From his aspirations of being a World Champion in ONE Championship and taking home another gold medal in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, Rene “The Challenger” Catalan is certainly a busy man.
But that does not stop him from giving back to his community.
The 40-year-old Catalan recently held a martial arts tournament called Philippine Encuentro Championship: Search for Philippine Heroes last Saturday, 25 May at the Catalan Fighting Systems Gym in Makati.
Catalan hopes to discover new athletes who are looking to make a name for themselves in the sport – and through this tournament, he’s confident that they can do just that.
“Our mission is to help our Filipino athletes to improve there martial arts skills and scout for new talent in different sports,” said the elder Catalan.
“There are so many talented athletes here but the problem is there are few opportunities for exposure, that’s why I opened this tournament. This is a way for them to start their careers.”
The event was a rousing success for Catalan as aspiring martial artists flocked his gym and competed.
That was more than enough to put a smile on Catalan’s face.
“It was a success. I am so happy that there are a lot of people who came and supported. This is just a proof that the sport of martial arts continues to grow in the country,” shared Catalan.
“We received good feedback and we’re looking forward to more events.”
Catalan, who last competed in the ONE Circle at ONE: REIGN OF VALOR when he stopped former World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita Naito, shared that he’s not just looking to build skills through this, he hopes to build character.
“It’s important for athletes to know that careers aren’t the only thing that’s built by joining these kinds of tournament. It also helps shape their attitude and determination,” said Catalan.
After the rousing success of the event, Catalan plans to do three more events before this year ends.
It might be a lot considering his busy schedule, but there’s no stopping him in his goal of helping the Filipino martial arts community.
“We would like to this every two months. My next target date will be on July 27 then may be two more events before we end 2019,” shared Catalan.
“This is one of the ways where I can give back to the fans and to the people who’ve been supporting me since day one,” he added. “I want to help them. I want to raise their level and push them to reach their dreams in martial arts.”