there was dingy and stuffy, but it held so much potential. It was a blank slate.
Unfortunately, that all came crashing down in a single day. We received devastating news that the new landlord had backed out of the agreement one morning. We had worked so hard on the decision, worked so hard on the physical move, even made the call to close for a month so as to do up the new space properly, but that got wrested away suddenly. Bubbly anticipation curdled into chunks of unease, sitting deep within our stomachs. We were knocked back to square one, and we had an even narrower window of time to climb back out of. There was no time to waste. We got to work by lunchtime, before the tears could even dry. There wasn’t a choice, and no excuses right?
We stacked our days with site viewings. We found several locations we liked, but had to ensure it would fit the timeline. That led to many rounds of negotiations about price, concept fit, handover periods, space utilisation, etc. We ping-ponged with landlords and agents and building managers. Every day that we didn’t have a new place signed was a day of trepidation. Knowing that moving to 44PPR was already a huge mental shift for our members, we didn’t know how they would take the news of a second move. A cloud of gloom grew thicker as we bowed our heads with worries.
Finally a piece of good news: we landed our first-choice in time, at 10 Science Centre Road 01-02 Singapore 609079. It was the first site I had gone to view after receiving the bad news about 44PPR. I pressed my face to the glass: there was light, plenty of it. There was space, plenty of it. There was greenery, also plenty of it in potted plants. I didn’t know then, but it was going to be our new home. A little corner of my mind lit up, as did the rest. We began colouring in the details: the ring will command the centre, Dollamur mats for the BJJ space, an area to mount Zim’s house of S&C Horrors. Our hearts whirred like hummingbird wings, tiny but batting determinedly against the wind.
A day after signing the lease, we decided to quickly break the news to our members. If there was going to be pain, better to feel it all at once right? But the feedback about the location turned out to be overwhelmingly positive. We were buoyed! After weeks of treading roiling waters, we could finally see the shore. As we had a lot of practice moving a gym by now, it took us one perspiration-filled day to move everything over to 10SCR (once again, our depthless gratitude to Siong-ge). This was it. We are going to make it this time, over HERE.
Setting up took another few days. We built the ring, laid the mats, installed the metalworks, installed the wiring, hung up the punching bags, and shifted the equipment in. Bit by bit, things came together. There was a buzz in the air again, akin to cicadas croaking because they knew it was going to be summer. We are back in the game! WE ARE GOING TO REOPEN TOMORROW, 1 APRIL 2020 (WEDNESDAY), AS PROMISED!
But before you let all the horses out of the stable, given that the Covid-19 situation has been boiling over, we have made several drastic changes to the Onyx class timetable and structure. As the situation may evolve over the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor and adapt to the instructions from the Ministry of Health. Please check out the revised timetable, class structure, and how to book classes at https://www.onyxmma.com/temp-schedule .
It has been a turbulent journey, an endless string of setbacks. There were days when we all sat on a bench, facing away from each other, not knowing or daring to comfort each other, because things had seemed so bleak. But it’s always during these moments, when we are deep in the valleys, that members would come around and ask how we are, proclaim their eagerness to come back, or offer their help, like a cavalry cresting the hills. It makes it easier to engage with the orcs, the trolls, the faceless few who believe that the entire world revolves around their immediate needs and wants. We choose to be the Onyx family every day: of good cheer in the face of difficulties, of togetherness in spirit, even when we are physically 1 metre apart.
In the broader view, these are extraordinary and unprecedented times for everyone. So let’s step up to be extraordinary people and take responsibility for one another. Onyx Mixed Martial Arts is ready to officially open at 10 Science Centre Road tomorrow. Bigger, badder, bolder. We are so pumped to see everyone again and face the headwinds together!
It took us a long time, but we found a way back to what we love.
Our new home.