ONE Championship has opened plenty of doors for aspiring athletes who are looking for success – not just in the world of martial arts, but even in life.
Take Ramon “The Bicolano” Gonzales, for example.
The Filipino lightweight shared how ‘The Home Of Martial Arts’ proved to be the light at the end of the tunnel for him, both personally and financially.
“ONE Championship opened a big opportunity for me as an athlete and as a person. It challenged me to experience a different field, which is mixed martial arts,” he said.
“It made me appreciate every little thing that comes my way, because I know that not all people are given a chance to be part of ONE.”
Before becoming a staple in the largest martial arts organization in the world, Gonzales struggled to put food on his family’s table on a daily basis. He performed different jobs in different places, but nothing gave him stability.
Then ONE entered the picture, and his life changed drastically.
Not only is he in a better place now financially, but competing against the world’s best athletes also gave him newfound direction in life.
“It helped me a lot financially. From being a fisherman to a security guard, I’ve been through many jobs, but martial arts brought me to where I am today,” he continued.
“Now, I can help my family and sustain my everyday needs, and I think that’s one of the main reasons for my determination.”
Having trained in Kyokushin Karate for 18 years, Gonzales also noted how the sport played a big role in his career. It helped him develop valuable traits that he now carries in and out of the Circle.
From being one of the Uchideshies – or live-in students of Kyokushin Fight Academy – it’s his turn to give back, as he now stands as the coach of the new students.
“I am now in charge of training Uchideshies,” he shared.
“I also encourage them and inspire them to be fighters with heart and passion in the sport.”
Those students have a terrific role model to look up to.
Gonzales is riding a three-bout win streak, which is quite the turnaround in his tenure with ONE.
He lost his first two bouts in ONE, and credits that – as well as overcoming his personal struggles – for shaping his mentality.
“It made me more disciplined. I’ve learned that nobody will help me, nobody will push me except myself. I tried training just by myself when I was in another country, and I think that’s a big lesson,” the Filipino added.
“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. [My struggles] showed me the people who believe in me. I am very thankful for them, then and now.”