ONE Championship star Rika Ishige: I didn’t learn martial arts to hurt people

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Rika “Tindydoll” Ishige, 28, may be Thailand’s most beloved female martial artist today, but she was once disliked and relentlessly bullied by her schoolmates because of her appearance. Her unquestioned and undying self-confidence has not always been so readily available and accessible in her arsenal during her youth.

At the age of nine, Ishige began her martial arts training with aikido, karate and taekwondo. By the time that she reached her twenties, she dabbled into different combat disciplines such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

“I started martial arts at a young age,” Ishige stated. “It was to challenge myself.”

“I did karate, taekwondo and aikido together,” Ishige recalled. “I did not learn martial arts to hurt people. It is just for self-defense.”

The Thai-Japanese fighter gained self-confidence and learned how to avoid conflict altogether by growing a thicker skin as she continued to progress in her martial arts journey. She pointed out, “Martial arts is not about fighting. Its real aim is to empower both men and women. I would like to continue this campaign for everyone who doesn’t understand the beauty of this sport.”

Fascinated by martial arts’ competitive nature, Ishige eventually transitioned from being a student learning the tricks of the trade to becoming a professional competitor. She turned professional in 2017, acing three of her first four assignments under the ONE Championship umbrella.

On numerous occasions, Ishige’s fierce demeanor in competition was seen inside the ONE Championship cage. It was during her formative years where the future Thai martial arts superstar endured the fight of her life.

On March 24, 2018, Ishige will fight inside the ONE Championship cage for the fifth time, which also marks her fifth bout as a professional MMA figher. She will face Angelie Sabnal, 28, of the Philippines, Thailand at “ONE: Iron Will.”

Meanwhile, here is a clip from Ishige’s bout against Jomary Torres, 21, of the Philippines in 2017:

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