It is a common practice for a son to follow in his father’s footsteps, and for Indian heavyweight sensation Arjan “Singh” Bhullar, that meant conquering the sport of wrestling.
Bhullar — whose family migrated from India to Canada before he was born — idolized his dad, a decorated wrestler in his own right.
That motivated “Singh” to pursue his own athletic dreams, with the goal of becoming a World Champion someday.
As he prepares to make his promotional debut against Italian heavyweight contender Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo, Japan on Sunday, 13 October, Bhullar still finds himself receiving advice from his father.
The family patriarch has been watching his son tighten his skills ahead of the biggest match of his mixed martial arts career, and he continues to give him little tips and tricks.
“This morning, he was giving me the business,” Bhullar jokes.
“That will never stop. When my dad shows up in my training camp, there’s immediately a different energy in the room. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Some people don’t have a father or they don’t have that support, so I will take this every day of the week.”
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My dad immigrated to Canada at a young age, never having saw his father (my grandpa left India for Canada while my grandma was still pregnant with my dad). He came into South Vancouver in 1971, into a home my grandfather worked 11 years to save $8k for. Dad wrestled in high school and had dreams to compete intetnationally. He put the same time and sacrifice into me making the @olympics. He was at every tournament (my mom eventually got a job at Air Canada so she could be with him while he competed overseas) and oversaw every practice. With my first child on the way, I now understand the extent of his commitment to me. He helped establish the Bhullar Wrestling Club decades ago, which still runs as a non-profit today providing free coaching to dozens of community kids. Thank you Dad, for all that you've done and continue to do for me, our family, and for the many athletes that you've inspired with your selflessness #WeAllPlayForCanada #GoCanadago @CanadianTire
As much as he appreciates his lineage, Bhullar had a large shadow cast upon him because of the numerous accolades his father achieved during his own wrestling career.
His dad won several titles in his homeland, and he nearly represented India in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and Canada in the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
The thought of living up to that legacy could be overbearing, but “Singh” tried to block out the static and concentrate on developing his craft.
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“It was a blessing, and it was also a great challenge,” he explains.
“It was a blessing because many of the lessons didn’t have to be learned twice. A lot of success can be duplicated because the path is much easier once it’s been walked. That’s a saying used in our culture.
“It was also challenging because I’m walking the same path that my father walked, and you’re always compared [to each other]. There’s a lot of pressure and expectations that maybe someone who isn’t from that lineage would face.”
Thankfully, Bhullar always had his dad’s full endorsement.
Under his father’s guidance, “Singh” won a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games, a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and represented Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Even now, as Bhullar embarks on a run to the ONE Heavyweight World Championship, the teachings have not stopped.
Simply put, that unconditional support has made all the difference — especially as the Indian heavyweight forges a new road in mixed martial arts.
“He never forced me to walk that same path he did. He supported me with the decisions that I made,” the Indian heavyweight says. “Now, I can write my own chapter in my own book.”
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So many new ideas and fancy approaches to the game nowadays. I call it marketing 101. The formula for success is the same it has always been. Nothing beats hard gritty work and the stubbornness to stay the course when things get tough. Great work tonight. We are on track to #DropTheHammer ✊???? . . #Wednesdayvibes #wednesdaymood #TeamBhullar #OneBillionStrong
Another key component of Bhullar’s success was his mom, who served as the foundation of his entire family.
“I have to give a shout out to my mother because moms run the household and she was huge in that,” he adds. “She helped balance my father being my dad and my coach, and me being the pupil and a son. She handled all of that, and I have to give credit to that.”
Bhullar could not have asked for a better upbringing.
His parents continue to support him and his dreams, and they serve as the perfect example of the type of dad he has become himself.
“If there’s one thing I want to teach, then it’s to lead by example,” Bhullar offers.
“You have to live by certain values and you have to live a certain life. That’s how my father taught me, and that’s what I’m teaching my children.”
Tokyo | CENTURY | ONE Championship’s 100th Live Event | Tickets: Purchase here
- Watch PART I in USA on 12 October at 8pm EST and PART II on 13 October at 4am EST
- Watch PART I in India on 13 October at 5:30am IST and PART II at 1:30pm IST
- Watch PART I in Indonesia on 13 October at 7am WIB and PART II at 3pm WIB
- Watch PART I in Singapore on 13 October at 8am SGT and PART II at 4pm SGT
- Watch PART I in the Philippines on 13 October at 8am PHT and PART II at 4pm PHT
- Watch PART I in Japan on 13 October at 9am JST and PART II at 5pm JST
ONE: CENTURY is the biggest World Championship martial arts event in history with 28 World Champions featured across various martial arts. No organization has ever promoted two full-scale World Championship events on the same day.
The Home Of Martial Arts will break new ground as it brings multiple World Title bouts, a trio of World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and several World Champion versus World Champion matches to the famous Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan on 13 October.