For athletes, every sports match or competition is a battle. It can be a battle to improve your time, a battle to score more goals, or a battle to break a record.
But for 17-year-old Eric Chan Kwan-lok, it’s not just a battle, it’s a fight – literally.
The Tak Sun Secondary School student is a champion fighter in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a martial arts sport that is growing in popularity across Asia, including Hong Kong.
“My classmates introduced this sport to me, and brought me to the gym for training,” says Eric. And even though he’s only been training in this fighting style for a year and a half, he’s fought his way to the top.
At the Copa de Guangzhou last November, Eric went up against competitors from Russia and the mainland.
“I simply wished to gain some experience in non-local competitions,” Eric says. “I was amazed by the excellent performance of the competitors.”
Leading up to the competition, Eric did what he could to prepare. “I practised four days a week, had good rest every night and managed my bodyweight,” he says.
Eric’s preparations paid off, as he won gold in his weight class.
While Eric has his sights set now on more international competitions and a future as a professional fighter, he says what he loves most about the sport are the details. “I like the techniques of grappling, ground-fighting and submissions like joint-locks and chokeholds,” he rattles off. “Some of the techniques can enable a smaller person to defend against a bigger and stronger opponent.”
But he knows his path in martial arts won’t be an easy one. “My biggest challenge is acceptance of this sport by my family because I may be easily hurt in practice and competitions,” he says.
No matter what, Eric’s fighting spirit will help him overcome most obstacles.
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
“Hall of Fame” – The Script
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use this power?
To read other people’s minds so that I know what they really think about me. Then I can improve myself.
Ten years into the future, you are a famous athlete. What company would you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product would you promote?
A martial arts gym and promote the sport among young people.