INTERVIEW: Dr. Roddy Teo's Progressive Journey Into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and CrossFit (MALAYSIA)

INTERVIEW: Dr. Roddy Teo's Progressive Journey Into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and CrossFit  (MALAYSIA)

1. Hey Roddy, where are you from originally and where are you based now?

I was born and bred in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (Borneo Malaysia) but I am a doctor in Public Health, so I am required to travel frequently.

2.  When did your passion for martial arts begin, and why was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu your main choice?

Embarrassingly (or not) my exposure to martial arts was through LesMills BodyCombat classes and I picked up Muay Thai after that. In 2016 I reluctantly tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu just because a good friend was asking and I got hooked on it right at the first session. The cardio component of the workout and non-aggression skill works were the first lure for me to stay. As I went along, I realised that Jiu-Jitsu is really a perfect science; it’s all about applied physics in speed, centre of gravity, distribution of force, and probabilities which is applied mathematics. I'm such a nerd!


3. Would you say the discipline of martial arts has helped you in other areas of your life?

Oh yes, Jiu-Jitsu for me has always been philosophical. I love how it makes me think and contemplate ways which Jiu-Jitsu philosophies can be applied in life, such as the pull and push movement, waiting for the right timing, finding centre and balance, the importance of the right amount of pressure and force applied. and so on. It’s philosophy in action! But more than anything else, Jiu-Jitsu calms me down.


4. What else can you tell us about your Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu school?

I train with a bunch of down to earth mat-mates from all walks of life.  So on the mat, we take care of each other, learn from each other and above all, respect each other. The coach emphasizes that training consistently is much more important than winning in a match. Progress and winning, according to him, is when we attend the training; competition day is just another day (where we pick up the medal or decide to train more).

5. You are also heavily involved in CrossFit training? What aspect of CrossFit makes it your top choice for physical exercise?

CrossFit exercise is the functional training that helps me with my Jiu-Jitsu and overall fitness. I love it that CrossFit focuses on multiple components of fitness in every workout to include cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. I am also attracted to the way CrossFit workouts are programmed to vary every day.


6. We see that you are taking part in the Reebok CrossFit 2020? How has that experience been so far where training and competing is concerned?

This is the second CrossFit Open that I’ve taken part in. While making the ranks of top-athlete has never even crossed my mind when doing this, it was fun and motivating to challenge the community to participate and complete the workout. What I take out of the experience is the awareness of areas to improve and friendship. Somehow being competitive with each other builds stronger friendships.

7. You also compete in marathons (wow! Is there anything you don’t do?!?!) What would you say has been your best race to date? 

I’ve not done a proper marathon yet, perhaps sometime in the near future I would have the courage to conquer it. I am a medal-whore so I take part even in virtual runs, as long as there are medals involved :)


8. For our readers who are unfamiliar with the term, what is a Spartan Race? And what is the experience like taking part in one.

For me, Spartan Race is the marriage between CrossFit and cross-country trail running. It challenges the endurance of the mind more than anything, because once the race starts, the only way out is to finish the trail, attempt the obstacles and have fun while doing it. For first timers, enroll in a group and help each other out to complete the race. Expect to get dirty and muddy, and in my experience, the muddier it gets, the more fun it becomes!

9. What is your favorite quote?

My first tattoo reads: BIS VINCIT QUI SE VINCIT, which means "He who conquers himself is twice victorious."


10. What’s your favorite music to listen to when you are training?

I love Club Remix genre for CrossFit and running. It takes my mind off the perceived suffering mid-workout and focused on completing instead.

11. What makes you Addicted To Progress? 

The end point, from where I started my fitness journey, seems far and almost mythical. I was a 125kg obese person with diabetes and hypertension, and I never thought that I’d be good at anything. So every little achievement needs to be celebrated and every little improvement counts. Progress, it turns out to be, is very addictive indeed.


12. What’s next for Roddy in 2020?

My checkbox for 2020 is 1 Crossfit comp, 2 Jiu-Jitsu comps and 3 Spartan races. I aspire to motivate and inspire others towards fitness and health seeking behaviours, celebrate every progress we make, be it in fitness, work or relationship; because wholesome is awesome!

Note: All interviewee responses have been stated verbatim to maintain honesty and accuracy in translation"



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  • DBL


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