4 Martial Artists That Became Politicians

The 2020 Singapore general election is upon us, and it’s time, as a people, to unite now more than ever for the future of our great nation. Voting is a huge part of any democracy, and the leaders we elect into power should represent our ideals and champion our rights as citizens.

Did you know that many politicians today came from a martial arts background, or were once former (and even current) martial artists? Yes, martial arts, which we all know and love, has the power to guide people down the right path, instilling in them the human values of honor, integrity, compassion, and resilience.

Martial artists make great politicians because they know and have dealt with hardship and trials in their lives, which have molded them into who they are today. They have answered the call of public service, and have decided to dedicate their time and resources to help the people.

Let’s have a little fun and check out a handful of the more prominent martial artists today who have transitioned into public service.

Today, Evolve Daily shares four martial artists that became politicians.


1) Manny Pacquiao


Manny Pacquiao is boxing’s first-ever eight division world champion.

Boxing’s only eight-division world champion, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is no doubt a legend in the ring. He can do it all. He can box, he can sing and act (or at least he tries to), and he can even play professional basketball. But at Pacquiao’s core is his affinity to help his people, many of whom face extreme poverty.

It’s certainly no surprise that Pacquiao would choose to become a public servant, as he himself came from hardship and understands the plight of his people. He used boxing to escape his dire predicament, and today he’s one of the wealthiest men in the country.

manny pacquiao politician

Manny Pacquiao still boxes while serving as a politician.

Yet, instead of choosing to live a life of extravagance and enjoy the fruits of his labor, Pacquiao entered the political arena.

In 2010, Pacquiao was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress of the Philippines, representing his home province of Sarangani. In 2016, Pacquiao then became a Senator. He’s since carved a reputation as a man of the people, and often uses his influence to help others.

Pacquiao was recently in headlines when former promoter Bob Arum supposedly leaked his plans to run for Presidency in the 2022 elections.


2) Vitali Klitschko

vitali klitschko

Vitali Klitschko is one of the greatest boxers of the modern era.

Former heavyweight boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko is hands down a pound-for-pound great and legend of the boxing ring. Of course, with a nickname like “Dr. Ironfist,” success in his career was inevitable from the beginning.

In his prime, Klitschko was a dominant force with a nearly 90 percent knockout ratio. He hammered opponents with his piston-like jab and stunned them with both power and efficiency. At his best, Klitschko was unstoppable. Notable victories include wins over Chris Byrd, Danny Williams, Samuel Peter, Chris Arreola, and Dereck Chisora, among others.

Klitschko started in politics in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he would become Mayor of Kiev. “Dr. Ironfist”, however, has been met with a mixed reception since coming into power, with people divided on their opinion of how he’s handling his seat.

But you have to give credit where it’s due. Klitschko is still trying to learn the ropes and is confident he can serve his people as good as he can box them.


3) Nelson Mandela


Many people don’t know about Nelson Mandela’s boxing past.

Everyone who ever knew him said the late Nelson Mandela was just overall a very nice guy. But what many don’t know is that Mandela was hardened in prison, where he began boxing. He was a featherweight menace in the ring long before he became South African President.

Mandela was a huge boxing fan, and he loved the sport.

Mandela was incarcerated in 1962, and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment after challenging the government. He served 27 years, moving from facility to facility. It was during his time behind bars that he learned how to fight. He also exercised every morning and kept in great physical shape.

“I did not enjoy the violence of boxing so much as the science of it. I was intrigued by how one moved one’s body to protect oneself, how one used a strategy both to attack and retreat, how one paced oneself over a match,” Mandela wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

“Boxing is egalitarian. In the ring, rank, age, color, and wealth are irrelevant. I never did any real fighting after I entered politics. My main interest was in training; I found the rigorous exercise to be an excellent outlet for tension and stress. After a strenuous workout, I felt both mentally and physically lighter.”


4) Chantal Jouanno

Before politics, Chantal Jouanno had a very successful karate career.

French Senator Chantal Jouanno assumed office in October of 2011, and has been a politician ever since. But before she took on a life of public service, Jouanno was a former Karate world champion.

She is a 12-time Karate champion, and in 2010 won the Karate French Karate Team Championships at the Pierre de Coubertin in Paris alongside team mates Véronique Mesnil De Vido and Léna Pyrée.

In 1999, Jouanno became a civil servant at the Ministry of the Interior. In 2008 she was appointed President of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). Between 2009-2010, she was named Secretary of State for Ecology in the second French Government of François Fillon. She also once served as Minister of Sports.

Martial arts, it seems, instills the focus and skill necessary to function at the highest levels of public office, and Jouanno has proven that martial artists can be good at anything if they put the right amount of discipline into their undertakings.

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