How are managing money and martial arts kind of the same thing? They both have the potential to kick the shit out of you but as long as you don't fall over and die (or bleed enough money out of your ass that you're forced to close up shop) it is all good. Lose nearly 70 percent? No problemo.
Benoit "La Tornade" Descourtieux, the second-oldest contender in Hong Kong's third annual Hedge Fund Fight Night for charity, finds it easy to draw a link between managing money and martial arts.
"As long as we do well most of the time, or even if we don't do well but survive, we'll be OK," said the 46-year-old, Michael Douglas-lookalike in an interview at his 27th-floor office with a view of workers unloading cargo ships at Victoria Harbour. Descourtieux manages the Calypso Asia Fund, which bets on rising and falling stock prices and their derivatives.
Anyway, most of you don't need to be told what you alreadyknow (everyone's a professional here) but in case you're interested in seeing the metaphor in action, are in the neighb (Hong Kong), and would like to drop a few G's (for a good cause!), La Tornade will be sparring Thursday night. Bonus: there'll be a guy named John "Headcount Reduction" Crane and a male model in the ring. (For those who can't make it, there's an Ultimate Cage Fighting event taking place in Southern Connecticut next month, with some big name participation.)
Since June, Descourtieux has been spending several hours a week amid columns of punching bags at Jab Mixed Martial Arts Studio, honing punches, footwork, and dodges with dozens of other hopefuls before the Oct. 29 showdown at the Happy Valley Racecourse. Descourtieux registered 65 kilograms at last week's weigh-in, 1 kilogram heavier than before.
As the 12 finalists slug it out for three, 2-minute rounds in the ring, about 800 of their black-tied industry peers will sip wine, eat dinner and bid on holiday packages to raise funds for Operation Smile and Operation Breakthrough. The most-coveted lot of the evening might be a five-course lunch for 12 prepared by Relish Kitchen in the Dragon Garden historical site where Roger Moore shot a scene from the 1974 James Bond movie, "Man With The Golden Gun," said organizer IronMonger Events Ltd. The fight night aims to raise HK$1 million ($129,000) to repair children's facial deformities and combat crime and juvenile delinquency in low-income and immigrant communities, said IronMonger. Tables for 12 cost between HK$18,000 and HK$50,000, and pay for training the fighters and hosting the event, said Robert Derry, IronMonger's managing director, in an interview. A medical team will be on standby during the bouts.
Aside from Descourtieux, Bruce "Almighty" French of UBS AG, Steve "Dynamite" Davidson from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Jesse "Happy Feet" Kavanagh of Nomura Holdings Inc. will also fight in the finals. John "Headcount Reduction" Crane of 3A Asia Ltd., a fund of funds, is the oldest fighter at 49.
South African Jacques "Sugarbok" Scherman counts a few street fights as his only previous fighting experience. The 6- foot-1, 34-year-old trust-and-tax lawyer at Sovereign Group swore off socializing and alcohol the past few months to train for the event, dropping 7 kg to 86 kg. Scherman said his confidence is rising, even though his mother noted he still didn't have a six-pack abdomen.
"I reckon I can look after myself," said the former model as he pressed an icepack to a swollen black eye. Scherman's shiner appeared after he endured torrential jabs from Sebastien "Superfrog" Alfonsi, a 26-year-old equity derivatives trader at French investment bank Natixis SA, during the boxers' first training night of full-contact sparring.