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How Nieky Holzken Escaped His Violent Past Through Martial Arts

May 03, 2019

Nieky “The Natural” Holzken is one of the greatest kickboxers of his generation, but his life could have gone in a totally different direction without martial arts.

The Dutchman – who will face Regian “The Immortal” Eersel for the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON on 17 May – was a troubled youngster until his passion put him on the right path in life.

Nieky Holzken gives us a sneak peek at what he's been working on for his ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title showdown!

Nieky Holzken gives us a sneak peek at what he's been working on for his ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Title showdown!Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

“There was a lot of problems for me growing up, but I came out of that strong, and it made me to the man I am today,” he explains.

Holzken’s parents separated when he was a baby, and he lived with his mother at first. Sadly for the youngster, it was an environment that was damaging to his development.

“There was a lot of fighting between my stepfather and my mother, so it was a very violent place to grow up,” says “The Natural.”

“It made me angry and emotional at that time, I did not want to grow up there, so it was better to go and live with my father at my grandparents’ house.”

The move was hugely positive for Holzken. He went from a volatile home to a loving one, but the psychological effects remained with him.

The things he had seen and experienced were ingrained into his impressionable mind, and he struggled to control his behavior.

Why they call kickboxing superstar Nieky Holzken "The Natural"

Why they call kickboxing superstar Nieky Holzken "The Natural" Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, April 22, 2019

“I behaved very badly when I was a child. I was always fighting with other children, and I got kicked out of school when I was 9 years old,” he remembers.

“But it’s normal, you know. If you grow up in violence, then you become violent.”

The Helmond native moved to a school for children with behavioral issues and had a good support network around him, which helped him to start to turn the corner.

Then, at the age of 10, he found a kickboxing gym in his area, and its classes were the catalyst for a total turnaround in his life. 

“I wanted to go and learn how [fighting] is supposed to be, the respect you have to give other people, and I wanted to try to do it in the gym, so I searched for it myself,” he says.

“I had friends that trained there, and I had seen in the newspapers that there were good guys fighting from there, so I wanted to be a part of it.”

POWERFUL Nieky Holzken!

POWERFUL Nieky Holzken! Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onedragon19

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 27, 2019

Holzken began to focus his aggression into martial arts instead of out on the streets or in school. He learned techniques that would end up taking him to World Title glory and the values that helped guide him through his growth as a person.

His violent outbursts stopped, he gained a new outlook on life, and found a sport to channel his energy through.

“Martial arts taught me respect, and to be humble. It makes you a better person,” the 35-year-old notes.

“It also taught me to have very good discipline. I had many days where I thought I would quit, go party, drink, eat fast food.

“Discipline makes you take your stuff to the gym, train hard, and then after you feel very good again.”

Many people who witnessed violence and hardship in their early lives deal with it in different and much less productive ways. Holzken was fortunate that he did not go down the wrong path.

Instead, he used martial arts to transform himself from the inside out and became a loving father and husband, and a proud World Champion.

Nieky Holzken turns the lights out on Cosmo Alexandre with a HUGE uppercut at 2:59 of Round 2!

Nieky Holzken turns the lights out on Cosmo Alexandre with a HUGE uppercut at 2:59 of Round 2! Watch the full event LIVE & FREE on the ONE Super App http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, November 17, 2018

“I’m happy that I got involved with martial arts when I was 10 years old,” he adds.

“It changed my life.”

Singapore | 17 May | 7:00PM | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Ticketshttp://bit.ly/onedragon19