A.J. Pyro: The silat master of MMA

One look at A.J. Vaas Mansoor - or better known as A.J. Pyro in the cage - and you can tell that he’s no ordinary person. His bulging biceps and rock-hard abs suggest that he’s a seasoned mixed martial artist (which he is, by the way) and his no-nonsense demeanor suggests that you shouldn’t mess with him (really, you shouldn’t).

But then again, there’s more to the 37-year Sabahan than meets the eye: he is the first – and only – MMA Fighter with a silat background. That’s right; while other fighters deliver lightning fast punches and deadly roundhouse kicks, Pyro prefers sticking to silat to, umm, ‘dance’ with his opponents before striking them out.

So, how does he defeat his opponents using the art of silat?

AJ Pyro sat down with Yahoo! Malaysia recently to talk about his unorthodox fighting style, how he picked up martial arts and how he plans to defeat a Muay Thai expert in an upcoming MMA match.

How did you get your fight name ‘Pyro’? Was it something that you thought of, or someone gave you the nickname?
I thought about it myself. I’ve been practicing martial arts since I was a little kid, and it took me a while to figure out what type of character I am.

What does your nickname mean?
Pyro is like the fire inside me. That’s who I am. No matter if it’s rain or shine, my fire is always there so, that’s how I got the nickname. I love it.

You mentioned that you started practicing martial arts when you were a kid. How did you get involved with martial arts?

I’m a typical kampung boy; I came from a small village. In small villages, silat is really popular, so I started off by doing silat. It was also for self defense, so I thought why not.

Where did you learn the art of silat from?

In the village, there was a silat master who conducts classes, and there was where all the boys trained. I wanted to go, because my brother was really into silat. So, I went there, I trained and that was how I got into silat.

So did you have sparring matches with your brother?

(Laughs) No. He was ten years older than me, and he would always beat me up. I just sparred with the other kids. But he inspired me a lot. He took me to tournaments and I saw him compete. I thought, “If he can do this, I can do it too”.


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