How Martial Arts Brought Jihin Radzuan’s Family Closer Together
Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan could emerge as Malaysia’s next martial arts superstar at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER.
The 19-year-old lived up to expectations in her ONE Championship debut in March. She submitted a more experienced opponent, Puja Tomar, via second-round triangle choke at ONE: VISIONS OF VICTORY.
This Friday, 13 July, she aims to take another step on her journey to stardom against Indonesia’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Before Radzuan enters the cage for this atomweight clash, learn a little bit more about the rising star.
A Simple Childhood in Malaysia
Radzuan was raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where she lived with her mother and older sister after her parents got divorced.
As the youngest of six children, with a 17-year gap between her and her eldest sibling, she was often left to her own devices. At school, she tested the waters with a number of different sports, while her mother and sister worked hard to pay the bills.
“I grew up as a normal kid,” she says.
“I played some sports, like netball and hockey, but I was not that into it to the point where I wanted to do it when I grew up.
“I was fairly balanced at school. I was not that bad or that good. I did not have many friends – two or three – and we just played together and tried sports. That is all.”
However, when she was a teenager, she found the sport that changed the course of her life.
Struck By Inspiration
Radzuan had heard about mixed martial arts, but she never gave the sport too much of a thought until she saw the South Korean reality television show “Roommate.”
While watching the program, she came across rising mixed martial artist Song Ka Yeon, and was immediately intrigued.
“When I saw her doing that as a sport, it made me want to try it,” she explains.
“When it was my 16th birthday, I asked my sister to pay for my training fees. She said okay, and I started to train.”
From the moment she stepped through the doors of Ultimate MMA Academy for her first session, the Malaysian instantly knew she had found her calling.
After three months of training, she signed up for her first Muay Thai competition. Though she lost her first bout, she took a few lessons away from the defeat, and resumed her training right away.
“I learned that you cannot just rush,” she explains. “You have to train until you are ready, and only then can you go for it.”
With a renewed work ethic, “Shadow Cat” jumped into Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions. She faced boys in the juvenile division and experienced some mixed results, but she never lost her hunger to learn.
Radzuan’s mother was not convinced it was the right path, and believed martial arts “was not for girls” at first. However, she soon offered her full support once she saw how committed her daughter was, and how successful she was becoming.
All Heart, No Excuses
It was not easy for Radzuan growing up as the youngest child in a single-parent household.
Five of her siblings had already left the home. Her remaining sister was four years older, and shared no comment interests with “Shadow Cat.” As a result, the atomweight was left to find her own way in life.
“Because the gap is quite big, my sister and I did not really play together or have hobbies together. We were just separate and did our own thing. She was busy with work or studies,” Radzuan explains.
“I had nobody by my side, and no dad to support me or guidance to help me, but that is no reason why you cannot still do what you want to do. You will find a way if you have the heart, not excuses.”
Radzuan would take the bus from school straight to the gym, and do her homework at the facility until classes started. Whatever it took to finish her education and continue her martial arts pursuits, she was willing to do.
Eventually, things got a little easier. When she was 18, she could drive to the gym, and she supported herself with a job as a veterinary nurse. She also garnered more support from her family as they followed her progress.
“Martial arts brought us closer. Whenever I would compete or have a tournament, they tried to make time to come and support me. My matches brought us all together. We were not really close like this before,” Radzuan says.
Pursuit Of Power
Radzuan has experienced an incredible amount of success at such a young age.
She is a FIOGA Wushu World Champion, a MIMMA Women’s Flyweight Champion, and an SEA Open Muay Thai gold and silver medalist.
Now, she is taking aim at ONE Championship gold, and she started her campaign in the organization in style.
“Shadow Cat” will attempt to build upon her victory against Tomar this Friday against Lumban Gaol, but the contest at ONE: PURSUIT OF POWER is likely to be a huge step up in competition.
The Indonesian, who is a Wushu World Championship bronze medalist, has had a flawless 2018 after defeating all three of her opponents in the first round.
Radzuan knows she will have to dig deep into all of her competition experience to earn a landmark victory, but she is confident the lessons she learned from her first bout on the biggest stage in martial arts will serve her well.
“She is similar to my first opponent, as they both have a wushu background,” the Malaysian notes. “I was a bit rusty in my first bout, but I will be better this time.”