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Trading banks for Muay Thai

She was your average working Malaysian.

Slugging it out at a 9-5 job, hardly seeing daylight or having any time for herself.

Germaine Yeap was unhappy and wanted to give her life a new meaning.

Then the 32-year-old had an aha moment and figured pursuing a career in Muay Thai would give her just that.

“I was working in the banking industry for five years before realising climbing the corporate ladder was not what I wanted to do.

“It was never my calling and my heart yearned for something better.”

The Penang-born lass who now lives in Kuala Lumpur, said initially, it was not well received by her family.

“My family doubted how martial arts could give me a promising future compared to being in the banking industry.

“Most of my family members are working in the same field, especially since my ancestors founded a bank in Malaysia.”

Growing up as an active girl, she always dreamt of becoming a Muay Thai fighter, but had to be content with her
family’s wishes.

“I felt really drained and worn out. It was just getting more negative as time went on.”

She knew she had to turn her dream into reality she quit her full-time job in 2015.

“I had to make an immediate decision or I would never have done it. I used my lunch breaks to train before heading back to the office while I was still balancing the two.”

Her dream just keeps getting better.

Among her achievements winning a championship belt in the 2012 Malaysian KL Mayor’s Cup Championship and a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian
Beach Games.

She also competed in the World Amateur Muay Thai Championship.

“Whenever I’m in the ring I feel the adrenaline, the excitement and the nervousness. It’s one of the reasons that drove me to compete professionally.”

Yeap spends a quarter of her day training.

“I wake up at 5am on some days or 7am to practice or perform some weight training.

“It alternates daily but I make sure I have four hours of solid training everyday, five times a week.”

She is a much happier person since her career change, adding she is able to spend more time with her family and friends besides maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

Her dedication has paid off brilliantly, landing her short film roles and a few commercial gigs.

At present, her Muay Thai career is on hold due to several gigs but she’s taking one step at a time.

Her martial arts idols are Ultimate Fighting Championship’s women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and Germaine de Randamie.

Yeap first rose to fame in 2015, when a prank video of her went viral.

In the video, she pretends to be a nerdy unsporty girl that challenges a guy at Muay Thai.

She ended beating up every single trainer that attempted to fight her.

The video went viral gaining more than 28 million views.

“When Maxman TV approached me, I thought it would be a great way to help raise awareness for women’s safety and to my surprise the video went viral Hollywood stars such as Hulk Hogan and Ashton Kutcher were sharing it.”

Yeap, who is currently on set for an upcoming Chinese movie, said she hoped the public perception towards women in martial arts turned for
the better.

“In Asia, martial arts for females is not considered a mainstream career.

“It is slowly changing and for those who want to have one, start while you are still young because the years are short as it requires a lot of physical training.

“Women should learn some basic form of self-defence to handle unwelcomed situations.

“People with martial arts backgrounds have confidence and are more aware on how to
defend themselves.”

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