By TXMMA Staff / Priscilla Bigner
Leaving a Legacy, a brief interview with local MMA and Muay Thai competitor Bi “KillHerbee” Nyugen as she prepares for her kickboxing bout on Friday, January 16th.
HOUSTON, TX – Local fighter Bi Nyugen will face Leizel Beliso this Friday at Legacy Kickboxing’s first kickboxing event, she will be representing Houston Muay Thai, which opened just this past year. She is set up for a productive and fast paced year, as she is scheduled to fight for Fury’s 110 lbs. title on February 13th against Kenia Rosas. In addition to her busy training schedule, and back to back fight camps, Bi finds the time to support victims of domestic abuse, while encouraging young people to find a positive path.
Bi is coming off a devastating victory in MMA over Ashley Milligan, with an impressive TKO in round 2. In August she won the North American Muay Thai Federation 110 lbs. title over Gabi Maxwell via unanimous decision. Bi will have the advantage of fighting in her hometown, and having trained with top muay thai coaches, Kru Bob Perez, and Michael Chase Corley, who will also be fighting on the card.
Legacy Kickboxing 1 Pre-Interview with Bi “KillHerBee” Nguyen
Bi, thank you for taking the time out of your busy fight week to talk with us. When did you start training in kickboxing, and what motivated you to devote yourself to training and competing?
Bi Nguyen: I started training muay thai in 2012. When I started muay thai I was coming out of an abusive relationship and my life was a mess. I told myself I would commit myself to something positive, and that would be martial arts.
You have been very outspoken about domestic abuse, including supporting domestic abuse victims with proceeds of your walk out shirt. What can be done to raise awareness and prevent abusive situations?
Bi Nguyen: I believe more athletes should speak out about their experiences with domestic violence. The main struggle victims have is telling someone they are being abused. Feeling ashamed and scared. If more people speaking out about it, it will give victims who are still going through it more courage. These women’s shelters really help them. Places like NAWC (the charity I give to) give women and children a safe place to go. I myself have stayed at the Houston Women’s Shelter for a short stent of time to recover and get on my feet.
More women have begun to train over the last few years with the meteoric rise in popularity of MMA. Do you try to bring women into class, and what elements in a gym lend to women sticking around?
Bi Nguyen: I try to get my friends and other women into the gym. Primarily for self-defense, then they stick around for the great workout and for the confidence boost.
You have an excellent amateur MMA record; do you have plans to make a move to pro over the next year?
Bi Nguyen: I’ve had a total of 9 amateur fights. I’ve wanted to turn pro in kickboxing but we have postponed it to gain more experience in MMA. My plans are to turn pro after 1 or 2 more tough MMA fights.
Seeing that you have had two fights cancelled, and that 2014 saw quite a few major fights cancelled due to injury, what can fighters and trainers do to prevent injuries and keep their fighters battle ready?
Bi Nguyen: I think the biggest reason we stay healthy is that we take care of each other. Kru Perez and coach Corley always oversee ALL sparring sessions. We push each other but do not hurt each other. Good training partners are what keep the injuries to a minimum.
The door opened for WMMA in the UFC in 2013, with the rivalry between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate highlighted by mean-spirited, catty behavior. Do you think this is a marketing tool by the UFC to gain viewership for WMMA? How would you like to see women represented, what characteristics are most important for young women to see to look up to?
Bi Nguyen: I think cattiness is definitely a tool UFC used to get ratings. But unlike others I don’t think it’s just with women. UFC has fueled rivalries with men in the UFC for the ratings forever. I don’t get down by how women are represented on TV by the UFC. I do however am at times disappointed by how some carry themselves on social media. These athletes monitor and control their own social media sites, and I wish some would be more careful about what they post and say. Young ladies all around the world are following.
When you are ground down, ready to quit, what thought or thoughts help you keep going in training and/or in a fight?
Bi Nguyen: When I feel like I’m done and I have nothing left to give, I think about everything I’ve been through. And I think to myself, “you didn’t live through all of that for nothing. You must get to the top help others, and leave a legacy.”
You wrestled in high school, a sport that is still at beginning stages for women, despite its ancient roots. How did that experience help you as a fighter, and as a young woman who survived hardships?
Bi Nguyen: When you’ve wrestled, everything else is easy. It may be a catchy quote wrestlers used, but man is it true. My high school wrestling coach called our practices “pat” pain, torture, and agony. I only wrestled for two years because we moved around lot but those two years in wrestling taught me to never give up and how to me a good teammate and student.
BJJ is the latest addition to your training regimen, with groups like Girls in Gis, and a strong community of women, how can you mobilize this community to address the issues of domestic abuse?
Bi Nguyen: When I teach my self-defense seminars, a lot of what I teach is simple BJJ moves. I promote BJJ every time I talk to women, letting them know that it is the best sport for self-defense. I am just now starting to reach out to those great groups of female athletes to see how we can further help the cause. So stay tuned!
