With YouTube as his trainer, Labourer’s son wins gold at national martial arts
FWhen he was little, Tashi Wangchu loved the Rocky series, with Sylvester Stallone, which appeared often on HBO. He says he was fascinated by the depiction of fitness, training and boxing in the film. In fact, he often imitated the famous actor by running in the jungle near his native village of Gyankhar in Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh.
But as he grew up in his teens, Tashi’s interest waned. “I had no support, no inspiration or the right facilities to follow my interest,” he said. The best India.
Tashi traveled to Itanagar, the state capital, to pursue higher education. Here he became addicted to tobacco. The habit continued even during his graduation years, when he moved to Delhi in 2012 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science. “With such a habit, my fitness dream was over,” he recalls.
However, Tashi says that during his time in Delhi he discovered Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), a hybrid combat sport that involves techniques such as boxing, wrestling, karate, jujitsu, judo. and other disciplines. Both opponents must strike, grab hold of, and use ground combat abilities to try and defeat each other.
“I have also found training centers and gymnasiums that offer sports classes. But I didn’t have the money for coaching. My father is a worker and does odd jobs to earn a living. He expected me to finish my studies and get a stable job with the government. He didn’t encourage me to continue playing the sport, ”said the 24-year-old.
But despite the obstacles and the lack of formal training, Tashi has now achieved his dream and emerged victorious by winning the 4th Indian National Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition by knockout. And all this in self-coaching on YouTube.
Running with a bag full of stones
Tashi says he decided to pursue a career in sports despite the lack of motivation from his parents or the support of his friends. “But I had made up my mind. I quit smoking and quit hanging out with discouraging friends, ”he says.
“There was no sport awareness in my village, and finding a coach was a crazy idea. So I logged into YouTube and started basic training. I have found coaches around the world who have led and participated in online tutorials, ”he explains.
Tashi says that when he started training, his friends, family and relatives made fun of him. “They thought I had gone mad,” he laughs.
He would wake up at 4 a.m. and begin his workout by warming up, running, and then switching to intense workouts. To develop his endurance, he found various ways to modify the exercises. “I carried a bag full of stones and I ran for 4-5 km. Sometimes I would lift stones and boulders like dead weights. Sometimes it was snowing or I had muscle pain, but I never missed a day, ”he adds.
After finishing his training at 8 a.m., Tashi would rest during the day and start training his boxing and wrestling skills between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. “I followed all the tutorials to understand the basics and learn the real stuff. I could handle boxing, but there was no one to wrestle with. I didn’t have a friend to devote time to me or help me train, ”he adds.
He notes that the same schedule continues today.
Tashi says more than training, it was his struggle with a proper diet that he found difficult.
“I was thin and had to gain weight. I have referred to different experts on YouTube, but eating is very personal because it requires an understanding of your own body. I ate a banana, eggs, dried fruit, meat and consumed milk. The heavy consumption of meat affected my stamina. Therefore, I reduced the meat and increased the green vegetables, ”he says.
Tashi says he still doesn’t know what to refer to online and continues to change his eating plans.
For five years, he trained regularly and healed his body until he decided to participate in the national competition. “Even after the physical transformation, my parents and friends doubted that I would be successful. They told me that working on the body alone would not help because I had not had formal training, ”he says, adding that he received the same response when he arrived in Delhi in the center of MMA training for testing.
“I stayed there for 15 days for the trials and the selection, where the participants laughed or were surprised that I signed up without any formal supervision. Also, I trained in isolation without posting any part of the process on social media. For some, it became all the more difficult to believe that I had no training with the body I had built. Others underestimated me, ”Tashi adds.
But he said he knew precisely what the judges’ expectations were. He understood the basics of the game, the rules and the type of performance he was supposed to deliver. “I had absorbed all the online sessions and completed all three rounds of the game in 25 minutes. I used to set a timer and track boxing, rope climbing, speed weight, running, spring and jumping, ”he adds.
He qualified and won all three rounds of the national championships, which took place on February 19 of this year in Uttar Pradesh, earning him gold.
‘This is just the beginning’
Winning this award not only instilled confidence in him, but also changed his parents’ perspective.
“My dad used to doubt me and my mom offered me minimal support. But now they are proud of my accomplishments, because it has also earned me popularity in the village, ”he says.
Tashi says Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu also recognized his accomplishments and offered to help. In addition, Dream Sports Foundation has also reached out for further training. The organization is the philanthropic arm of Dream Sports, which supports grassroots athletes and the Indian sports ecosystem.
A company representative told The Better India: “Tashi’s accomplishments are commendable and he has the potential to reach new heights. We are working to provide him with a coach and take care of his diet. The team will also work on aspects of training, including strength conditioning, as well as refining their boxing and wrestling. “
The representative added that plans are underway to send Tashi for training in Singapore and Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, Tashi says he doesn’t get carried away by his recent accomplishments and that with the right support he can grow into a professional player. “I am an amateur and I only know the basics. My dedicated efforts over five years have paid off. Hard work is the key to success. I understand that this is only the beginning and that I have a long way to go. I dream of winning a gold medal for India, ”he adds.
Tashi also shares some tips from his training for beginners:
- Endurance: Tashi says running 2-3 km downhill and uphill is one way to build endurance. He suggests filling a bag with weights of up to 10-15 kilos and running with it. “It helps increase speed, strength and agility in the lower body. I do it four times a week, ”he says.
- Strength: Lifting dead weights once a week can help develop shoulders, he notes. Boxing or rock lifting also works. “I used to carry a punching bag that weighed 75 kilos over five floors on my shoulders,” he says.
- Flexibility: Stretching, jumping and climbing provide flexibility, he says.
- Basic techniques: Workouts on running, footwork, jabs, uppercut and more are available on YouTube and help improve performance, he says.
- Meditation: Tashi says he meditates 15 minutes a day, which helps improve his presence of mind, reduces stress, and allows him to concentrate better. “A fighting game requires physical and mental power. You have to be mentally strong and focused, which can become a key element between losing or winning a game, ”he said.
Edited by Divya Sethu