An 11-time Professional Kickboxing World Champion, an actor and a martial artist whose name can be found in the European Golden List arrived to Ukraine at the invitation the Public Organization “Bessarabia Development Center” represented by its co-founder, Mr. Victor Kurtiev, in order to meet his fans – the young sportsmen.
Due to the high interest of the journalists, the first part of the meeting was a press-conference held in the Izmail State University on the Humanities. The Hollywood star was awaited by the students, teachers, Mr. Jaroslav Kychuk, the Rector of the said University and the martial trainers.
65-years old Don Wilson remembers his first trip to Ukraine in the early 1990’s. He believes that since that time serious changes have taken place in all spheres including sport. He was delighted to state that in Ukraine the martial arts are still popular and even more people became interested in this kind of sports he devoted all his life to.
Talking about himself, his biography and plans for the future, Mr. Wilson told that he was born in the first post-war decade in the United States, in a Japanese-American family. His mother, a Japanese woman who did not speak English, and his father, an American man who did not speak Japanese, were the children of two different nations fought a sever war against each other, managed to live the whole life together in dignity. According to Don Wilson, this is one more expressive example of “building the bridges” between people and overcoming alienation. “People have to stick together” – these were the last words of Don Wilson at the meeting. The master treasures his family; he has a daughter and two sons. However, his kids did not follow him in the martial arts. His mother, wife, children and brother are his closest people.
Before acting in the films he worked in different working places. He was 30+ when he appeared at the shooting stage and felt himself old among young actors. However, after first successful roles he felt different and became popular.
The Dragon dreams about taking part in TV-shows like his close friend Chuck Norris. One of such shows should have been started in Beijing, but it has been suspended. By the way, the most dangerous stunts were done by him without a double.
Notwithstanding the movie career, his major hobby is martial arts. Besides acting in the cinema, Don “The Dragon” Wilson has been traveling around the world for decades, attracting people of all nationalities to the sports lifestyle and the art of sports fighting. Sport is the core of his life. That is what he can do the best. When it came to the martial arts, he recalled the words of his hero, Bruce Lee who was a professional in the great amount of martial arts but not in the only one and persuaded the followers to study all existing styles to eventually find and improve the one they long for. He also believes that a good teacher will not push his student to the take the right way but he will direct and help him see that way. When a child is interested and ready to study, it starts asking questions; otherwise there will be difficulties in the studying process. “The Dragon” thinks that a worthy goal is to inspire a student. At the same time, following the old martial artists, the teacher warns: “It is impossible to implant the ready templates in the student’s head and put them into his hands. He still has to follow his unique creative path, and the mentor will only point out the principles. Don Wilson noted the importance of intelligence and faith when doing something. Thus, the result will be achieved.
During the vivid press-conference, the guest from the USA was open-minded and friendly to the audience. There is no need to stress on the absence of any racial prejudices. Discussing this subject, Mr. Wilson remembered of Bruce Lee once again who disregarded the traditional Chinese prohibition on teaching the foreigners the martial arts and taught anyone who came to him. As for the qualities of a person he considers compassion for poor people a very important one, while the status and the title are the empty words to him. He spoke enthusiastically of his colleagues donating their millions to the modern oncology hospitals in the United States.
The press-conference was followed by the exciting albeit tough training at the Sports Complex of the Kamenka village. More than 300 children and their trainers arrived from the different corners of Bessarabia to meet Mr. Wilson and attend his master class. He was teaching the participants the basic techniques: stakes, defense, various types of punches. The main thing that Don “The Dragon” tried to give young fighters was the motivation.
The current visit is unusual for a named American trainer particularly as he was working with children, but not with the more mature sportsmen as usual. He finds a considerable advantage in work with the younger generation since having passed the difficult sports path and based on his own huge experience, Don “The Dragon” hopes to help future athletes avoid repeating the mistakes. By learning from other people’s mistakes, children will surely be able to move beyond their predecessors.
His own technique is based on defense but not on attack. Among Don’s achievements there are 72 victories, 48 of which ended in the knockouts, and two battles ended in a draw. There were five defeats. When speaking about the fundamental principles of his work, the mentor considers it to be the right mindset, belief in success and perseverance. In twenty-eight years of fighting, he had to endure many injuries and painful moments, but Don “The Dragon” never surrendered.
“As long as you are alive, can breath and do not give up, you still have some opportunities and your defeats are not final”, – considers Mr. Wilson.
Don Wilson calls not to be afraid of mistakes, since the victories are easily forgotten, while every even tiny error and failure is the “growing point” and a resource for further advancement. He remembered himself young when he lived in an area inhabited both by the white-skin people and African-Americans from whom he suffered a lot even thought he was half European and half Asian. When he became interested in sports, he noticed that all those people even liked him. He considers this case to be an example of the successful conversion of a negative into a positive…
In training, he prefers to teach the fundamentals – basic postures and movements. By the way, speaking of details, “The Dragon” feels more comfortable when moving the right side of the body to the opponent, just like Bruce Lee did. Even being a middle age man, the smiling teacher was passing to and fro the crowded gym very easily and fast. Despite the language barrier he was trying to talk to every young learner. The trainers from the Ukrainian side were engaged in the process as well by supporting the explanations of Mr. Wilson and involving every kid into the training process. It should be added that Don “The Dragon” Wilson hopes to come back to Ukraine for making a fascinating movie. He is sure that our country should be “discovered” again to the West and more tourists should be attracted. However, our Hollywood guest joked that in Ukraine it won’t be easy to find the characters to play the villain.
Among other things, he was pleasantly surprised by the Ukrainian and Bessarabian cuisine. Mr. Wilson noticed a great achievement of nutrition industry and talked about quality vitamins and mineral food supplements which have been introduced to the market and helped him when he was 45 years old to restore his failing health and even improve his eyesight.
At the end of the visit, Mr. Wilson warmly thanked the Public Organization “Bessarabia Development Centre” and its co-founder, Ukrainian “Elon Musk” – Victor Kurtiev for a rich and impressionable trip. In his turn, Mr. Kurtiev recalled that any good changes of any cause are implemented step by step and are impossible without innovative ideas and painstaking thoughtful work which is based among other on bringing in the best teachers, just like our guest from the United States.