How The Value Of Respect Made Edward Kelly A Better Athlete

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When Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly makes his return on Friday, 2 August, he will not carry any anger or hostility into the Circle.

The Team Lakay veteran will meet “The Stalker” Xie Bin in a featherweight clash at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES, and he will show nothing but the utmost respect to his Chinese opponent inside the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.

Respect is a martial arts value that sits at the core of the 35-year-old’s being, and he considers that attribute a fundamental part of his success.

“I would not have learned the value of self-discipline if I did not have the ability to respect others,” the Filipino mixed martial artist says.

“If I did not respect the likes of my brother, my teachers, my teammates, and my opponents, I would not have developed the self-discipline I needed to succeed in this sport. 

“It is by respecting where they are in life that I pushed myself to be better — not just as a fighter, but as a human being as well.”

Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly's sneaky submission skills on full display! Catch him in action on 2 August against red-hot Chinese star Xie Bin!

Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly's sneaky submission skills on full display! Catch him in action on 2 August against red-hot Chinese star Xie Bin!????: Manila | 2 August | 5PM | ONE: DAWN OF HEROES????: Get your tickets at ???? Check local listings for global TV broadcast????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? ????‍????: Prelims LIVE on Facebook | Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE on Twitter

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Growing up in a country where respect for elders is culturally ingrained, Kelly found a new meaning to this value when he became a professional mixed martial artist in March 2003.

The Baguio City native, who sports a 12-6 professional record with a 75 percent finishing rate, understands there is still a segment of the population who view combat sports athletes as rough and volatile individuals.

For that reason, he wants to give back to the community by becoming a bridge that showcases these talented competitors in a more positive light.

“When you respect other people, and they know that you are a fighter, it changes their perception on us,” he says.

“It teaches them a different side to fighters, and we hope as martial artists that we can encourage others to be respectful as well by showing this side of us. It’s not exclusively given to elders or family members, but to everyone we come across.

“I believe respect is not just about showing admiration for someone, but rather recognizing that no matter what age or stature in life, every person should be treated the same.”

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Fans have often seen Kelly display acts of honor and respect inside the Circle, but Bataan residents and even Malaysians have seen the Team Lakay representative demonstrate those traits when he instructs martial arts classes.

As a teacher, he makes it a point to not only share his techniques, but also the values he has learned from those who came before him. 

“I teach the kids to always bow when they arrive and when they leave – it may seem insignificant, but it teaches them to acknowledge the person who welcomes them [to their space],” he explains.  

“Also, I point out their mistakes and correct them, and that’s the good thing about teaching martial arts. In all my years teaching martial arts, even [when I taught in] Malaysia, everyone who comes [into the gym] to learn martial arts has an innate respect for their teacher.

“They leave their egos at the door, and so far, I have not seen anyone who is full of themselves when they come to the gym. I realized that maybe whoever wishes to pursue martial arts may already have the values in them.”

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What are Edward "The Ferocious" Kelly's keys to victory when he collides with South Korea's Sung Jong Lee in Manila?Manila | 12 April | 6:00PM | Watch on the ONE Super App: | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets:

Posted by ONE Championship on Saturday, April 6, 2019

This has also made him a perfect fit for ONE Championship, as Kelly’s philosophy of respect aligns with the organization’s culture.

Like other competitors in The Home Of Martial Arts, “The Ferocious” does not assassinate someone’s character when promoting a match. Instead, he honestly critiques an opponent’s skill set and even compliments his adversary’s talent.

Also, he will shake hands or fist bump with a rival before a contest begins. Once the bout is over, he will check up on his opponent’s safety, bow to him, and even share a hug.

“I think it’s normal in our collective culture here in Asia to be respectful,” he says. 

“Even after matches, you can see that it’s almost automatic to show respect to one another. I don’t think it was explicitly taught to us, but it comes out naturally.

“So far, in all of my matches, I haven’t experienced anyone trying to disrespect me. Of course, I do the same for them, and even if someone did disrespect me, I would never retaliate with the same treatment. That’s just not me, and it will reflect negatively on our personalities.”

Edward Kelly celebrates his win with Mitch Chilson

This Friday, when the Filipino meets Xie in the center of the Circle, he will show nothing but respect to his Chinese rival.

Then, once the bell rings to signify the end of the bout, he will thank “The Stalker” for the opportunity to share the Circle with him — regardless if he wins, loses, and gets a draw.

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