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‘Showtime’ for youth empowerment through martial arts

Mary Afemata

Former MMA fighter focus on South Auckland youth through his mentoring programme.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Sigi Pesaleli, also known as “Showtime” Sigi, is a former MMA fighter who has turned his focus to South Auckland youth through his mentoring programme.

The 29-year-old Kiwi Samoan is the founder of Desire for Greatness (D4G), an initiative that empowers the community through martial arts to create positive outcomes.

D4G has been running training sessions in the community for the past five years.

For the first time, it will now be offered as a mentoring programme in schools.

Pesaleli says martial arts is a good vehicle to help channel the energy.

“I’ve done martial arts for about 10 years. I’ve done jiu jitsu, kickboxing, MMA. boxing. At the moment I’m really enjoying using my experience to help the kids and my community and empowering them.”

D4G’s mentoring programme in schools starts next week when Sutton Park School, Mangere resumes for Term 4.

The programme will run for nine weeks and then end with a graduation.

Pesaleli will be mentoring 10 students, helping to channel their energy for an hour, every Wednesday.

He will also teach them important life values. “Respect, discipline, integrity,” Pesaleli says

“My partner Erika and I want to expand D4G and get into other schools so we can extend our reach because I know not only Sutton Park may need it. There are a lot of otherpeople need it too.”

Asked about what drives him, he replied with his motto: “Stay hungry, stay hungry. That’s our motto. Staying hungry. Yeah, just stay hungry. Whatever you do, stay hungry and stay hungry until you find a purpose.”

Pesaleli’s focus right now is helping the youth, although he hopes to eventually return to the ring.

Hero image: Sigi Pesaleli, also known as “Showtime” Sigi, is running the Desire for Greatness programme. Photo / Supplied

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