International Taekwondo player and 2 times Guinness World Record holder eyeing to make a mark in Olympics 2020 – The Story of Deepak Patel
B. Sai Deepak Patel
19th July 1996
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Martial Arts, Sport
What do you call a young enthusiast Guinness World Record holder, who is dynamic and a blast of energy when you come across him? Well, what to call him might get a little difficult but humble and passionate is all the adjective you need to describe a person like Deepak Patel. Being unique is all that he has been working on ever since he gained senses.
While most youngsters of his age are yet to explore their field of interest, Deepak set his first Guinness World Record in full contact with alternate elbows (142 in 60 seconds) and then second Guinness World Record in full contact with knee strikes (though he did 205 in three minutes, it was ratified at 175 itself). He is the first and the only person to set these records and the high range Book of World Records. Since not much is known about him, the team imd1 takes the opportunity of getting to know him and share a glimpse of the ace Taekwondo player’s life to the world.
We are keen to know; how did your journey begin?
My father has always been interested in Karate and Taekwondo. I remember I grew up watching a lot of Bruce Lee movies with him. On one fine day, we had a karate class in school. This was when I was a 7-year-old kid. I continued learning and enjoyed those few sessions initially. Since then I was very clear about pursuing it. I became very passionate about martial arts. And nothing since, has stopped me.
Beyond Martial Arts
B. Sai Deepak Patel
Your Quote for life
Martial Arts is a way of life. The more we learn the more we realize.
Ronaldo, Sylvester Stallone
My guru- The Grandmaster (M Jayanth Reddy)
Food I Love
Hyderabadi biryani and Haleem
Food I Hate
Had I not been a Martial Artist then…
Like Vacations at
Favorite Pass time
Practicing Martial Arts, Singing and Dancing
We should be masters of the craft that we love. If we aren’t the best at what we do, then it is a waste.
Favorite Movies / Series
Rambo, Rocky and The Karate Kid
Favorite Actor / Actress
Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone
What’s your success mantra?
Everyone around puts in a lot of hard work to achieve what they want. But doing what others too are into, is very monotonous. I believe one should be unique. So, uniqueness combined with hard work and dedication are the drills for me. There are many Guinness World Record holders but what will make me unique from the others? I have always kept this question in mind and proceeded. For long term winnings, you need to have short term goals which implies on having a good plan to do so.
What were the hardships / hurdles your encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
Belonging to a south Indian family initially did create a turbulence in my path. South Indians are well known for academics, but they don’t really believe in pursuing a sport as a career, ideally that is a perception in most south Indian homes. My parents also being amongst them. When I had started taking my Taekwondo classes seriously in school, naturally my parents were affected. I convinced them and made a pact that I wouldn’t let my studies get affected because of my love for sports and, they will not interfere with my sports passion. I stood on my words and did well in both studies and sports. I completed my education. But personally, I have always kept my love for sports over studies.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Failures are part of life. We all face failures at some point in our lives. And there is no harm in that. All we need is a good support system to be our backbone. Parents, family friends need to cheer us up to survive through that phase of life. For me, my coach sir has been that pillar of support. He is like my best friend with whom I can share anything under the sun. Although there is a wide age gap between us, he is 58 and despite that generation gap he is the strongest backup that I can vouch for. He knows me all inside out. I think that is very essential for a mentor and student relationship, the mentor should know his/her student’s strengths and weaknesses. Only then will the bond bloom into achievements.
Do you think Martial Arts and its learning’s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
Definitely Yes. The scope in UK and USA for Olympic players is vast. They invest in crores of rupees for Martial Arts Training. Which unfortunately lacks in our country. It’s not like we don’t have enough talent but somewhere Martial Arts has always been looked down upon as a sport. Despite winning at the Asian Games and other respected international events, we don’t have enough finances or guidance to support the game. In that manner we need to support Martial Arts. Then it wouldn’t matter if one takes it up as a career or not. The aim is to be known as a country that supports Martial Arts.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
My coach sir has been a major influencer. I owe him 40% of what I am today, the rest according to my parents I have inherited it from Bodhidharma. They always say and believe that whatever luck has happened and turned out to be in my favor is because of the good deeds of ancestors and that we carry their legacy, which is why being a martial artist was always in my blood. In fact, my surname is Bodhi, so as they say I am the Buddhist monk in the family by all right virtues.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
It is funny to answer that, after being a two times Guinness World Record holder “I Am The only 1.” There has been no one else to stand in that position twice. So rightfully, I am the one! Honestly, I am self-reliant and self-confident that whatever I decide to do I will achieve in it to an extent where I can only break my own records. Even after 30-40 years down the line, if we see who’s the first person to hold these records, my Name and Country Name will be displayed there, so this makes me “I Am The 1.”
