This coming Saturday, 20 January, ONE Championship will host its first event of the new year with ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, which broadcasts live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
The event is packed with some of the promotion’s most exciting warriors, all of whom are looking to kick off 2018 in style. To reach this point, these athletes have trained for years, decades even, and have picked up many lessons in both martial arts and life along the way.
Although some of our athletes had to learn these lessons the hard way, they are more than willing to share their wisdom to help others on their respective martial arts journey. Here is some valuable wisdom from the heroes who will appear at ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE.
#1 Take Adversity Head-On
ONE Women’s Strawweight World Title challenger “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan was taught many lessons by her father, and they were pivotal in helping to turn an unruly youngster into the world-class martial artist she is today.
Her father constantly instilled good morals and knowledge into her, such as to hold herself responsible for her actions, that everyone is equal, and to protect the helpless. Though she did not listen at times, she eventually fully grasped his lessons and lived by his principles.
“My dad taught me a lot, including his life experiences growing up,” Xiong recalls. “From when I was a little girl, my dad told me never to run away when facing difficulties, and to always take responsibility. Most importantly, he taught me to be brave and confident.”
#2 Family Always Comes First
Former ONE Featherweight world champion Marat “Cobra” Gafurov did not have his parents around for most of his childhood. In order to find work and make money, a young Gafurov was left with his grandparents in rural Dagestan until he was 15.
Since he did not have his father and mother around during his adolescence, he realizes especially in his adulthood how important family truly is. Despite his vocation as a jet-setting martial artist, he places the highest importance on family.
“Family first. I love martial arts and it means the world to me, but nothing comes close to my family,” he asserts.
By keeping his priorities in the right place, it keeps him grounded. Also, it gives him a laser-like focus, as he knows every bout is an opportunity to provide a better life for those that mean the most to him.
#3 Take Care Of Your Loved Ones
Unbeaten Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Stefer Rahardian returns to his hometown and will engage in a flyweight world title eliminator against Pakistan’s Muhammad “The Spider” Imran. This bout, however, serves as a reminder to him of just how far he has come, and where he came from.
The local hero will be competing in front of thousand of fans at the Jakarta Convention Center, a short distance from where he was raised as just another kid in a family that lived hand-to-mouth.
Rahardian’s mother served as a waitress at a Japanese restaurant just so she could clothe and feed young Stefer and his sister. She also saved up enough money to buy a house in the East Jakarta district of Mataram.
“I am always thinking about how I can make my mom happy,” he admits. “She tells me I am doing lots of big things for her, but I still think I need to do more.”
His mother worked hard to give Rahardian the best possible start in life, and he will never forget that. It is a debt he will be repaying for the rest of his life, while keeping himself humble and thankful.
#4 Dare To Dream
Tiffany “No Chill” Teo is incredibly focused on becoming the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, and will look to fulfill her destiny in Jakarta. But in order to get to this point, she had to make some tough sacrifices.
Although it was not easy, given her passion for helping others, she decided to quit her job as a behavioral therapist to give martial arts her heart and soul. She pushed all distractions to the side, recently left Singapore for an extensive training camp in Phuket, Thailand, and is hoping it all pays off come event night.
“I did not intend to pursue martial arts as a career,” Teo states, “but I found myself finding ways to arrange my time around my training. That was when I decided that competing is something I wanted to commit myself to, and I just cannot help dreaming the same dream.”
#5 Martial Arts Can Change Your Life
Five-time BJJ World Champion and ONE middleweight contender Leandro Ataides grew up in Rio de Janeiro, and as a kid, had boundless energy that often manifested itself as bad behavior.
With his mother being called into school regularly, it was clear the young Leandro needed something else to stimulate him. At the suggestion of a family member, she enrolled him in Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes, and it changed his life.
“One of my mum’s cousins told her to put me in jiu-jitsu, because it would calm me,” he says. “After the first time I stepped on the mat, I never left.”
No longer would he be acting out in school and, not only that, it gave him a direction. In the favelas of Brazil, it is easy to be lured into less desirable activities, but with his life based around the dojo, he was never tempted, and eventually found the success he needed to make a better life for him and his family.