Heading to the beach and hanging out by the waves can be a great release from the stress of day-to-day life.
That certainly applies to ONE Championship’s elite athletes, who know all about the need to unwind or just have a change of scenery from the gym.
Here is how some of our martial arts superstars from around the world make the most of their waterfront destinations.
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ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet “JT” Todd is a certified beach bum from Hermosa Beach, California.
She loves to skate along the seafront and take in the atmosphere of the waves lapping against the shore.
“[Hermosa Beach] is where my husband and I like to spend our time. He has a one-wheel, I have a booster board, so we skate down all the way to the next pier, which is in Manhattan Beach,” Todd says.
“When the beach looks this pretty, you can’t stay away. There is nothing better than having the sun in your face, and there’s always something calming about watching the waves coming in and out and listening to it.”
Former ONE Strawweight Muay Thai World Title contender Rocky Ogden moved to Australia’s Gold Coast to pursue better Muay Thai training, and that switch came with the luxury of some of the best beaches in the country.
“I’ve always been an outdoor kid, but probably the last five years I’ve really gone to the beach most days,” he says.
“Living on the Gold Coast, we have some of the nicest beaches there is and some of the best surf, so whether it’s just going to get a tan and swim and getting away from reality, or going out for a surf, it’s always refreshing getting in the water. It always makes me feel happier and satisfied with my day.”
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Troy “Pretty Boy” Worthen is from the state of Florida in the United States of America, which means he always had access to the beach.
But now based in Singapore and training at Evolve, the undefeated bantamweight does not have that same luxury, which is something he misses about home.
“Funny enough, I love the water, I love the beaches, and I miss that lifestyle, but I don’t actually do anything water sports-wise. I just love going to the beach and hanging out there, jumping in the water and stuff,” he says.
“I surfed a few times and wake-boarded a few times, but wasn’t consistent with anything. But yeah, I was definitely a bit of a beach bum, being from Florida. It’s so easy to get there. If you don’t have anything better to do, just go hang out with vitamin D and grab some food.”
Despite his fearlessness inside the Circle, “Pretty Boy” does have a reservation that kept him from committing to the waves.
“Honestly, I would love to pick up surfing, but the issue is I’m too scared of sharks,” he says.
“I know that people are always going to say, ‘Oh, what are the odds of you getting bit by a shark?’ But I think if you play with fire too much, you’re going to get burnt.
“When I did surf, I loved it. I loved the idea of surfing, and I love the competitive nature of it. It’s great to just go hang out in the water and surf all day. But I’m not trying to lose an arm or leg, so I’m going to respect that the shark owns that area.”
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ONE Super Series star Elliot “The Dragon” Compton lives in Brisbane, Australia, and he is thankful to have stunning beaches just meters from his door.
Whether it’s getting in the sea or walking along the beach with his family, the slower pace of life helps him recover from training.
“For me, living by the beach is an absolute blessing. There is just something so calming about the ocean,” Compton says.
“I love getting out on my stand-up paddleboard as often as possible and just floating around either to start my day or after a big day of training for some active recovery. I find it helps me visualize and reflect.
“I also love just walking along the beach with my wife, daughter, and two rescue greyhounds. I live a fast-paced life, so the serenity of the beach just slows my mind down and gives me time to unwind.”
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Top flyweight contender Reece “Lightning” McLaren was raised on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, so his early life was spent by the sea.
“I’ve been surfing since I was 6. Growing up on a small isolated island, it was all there was really to do,” he says.
“I lost my board and I wasn’t able to surf for a bit, but when I moved back to the mainland, I got back into it.”
However, as McLaren began intense training at PUMMA on the Gold Coast, he found it increasingly difficult to keep up surfing.
“It was fun, but it wore my body down so much, just going to the gym, eating, surfing, and then going to the gym again,” he explains.
“I did it really well for two weeks, but by the third week, I’d never been so sore and fatigued. I had to think about what I had moved for – surfing or getting better at [martial arts] – so I had to give up on surfing for a bit. I am a fighter first and have to stay on the mats.
“Still, I should probably try and get out every month or so.”
Instead, Finland is littered with beautiful lakes, and Toivonen has found the same benefits there as his beachfront counterparts.
“I enjoy being near water, I like the peace and calm. Finland is not like a big beach destination, but there are lakes and forests basically throughout the whole country. It’s ‘The Land Of A Thousand Lakes,’ so there’s a lot of water everywhere,” he says.
“It’s easy to find water and lakes where there’s not a lot of people around. Like, if you want to go alone, it’s just silence, just you and the water. When it comes to water sports, I like swimming and I use that in my training too, but another thing I like to do is paddleboarding. We used to do that in Finland during the summer.”