With more than two decades in combat sports, former ONE Strawweight World Title contender Rene “The Challenger” Catalan has achieved much while representing the Philippines both locally and internationally.
Now nearing the winter of his career, the Iloilo City native spends much of his time developing new athletes – and his 15-year-old son, Rene Catalan Jr., is one of them.
“Ever since he was young, he showed determination to learn, which is one of the main things I look at when it comes to people wanting to be in MMA,” Catalan said.
“As much as possible, I want him to echo my principles in life. I am teaching him how to be responsible. When it comes to school and the gym, I want him to develop discipline, dedication, determination, passion, and of course, fear in God.”
On top of physical training, Catalan Sr. is also teaching his son how to prepare for battles both mentally and spiritually. That has not been a problem for the kid they fondly call “Peri,” who has been impressively juggling his academics and training.
“I urge him to focus on his studies in Makati High School because education is important. He goes to school every morning, at night he’s training. Sunday is his only rest day,” Catalan said.
“I don’t see any problem with him. He follows instructions and he remains disciplined. I always tell him the importance of continuous learning.
“In training, we’re focused on the basics so it will remain with him forever. We polish his boxing, wrestling, and wushu, and we add some elements of luta livre and Muay Thai.”
Rene is aware that building a great athlete, let alone his own son, is a tough task. But he is confident that “Peri” has all the tools needed to be successful in sport and in life.
“I don’t want to put pressure on him,” Catalan said, “but I see him following my footsteps one day. It may be too early, but the potential is there.”
“I have achieved a lot of things in martial arts, and if there are things that I failed to accomplish, I know that he will achieve it for me one day.”
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