“The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan is one victory away from achieving a lifelong dream.
On Saturday, 20 January, the Chinese martial arts prodigy will challenge Singapore’s Tiffany “No Chill” Teo for the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship. The title bout takes place as the main event of ONE: KINGS OF COURAGE, live from the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia.
It is there where Xiong can become not only the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion, but also China’s first-ever world champion in the cage.
As she prepares for the epic affair, it is quite clear she demonstrates all the necessary values of a world champion. Those values were instilled into her by the most influential man in her life: her father.
“My dad taught me a lot, including his life experiences growing up,” the 30-year-old recalls. “From when I was a little girl, my dad told me never to run away when facing difficulties, and to always take responsibility. Most importantly, he taught me to be brave and confident.
“The biggest thing he gave me was courage. I really admired my dad’s courage and confidence.”
While some of those values came naturally, she had to learn others the hard way.
During her childhood, the world title contender was a bit of a troublemaker. She caused quite a bit of mayhem, and went on adventures deemed too dangerous for a kid. One of those adventures, in particular, sticks out.
“I would climb the walls of other people’s houses to pick fruits from their trees, and fell from these trees and high roofs,” she recalls. “One time, I broke my hand, and the bone was exposed.”
Xiong was helped back to her home by a friendly neighbor, but her father was understandably disappointed in his young daughter. He used this as an opportunity to teach her a valuable lesson.
“My dad did not take care of my injury at first. It was not that he did not care about me. He just wanted to let me know that this was my own mistake, and I needed to be responsible for the result,” she recalls.
“And then he taught me some principles. He asked me if it felt painful first, and then asked me why I did it. Then, he said: ‘This is what you get, you have to be responsible for what you have done.’”
The lecture, and the ensuing lesson, did not end there.
“After telling me off, he asked me if I wanted to cry. He said: ‘If you want to cry, you can sit here by yourself and continue to cry, and let your hand continue to bleed.’ After he said this, I looked at him obediently. Then he said, ‘Alright, let’s go.’ He held me, and took me to see the doctor.”
Xiong got her hand fixed, which proved to be crucial to her athletic career. After all, she would need those hands when she became a martial artist.
She has since used those hands to knock people out as a professional boxer, submit opponents en route to capturing the China Open BJJ Championship, and will need them once again if she wants to defeat Teo, and claim the inaugural ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship.
“The Panda” knows a big part of her success is because of her father, and the values he in into her at an early age. Although he was most certainly tough on his daughter, there was a softer side to him that most people never had the opportunity to see. Only a rare few, such as Xiong, were privy to that.
“He was really a person who was not good at expressing his emotions,” she admits. “In fact, he has different attitudes towards me for different things.
“When he should be gentle, he is gentle. When it is time to show a father’s love, he does it. His heart is actually really soft. I can feel his love for me from his heart.”