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Singapore-born Ben Liu has been practising martial arts since he was a teenager. He now volunteers as a teacher and runs his own website covering martial arts events and schools around Singapore. We came across Liu grappling with his friend in Duxton Plain Park one morning…

First published on 2 Mar 2012. Updated on 2 Mar 2012.

What are you guys doing?
I’m just doing some martial arts training here with my friend – I teach a class at the weekend, but this is just for fun. We live around the area and we’ve been coming out in the morning to go over some basics – there’s good space here and we don’t really need a room or a hall. We’re doing a more street-applicable martial art, so it’s more in the natural environment.

What kind of fighting style is this?
We’re doing mixed martial arts [MMA] – mainly jeet kun do [Bruce Lee’s style].

When did you start doing MMA?
I started when I was 18 – now I’m 29, so it’s been more than ten years! I’ve done taekwondo, karate and some other styles before I stumbled onto jeet kun do. I’ve also done eskrima, which is a stick-and-knife fighting system. I started doing Brazilian jujitsu, which involves some grappling, which helped me complete my range.

Did you know there’s a big MMA event [ONE Fighting Championship] soon?
Yes, I’m really excited for it. I went to ONE FC last year – there aren’t many big MMA events around, so this is a huge thing for Singapore The earliest fighting competition that came here was King of the Cage, but it flopped – it was overpriced and not very well run; they also didn’t publicise it well. ONE FC is a lot better: they have professional referees coming in, the safety’s good – I feel like they’re really ready for anything that can happen.

Do you know any of the fighters?
Yeah, I’ve seen Nicole Chua [Singapore’s first female competitor at ONE FC] around – she trains at Evolve MMA. She’s incredibly focused, and she has great fighting etiquette as well. I’d say Evolve MMA is the best place to train if you’re serious about going into competitions. They’re very professional and have a lot of top fighters there.

And you teach a class as well?
I teach a regular class every Sunday at 11am at the Cheng San Community Club [CC] in Ang Mo Kio. Some people go to church on Sundays; I volunteer my time to teaching anyone who wants to learn about MMA. I remember it was hard to find inexpensive martial arts classes around town, so I wanted to share some of my knowledge. Anyone [at the CC] can drop in, it’s free.

My website is also non-profit – I write articles and interviews with fighters or other famous people in the martial arts world. I feature a lot of MMA fighters and schools around Singapore to let people know about martial arts and where they can train.

Contact Ben at www.bendoesmartialarts.com. The ONE Fighting Championships starts on 31 March.

By Time Out Singapore editors
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