This is a thread to remember one of the greatest fighters who unfortunately died at a very young age due to luekemia. Andy has been first not Japanese to receive from the Japanese Federation title of "SAMURAI" . In fact was called "the blue eyes SAMURAI".
Biography - Childhood
Andy Hug was born on the 7th of September 1964 in Zurich, Switzerland. His father, Arthur, a foreign legionnaire in the service of France, died in mysterious circumstances in Thailand, without ever once having spoken to his son. Difficult family circumstances forced his mother, Madelaine Hug-Baumann, to pursue gainful employment; Andy seldom saw her.
Without doubt, it was fortunate that he, together with his brother Charly and sister Fabienne, was permitted to grow up with his grandparents in Wohlen in the Canton of Argovia. His grandmother therefore slipped into the role of his mother and gave him the love that a child needs for his development.
His grandfather, Herrmann Baumann, worked as a bricklayer and provided the family's upkeep. The family led a very simple life, but were otherwise happy. Grandmother was the good-hearted soul of the household and at the same time at the centre of family life. Everyone sensed that her entire vital energy was spent on ensuring the children flourish and the upkeep of the house and garden. The honesty, modesty and the interpersonal warmth that she presented as an example to the children exercised a great influence on Andy. He experienced her as a woman whose Earth Mother-like and inexhaustible strength gave him support and feelings of security. Later, as a successful fighter, he emphasized again and again that harmonious family relationships are a necessary prerequisite for producing extraordinary achievements.
His relationship with his grandfather remained fraught with tension. Frictions and differences of opinion were an everyday event. Despite this, they liked one another, each in his own way.
Andy's grandfather died while Andy was still at school. A very painful experience and probably one of his most intense emotional experiences. This loss hit him hard; he missed his grandfather and needed a longer time before he had come to terms with this loss.
Andy had a good and close relationship with his three-year-older brother Charly, who always stood by him when he needed help. Initially, his five year older sister remained somewhat more distant. Only once Andy was older, did he find new access to his sister. They discovered their relationship to be a mutual enrichment and maintained loving contact up to his death.
Biography - Youth
Wohlen is a typical provincial village. The mentality of its inhabitants and the village life that is lived out in houses, shops and pubs, formed a fabric with its own order and with rules that youngsters have to obey. Everyone knows everyone else and is part of a network of relationships that characterizes several generations. There is no talk of hierarchy, but it exists as a reflection of the social structure of the village population. Andy and his brother and sister belonged without doubt to a social class that had very little say. For this reason, people later gave him the image of an underdog who wanted to assert himself over his social betters.
Very early on it turned out that Andy was a definite talent at sport. As a six-year-old, he started playing football. Only a few years later, he was picked for the 'U-16' (under sixteen-year-olds) for the Canton of Argovia and eventually nominated to play for Switzerland. At eleven, he was permitted to accompany a neighbour's son to karate practice for the first time. Despite strong opposition from his grandfather, he began to train in this Far-Eastern martial art. When he asked for a permit to train in karate, his grandmother became aware that there was more to it than just youthful enthusiasm. She employed all her skill and eventually managed to obtain his grandfather's agreement.
Andy's astounding development into a karate fighter was certainly with one reason in mind, namely that he would be better able to assert himself. At the same time though, it also had the consequence that other boys made fun of him, provoked him and tried to put him down. Though Andy suffered from this treatment, at the same time it fostered his independence and in time he learnt to hold his own against stronger boys. The karate training helped him achieve more self-confidence and enabled him to develop talents.
At thirteen, Andy already stood out as an exceptional talent and won many beginners' competitions. At this time his strength lay more in theoretical competition than in single combat. A year later he already counted as Switzerland's best trainee exponent. Under pressure from his grandparents, he had finally to decide between football and karate, since they were no longer in a position to pay for both. For Andy it was clear that he was going to devote himself in future to the Far Eastern art. He followed a strong inner motivation and no longer wanted to be successful just in the technical discipline but rather in future to gauge his strength at tournaments in single combat with others, and to win.
At the age of fifteen, his extraordinary combat talent was revealed and for the first time he won the national 'Oyama Cup'. At seventeen, he became joint founder of a new karate school in Bremgarten. At this time, he had already been a member of the elite national Kyokushinkai karate team for a year. Since the minimum age for full-contact fights was twenty, the up-and-coming young sportsman had to present the written permission of his grandparents. Three years later, he had established himself countrywide as a unique fighter with outstanding technical and mental abilities.
