Rika “Tindydoll” Ishige, 28, of Thailand is known as the mixed martial artist of ONE Championship with a pretty face and fierce fighting skills. Unknown to many of her fans, she was frequently picked on during her childhood.
The bullying stemmed from her appearance as she is of Thai and Japanese descent that always sported a genuine smile with friendly eyes and was petite in stature. She recalled, “When I was a junior in high school, I was bullied by the seniors because I am only half Thai.”
“At first, they made fun of me verbally, like calling me terrible names, and after that, I was physically bullied,” Ishige recalled. “I got pushed from behind and had my hair pulled.”
With Ishige’s teachers seemingly turning a blind eye to the bullying, she decided to enroll in a martial arts class in a bid to equip herself with the skills needed to defend herself if the situation required it. Although she initially started learning martial arts for self-defense purposes, it led her to a continuous path of self-improvement.
“You cannot change others, only yourself,” Ishige stated. “You should get physical strength by working out or practicing martial arts to protect yourself from physical or sexual bullying. Also, you will build mental strength for dealing with verbal bullying, including cyberbullying.”
Through martial arts, Ishige learned how to overcome her obstacles in life. She shared, “I became stronger not only physically, but mentally. I felt calmer and better at controlling my emotions.”
“Martial arts is my passion,” the Thai-Japanese MMA fighter noted. “I’m really happy when I share and learn new things about martial arts with others.”
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 fighter. She will face Angelie Sabnal, 28, of the Philippines at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand at “ONE: Iron Will.”
Ishige asserted that her fifth professional stint should serve as a platform for people to realize that martial arts has the ability to unleash an individual’s greatest potential. She declared, “I’m surrounded by people who support me in training. It makes me stronger. I am ready for this upcoming bout.”
“Martial arts in Thailand has really taken off, and I am proud to be a part of its growth,” Ishige said. By strapping on four-ounce gloves, she sees it as an honor and privilege to represent Thailand in ONE Championship.
Meanwhile, here is a clip from Ishige’s bout against Jomary Torres in 2017: