My Month at Evolve MMA

Nick Austin
4 min readJan 20, 2017


I was sore beyond belief –my shins and elbows bruised, my legs tired. Sweat dripped down my brow under the hot Singapore sun. I eventually reached my hostel, went up to my room and dropped on the bed to relax…

I had just finished Day 1 of my martial arts training at Evolve MMA in Singapore. After two Muay Thai classes that day, I was spent! But there would be little rest –I would train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the next day.

Posing with my fresh fight gear!

Your mind and body enter into a different place after several days of hard physical activity. If you thought Day 1 was hard, Day 2 is harder because you’re still tired and recovering from Day 1. And if you thought Day 2 was hard, Day 3 is harder because now you’re recovering from Day 2. Eventually, you learn to ignore pain. It’s a new experience –you feel the pain, but you just shrug it off. In fact, after a few days you start to believe that the pain is normal. This kind of pain tolerance and Zen-like mindfulness is relatively easy to achieve through martial arts training.

I had saved up enough vacation time and money to take a month off and train MMA at Evolve MMA in Singapore. Evolve MMA is often regarded as the world’s #1 international MMA gym — it attracts fighters from many countries like Brazil, USA, Indonesia, Japan, China, and more.

When you are on a martial arts immersion schedule, it’s important not to let your injuries accrue by over-training. I realized I could manage my recovery periods by alternating my training days between Muay Thai and BJJ. Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tax different muscle groups at different rates and inflict different kinds of wear on the body. Muay Thai, with its violent strikes and heavy bag work, tires out a lot of the fast twitch muscles. Meanwhile, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu demands a lot of endurance under tension so it tires out the slower twitch muscles. By alternating training days, you can allow your body a day to rest for the next day without actually skipping a training day.

I now understand what makes Evolve MMA unique. The classes are all taught by champions of the highest caliber. The daily schedule is a no-nonsense martial arts schedule –from 6 AM to 10 PM, you can take any variety of Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and Boxing classes.

Look at this training schedule! It’s so easy to get your training done when classes are offered at all times of the day.

The Muay Thai classes were taught by champions with hundreds of fights under their belts, and the BJJ classes were all taught by black belts. The caliber of instruction also meant that the caliber of the students was very high. I sparred with BJJ white belts who passed my guard with ease, or who easily swept me when I tried using my favorite guard passes. The best learning comes from sparring with great people, and I sparred with some incredible white belts and blue belts at Evolve MMA.

A photo with the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class taught by Sensei Shinzato (center).

My instructors included Teco Shinzato (2X BJJ Mundials World Champion), Bruno Pucci (No-Gi BJJ World Championship Gold Medalist), Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (ONE FC Strawweight World Champion), Daorung Sityodtong (Muay Thai champion and trainer of Lumpinee Muay Thai world champions), Nonthachai Sit O (3X Lumpinee Muay Thai world champion), Orono Wor Petchpun (3X Lumpinee Muay Thai world champion), and Heath Sims (6X USA National Wrestling Champion and Dan Henderson’s fighting coach).

Waiting for class to start. People always knew what country I was from!

The teachers at Evolve MMA created a great learning environment for students. I really felt like I was coming home to my martial arts family every time I walked through the doors of Evolve. I also couldn’t believe how humble these champions were –they were so patient with my inexperience and helped me take my game to the next level.

I will take my learnings with me when I return to the United States. It’s been a wonderful month in Singapore, and I will remember all of the friends I’ve made at Evolve MMA. Until next time!

I even flew down to Jakarta for the One Championship fight!