«Know yourself, keep yourself under control»

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In contrast to his hard fighting in the ring, he was distinguished above all by his personal characteristics, such as modesty, honesty, kindness, willingness to help and sense of justice.

The harmonization of our strengths and of our awareness – and not victory over others – is the key to success. This is how it is taught by the traditional martial arts. For Andy, a fight was art – a way to unfold the strength encapsulated in his heart. He constantly developed  and improved fight combinations, impressing opponents and fans with his energetic and attractive style of fighting. 

In Japan, people also called Andy 'the typhoon', symbolizing his outward strength and inner peace. His nature gave rise to an unusual response from the media and inspired millions of people on their journeys through life.

Reviver of the martial arts philosophy

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Andy Hug became the symbol for a new form of global martial arts philosophy. He conducted his fights in the sense of a spiritual fulfilment. Decisions, actions, art and career developed into a unique union throughout his journey along life's path. His inner demeanour, his versatile technical repertoire and the different methods he acquired in the course of his life all served to overcome his limitations in order then to continue his path on a higher plane.

 

The history of bushido, the 'inner way' of the warrior, reveals to us that change and regeneration have occurred again and again and that new possibilities have arisen for the development of mankind's creative drive. The fighter's highest ideal is to battle for a just and righteous cause. Andy's desire was to propagate martial arts throughout the world. Countless young people saw in him a role model and an idol, on whom they were able to base their own development. By means of his character and his martial arts, a connection between the occidental and oriental cultures was created, which revealed outstanding possibilities as to how different cultural needs could be networked with one another: The interaction of commerce, physical activities, entertainment, philosophy or art enabled major events to be organized, which made the values of martial arts more accessible to a wider public.

 

 
As impressive as his sporting achievements were, they are by no means representative of his whole life's work. His life elicited an extraordinary response from the media and inspired many people setting off on their path through life. Even critics of this full-contact sport were impressed time after time by the way he pursued his path with such determination, and by how authentic his appearances and his personality appeared. For the Japanese, he embodied the renewal of their own martial arts philosophy.

Highlights of a career

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Andy Hug was

  • the first Swiss national to advance to the world's top ranking in Kyokushinkai Karate. 
  • the first non-Asian to achieve entry to a world championship final.
  • the first non-Asian to become professional world champion in full-contact karate
  • the first karate fighter able to hold his own against the best kick and Thai boxers.
  • the first martial arts fighter with a karate background to win the K-1 Grand Prix. 

 

Titles won

  • K-1 World Grand Prix Champion - 1996
  • K-1 World Grand Prix Finalist - 1997, 1998
  • K-1 World Grand Prix Last 8 - 1994, 1999
  • UKF World Super Heavyweight Champion 1994
  • WMTC World Super Heavyweight Champion
  • WKA World Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion 1996
  • WKA European Muay Thai Super Heavyweight Champion 1997/1998/1999/2000

Fighting was his life, career, art and philosophy

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Discipline, will power and inner conviction accompanied Andy constantly on his path to joining the world top rankings for martial arts.

His career counts as unparalleled. Just in Kyokushinkai Karate, Andy fought over 250 international contests and counted as practically unbeatable.

This table summarizes his major international fights from 1982 to 2000.
 

Goodbye Andy

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In the year 2000, the master of ceremonies in the "Hallenstadium" in Zurich loudly proclaimed Andy as the winner of his farewell fight against Mirko 'The Crocop' Filipovich. Andy grasped the microphone and turned to the spectators and said:

"Hallo everyone! Today is the last time that I'll be standing here. For me this is a wonderful farewell. I always wanted to show you my best and have always fought from the heart. I wanted to show you what top-class sport is and what K-1 is. It is one of the hardest types of sport; you have to be trained specifically for many disciplines, so as to be able to get so far at all. Everyone who fought this evening has really given of his best  – I believe that is worthy of huge applause."

 

The feelings of the winners, losers and all the spectators erupted in thunderous applause. Andy waited until the applause had subsided, then grasped the microphone once more and continued:

 

"I would like to thank someone very special, namely Ilona ... It is very important to me! She has supported me throughout my entire sporting career. I want to dedicate my victory to her. She has really always been there to support me and this win is for her. Ilona, many thanks!" Ilona, who was sitting in ringside seat, could no longer hold back her tears.

In the stadium, a veritable firework display of emotions exploded. One last time, Andy turned to the audience and thanked everyone present.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are saying goodbye here in the ring to a great sporting legend, a great fighter and a great human being. Andy is right, you have been fantastic spectators and we want to enjoy this moment with him!" With these words, the master of ceremonies bade farewell to Andy. All the contestants went up onto the stage and Erkan Aki appeared in their midst, then sang an anthem to heroism in his strong and classically trained voice. His song filled the "Hallenstadium" and ensured a worthy and ceremonial end to the event, which itself carried the title of  "Goodbye Andy". Andy stood there motionless, looking upward and reminiscent of a statue of Hercules. He was filled with gratitude for his family, his fans, his friends, and his opponents and was proud of the fact that he had achieved so much as a martial arts fighter. No one could have any idea at that time that his departure two months later would have quite a different significance.