What I love the most about the sport of MMA is that, like with technology, it requires continuous learning and adaptation. It keeps you on your toes (quite literally) with studying the craft and how we can apply it to our daily lives and practice. The community is made up of all sorts of people and it does not matter where you come from, or how you identify as.
My name is Yvonne Teng, and I’m originally from Singapore. I’m currently based in Brunei Darussalam, where my family resides. I’ve just moved here, after 6 years of studying and working abroad in London, UK. I have worked as a public sector strategy consultant for a number of years, primarily with the digital transformation agenda. Currently, I am working as a freelance consultant and an aspiring social entrepreneur.
I chose a career in technology because I wanted to contribute to social impact, and I have a strong interest in public policy and government affairs. I thrive on complex problem-solving – with my job, I have had multiple opportunities to help with some really critical issues.
Outside of work, I love mixed martial arts (MMA). I started boxing a few years ago as a way for me to keep physically active, as I was travelling a lot for my job. I realised that I really enjoyed it and started to train more seriously. Along the way, I picked up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Muay Thai to support my foundational learnings of martial arts.
Amanda Nunes is an absolute rockstar and one of my biggest inspirations in MMA! Her exceptional skill, talent, and humility have allowed her to shine in Women’s MMA, and she will be a reigning queen for many years to come. She wears her pride and honour on her sleeve, which is refreshing and inspiring in the world of sport – she is no doubt a role model to many young women around the world.
I started the practice of martial arts in London, UK whilst I was working there. A valuable lesson that the sport has taught me is to uphold humility in grace, on and off the mat. Respect is one of the core tenets of the sport, and there is always more to learn with it. However, I still love the satisfaction that comes with knocking the wind out of someone …
In the future, I want to help support the uptake of the sport and martial arts in general in the new generation of younger women. It’s getting there, but it’s not a typical sport that women tend to pick up – I want to help more people challenge that perception. Training during the pandemic has also been quite a challenge. I’m hoping that my move to Brunei, where there are more relaxed measures, will allow me to get back on track soon!
I could describe that the learning curve that comes with a career in tech and martial arts is very similar. There are always lots of things to learn, and many people to learn from. We’re very lucky that in recent years, there are so many free and online resources that make learning so accessible. Whether you want to learn how to code, or learn about submission grappling, there will be something out there! It’s continued to inspire me to keep up with my learning, and my practice in the sport has taught me a lot about myself too, and that learning is a continuous journey.
My advice to anyone interested in MMA is to just give it a shot! If you like it, welcome to the club! Patience will be key, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
There is always more than tech. I’ve been very fortunate that my consulting career in technology has offered me significant advantages and flexibilities to be able to pursue multiple disciplines across MMA. Balance is key, and it’s highly important to find things that you enjoy and that keep you mentally and physically active. Don’t be afraid to try new things, whether it’s a new sport or a new hobby; just give it a go. At the moment, I’m exploring a few hiking trails in the rainforests of Brunei!