World Karate Champion now Boxing for Tokyo Olympic Gold!!!
29th August 1992
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
An interest in martial Arts, a formal training in various martial art forms and a super success in Karate led Vivek Teja to prioritize and focus on Boxing. Simply because of his burning desire to win the Gold at Tokyo Olympic With major financial hurdles and lack of support too, Vivek Teja has punched them all with no compromise over his dreams..
Team imd1 is proud to have met this real fighter who candidly shares his journey here...
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
My journey began when my parents recognized my interest in Karate when I was studying in Grade 3. They enrolled me in Karate classes and from there I started training and practising a lot. Pretty soon after that, I started participating in State, National and International tournaments.
Beyond Martial Arts
Judd Reid -My Karate Coach,World Super Heavy Weight Champion and 100 man Fighter, Chiranjeevi Emani - My Boxing Coach, Former National Chief Coach for Sports Authority of India.
Judd Reid, My Karate Coach,World Super Heavy Weight Champion and 100 man Fighter. Mike Tyson
Food I love
Grilled Chicken and Salmon with some Salad, Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani [“Only On Cheat Days!!!”]
Food I hate
Deep fried foods
Had I not been Martial Artist then
Badminton Player (I was a state player during High School)
Like Vacations at
USA (Times Square, New York), Thailand (Pattaya Beach), European countries for future trips.
Favorite Past time
Listening to music, spending time with family and friends, watching movies.
Never Give Up!
Chak de India, Tagore (Telugu)
Chiranjeevi (Tollywood), Salman Khan, Aamir Khan (Bollywood)
In fact, I remember I participated in State level tournaments in Grade 6. I also had an immense desire and curiosity for all forms of martial arts. Therefore, my skill set is not limited to just Karate. I was curious to learn the truth behind the myths that I had heard about other martial arts. Therefore, I was drawn towards some other martial arts. Over the years, I have learnt various martial arts like kick boxing, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, Silambam, Tae Kwon Do and MMA.
For the past few years now, I have been completely focused on Boxing as I am aiming for the Gold medal in Tokyo Olympics. I would also like to add that my main reason for shifting from Karate to Boxing is because of the lack of support from the Government.
What’s your success mantra?
My success mantra has always only been three things. To train hard, to never give up and to keep going. Having perseverance is very important to be able to achieve anything.
What were the hardships / hurdles you encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
Since I come from a middle-class family, financial problems were always very evident. My participation in international tournaments wasn’t easy for my parents to afford. After their funds were exhausted, they had to sell off their property to be able to support me and my passion for Karate. I approached a huge number of people from private corporations to the government for sponsorships however, nothing materialised. In fact, during that journey, I was even discouraged by a few people. It simply was not easy to be able to reach a point where I could represent my country when there was no support whatsoever.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Failures are the stepping stones to success. They should most definitely be taken positively because nobody can ever be successful without a fair share of failures.
Do you think Martial Art and its learnings can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Yes, Martial teaches you skills like Self confidence, Self-discipline, Self control and respect. Apart from that, it keeps your body fit and strong. It also gives you the skill to be able to protect yourself or your family members if the situation ever demands it. Its learnings are very helpful to even those that don’t want to make it a career.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
I have been constantly supported and influenced by My Boxing coach Chiranjeevi Eman who was a former Chief coach and Judd Reid, my karate coach, a hundred man fighter and a Super heavy weight world Champion. However, My mentor Venugopal Lakshmipuram is one of the biggest influencers in my life. He is an IIT’an and has served thirteen countries. He started training students from 1998 and has had almost 5000 training sessions with various corporate and educational institutes. I am very honoured to have him as a mentor.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I am the 1”?
I don’t believe I had an “I am the 1” moment. However, every time I am at a tournament my training gives me enough confidence which makes me feel like “I am the 1”
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, physical fitness, mindset or any other?
The right mindset, the right age, physical & medical fitness, psychological readiness and kids with willingness are all important. I believe anyone above the age of six can start practising. I think that age is just a number and an adult can start practising whenever they want to. My mentor Judd Reid fought a hundred men at the age of forty-two. There was also a movie made featuring his story in 2013 called Journey to the 100 Man Fight: The Judd Reid Story.
Kids or adults who want to enter this field must have basic physical strength and endurance. The coach can then further improvise on that. Rigorous and continuous training is very important because it ensures that one performs their best in tournaments.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in martial art, What’s your take?
Dedication does not guarantee you to be a super star. The actions performed during Martial arts have to be a lot more deep rooted within you for you to be enlightened. Enlightenment means the extinction of everything and the becoming the true observer of the "True Knowledge". The aim of art is to project an inner vision of yourself to the world. Technology and Science are also very essential for physical and mental characteristics to build. Both of which are required for martial arts.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal coaching for Martial Art?
There are so many aspects necessary for an ideal ‘Guru’ but there is some luck factor involved in it too. I believe an ideal Guru should be informing, involving and inspiring. They should also be able to make the student comfortable. I have been very lucky in the aspect of finding the right guru. A good guru can work wonders on students.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in coaching for Martial Art in India?
There is a huge scope for martial arts in India. People have the general awareness about it, however, a lot more awareness is required. It is good to see that many girls are keen on learning about this art. With the help of their parents, corporates and the government they can really go a long way in this field.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Martial Art in remote parts of India?
Martial arts should be a part of the curriculum in private as well as government schools. Qualified professional coaches should be hired to train the students martial arts and to teach them basics of self defence. Not only will this help in India in Olympics and other competitions but it will also help the country in other sports as Martial arts have both mental and physical benefits.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generations…
From my life experiences, I am very grateful to have parents that observed my keen interest in Martial arts really early in life. They also supported and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I was lucky enough to have the liberty to choose my own career. I wish that all parents understand that every child has different sets of interests and talents.
Our country doesn"t need only IT graduates or doctors. Our schools have very few courses and a limited focus on sports, physical activities are and other extracurricular activities.Parents should observe and encourage children to do what they enjoy so they can shine in their respective fields.
How can one identify and encourage talent in the family?
Firstly, parents should encourage their child if they show an interest in participating in sports, art or any other extra curricular activities at their school. Secondly, Based on the child’s interest and performance the parents should help them get a proper training and keep exploring the other areas in which the child might be interested.
What is the Downside of your Dream?
I believe that one of the main downsides is the lack of government support for training and championships. Most countries fully support their sportsmen and encourage them ahead. They understand that sport is just as competitive as a business. Apart from requiring intense training and commitment from the sportsman. It also requires an investment in it. I proudly represent India in our national and International tournaments without the government"s support. However, it is very difficult to remain competitive at this level of the competition.