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By Sonia Ahmed  |  8 August 2019   

One of the best kickboxers in Pakistan, Inam-ul-Haq, led a team of fighters to the World Martial Arts Summit in late December 2016. He debuted as an international competition, and his team won five gold medals as a New Year gift for the country.

The Pakistani team competed against the best kickboxers from 12 countries. Though new to the international landscape, Inam’s sheer determination, vigorous training, and years of hard work led his team to glorious success.

“I have been practicing martial arts for 18 years, but this was the first time I fought internationally.” said Inam.

Ladder of Success

Multi-talented Inam climbed the ladder of success, step by step. Starting with Karate, he explored various arenas of kickboxing, grappling, boxing, and MMA. He proved his mettle in all these disciplines at both the national and international level.

His parents encouraged him to pursue a career in kickboxing, a lesser-known sport in his country. Inam had minimal training facilities at his disposal, and official support was scanty.

But, Inam never gave up!

The struggle continued after his selection to lead the international squad. The players had to bear the expenses of their trip themselves, and the tournament was in Thailand. They couldn't arrange funds without government support.

Fortunately, the Sindh ministry did help, but it could cover only one-third of the expenses. Pakistan Kickboxing Federation extended no support whatsoever.

Iman stated of the trip: “It was a self-financed event and every fighter paid for themselves. We had no government support whatsoever, yet we went there and made our country proud. Still, we would like to have more such opportunities.”

Inam ul Haq | Fighting Arts Health Lab
Inam credits his success to Grandmaster Zulfi Ahmed, the founder of Bushi Ban International. He is one of the best kickboxers of all times, and his institute helped with the formal arrangements for the tournament.

Though Inam-ul-Haq managed to bear the cost of his training, every athlete as not lucky. Many aspiring athletes give up their passion due to lack of support, resources, or coaching facilities.

Local gyms and training centers lack resources. As a result, players can’t get the proper strength and weight training for kickboxing. The few fully equipped commercial gyms are too expensive for people coming from humble backgrounds. So, like other rising kickboxers in Pakistan, Inam stresses on the necessity of government patronage. Only they can provide better gyms and training facilities to groom the raw talent in youth in his country.

Only they can provide better gyms and training facilities to groom the raw talent in youth in his country.

Inam does what he can to provide kickboxing training to aspiring athletes. He offers personalized kickboxing classes to help girls and boys achieve their fitness goals.

Customized training programs target the unique challenges and physical level of the trainees. He helps them increase their strength and endurance to boost their fitness levels and fighting skills.

Giving Back

Inam is an avid advocate of women’s participation in combat sports. He has high regard for the female athletes who succeed in kickboxing despite all the challenges. 

He felt the lack of official support the most after his workshop on self-defense in Women of the World Festival, Karachi #WOWKHI. Plenty of women, teenage girls, and even their mothers took part in the training and made it a success.

WOWKHI Self-defense Workshop by Inam-ul-Haq

The British Council, Pakistan arranged #WOWKHI, but no other organized such events again due to lack of government interest. “Experience at WOWKHI was tremendous, but no such event or offer came after that, which is disappointing for the scope of the sport.” Said Iman.

Kickboxing - a Life Long Passion

For Inam, kickboxing isn't only a sport but a lifestyle. He has passionately owned it since the beginning of his career.

“For the proper fight, you need to focus your mind on the goal. Follow the proper training, diet plan, take required rest, and follow the proper path to become a fighter.” He said. 

For the last 18 years, Inam follows a strict, active lifestyle. It includes a healthy combination of training and a balanced diet plan.

To him, it’s the only right way to keep an athlete in an active physical and emotional state. “For fitness, you need to focus on the diet and training; no junk or unhealthy food. Organic food rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and essential fats provide the strength and stamina for the comprehensive training required for kickboxing and MMA.” Iman recalls.

He further adds: “Fighting training is entirely different from fitness training and a balanced diet provides you the power and stamina required for professional fighting training.”  Dynamic lifestyle, strict diet, and concentrated training brought significant changes in Inam. He feels more confident, energetic, and focused.

“Through simple changes in diet and lifestyle, I have achieved more stable energy levels, concentration, and focus during training and fights; it let me perform at my maximum potential.” He stated proudly.

He also notes a high degree of emotional and mental maturity in himself, compared to his non-athletic peers. He advises fellow fighters and trainees: “Do training, aggressive training, but use it in the ring. Do not waste your energy on the streets as you may end up harming others or yourself. In my entire career, I have never involved in any brawl.”

Inam ul Haq and his students | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Fighting Arts Future is Bright in Pakistan

Though the sport is in its early stages in Pakistan, up-and-coming talent is abundant in kickboxing and MMA. Patience, focus, determination, and hard work are the core principles Inam preaches to the aspiring kickboxers and MMA athletes.

“Focus on the regular and proper training of the sport; there should be no shortcut. Unlike boxing, it usually takes 1.5 to 2 years to become a good kickboxer.” Iman concludes.

Currently, Inam-ul-Haq is training for upcoming global Kickboxing, MMA, and Boxing events. His success has set a remarkable example for ambitious athletes — Any dream is achievable, only if you have the courage and willpower to pursue it.

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About the author

Sonia is a holistic health and fitness writer who believes that we cannot lead a happy and fulfilling life unless we treat ourselves and the environment with equal care. Being a mum and a full-time professional writer, she knows how everything else takes a back seat when duties call. As a professional writer, she considers it her duty to inspire, motivate, and educate people about the miracles of a healthy and fit lifestyle, one that's in sync with the environment.

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