Learning a martial art brings many benefits that can last an entire lifetime. While it is easy to assume martial arts are simply about learning how to fight and improving your fitness, it goes way beyond that. Martial arts are about enriching the lives of students, teaching them important life lessons and skills that will be useful in all other aspects of their lives.
For Scott Sykes, getting back on the mat has been one of the best decisions he’s made.
“Martial arts give me fitness, humility, strength, courage,” Scott explains. “It has changed my life dramatically. I’m certainly a lot fitter, healthier than I was in my 20s and 30s.”
Scott’s journey as a martial artist started when he was a teenager. He trained kickboxing until his 20s, getting a few fights under his belt.
“I’ve always been interested in martial arts as a child, probably from watching films like ‘Enter the Dragon’ like a lot of people,” Scott adds. “I started kickboxing when I was 16 or 17, had a few fights and then just stopped training in my mid-twenties.”
Scott’s passion for martial arts was rekindled when he moved to Singapore in 2009. He began looking for the best martial arts gym in Singapore and his search brought him to Evolve MMA. He loved the fact their instructors had all competed at the highest levels all over the world and the family-friendly atmosphere the gym promotes.
“When I decided I wanted to move to Singapore, it was just something I wanted to get back into,” Scott says. “I searched for martial arts gyms when I wanted to start training again. I noticed Evolve was setting up a location at Far East Square, which was just next to my office. I went down there and basically signed up immediately. There’s nowhere else in Asia, I don’t think, maybe not the world that offers the amount of classes, the schedule. We’ve got four locations, the quality of the instructors is amazing.”
Finding the right instructors to train with is a huge part of every martial artist’s journey. Instructors set the tone of training sessions and they ensure you are doing things the right way. The more knowledgeable your instructors are, the faster you will grow as a martial artist, and you will have lots of fun while training.
“The instructors themselves are absolutely incredible, they are at the highest level of their game,” Scott adds. “They’re so passionate and it’s reflected in the students.”
Scott has kept up with his training ever since he found Evolve MMA, and he couldn’t be happier about his decision to get back to martial arts. He isn’t just in the best shape of his life, he’s also able to balance out his professional and family life a lot better. He credits BJJ for improving his focus and his ability to remain relaxed while dealing with challenges at work.
“I train BJJ, five times a week, generally lunchtime, Monday through to Friday,” Scott explains. “I think, once you come back from training, you’re certainly much more relaxed and focused at the same time. When you are dealing with deadlines or problems at work, after what you’ve been put through on the mats, it sort of becomes less of an issue.”
Scott’s wife Judith has noticed how more rounded Scott has become since he started training with Evolve.
“Scott is a very kind person. As a father, he is fantastic. The kids and I are really fortunate to have him,” Judith explains. “He is devoted to them a hundred percent and more. I think Jiu-Jitsu, apart from me and the kids, is everything to Scott. He absolutely loves it. You know, it’s a release. I think it is very good for stress levels. In terms of his fitness and overall health, it has improved dramatically. We all love Jiu-Jitsu for that reason.”
Scott has learned a lot since he started training BJJ and he’s also made lots of friends along the way. It’s one of the things he appreciates about his BJJ journey.
“I think the biggest thing is the friendships I have made,” Scott explains. “It is a huge part of my social life, probably the biggest part of my social life.”
Scott’s passion for martial arts has also rubbed off on some members of the Sykes’ household. His daughter Tilly and his son Lucas also train at Evolve.
“I help out in the kids’ class as well, the Little Samurai class with Tilly,” Scott adds. “I was awarded my brown belt in December 2017. My next promotion is going to be my black belt, which is going to be a massive accomplishment for me. It’s not something that happens overnight in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I will be training five days a week and I’ll get it eventually.”
With a positive attitude like this, it’s not surprising instructors at Evolve love working with Scott. They’ve watched him progress from white belt to brown and they couldn’t be more proud of the things he’s already accomplished.
“Scott is an incredible person, he’s a very friendly guy,” BJJ World Championship Silver Medalist Almiro Barros explains. “Everyone who hangs out with him knows how polite he is. It is great to see how much he has developed his BJJ since the beginning. Also, sometimes he comes in to help me with the kids’ BJJ program. It is something he can add into his life and his BJJ journey.”
Learning a martial art is an enriching journey and that has certainly been the case for Scott. It starts with a desire to try something new and finding the right dojo where your passion will be properly nurtured. Training regularly gets you in the best shape of your life, physically and mentally. You’ll meet lots of interesting people, and form lifelong friendships while lowering your stress levels.
If you are wondering what a typically BJJ class looks like, come to one of Evolve’s complimentary introductory classes and find out for yourself.
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