As a schoolboy, he dreamed of training as a sports teacher at a later date. Though his marks enabled him to go to the secondary school, there were limits to his interest in learning. Since no one gave him additional support or urged him on, his achievements at school remained average. During the final school year, his grandfather obtained an apprenticeship for him as a butcher in the same business where his brother was already working. Under pressure from his grandmother Fridy, he started his apprenticeship. However, right to the end of his apprenticeship, he was only interested in karate and he invested every spare moment in training.
Towards the end of his time at school, Andy hung around regularly with gangs of youths, who threatened to lead him astray. He sensed the urge to rebel against the prescribed order, but it did not really satisfy him. Fortunately, he thought better of it one day and changed course at the last moment. In Karate, he had found a path that enabled him to develop the required abilities to overcome his bad habits. He recognized that a successful fighter does not act with passion and violence, but rather from an inner conviction and determination that knows no defeat. He learnt quite naturally to accept the experiences of the street and to cope with their consequences. He succeeded in coming to terms with them, without suffering psychological damage.
In his training community, Andy had finally found friends, who had let themselves be infected and transported by his fire and his tireless commitment. They had become fellow travellers who demanded everything from one another during training. With his enduring dedication he had given them a lot and spurred them on again and again. Conversely, he had found partners in them that he needed in order to achieve his aims.
Biography - K-1
The Seidokai Association, brought into being by Ishii, the martial arts promoter, promoted two forms of training: That of the classic full-contact karate and that of Thai and kickboxing, which form the training basis for Seidokan contests. Ishii was disturbed by the fact that there were countless masters in the various types and associations of martial arts, without any comparison ever having been drawn between them. Therefore and, as a result of his efforts, the full-contact league K-1 was founded in 1993. The letter K stands for karate, kung fu, kempo and kickboxing, and the number 1 for the strongest fighter, the number one. As early as the first events, the tickets were sold out after an hour and the TV ratings shot up.
Tokyo, March 1994. In the Budokan stadium, thousands of people celebrated the new heroes of the K-1 professional league with an enthusiasm that bordered on hysteria. At this time, all martial arts insiders were in agreement that in technical respects there was a huge difference between the very experienced kick and Thai boxers and the contact karate practitioners. Dyed-in-the-wool Thai boxers probably respected Andy Hug as a karate or Seidokan star, but not as one of theirs, because he had started in this discipline too late. The fact that Andy, who had previously contested only two Thai-boxing fights, dared to put himself up against the heavyweight world champion Branco Cikatic in the ring, caused astonishment even amongst his critics. For a martial arts fan, this encounter was a unique experience. The cycle of the various sequences appeared almost as if the best scenes from different fights had been cut out and joined together. After the last round, everyone waited for the umpires' verdict. All three gave victory to Andy. He was clearly the stronger one and had won. In his career as a fighter, the contest against Branco Cikatic had been up to then surely his greatest challenge and had demanded of him the most skill and strength.
Know yourself, keep yourself under control, understand yourself, steel yourself, cleanse your mind and keep your body fit!»
(Andy Hug, 1997)
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
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:
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.
> 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
> WKA European Muay Thai Super Heavyweight
Knowing how sick he was Andy had this to say.
I think that you will be shocked when you hear in what state of health I am. When the doctor told me about it, it was an enormous shock even for myself. But I want to inform you about my state of health so that I can fight together with you against this illness. This illness is the most severe opponent of all my fights. But I will win. As if I would stand in the ring I will get power from your cheers and beat this strong opponent. Unfortunately I will not be able to fight at the tournament in October. I will fight against this illness in Japan and one day I will appear again with you. Don't lose hope!
After his last fight with Cro Cop, Hug addressed the crowd.
"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."
After that the ringside announcer had this to say.
"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!"
There were never any real ill feeling toward Andy has he tried to show the upmost respect to everyone and everytime he went out to fight you knew you could count on him to have a good performance in a win or in a defeat. Hug was what every fighter should strive to be and his legacy will live on.
Here are some highlights for everyone to remember Andy Hug by: