Muhammad Tuah Mohd Tarmizi showing his Muay Thai skills at his home in Kampung Paya Gunung, Jerantut. Pix by Nazirul Roselan

EVEN as legendary Malay warrior Hang Tuah is renowned for his silat skills, his namesake, a young Malay boy, is making a name for himself by dominating the junior Muay Thai kickboxing scene here.

With a deep passion for martial arts, Muhammad Tuah Mohd Tarmizi, 9, has represented the Gajah Putih Muay Thai club in tournaments and aims to become a professional Muay Thai exponent in the future.

Despite his age, Tuah has mastered the combat sport’s signature moves and techniques, which has allowed him to qualify for two tournaments recently.

Named after Hang Tuah, the Year Three pupil said he developed a passion for Muay Thai when his father showed him videos of Buakaw Banchamek, a famous Muay Thai fighter in Thailand.

“He (Buakaw) is my idol and I want to follow in his footsteps. I used to watch videos of him training, and his kickboxing skills are amazing.

“When I started learning the martial art, I felt awkward, but it later became a hobby.

“While my friends played football and other games, I spent long hours trying new moves and skills. In fact, having my father as my coach was an advantage as he kept motivating me, especially when I failed to perform during tournaments,” he told the New Straits Times.

Tuah, from Kampung Paya Gunung here, said he trained daily with his father, who helped his son improve his stamina and sharpen his skills.

“Before going to school, I would jog for about an hour. I spend about two hours every night training and sparring. During public or school holidays, I tie a tyre to myself and run to increase my endurance.

“Two months before a tournament, my father plans my training schedule and advises me on the food I eat. I take supplements and follow a diet, which helps me remain fit,” he said, adding he planned to attend training classes in Tak Bai, Thailand.

The second of three siblings, Tuah said he wanted to focus on his studies, besides participating in international tournaments in the junior category.

His father, Mohd Tarmizi Kassim, 35, said he chose to train Tuah after learning martial arts from his late father, who was an instructor of silat and tomoi, a traditional combat sport.

“I started training Tuah since he was 5, and he is a fast learner. His passion for the sport helps him understand Muay Thai better.”

Tarmizi said he had always wanted to name his children after Malay warriors.

“My second son is Tuah while my third son, Muhammad Jebat, is now 3. I hope Tuah will remain in the sport and one day represent the country.”

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