Singapore martial arts sensation Amir Khan, 23, had to hold onto his persistence as he found out at an early age that life was never a straightforward pathway. The ONE Championship star is a self-described introvert as he was once embarrassed by his peers due to the involuntary tics and twitches that were caused by having the neurological disorder Tourette’s Syndrome.
Although Khan has learned to control his tics now, life was very different for him when he was younger. He explained, “Growing up, I used to have spasms. I used to shake my head a lot. I would blink my eyes and make facial expressions.”
“When I was younger, it was really bad,” Khan recalled. “When I was in school, the other kids would pick on me and imitate me. It was tough growing up with it.”
Khan took up martial arts to gain confidence after a difficult time at school when his Tourette’s Syndrome was at its worst. According to him, he had more confidence after doing martial arts partly because it made him look better and mentally feel better.
“I didn’t really enjoy my school days,” Khan said. “After a while, I gained more confidence and it subsided. I felt more confident and I wasn’t embarrassed about myself.”
With a supportive family behind him, Khan never felt his condition prevented him from achieving his goals. He started his martial arts journey at the age of 13, having the sudden impulse to learn Muay Thai and quickly falling in love with it.
Widely regarded as the art of eight limbs, Muay Thai helped Khan focus and eventually overcome Tourette’s Syndrome, he discovered. He believes that martial arts had helped him through his disorder.
“Whenever I felt like I could not control my Tourette’s, then I would go to the gym and I would sweat it out,” Khan stated. “I felt relaxed and better after each session.”
Now, Khan is one of the top lightweight fighters of ONE Championship. Once again, he will strut his wares on the global stage as he takes on Russian wrecking machine Timofey Nastyukhin at “ONE: Quest for Gold,” which will take place at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar on February 23, 2018.