Founded in 2003 by Jaime Alexis Sin, K-1 Extreme Sportshop is the first-ever one-stop shop for martial artists in the Philippines. K-1 has since turned into a household name for many, and is considered as the original source of fighting gear and apparel in the country.
Speaking on Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Hit List presented by SMART, Sin recounted the hardships he endured before eventually building K-1, brick by brick.
Before the sport shop opened, Sin was a hotshot stockbroker for eight years. However, this ended in 2002, when the firm he was working for closed down due to the Asian Financial Crisis.
With one door closing, he used this to pursue his passion — martial arts.
“I followed the rules and still I lost my job.
“So I said I might as well do my hobby, which is martial arts, and open up a small business at the same time to sell the martial arts products,” the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt said.
Sin would go on to train in various gyms around the world. But it wasn’t until 2003, when he visited Thailand, that he understood the importance of high-quality equipment.
How could one reach the optimum without wearing quality gear, right?
“When I trained in Thailand, I saw how durable their products are, like thigh pads which last years and years noh?” Sin said.
“So I said, ‘I want to sell these in the Philippines and provide quality products for martial arts fighters in the Philippines.'”
He made good on his promise of bringing it to the country by opening a ‘hole in a wall’ shop in Ortigas extension under his friend’s office.
His main goal? Provide affordable yet durable equipment that was not accessible in the Philippines, like Thailand’s Fairtex and Twin Special and United Kingdom’s Tatami.
“That’s how we started. Ako naman, I was not after profit,” Sin recalled about facing the problem of catering to what was, at the time, a small martial arts market.
Still, he persevered and over time, gained customers through his vast network in the martial arts industry.
Through the years, K-1 has become the go-to shop for martial artists, gaining official distributorship for Twins Special and Fairtex in the country.
Sin recalled that he never imagined his company would become this big, since it started off as just a hobby to improve the sport he loves.
“I want K-1 to be remembered as a shop na nagbukas, na nag-offer ng quality products for martial artists, quality, and affordable products for martial artists na hindi sila niloko sa pricing, na afford ng lahat.”