Jakarta. Asian mixed martial arts sibling superstars Christian and Angela Lee took time off from their busy schedules to spare their vast knowledge of the sport with Singaporean Olympic swimmer Joseph Schooling.
Schooling was a special guest of the MMA seminar hosted by the Lee siblings at the Evolve MMA Gym in Far East Square on Thursday (24/11). Christian and Angela taught Schooling some basic techniques, including striking and grappling drills.
Christian handled the striking session during the public workout, showing Schooling the proper execution of landing a variety of kicks and punches.
Meanwhile, Angela shared the trade secrets of her famous submission skills which has helped her reign as ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion with five submission wins in her flawless 6-0 MMA record.
Angela, who started her prizefighting career under the ONE Championship banner in 2015, sees potential in Schooling as an MMA fighter. Frequently holding Schooling's punches, Angela revealed that the 21-year-old Olympian possesses power in both hands.
“[Schooling] is a strong athlete, which I find very impressive. I know Olympic swimming doesn’t involve anything even remotely near fighting, but he just has that natural power. I was able to feel it while I was holding the pads,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Angela, Schooling is a natural athlete who can easily adapt to any sport, which has convinced her that her that if he so chooses, Schooling can pretty much accomplish anything.
“Being a fighter or a world champion in MMA is not an overnight success. A lot of hard work goes into it. No one is ever born a champion. A lot of people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes,” Angela said. “But Joseph is really strong and flexible, his body composition is perfect for martial arts. He’s a natural.”
Christian said that even though Schooling belongs to a sport with less physical contact, he respects his dedication as an athlete, even if swimming and MMA are completely different sports.
“MMA and Olympic swimming are two different sports, but as athletes, I feel we are all the same. We spend tremendous amounts of time and effort to reach our goals. The swimming pool is Joseph’s battlefield just as much as the cage is ours. I tip my hat off to him with respect,” he said.
Raised in an athletic family, Schooling made a splash on the elite swimming scene after attending the Southeast Asian Games in 2011.
Since his SEA Games debut, Schooling has won 16 gold medals, including his record-breaking feat in the 50-meter freestyle with record of 22.47 seconds. Schooling also accomplished a podium finish at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2015 FINA World Championship in Kazan.
Schooling made history at the 2016 Rio Olympics, becoming the first Singaporean to capture a gold medal in the quadrennial multi-sport competition.
He made 50.39 seconds in Rio to win the 100-meter butterfly category, beating childhood hero Michael Phelps and making it to the Olympic podium in first place.
“He has done so much for Singapore. It’s an honor to share the cage and train with him,” Christian quipped.
Christian said that the Evolve MMA Gym’s doors are always open for Schooling, who returns to the US on Friday.
“We will always welcome Joseph with open arms. If he decides to train MMA in the future, even for sport or just for fun and fitness. We are here to help him,” he ended.