On November 14, 2008, I walked into an empty room with a bare cement floor in Singapore with a few of my Muay Thai brother warriors from Thailand. Together, we labored away day and night to build the ring, to assemble the cage, to lay down the mats, to hang the heavy bags, and to decorate the little place called Evolve. We had big dreams to make the world a better place - in our small and humble way. Our dream was to create a place that people could call home and a place where everyone was family. As lifelong martial artists, our dream was to share our greatest passion in life. Our dream was to touch lives and to inspire positive change. Our dream was to make dreams happen for others.
There is a saying in Thailand that when you drop a pebble into a pond, the ripples can be felt all the way to the edge of the pond. That night, we dropped the little pebble called Evolve into the pond.
Little did we know how big the ripples would become.
Since then, Evolve has grown into a wonderful family of lifelong friends. Together - students, instructors, fighters, world champions, and staff - we push each other to become better, we challenge each other to grow, and we inspire each other to be the best that we can be - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are from all parts of the globe like Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, US, Japan, Korea, UK, Canada, Germany, China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Latvia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Spain, Australia, Hong Kong, and many other countries. We are dentists, pilots, students, laborers, office managers, doctors, administrative assistants, professional fighters, oil service engineers, advertising executives, cleaners, immigration officers, investment professionals, video game makers, world champions, nurses, entrepreneurs, bankers, logistics specialists, CEOs, and so much more. We are old, young, fit, not-so-fit, and everything in between. We are all great. We are all different. Yet, we are all one.
We are EVOLVE.
It makes me truly happy whenever I reflect on everything that we have accomplished together - students, instructors, fighters, world champions, and staff. Some of us have lost 20 kilos. Some of us have inherited confidence and mental strength. Some of us have gained discipline, focus, and physical prowess. Some of us have gotten our blue belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some of us have achieved Level 2 in Muay Thai. Some of us have overcome bad habits like smoking and drinking. Some of us have learned to become warriors. Some of us have even won championship title belts. Through it all, we have shared laughter, disappointments, and progress. We have poured our hearts into Evolve and we have all gained wonderful things from Evolve. Above all though, we have gained an inspirational family.
One of our students asked me last year what I was most proud of when it comes to Evolve. I didn't even have to think of my reply because I already knew the answer. Yes, I am proud that Evolve is #1 in Asia for martial arts. Yes, I am proud that Evolve has the greatest concentration of World Champions on the planet. Yes, I am proud that the Evolve Fight Team is the most decorated professional fight team in Asia. And yes, I am proud that Evolve has become one of the top academies in the world. But truthfully, I am most proud of the fact that Evolve is what we dreamed it to be on November 14, 2008. Evolve has become that special, wonderful place where everyone is family. Evolve has become that magical world that inspires people to new heights. Evolve has become that little home where dreams can and do happen.
All of you inspire me every day to become the best person that I can be. You probably don't know this, but the vast majority of our instructors were living in poverty before coming to Evolve. In their home countries, most of our instructors lived on $200-300 per month with no savings. However, through Evolve, they are able to live a good life, to provide support to their families back home, and to save for their futures. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have all changed us for the better as martial artists and as human beings. Evolve lives in my heart. I only hope that Evolve has helped you too, in some small way, to become all that you can be in life. Thank you once again for everything. I truly mean it.
Here is to helping each other to Achieve Greatness Within!
With much respect,