At 19, most of us were probably in the midst of figuring ourselves out, unsure of what our 20’s would bring us.
But that’s not the case for 19-year-old Lim Zhen Teng – or ZT, as his friends and teammates call him. Instead of getting caught up in life’s uncertainties, he has decided to tirelessly chase his dreams and focus on being the best martial artist he can be.
“For me, martial arts is a form of self expression because I’m not good at expressing myself through words,” ZT reveals. “Before I started training martial arts, I was a shy person with very low confidence… I used to just agree with whatever people said, because I had difficulties voicing out how I felt or standing up for myself.”
Fortunately, he was able to build his confidence through martial arts. This has led him to believe in himself, and hence, be able to thrive both inside and outside the ring.
“I started to focus more on what I want to do and achieve, rather than what other people think,” he says. “Over time, I gained confidence from my accomplishments. And now, I feel that martial arts has given me a lot of things to fight for… I want to achieve my goals and show everyone what I’m made of.”
ZT’s dedication to stay on top of his game motivates him to train whenever he can. That means spending breaks in between classes at the gym or field to work on his strength and conditioning, instead of socializing with friends or enjoying a meal. While this might be a huge sacrifice to most, ZT simply views it as an essential step he has to take if he wants to be the best.
“I try to train at Evolve 6 times a week, but sometimes my schedule prevents me from doing so, especially when I have school in the morning, followed by work at night,” ZT shares. “But I don’t want that to hinder my progress, so I’m always thinking of ways to improve myself and how to use my free time well.”
Despite his hectic schedule, ZT spends 4 to 5 days training at Evolve with the amateur MMA competition team. When asked about what drives him to carry on whenever he gets tired, he reveals that it is his goals that motivate him.
“I constantly think about what I want to achieve, and tell myself that if I stop now, I’ll never reach my goals, but I can get closer to them if I carry on,” he reveals.
ZT’s diligence doesn’t end here. In fact, he started working so that he would be able to pay for his martial arts training, gear, and more. On top of juggling work with school and his personal commitments, ZT always gives his 101% in every training session, no matter how tired he is.
As he made steady progress as a martial artist, all his hard work paid off. Throughout his martial arts journey, he has achieved his blue belt in BJJ, as well as a level 2 in Muay Thai. What’s more, he earned himself a spot in Evolve’s amateur MMA competition team.
“Over the years I feel that ZT has been more determined and focused in achieving his goals, as well as becoming a better martial artist and person,” shares ZT’s friend, ONE Superstar Benedict Ang.
Here’s what ZT’s instructors have to say about him:
“When ZT first came to Evolve, he wanted to learn BJJ and get in better shape. But then he got a competitive spirit and started entering competitions. So he began to learn striking, and then he wanted to compete in MMA… He’s now training like he wants to be a professional fighter. I would encourage ZT to just keep learning and developing himself. Good things are going to come to him in the future.”
– Heath Sims, US Olympian and Head Coach of Evolve Fight Team
“ZT always gives 100% in class. At first, when he started training BJJ, he was very shy. Now we can see his confidence has grown. I hope ZT keeps training with us, because he’s a good training partner, and also a nice guy on and off the mat. He has a bright future.”
– Leandro “Brodinho” Issa, BJJ World Champion and UFC Fighter
The Evolve family would like to congratulate ZT for being Student of the Month, and constantly inspiring everyone around him.
We believe that his unbreakable warrior spirit, along with his determination to succeed will take him places. As ZT says, “If you have a dream, a thought, or an idea, you should believe in it, work for it and live your dream. Don’t let anybody stand in the way and believe in yourself. We all have greatness within.”