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Don "The Dragon" Wilson

 

The Year of the Dragon only happens once every 12 years. According to the kickboxing calendar, the Dragon ruled the world for 11 consecutive years. Eleven years-starting on October 13, 1980, when he first became world champion-Don "The Dragon" Wilson has been beating everyone and everything, traveling to every country and continent, fighting under the auspices of every organization and under every rule.

Don "The Dragon" Wilson (born September 10, 1954, Coco Beach, Florida, USA) to a family of Vietnamese-Irish descent. In school he studied well and was very active in sports: American soccer and basketball, track and field. Had dreams of space. - Kickboxer, movie actor, producer and screenwriter. Over the course of 11 years, Don Dragon was repeatedly world champion in three weight classes, defeating a total of 11 world champions. As a kid, Don had to fight a lot to stand up for himself, because he lived in a place where there were almost no Asians, and there were plenty of white racists and black gangs. Wilson got his nickname "The Dragon" after he started to learn the dragon style of karate in 1976, and in 1984 STAR, the independent ranking organization, announced that Don was the greatest kickboxer in the world-Benny Urquidez, Bill Wallace and Joe Lewis-and thus became the greatest.

Kickboxing record:

82 fights, 72 wins (47 KOs), 5 losses, 2 draws, 3 no contests.

11 World titles on different versions: IKF, WKA, KICK, ISKA, STAR and PKO. Took the last title at the age of 45.

Member of the WKL World Kickboxing League.

Weight range from middleweight to welterweight.

On May 14, 1999, Don Wilson stepped into the ring in Massachusetts to face Dick Kimber. Dragon flew into town to win the world title. At the end of the third round, it happened. Dragon landed a left jab and then sent "The Destroyer" into a knockdown with several lightning strikes.

In 1985, Wilson travels to Los Angeles to begin a film career. At first, he got the occasional "go and kick some ass" role. Wilson was lucky that "King of the B-Class" Roger Corman decided to make a kickboxing movie. For which he started looking for real kickboxers-all pointed to Wilson. Corman called Wilson on the phone and invited him to shoot. Van Damme was to be paired with "The Dragon." Fortunately, a movie fight is not at all like a fight in reality. Despite his successes, Wilson recalls most fondly the days when he was kickboxing.

"I was in love with the sport and can only hope I gave it as much as it gave me."

Don threw about 20 punches during one round. While his opponents threw (at best) seven or eight punches in the same time frame.

"The key was training," claims Wilson, "My training was focused on getting my legs to jump all twelve rounds.

To acquire this super form, Wilson practiced his "iron man training" methodology.

"I wanted to learn how to throw punches as easily as I danced," Wilson says, "and I needed strength, speed, flexibility and endurance to do it. As the first part of his "ironman workout," Wilson practiced an hour of vigorous exercise on an exercise bike.

"It pumped up my hips and had a great effect on my side kick," he says.

The second part of the workout was a strenuous running workout in which short sprints were interspersed with long-distance runs.

The third part was a nonstop 45-minute rope exercise.

After that, Wilson would dive into the pool and begin practicing his kicking technique, using the water for more resistance.

"I'd go in over my shoulders in the water and practice my kicks in the water," Wilson said, "This allowed me to stretch, smooth, and strengthen my leg muscles in a safe way. I also tried to hit over the water, increasing my speed significantly as my foot ripped into the water

With such intense training, Wilson achieved such a significant advantage over his opponents.

"My goal was to never get tired during a fight," Wilson says. I knew that if I could kick my opponent for 12 rounds, I'd have a great chance of winning by knockout or points.

In addition to his "iron man training," Wilson also improved his boxing and kickboxing skills.

Although Wilson trained extremely hard, he was careful not to overwork himself. I always listened to my body," says Wilson, winner of ten world titles in three weight classes, "if I felt I was too tired, I gave myself a break. If I happened to injure any part of the body, I would work other muscle groups until the injury healed.

Despite the time-consuming nature of his film career, Wilson has not stopped his grueling workouts.

"I can't give it as much time as I'd like," Wilson admits, "but every once in a while I still work out as if I were training for a fight. I like the sense of concentration that exercise gives me, both in and out of the ring.

Wilson also admits he can't let go of the idea of returning to the sport.

"Sometimes the desire is so strong that I want to jump in the ring right out of my tuxedo and fight some of these guys myself," he says. Wilson stops talking for a second, then laughs. "But, hell, my girlfriend, my agent and my manager would kill me on the spot, and I'm no match for those three. Life goes on, and I have to admit that my life is pretty good right now."

In his eulogy to the young athletes, Wilson emphasized:

- It doesn't matter what you have in your life - sports, music or anything else you're passionate about. Just go for your goal with confidence and take one small step every day. And then you will succeed, and you will find yourself in life, as I once found myself. And you will achieve a lot.