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Biography - Perspectives


Kazuyoshi Ishii, himself a member of the Kyokushinkai Organization, recognized the economic potential of full-contact events and decided to bring a professional league into being. At the end of 1991, on the occasion of a tournament in Japan, at which Andy took part as manager for the national team, Ishii put forward his concept to him. This idea corresponded to Andy's dreams of many years' standing: Competitors should receive the support they need in order to be able to devote a hundred per cent of their time to training. But the disappointment of the last world championships was still ingrained; he saw his martial arts ideals called into question. When he told Ilona of Ishii's suggestion, she strengthened and encouraged his resolve: "Fighting is your life! You have given up everything for it, employed all your strength for it. This is your chance - you have to grab it with both hands! I'll continue to give you my support with it." Thanks to her, he recognized that a unique opportunity was awaiting him here, a new challenge that would enable him to rediscover his mental equilibrium.


Once Kazuyoshi Ishii had been able to convince Andy to go professional, Andy stood in the ring in Tokyo for the first time in July of 1992. From this time onwards, he beat the best karate fighters one after the other. The tournaments at which the Swiss man fought with success rapidly turned into extremely popular major events. The public were impressed by his way of fighting. At last a karate fighter was demonstrating the unity of technical diversity, spectacular aesthetics, tactical skill and psychological strength.


On the 28th of August 1993 the time had come. It was like a fairy tale: Accompanied by gospel sounds, Andy and Ilona stepped up to the altar in the richly decorated church in Inwil. The numerous rows of sunflowers symbolized happiness and fertility. At the same time, the wedding was a symbol for the phase of Andy's life at the time: At the centre stood his decision in favour of a family, but besides this there had also been a change in many respects. For example, he had changed from Kyokushinkai to Seidokai karate, completing the step from being an amateur to becoming a professional and developing from an insider fighter to a star in Japan.


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