A parent never wants to see their child go into harm’s way, especially not intentionally. It’s just that instinct that they have as a protector. Yet, almost every weekend, there are mothers and fathers all around the world who will stand by and watch as their child enters some form of combat sport.

Those parents experience a mixed bag of feelings. It’s hard not to be excited, but at the same time there is that thought in the back of their mind. “That’s my flesh and blood in there.” It’s something that all parents of athletes need to come to terms with, and although it can be hard to disconnect and become a spectator, sometimes that’s all they can do.

Whilst Thanh Vu’s parents support him, there is always that second thought in the back of their mind. Really, they are no different to any other parents who want the best for their child, even if the best means that he has the potential to be hurt in the process of chasing his dream.

“My mum hates it,” Vu explained with a laugh. “She doesn’t like to see me get hit or get hurt or anything. That’s just how mums are, I guess. My dad loves it and he likes to watch me fight. Both my parents are very proud of me, and they support me in everything that I do.”

After suffering his first setback inside the ONE FC cage at the hands of top contender Kevin Belingon, Vu had a long time to mull over his performance on one of Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts stages. That time for reflection has been crucial in how he has prepared for his chance at redemption.

“I’ve had seven months to think about where I went wrong and what I need to do to fix it,” Vu said. “Last time, I think the pressure got to me a bit. It was the semifinals, and it was the biggest fight I’d ever had. There were a lot of people telling me I was going to win and all that, and it all just added up. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, or myself, and it made things a lot harder. I played into his fight and it cost me. This time that won’t happen.”

For his return to the ONE FC cage in the Philippines, Vu has drawn South Korean prospect Dae Hwan Kim, who has not yet tasted defeat inside the cage through nine outings. An important aspect of preparing for a fight is being able to look over what your opponent has done in previous fights. However, Vu hasn’t had much luck in tracking down fight footage.

“We haven’t really been able to find out anything about him,” Vu admitted. “We looked around for some footage and just couldn’t see anything. It doesn’t matter too much, though. It doesn’t change anything. I’m still going in there with the same game plan, and I will fight my fight this time.”

Vu has been able to go into his ONE FC bout with a whole new outlook on how things can go inside the cage. That’s the benefit of being a part of a gym that has sister schools located in various parts of the world.

“Going to Hawaii for that week has really helped me focus on how to fight my own fight, and we really worked on my wrestling,” Vu said. “There was just so much that I got out of it, and it’s definitely something that I want to do again next camp. Even though it was only a week, I think that having a different view on how I should do things has given me an edge for this fight.

“I am very confident in going over this time. It’s been a while now since I fought, and I have watched the video a few times to fix the things that I did wrong last time. I am still getting used to the big-fight atmosphere. I know I have overcome that now and all that is left is for me to win again.”

On Dec. 6, Vu’s parents will be watching closely as their son makes yet another trip to a foreign country with the goal of having his hand raised after a tough battle. He may have put all the pressure in the world on himself in the lead-up to his previous bout, but coming out of it there was still one constant: the support of his family. That’s something that he plans to take with him to ONE FC 13 in Manila. He only has the intention of leaving Manila after doing a job that his parents can be immensely proud of for years to come, even if there are parts of that job for which they may want to close their eyes.

Thanh would like to thank Rock Hard Supplements, MMA Factory, David Yeung and Team HMC, Rob Hesia and Team MMAD as well as Glenn and David for all their help. Follow Vu on Twitter: @Thanh_man

Photo: Thanh Vu celebrates victory (ONE FC)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.