Image: TNP photo Salwa Nadhirah
One would not imagine that someone as petite as Miss Vivian Chan could be the co-founder of all-female Muay Thai gym Encore, let alone a master trainer.
The 25-year-old, who is 1.56m tall, is also a sports therapist. She started her Muay Thai training at her late uncle's gym when she was 17 - he was worried her small size would lead to her getting bullied.
Even though she played badminton in school, Miss Chan found the art form tough.
"The training was different, and I had a lot of conditioning to do," Miss Chan, who trained every day for fours hours, told The New Paper.
But she participated in her first competition, a Sanda boxing match, after only three months - and emerged champion.
After attaining a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Sports Science) from Edith Cowan University in Australia, she decided to set up Instant Pain Relief Singapore, a pain relief therapy clinic in Joo Chiat Road.
Both the clinic and the gym were opened last year, and they run alongside each other.
At the clinic, she combines Western and Chinese techniques to help people recover faster and more efficiently.
Miss Chan sees herself continuing with Muay Thai "for the rest of (her) life" due to her strong passion for the sport.
She trains at least thrice a week, but she has no immediate plans to compete because of a back injury incurred during a training session in December.
As for the unusual all-female direction Encore has taken, Miss Chan explained that initially, it accepted both male and female students.
After receiving feedback from the female students, she decided to revamp it into an all-female gym with female coaches.
She said: "We wanted to use Muay Thai to help (women) build themselves up in a more comfortable environment.
"They do not have to bother about the guys when they train."
Miss Jasmine Gan, a 19-year-old Temasek Polytechnic student who has trained at Encore since last October, said being part of the gym has helped her in more ways than one.
She told TNP: "I feel more secure. I do not feel scared if I am alone, because I know I can fight for myself.
"The coaches really treat you like family. When I came in I was really shy, but they helped me open up."
"My pants became really loose too. I went from 62kg to 58kg within two months".
Article first published on TheNewPaper