Sergio “Samurai” Wielzen still has his heart set on becoming a ONE Super Series World Champion.
The Dutch-Surinamese athlete will restart his journey to the gold on Saturday, 22 September, when he meets Bangkok’s Rodtang Jitmuangnon in a Muay Thai flyweight tussle at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Long before the 30-year-old from Amsterdam, Netherlands, was competing in the world’s largest martial arts organization, he was hugely influenced by elements from the Far East.
Wielzen first took note of martial arts when he saw Shaolin monks and samurai warriors on television.
Their skills enamored the young man, who had moved from South America to Europe, and his childhood imagination was lit up by their skill and finesse.
No martial artist, however, captured his attention more than Bruce Lee.
Wielzen – once nicknamed “Kleintje,” which means “little one” in English – was drawn to the Hong Kong superstar because he could do great things despite his stature.
“He was fast and small, but he could defeat larger opponents using a crazy amount of speed and accuracy,” the Dutch-Surinamese competitor says.
“That was always one of the people I looked at in the martial arts game. He was so far ahead of his time. He stuck with me the longest out of all my heroes.”
This is a common theme that resonates with many of ONE Championship’s martial artists. They value skill that trumps strength, and brains that defeat brawn. It means anybody can be successful if they can master their craft.
Another Eastern philosophy that shaped the Amsterdam native’s outlook on life was the ‘yin and yang‘ nature of his parents, which allowed him to acquire different character traits from both his mother and his father.
Wielzen’s mother was forthright and hard-working, which gave him drive and aggression at the necessary times. As for his father, he was gentle and generous, which equipped “Samurai” with compassion and kindness.
“Even if he didn’t know you, my dad would give you his last cent, because he loves to help people,” he explains.
“My mom is a really hard-working woman. She always found a way to make anything possible for her kids.
“They both helped me a lot in life, but not by talking – everybody can talk and say the things you have to do. They just showed me the way. I looked at their actions and how they behaved, and it gave me a blueprint as to how I should live my life, and what kind of person I wanted to be.”
With the lessons he learned and the values he acquired from his parents, Wielzen has gone on to great things.
The Dutch-Surinamese warrior is a multiple-time World Champion, having captured titles in It’s Showtime, Lion Fight, and W5. Also, he has competed against the best strikers of this era in kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Coming full circle to the wisdom of Bruce Lee, Wielzen is also dedicated to leaving a legacy that goes beyond his athletic achievements.
Though he would have no qualms about being remembered as an all-conquering champion, he is more concerned about having a reputation based on his strength of character.
“I would like people to be able to look at my wins and my losses, and then see how I came back from a loss, and how when I win, I am still hungry, and I still dedicate myself to the sport,” he says.
“You should never give up. You should work hard and work smart. I hope everybody sees that and tries to do that in something they love.”
This weekend, at ONE: CONQUEST OF HEROES, Wielzen will try to demonstrate his inspiring philosophy as he kicks off the journey back to another ONE Super Series World Title shot.