Stingray plans to open his own gym

Raymond “Stingray” Shaw, the current Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Professional Fight Championship (PFC) champion from Fish Hoek, is aspiring to open a gym in Ocean View to teach the kids in the area martial arts.

He is currently preparing for his next fight in the lightweight division to be part of the SA MMA team for the Asia Open on Saturday 29 September.

Shaw is the current MMA PFC champion, Wako British kickboxing champion and Midland area boxing champion.

Shaw was born in Johannesburg, went to boarding school in Swaziland and attended Fish Hoek Middle School. After school he moved to the United Kingdom and joined BC Tigers Martial Arts and started competing in kickboxing.

“Martial arts is not a sport but more of a lifestyle. I personally think sports are like games and I don’t class fighting as a game. My father, Jason, was a pro-kickboxer and cage-fighter and he trained me at eight years old when I had my first boxing match,” Shaw says.

His sport has taken him to competitions in Scotland, England, South Africa and Wales.

“In March I had my first MMA fight in SA while on holiday here. Once I returned to England my SA coaches Lyndall Sandenbergh and Mec Crain from Mec’s Martial Arts in Main Road, Fish Hoek, asked if I would like to come back and fight to be on the SA MMA team. Thanks to our sponsor Kwezi Trade for flying me back, and I am now preparing for the Asia Open,” he says.

He’ll open the gym in Ocean View with the help of Mec’s Martial Arts but is also looking for local sponsors. His career statistics in kickboxing are nine wins and two losses, in boxing two wins and no losses and in MMA two wins and no losses.

“I don’t have time for other hobbies as MMA takes up most of my time but I still do things like swimming, mountain climbing and other stuff,” Shaw says.

His current community project involves working with the community of Ocean View and Bonny Toun in Wynberg by offering free MMA classes to the kids in the community, but they still need sponsors for gloves, pads and gum shields.

“The most important thing that I’ve learned from martial arts is that martial arts has the ability to change lives. This is also my message to kids that are unsure which sport to take part in. Martial arts is a lifestyle and the benefits are endless: self-defence, discipline, strength, speed, cardio, balance, building self-confidence, body awareness and many more,” he says.

Shaw explains that you can win a fight in MMA by submission or knock-out.

“Submission can be a choke, arm bar or ankle lock or you can knock out your opponent. If no-one is knocked out or submitted it goes to a judge’s decision. In my last fight I won by guillotine, a choke,” he explains.