Fighter Huệ wrestles with jujitsu career

July 03, 2022 - 09:12
Phùng Thị Huệ is the best jujitsu martial artist in Việt Nam as she has won titles at the world championship, World Beach Cup, Asian tournament and SEA Games. She was once a successful wrestler too.


Phùng Thị Huệ is the best jujitsu martial artist in Việt Nam as she has won titles at the world championship, World Beach Cup, Asian tournament and SEA Games. She was once a successful wrestler too. VNA/VNS Photo

Thanh Hà

They say you should never judge a book by its cover. And this is certainly true of Phùng Thị Huệ, who, despite looking small and gentle, is a powerful combatant in the world of jujitsu.

The 45kg jujitsu fighter has just added a gold medal from the World Beach Cup to her collection, which contains titles from the most prestigious international competitions over the last two years.

This makes her one of the most successful jujitsu athletes in Việt Nam.

However, jujitsu is not her background.

A milestone switch

Huệ, born in 1993 in the northern province of Thái Nguyên, practised and competed in freestyle wrestling for over a decade from 2009 onwards.

She won a gold medal at the Southeast Asian Youth Wrestling Championship in 2012, silver from the Asian Youth Wrestling Championship in 2013 and two titles from the Southeast Asian Wrestling Championship in 2018 and 2019.

She was a leading national wrestler from 2016 to 2020, winning the National Championship and National Cup.

Her turning point was when she selected to move to jujitsu, a new sport in Thái Nguyên, in 2020.

Phùng Thị Huệ (left) competes at the SEA Games 31 and secures Việt Nam's first title in the competition. — VNA/VNS Photo

"My wrestling background is useful for me when I practise jujitsu as it has some similar characteristics. I met with no difficulty to catch up with the new martial art," Huệ said.

Months after the first days, she won a gold and a bronze at the National Jujitsu Championship. She also took golds in the National Jujitsu Clubs Championship in 2020 and 2021, which pushed her to the national team to compete in the 2021 World Championship in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.

The newbie met with many powerful rivals, including world champion Alyafei Wadimah of the UAE, from all over the world who had practised jujitsu for many years.

And she made up a big bang with a gold medal on her debut, bringing Việt Nam's first-ever world title in the newaza category, which focuses on the transition from standing to ground fighting.

It was a milestone for not only the athlete but also for Việt Nam in the world competition.

"We took part in different categories in the world championship. I lost in the fighting discipline and was under pressure prior to the newaza," Huệ said.

“I thought about how hard I worked to be here. I was jealous when witnessing people on the top podium, although I worked just as hard as them. The loss lifted me back stronger to win. The achievement surprised everyone because I was a new face in this sport but could beat the world and Asian leading rivals.

"It was amazing, an extraordinary feeling when hearing the national anthem on the podium. Nothing can compare to that pride."

Five months later, Huệ flew to Bahrain to compete in the 2022 Asian Championship, and she did not make any mistake, bringing home two continental golds.

SEA Games

In the recent SEA Games, Huệ made another mark in her career with the first-ever title for Việt Nam at the regional biennial sports meet.

"I have been involved in sport for more than 10 years but it was the first time that I took part in the regional SEA Games tournament. It is the first and the most impressive event that all Vietnamese athletes wanted to be a part of," Huệ said.

"I was a little nervous prior to the final. But I tried to stabilise my mind and keep focused. I used my strong move to beat my rival to end the match quickly. I was extremely happy and proud to represent Việt Nam's jujitsu at the Games."

Phùng Thị Huệ (left) competes in Thailand's World Cup Beach in June. She took home a gold medal. Photo from Phùng Thị Huệ facebook

On June 23, Huệ and her teammates represented Việt Nam at the Jujitsu International Federation World Cup Beach in Pattaya, Thailand.

Having no worthy rival, she continued winning and took the nation's first World Cup title.

"To me, every tournament, local or international, plays an important role. Because my patience and diligent practice are for fighting, learning more and contributing to the national sport. No matter the result, winning or losing, I always collect a new and valuable experience for the next event," Huệ said.

"I always tell myself 'no pain, no gain.' I want to contribute more and more to Việt Nam whenever I am still an athlete. Then, I will join hands helping to train young athletes to reach the best in their careers," said Huệ, who has taken a part-time coaching job in preparation for her post-competition future. VNS