Sports

How Alex Silva overcame his bullies

Bullying can come in various forms — be it physical, verbal, or even through writing, especially with the rise of social media.

Although it may be difficult to believe, former ONE Strawweight World Champion Alex “Little Rock” Silva became a victim of this deplorable act during his childhood.

“When you’re a kid anywhere in the world, people could call it any other name,” he said.

“During my time, it was kids making fun of me. In my case, it taught me how to stand up for myself in any situation.”

Silva, who was born as a premature baby, was always smaller than the other neighborhood kids in Ubatuba, Brazil, and that made him an easy target.

However, instead of breaking down, he found a way to rise up from his predicament.

“I took up martial arts and learned how to handle my situation,” he explained.

“I learned to understand when to fire back or sometimes just release the anger, and I became more confident in myself. Particularly, in my case, I feel like it helped make me strong.”

Now that he is a father to an adolescent girl, Silva looks to impart his knowledge to his daughter in an effort to guide her to the right path.

While “Little Rock” admits she can be a little fiery, he encourages her to remain calm and keep away from whatever bullies may be in her life.

“She has the same temperament as mine, so sometimes she tends to fire back and explode,” he shared.

“As she grows older, I tell her that she can’t always fight back against these guys who have bad attitudes, so the best way is to stay away from these people and don’t give them a chance to bully her.

“If in case she needs to tell somebody, she needs to tell us, her professor or whoever it is [that could help].”

Because the 36-year-old knows exactly what the victims go through, he advises them to train in the martial arts.

In addition to providing self-defense tactics, “Little Rock” believes it will also equip young practitioners with a plethora of emotional benefits.

“As a martial artist, the best advice I could give them is to try learning martial arts,” he said.

“You don’t just learn techniques to defend yourself, but you also learn a lot of things outside of physicality, like how to control yourself and how to deal with certain situations.

“It gives you a lot of confidence. That’s how it worked for me, and I believe it could work for anyone else.”

To see how effective martial arts can be, look no further than “Little Rock.” 

Not only did it give him more confidence and the ability to fend off his bullies during his childhood, but it also gave him a career.

Silva intends to build on his career and march back towards the strawweight gold when he meets former titleholder Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 17.

MMA (MIXED MARTIAL ARTS)