KHAI “THE SHADOW” WU
We are absolutely excited to have Khai Wu join our JockPharm community. He is an amazing fighter from San Jose, California. You definitely will be hearing more about him, no doubt about that. We were super thrilled as we had the opportunity to have a little chat with him.
Khai’s journey to MMA started was when he was 9 years old as his brother in law Dave Camarillo introduced him to Martial Arts. (For those who don’t know who he is, Dave is a Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ralph Gracie, eventually, he formed his own style of grappling “Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu”.) As a child, he was not very athletic and was bullied and made fun of and on top of that, he was also struggling with racism. This motivated him to become better in order to defend him and stand up to the bullies. First, he started training Jiu-Jitsu followed by Muay Thai and wrestling. By the age of 14, he started to compete and his first amateur fight was at the age of 21 against a guy who had 7 more fights than him.
“I won that fight with a first-round TKO and that’s when I realized that I might be able to do this for a living.” We wanted to know his favorite fighting style and it is something similar to Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar. “I love how elusive and slick the footwork is in their style. Since I’m not that big or strong for my weight class I need to fight with a higher fight IQ as opposed to a typical brawler or slugger style.”
Khai has been passionate about Martial Arts and training, however, his parents did not agree with him and did not want to see him fight and getting hurt. It was his persistence and dedication to the sport that showed them that he was no ordinary fighter and there was great potential in him. Once his parents saw the results their son was having they gave their blessing and support. In fact, one of the best moments that Khai has is competing in Taiwan in front of his parents. “The look on their face when I won and when I started generating some attention out there in Asia. I can tell they were somewhat proud. I’ve never done the best in school, so I’m happy to be able to finally make them proud.”
We continued talking about competing and what it means to him. He has been training Martial Arts for 10 years now and competing in both countries (the United States and Taiwan.) He has participated in IBJJF Pans 2012, US Open, All-Star BJJ, WOTD Promotions, and Cali Cage War Featherweight Champion events and also fought for Bellator twice. His moves look effortless and his technique is on point. Khai trains at Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu and Omnimovement with his coach Steven Chao and his brother in law Dave. Khai’s record is 6 WINS, (KO/TKO 1, Submissions 2, Decisions 3), loses 2, (Submission 1 and decision 1).
“Competing gives me peace. Every rough patch I have ever had in life, when I enter the cage I find it gone. During the fight when it gets most intense I find the quiet spaces inside and there is this sense of tranquility among the chaos. There is no ill will towards my opponent, there are just shapes and puzzles I conform to, and then after I fight I find a piece of myself that I never knew existed.”
Making it out There
A big obstacle that professional fighters face is making money doing something they love – fighting. “I think the biggest obstacle an MMA fighter has to deal with is that it is very hard to make money. It is hard to work a regular job and then train full time and still get to the top like that. It takes a certain faith or courage to just go all-in with this sport. That’s why there are not many MMA fighters out there.
Then he shared some of the knowledge on how to make a living as a fighter. “What it takes to be a well-known fighter nowadays doesn’t really have anything to do with your fighting skills anymore. If you can entertain people with the way you talk or have some kind of antics then you can be famous and well known. I think focusing on your sport and learning how to market yourself though is a very important component for all fighters to learn if they want to go far in this sport.”
Khai also pointed out some of the stereotypes that fighters face: “I think the most common misconception is that fighters like violence and they aren’t the brightest people. I think the violence part is partly true but it’s not like we just like fighting anyone on the street or actively seeking violence, however, we are always ready for it. Also, there is no technique involved. I don’t blame people who think that because sometimes in a fight it just looks wild and barbaric. But I think once you understand even the smallest of basics or fundamentals that revolve around the sport, you end up appreciating it a lot more.”
Professional fighters train many hours a day and many days a week. It is a challenge to keep training and to have a social life so we asked Khai how he deals with that? “I realized you must have a balance to everything. You can’t train all day every day without eventually feeling burned out. Then once you feel burned out it takes a while to recover from all the damage the body takes physically and the brain mentally. I like to do things that don’t involve me being so physical or constantly thinking about combat when I am not training. I am a huge nerd, I love watching Marvel/Dc movies, Star Wars and comic books. Batman is one of my favorites because he is the only person who has zero superpowers among the justice league.
We had to find out about boba tea (aka Bubble tea, a Taiwanese tea-based drink). “I think the only thing I want people to know about me is to bring me boba milk tea after all my fights! Lol! During my free time, I like a nice food run or getting some boba drinks with some of my food friends. I know a couple of food bloggers who introduce me to some delicious cheat meals, one of them his name is @Ravenousfork on IG his actual name being Tam. He loves MMA and attends food events every weekend and he allows me to tag along sometimes to try the food. A couple of my other friends and teammates, Nick and Anthony we like to go hiking.
Since we were talking about the food and delicious meals, Khai also shared his favorite cheat meal. “My favorite cheat meal has to be getting some boba drinks and hotpot. It’s such a nice combo and it definitely hits the spot different. I don’t like ice cream or have a high sugary cravings. I don’t crave cookies or donuts, I just need my boba drinks and I’m all good. Hotpot is amazing just because of the combination of the sauces and ingredients that goes into the meal. I highly recommend people to try it if they haven’t before.”
I think we are trying that combo later on, for sure. Khai is truly an inspiring, hard-working, and humble fighter. Here is what he wanted the young and aspiring fighters to know: “The advice I would give a young fighter would be not to lose sight of focus when things get tough. It gets really lonely in the beginning; you lose friends maybe even family because of the sacrifices you are making. But at the end of the day, it will all be worth it, the key thing is to have a lot of discipline and you need to see the good days even when you are having the bad. Just because training isn’t going your way or you get tapped out, your bodies sore and beat up. It’s ok to feel bad and weak, it is during times like these that you really need to see the positives and success that is looming around the corner if you just keep pushing. That’s what helped me get to where I am today.
We definitely love this guy, he is kind and a true gentleman. We are so excited to see more of him in the future. “I just want everyone to know I really appreciate all the messages and support people show me. Every day I get something and I really do read through the messages and feel tremendous support. I say this all the time and I intend to keep my promises, I will take everyone to the top with me.”