Ievgen won the Championship of Ukraine when he was only 17 years old, but the biggest victory is that Kyokushin karate helped him to become a man.
Training: To stay in shape Ievgen fights with friends on his spare time. Photo: Alexandra Filip
Ievgen Minchyk is 22 years old and started his career as a Kyokushin karate fighter ten years ago. Kyokushin is declared the toughest type of karate and consists on self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Despite his short career, Ievgen has already participated in more than 20 competitions.
Champion against all odds
Ievgen was 12 years old when he entered the karate world. Back then he was a child who only saw the difficulty of the sport and not its beauty. But only five years later, at 17 years old, he became the Champion of Ukraine in his age group.
- In the beginning I didn’t even realize what happened to me, you couldn’t read anything on my face, but inside my mind there were fireworks, Ievgen recalls, with emotion crossing his face.
It was a tough fight with a stronger opponent and Ievgen entered the arena hoping he will win at least the first round. But he won three out of four rounds and became the champion. For his opponent though, things didn’t look good; he broke his leg and had a concussion.
- But then he came up to me and shook my hand and told me that I am a very good fighter. Even if we lose we don’t blame the opponent, because we know it's our fault for not being well enough prepared, explains Ievgen.
He was only 14 years old when he participated in his first competition.
- It was very funny because I wanted to have this experience and my trainer said to me “you must only fight, don’t think about winning and the prize”. But, I was thinking of the prize.
After two minutes of fighting, he lost, but Ievgen wasn’t disappointed because he understood he had to train harder to win. And, at his forth competition when he was 16 years old, Ievgen won the bronze medal. It happened in Yalta where he fought against one of Crimea's best fighters.
Owner of the brown belt
Will: Kyokushin karate is about your will power, Ievgen says.
Photo: Alexandra Filip
Ievgen won also the right to train children up to 12 years old, and as he says, it's a big deal to earn this right. You first have to achieve a brown belt.
- It’s not only the ability to fight. You also have to pass a test which includes history of martial arts and philosophy. It's required to know all the techniques regarding how to explain to children, he says.
Growing up with only one parent, his mother, Ievgen admits that the sport helped him to become better, and to become a man. He now sees the problems he must face in life as enemies, against which he should fight and win.
- The main message is that it’s not a simple sport you do only to get healthy or to learn how to fight in the street. It’s about your inner feelings, it makes you a real human being and it forms your personality, Ievgen says.
The karate philosophy
Ievgen quickly understood the meaning of martial arts: The will power. With seriousness in his voice, he explains what this means.
- When you fight for the first time your adrenaline level is so high that you don’t even feel the kicks and you can’t hear anything. Sometimes you can’t even think about what you are doing, you can’t calculate the movements. Later, when you get experience, it’s easier. You can hear the coach, and that helps you to coordinate your movements, because he can see the mistakes of the opponent better.
After years, Ievgen can say that the sport changed his life and that he learned it's beauty. He will leave Volda in the beginning of June and will return to his home-country to fulfill his dream: Winning the black belt.