It all started with… swine flu?
Born in South Africa and with a boxing coach as a grandfather, Quinton was involved with martial arts all his life. He was considered to be a pioneer of MMA in his home country. He arrived in Hong Kong in late 2007, working as an MMA instructor in a well-known martial arts gym.
When Quinton caught the swine flu in 2009, he passed out from the illness; fracturing his cheeks, cutting his lips open with a hole in his face and losing 9 teeth. He was out of work for about two months.
Him and his girlfriend, Kan, came to realise his life as a trainer was frighteningly fragile. Coincidently, a new job came along for Kan doing administrative work at another martial arts gym. One thing led to another, they saw a void in Hong Kong for an authentic fighting MMA gym; with Quinton’s expertise and Kan’s newfound skills in gym administration, they figured ‘why not?’
They envisioned a place that not only offered proper training with reasonable fees, but most importantly, a place where people were actually nice (testosterone and ego can sometimes do funny things to people).
Their dream gym would be:
- Somewhere students can meet and train with like-minded people
- Help and offer other freelance trainers options
- Help underprivileged local and minority youths through training to build self-confidence and offer opportunities for alternative career paths
- Of course, ultimately they want to be a top fighting gym in Hong Kong
As a business, they wanted to be ethical and responsible. Where members are not just bill-payers, but where they can benefit from the gym by learning real martial arts skills, becoming healthier physically and mentally. Quality and integrity is what they value most; while being commercially successful is a goal, it is not the ultimate aim.
As an employer, they wanted to create a work environment that their team feels respected, where strong work ethics are valued and rewarded.
Versus became a reality in late May 2010 (grand opening in July), starting with only Quinton, Kan and only a small handful of students. It has grown into a friendly community that people seems to enjoy being a part of. They have been extraordinarily blessed with great people coming along (Phil, Mike and Ming, we’re looking at you), helping them build and put their visions in place.
At a time where most small businesses fold within 5 years, Versus could easily become a statistic with the lack of proper financial backing plus countless mistakes they made along the way. They are thankful for members, staff and friends for their support in getting them this far!
Looking back now, it was probably a little naïve and overly optimistic for Quinton and Kan to open a gym with so little resources (apart from little financial backup, they had near zero network) but they are certainly glad they took the leap of faith. Without Versus, they probably wouldn’t know all the awesome people passing through, or be married and have their baby son, Cathan. So in case you thought the income goes to some faceless evil corporation and buying someone’s second yacht, rest assured it’s going back to develop the gym and helping this little fella’s future.