Why The Secret To Martial Arts Success Might Be Having A Pet

ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and her puppy, Rocky

Many martial artists have their secrets to success. It could be supportive family members, hard-nosed coaches, or even the ability to quickly master certain techniques.

However, athletes rarely talk about another secret to their success – those kind and lovable creatures called pets.

Some of ONE Championship’s finest warriors share why caring for a furry companion can be incredibly beneficial for martial artists.

Pets Are The Greatest Companions

Growing up in Ermelo, Netherlands, Anthony “The Archangel” Engelen had a great dane, a poodle, and a dachshund.

In fact, he loved his dogs so much that he now cares for a pitbull named Rolo, who he spends a lot of time with after long days at the gym.

“Sometimes, I do need a little bit of rest after my training, but I am never too tired to play around with my dog and take him for a walk outside because he needs to train as well. We all need to train,” Engelen says.

“At times, we’ll [play] a game together, have a chase around the house, or cuddle together. Sometimes, we go to the beach, walk around, and play, or go to a dog park with other friends and everything.”

Not only has Rolo been a great companion, but the Dutch-Indonesian mixed martial artist reveals that his pitbull adds value to his life.

“He definitely taught me how to be more responsible and patient,” the featherweight confesses.

“I am not always the most patient person, but I have got to be when I’m teaching him a new trick. So, I think those are the few things that he taught me.”

Pets Are Pillars Of Support


Women’s atomweight contender Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan has six cats.

She has a Persian named Olive, a munchkin named Garlic, and four domestic short-haired cats named Snowflake, Shadow Hunter, Peanut, and Kaka, and all of those animals are pillars of support.

Whether she trains at Ultimate MMA Academy in Johor Bahru, Malaysia or tucks herself in bed, the athlete’s pets are always by her side.

“Every cat has a different character, and they always make me happy, even though I’m just staring at them,” she explains.

“Another thing I like about them is that they are very independent creatures. Loyalty is another factor.

“Sometimes they act like they don’t care about me when I [leave the house]. But whenever I arrive home, they are always waiting for me at the front door and greeting me with a purr, asking me to pet them, or even biting me.”

As a person who has taken care of furry friends since she was seven years old, Jihin admits that cats – or pets in general – are a great way for athletes to destress.

“Martial artists should have one pet at least because they are great companions that help you release stress during your tough days,” she continues.

“Some people aren’t good at sharing their problems with another person, so pets can be a ‘person’ for you to talk with.”

Pets Are Selfless Creatures

As an athlete, you sometimes have to be selfish to be successful. After all, most of your time is dedicated to bettering your martial arts skills and mindset.

That leaves little room for sharing time with others. But a pet could be a reminder of how important it is to spend time with those you care about.

ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee echoes similar sentiments.

The 23-year-old queen of the Circle has two dogs who remind her of the power of unconditional love.

“My two dogs are Rocky, an American Bulldog, and Athena, an American Bully. Rocky is 4 years old and Athena is almost 2. They bring so much joy – not just to me, but everyone they meet,” Lee says.

“I spend my free time playing with them, exercising with them, feeding them, and bonding together. Rocky and Athena are always by my side. They protect me and always brighten my day. They are honestly the most selfless creatures. All they want is to love and to be loved.”

Read more: The Toy Collection That Defines Brandon Vera’s Alter Ego

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