Filipino fighter Danny Kingad used martial arts to turn his life around
“The biggest hope I have for the future is to help my family,” Kingad says. "I want to help my friends and family who are suffering." - Team Lakay member and ONE championship fighter Danny Kingad (Photo courtesy of ONE Championship)
On 21 April, Danny Kingad (4-0) takes another step closer to his dream of becoming a world champion. When the Filipino flyweight takes on Muhammad Aiman at ONE: KINGS OF DESTINY, he is hoping to use the buoyant Manila crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena to his advantage, and remain undefeated.
However, this is not a purely personal journey for Kingad, as he fights from his heart in order to try and reap the rewards for his family. For him to be able to help his loved ones and ease some of the hardships in their life would be the biggest payoff.
“The biggest hope I have for the future is to help my family,” Kingad says. "I want to help my friends and family who are suffering."
Kingad knows the suffering well. Growing up in Baguio City, work was not easy to come by, and it was not strange for days to go by without enough food for his parents to feed the family. This kind of hardship has built a resilient spirit in the young man, and it has evolved into the fighting spirit we see today.
Time after time, life knocked him down. Time after time, Kingad pulled himself back up to his feet and drew inspiration from the experience. As if life was not hard enough, at just 7 years old, his father tragically passed away, a difficult time for any youngster, but they say these things make or break you.
“I get some of my motivation from the stories my mom tells me about my dad," he reveals. "My dad and I were very close when he was alive. I am very grateful that I still have my mom, and we are very close.”
Again, it was the ability to take a shred of hope from a bad situation that led to the Filipino battler reaching the heights he is at today. The circumstances forced him to go and move in with his older brother, and in his sibling he found a positive role model, and someone who would support him in whatever he wanted to pursue.
When he came across martial arts as a sophomore at Pinsao National High School, he was not in the greatest of places, partying, smoking, and drinking as many at that age do. However, that was also where Kingad found martial arts, and he used that to replace any toxicity in his life with positivity.
"I needed discipline because before wushu, my friends encouraged me to go to parties and drink alcohol," he offered. "I used wushu to help me with my discipline and I am now training in mixed martial arts because it is a big motivation for me."
He has the desire to be a champion, and the right ingredients to make that happen. The 21-year-old has a supportive family, a great gym with Team Lakay — home to current ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “The Landslide” Folayang — and a reason to be so driven.
Poverty growing up and the loss of his father as a child would not be experiences Kingad would wish on anyone, but instead of going down the wrong path, which he very nearly did, the Igorot warrior used them to incite positive change. He used them to give him purpose, and a reason to achieve.
This article was first published in the ONE CHAMPIONSHIP Website. Photos courtesy of ONE Championship.
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