Interview by Lakhvinder S. Madahar
Once in a while, a student walks into your class that has something special about them and you can’t quiet put your finger on it. They tick all the boxes of what a perfect student in martial arts should be and have a personality that makes them popular amongst the other students.
About seven years ago, Germaine Yeap had heard the sounds of the Thai Pads as they were being kicked, punched, elbowed and kneed. After randomly walking past my university Muay Thai class, on her return she gave the class a try there and then, after joining the Muay Thai society she had taken to training like a duck to water. After her first few training sessions I noticed an aura about her and she was one of those unique individuals that have the potential to become a great martial artist and it wasn’t long before she began to have extra sessions at our Total Martial Arts Academy in Coventry.
While training at our academy she had a go at Mixed Martial Arts and the Filipino martial arts – Kali, attended most of the seminars I had hosted (Marc Mcfann, Erik Paulson and Rick Young) and also entered a handful of Muay Thai interclub competitions after just four months of training. She presented physical and mental qualities that would normally take years to develop and at times she was asked to hold back out of fear of seriously hurting her opponent. Deep down I felt she’s a champion in the making and a couple of times even told her that “if she had begun training with us in her first year of university instead of her fourth and final year, guarantee she would have been the British women’s champion at her weight”.
It’s always nice to hear from international students that they have continued with their training after leaving university and even better to hear they are doing well in martial arts!
Lucky Madahar: Hi Germaine, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed
Germaine: It’s my pleasure and thank you for asking.
Lucky Madahar: Ok here we go and let’s see what happens – What made you walk into my Thai Boxing class at the University of Warwick?
Germaine: I happened to stumble into the sport of Muay Thai in my final year of university. The loud noises from the kicks and punches during a Muay Thai class at the university
really drew my attention and it made me peek through the doors of the class. The Kru Lakvinder Madahar took notice and welcomed me to join the class with open arms.
Lucky Madahar: How far did you get in grading with your Thai Boxing in the UK?
Germaine: Hi Lucky, I can't really remember how far I got with grading at your gym. Since leaving Warwick, I haven't been keeping up with the grading system unfortunately.
Lucky Madahar: After leaving Warwick uni did you train in any other martial arts centre, if so for how long?
Germaine: After leaving Warwick, I trained with the following gyms:
1. Total Martial Arts Academy, Coventry (England) with Kru Lakvinder.
2. Diesel Gym, London (England) with Kru Cliff.
3. Kambiz Warriors Gym, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Master Kambiz - still training
4. Superpro Samui, Koh Samui (Thailand) - holiday visits
5. The Wat Gym, New York (U.S.A.) with Kru Nurse - holiday visits
6. Monarchy Gym, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Bruninho Barbosa - currently starting BJJ
7. Dragon Muay Thai Club, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Frank Paredes Vilchez - occasional visits
Lucky Madahar: You moved back home in Malaysia a few years ago – what did your family think about your developing fight career?
Germaine: My family had not much of an idea until they turned up to my last fight. They were shocked to see real ring fights. They are not that thrilled but supportive at the same time, so I understand where they are coming from as they do not wish harm to happen to me.
Lucky Madahar: Have you had a chance to try out any Silat yet?
Germaine: So far I hadn't had a chance because of the gyms I go to however there is a new self-defence instructor at Monarchy Gym called Sebastian Loriot who incorporates some Silat moves into his art. I might be interested to join his classes soon!
Lucky Madahar: Can you tell us something about your instructors; your gym and how you’re training has evolved?
Germaine: Total Martial Arts Academy, Coventry (England) with Master Lakhvinder - Great gym to start with a great instructor as the atmosphere and the culture is really welcoming and friendly. He tailors your exercises as time goes by to suit your style which plays to your strengths more.
Diesel Gym, London (England) with Kru Cliff - The gym has many professional fighters to train with and many fighters become world re-known from Diesel Gym, London. Kru Cliff has a great approach to help polish your technique and precision.
Kambiz Warriors Gym, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Master Kambiz - Kambiz Warriors Gym produces many potential stars in Malaysia. Many students become fighters which provide new comers with direct exposure to the sport as beginners to professionals train together in the same room. Master Kambiz is known for his teachings in effective Muay Thai striking abilities.
Superpro Samui, Koh Samui (Thailand) - Superpro Samui has array of experienced trainers enough to support an army of Muay Thai students. Many, world class Muay Thai fighters stop by for last minute touch-ups and prepare themselves for their big fights. The facilities in Superpro Samui are perfect and would sway many to extend their trip.
Monarchy Gym, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Bruninho Barbosa - Bruninho Barbosa is a second degree Black belt in BJJ from Brazil and he is a good instructor as he thoroughly explains the technique to his students. He structures his classes very well to help students apply their technique effectively.
Dragon Muay Thai Club, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) with Frank Paredes Vilchez - Frank Paredes Vilchez draws a lot of experience through his active fighting career. He is good in coming up with
different strategies and implementing those strategies during training in your fight preparation.
Lucky Madahar: How do you prepare for your fights?
Germaine: I work more on technique (e.g. foot work, accuracy and counter attack strategies) up to 2-3 weeks before the fight then focusing more on conditioning and fitness levels.
Lucky Madahar: Any special diets?
Germaine: Not really but I must start implementing a proper diet like all the other athletes! I’m a little low in will power.
Lucky Madahar: Can you tell us what title you have won, what it means to you and what it felt like once you won it?
Germaine: The title that I have won is the Kuala Lumpur Women's Champion. It is not a super title, as it is a new title created for ladies recently but I am still very grateful to have received it. Malaysia lacks Muay Thai ladies fighters due to the nature of the industry for Muay Thai which has quite a number of rowdy supporters. This might put many ladies off the sport.
Lucky Madahar: What are your plans for the future, chasing any more titles?
Germaine: For sure! I am also looking to join MMA in the near future as the sport is booming and becoming more popular than Muay Thai in Asia!
Lucky Madahar: Thank you once again for a very informative interview, we all hope you win many more titles and wish you the ‘Best of Luck’ in your training and fight career, next time you’re in England be sure to visit us!
Germaine: Definitely, thank you for the opportunity and thank you giving me a start by welcoming me into your class!
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"TMA is what it says, a Total Martial arts Academy. First and foremost, it is a place where you are respected and helped to grow, in a safe environment. As the many reviews say, it is thanks to Lucky (Lakhvinder) that a place like this exists and students can feel at home, in a world that can be cruel - that's a gem and frankly, a life saver! I'm going into my second year here now and I love training here and seeing everyone's journey. Be it for fun, confidence, fighting or so many other reasons. The instructors are some of the finest in Coventry and very approachable. You will be totally looked after during your first free visit and throughout your training here."
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