When Ramon “The Bicolano”Gonzales learned he would be given a chance to compete in Manila, the Kyokushin Karate black belt made sure to make everything memorable — not just his performance inside the ONE Championship Circle, but outside of it as well.
Regarded as one of the Philippines’ best when it comes to karate, Gonzales made it known as he entered his match-up at ONE: Roots of Honor against Akihiro “Superjap” Fujisawa with eight students, or Uchi-deshis, of Kyokushin Fight Academy.
They demonstrated their chosen discipline as Gonzales savored his first ever walk-out at the Mall Of Asia Arena alongside his peers.
“Those who performed are Uchi-deshis. They’re the live-in students in the gym where I started,” said Gonzales.
“That’s why they’re bald. They’re Uchi-deshis.”
It was a great way to pay tribute to his traditional martial arts discipline, and it did not stop with the demonstration.
The 31-year-old Albay City native used the song Karate Baka Ichidai, the opening theme of a famous anime in the United States titled Karate Master. It was a show inspired by a Japanese manga by Jiro Tsunoda and Joya Kagemaru, which was published back in 1971.
With his students backing him up and a familiar track serving as his marching music, he was completely focused entering the battle.
“It’s a different kind of adrenaline, even now when I remember how I walked in front of my countrymen heading to the ONE Circle,” Gonzales said.
“Whenever I hear my entrance music, it means I’m in a war zone now and I need to perform to the best of my abilities.”
According to The Bicolano, he handpicked that song a couple of years ago as a way of changing things up after starting his ONE Championship campaign with two losses in three outings.
It turned out to be a good omen for Gonzales, who has since racked up three consecutive wins – including a quick submission victory over Fujisawa in his Manila debut.
“Ever since I started in Karate, I was hearing it, and when I hear it, it’s like I’m going to war.
“But I only started using it in 2017 in Jakarta until now,” he explained.
Gonzales has no intention of changing his walkout song, especially as it gives him good fortune moving forward. Fans may also see more karate demonstrations from his team in the future.
Regardless, he will continue to pay tribute to his first martial art as he continues to scale the flyweight mountain.
“I’ve used that song for two years, and maybe we can say that it has brought luck on me,” he said.
“I don’t have any plans to change it in my upcoming bouts because this song brings me back to my roots and reminds me of the things that I learned in karate.”
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