You speak about empowering youth before they become victims or choose dangerous paths, what might you say or do to encourage them to avoid dangerous situations?
Bi Nguyen: I was a young runaway and very troubled. If I could tell teens one thing it would be: Find your trust circle and don’t stray. Whether it be your family or your teacher or coach. Don’t push them away; no one can get through life alone. Let them be there for you. Trust them.
I ran away when I was 14 because of deep rooted issues with my parents. I wish I would’ve opened up to my sisters and let them help me. Instead I left out on my own and got in some very bad situations.
Other than fighters and trainers, who inspires you the most?
Bi Nguyen: Other than fighters and trainers. I would say my big sister twee. She came to America in her 20s not knowing any English. She worked three jobs and studied all night. She put herself through college and graduated on the dean’s list. She was a successful real estate broker and is now married to a doctor. She taught me that you must make sacrifices to get what you want. The bigger the sacrifice and the harder you work, the bigger the reward.
What advice would you give to women and young girls who are at the beginning of their MMA or competitive martial arts journeys?
Bi Nguyen: The advice I would give to young women that are starting MMA is, believe in yourself. Sounds cheesy but it’s true. There will be plenty of times where you will think maybe you’re in over your head or there are so many other women better than you. Let your confidence in yourself fuel you every day to work towards it.
How do you welcome new women into the gym? Do you give them advice you may not share with new men?
Bi Nguyen: When new women come in the gym. I don’t give them advice right away; I just work with them and encourage them to keep going!
How do you handle situations in which family member, friends, and even complete strangers question your career with comments such as “you are too pretty to fight”, or “it’s improper for women to fight”? Do you see that sentiment changing?
Bi Nguyen: A lot of people tell me I’m “too pretty to fight” or “there’s no money in fighting”. When I hear those things I just reply with a smirk. And tell them to come to my next fight. Everyone will always have their opinions, but there’s a reason there are only a few world champions. Only few can understand or see this dream of mine and I like it that way. I like being amongst the few.
If you had the opportunity to train or fight anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why is that place so special to you?
Bi Nguyen: If I had the opportunity to fight anywhere in the world it would be wherever all of my family could be present.
You have several sisters, have you ever talked to them about training, or learning self-defense?
Bi Nguyen: I have 6 sisters that I don’t get to see often. I see them once a year for Christmas and that has only been the last three years. I have always taken advice from them so I’ve never really felt like I had anything to offer them. But now that you’ve mentioned it I should recommend MMA or self-defense classes to them.
Houston Muay Thai opened its doors at the end of last year, what can you tell us about your experience there? What sets this gym apart from others in the area?
Bi Nguyen: My experience at Houston Muay Thai has been humbling. having the two BEST most credited coaches in Houston there, HMT has phenomenal coaching. When you go to Houston muay thai there is ONE team. There isn’t room for stars or divas. Most gyms you’ll see a hierarchy, the pros won’t take regular classes with amateurs or fighters won’t join in with newbies. But here at Houston muay thai we all fall in line. We all help each other and build each other up.
Women in MMA and competitive martial arts deal with demeaning comments and messages online. How do you deal with that, does it bother you, or do you laugh it off?
Bi Nguyen: I get a lot of inappropriate and demeaning comments and messages online but I just ignore them and don’t really pay much mind. It doesn’t bother me much. It’s the Internet, I don’t take it seriously. If they do it to me in person, they better defend themselves.
How important are seminars, and arranging group training sessions with fighters outside of your camp, to your success in muay thai and MMA?
Bi Nguyen: I believe you only need to cross train to get things that you aren’t getting from your own gym. For example, women should cross train a lot. I only have a few to train with at my gym so when I get the opportunity I travel to train with other women. I’ve also seen coaches or high level pros cross training to get in time with different sparring partners to challenge themselves. Other than that, if you have it at your gym, there’s no reason to outsource.
What are your views on athletes who are convicted of domestic abuse and sexual assault? How should governing bodies handle these situations? And should people with convictions be allowed to train and/or compete?
Bi Nguyen: When I see athletes getting convicted of violent crimes, I just hope that they get punished accordingly. I hate to see public figures get off easy because of who they are. I don’t think I have enough knowledge to chime in on that. It’s a tough one. All I know if that they better be punish justly.
We are just 3 weeks into 2015 and you are already scheduled to fight on a televised event for Legacy, what is in store for you for the rest of the year?
Bi Nguyen: I’m so excited and honored to be on Legacy’s first kickboxing card. It’s a great way to start off 2015! I’m going to stay busy all year. Right after this fight, I am schedule to fight for the Fury 110 women’s MMA title on February 13th. I want to stay booked all year.
Thank you so much for your time, we here at TXMMA are excited to see you do your thing on Friday night!