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Boxing, for the wrong reasons

Beyond the somewhat glamourous front at the Nutriman Finals last month, I think it is fair to say that everyone has a story. Before you click away and say that it's going to be one of those "how I lost 30 lbs and became awesome" story, it's not. I want to tell my story, on how I got beaten up and got taught a lesson during boxing.

My pose at Nutriman Finals 2015, photo courtesy of Zan & 6Productions

I didn't become lean after I did boxing at Onyx. I was already lean, but I became leaner. But way before that, I was a fat and clumsy kid and I was always bullied by my schoolmates in primary school. It drove me crazy, and I kept thinking that they were bullying me because I was fat.

I was a fat kid back then.

I began to toy with the idea that, if I slimmed down, will my school mates stop bullying me? Even further, I fantasised with the idea that if I became slim, I could be one of the popular and famous kids at school! I constantly dreamt of all these possibilities, and it drove me to want to be thin. I tried joining the Judo team as a CCA, but was rejected by the coach for being too fat.

"Why don't you join other CCAs? I'm afraid you can't keep up with the training."

That was the shit that was told to me back then, and I continued to be fat through primary school, and eventually to secondary school. The bullying continued too. Worse, the rejection list from the various CCAs were piling up.

My fate took a turn for the better when I was finally accepted into the basketball team. I worked hard, and I slimmed down, and when I realised that I was slim, I thought, "I'VE MADE IT."

But the bullying continued.

Being in Kepong, KL, the local gangsters are notorious. I was consistently getting bullied by the local hooligans, and beaten up. Over time, we build resilence and tried fighting back. I eventually learnt how to "brawl" on the streets of Kepong, but I'm no street fighter, I was scared every single time.

Streets of Kepong, in KL, Malaysia

I emerged out of all these, and landed myself a place in a Singapore university. Coincidentally, I took part in Nutriman, and when I found out I could properly learn boxing at Onyx, I was estatic!

"I can finally learn to fight properly!"

I was psyched and excited to learn to fight, it felt like I could validate my brawling skills and refine it further. There is a deep honesty in me that wanted to learn these skills of the book, so perhaps, there is a room for vengence. I definitely wanted to learn boxing to get back at those who beaten me up, who bullied me, and who saw me down.

In the beginning, it was all good. I learned intently, and I was keen to polish up on my punching poweress. I came for classes regularly, mostly without my other Nutriman compantriots. I went for my runs, and I did my S&Cs. I wanted to put in my all, to learn to box, to be better, all for revenge. The vengence drove me harder.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to spar, I took it up readily. While I was not too confident, I took it with stride, and I was matched with a fellow Nutriman contestant. Shortly after we touched gloves, I started to feel more confident, and had a deep realisation that I can actually box. I managed sparring with my fellow Nutriman well, because I had invested alot more time in boxing than them. I took it further, and started sparring with the boxing class regulars.

Being physically fit, I could manage the usual sparring sessions well, and I was doing rather well even with the senior boxers. It gave me a good sensation that I can fight, and I am now a different Ken. I thought then, that I was the new Ken with a new found polished weapon.