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
I started formal training under M Jayanth Reddy Sir, a renowned Taekwondo expert who happens to be on the list of world players on the Wikipedia page. He is the only Indian to be known for Taekwondo. For me, training under him has taught me perseverance and adulation towards martial arts. As far training is concerned, yes, I formally train with him. Taekwondo is one of the toughest combat sport known in the world. Systematic training is vital.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
Mindset is very essential. For other sports such as Tennis, Badminton or Rifle Shooting one needs to have focus and be concentrated. But here, it is not only about focus or concentration, one needs to be alert as well as be physically and mentally strong. There have been spot deaths of artists in between rounds. So, one must have the mindset of what they are getting involved in and know well the sport. Since this sport unlike others is lethal and many a times people have succumbed to death, training sessions are also rigorous. It is not possible to train for a day and go out play. Trainings need to be consistent and one must know what they are training for. Even now, when I talk to you this day I have my main civil exams coming up but still I train twice for two hours daily. My evening sessions are for gearing up for the Olympics while the morning slot is for Asian Games. The pre-coaching essential required is a sound mindset and being credible for the choices that you make. So, choose wisely.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Martial Arts. What’s your take?
Technology plays an important role in martial arts. We train with the aid of technology; our performance is measured on the parameters of the points system that we fetch that tests our legs and arms strength in coordination.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Martial Arts?
A very good question! (laughs) I am the perfect example to answer it. I have been training under Reddy Sir for some six months now, before that I wasted 10 years of my life learning Karate and Kung fu. It is interesting to note that both these forms of martial arts are not recognized in India or for world tournaments, only taekwondo is. Would like to share a story, for my admission in a BTech college, I had taken along all my certificates which I got over the years in Karate and Kung fu and I had a certificate which declared I won a bronze medal in Taekwondo competition. When I showed the certificate folder to the faculty there, they returned all of them except the one which I had got for Taekwondo. That certificate got me admission in the college under sports quota. I then came to know that taekwondo is a sport that could take me ahead. Without guidance and support of my coach it wouldn’t be possible. For an ideal guru, one must seek learning and guidance in that person.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Martial Arts in India?
We don’t really need any scope of improvement but support for Martial Arts. Like we have NGOs working for different causes of the society, likewise we need NGOs and bodies that lend support to this sport. We need proper governing and commissioning bodies to look after the welfare, elections and training of the players. Training is not a major issue in our country, we have talented people who only need recognition and support system to aid the sport. We are world’s number one, example me (laughs). All we need is opportunities.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Martial Arts in remote parts of India?
Like I mentioned, we need more NGOs and governing and commissioning bodies taking up the initiative to support and create awareness about martial arts as sports. It is the same as the scope of education system in remote parts of our country. There is a lot of hidden talent but all we need to do is reach to them, only then can we assure progress in Martial Arts, as far as accessibility is concerned.
In your opinion, what are the basic key traits apart from formal training that make “imd1”?
You should think and believe in yourself that you are different and unique only then you will be able to say that “Yes, I Am The 1!” (smiles).
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
I feel this new generation parents aren’t skeptical about career extracurricular activities, thanks to the media coverage of Olympics and commonwealth games and other international sport events. But what really needs to be looked after is, our country produces medalists of sports like badminton, rifle shooting, judo etc. But there are so many other sports too that are played in Olympics but unfortunately our country does not consider other sports. There are total 29 sports played for Olympics out of which hardly 5-6 sports are encouraged in our country. So, parents should encourage other sports too. Only then our country will flourish as a sport driven country.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
My parents thinking. Had they thought differently about me I could be in some other place. Being naive to the outside world they only supported me to take up my education seriously. I was also offered a job at Google after my BTech. After locking up myself in a room for around two months I had to choose. And I chose Martial Arts over that job. Naturally they were upset with my decision. But when I thought about it, my job would make my life and its routine very monotonous - the same office, work and disciplinaries of the work-home diaphragm. I didn’t want that. Especially after making a name in the Guinness World Record. But those two months were very exhausting. You see, people from Telangana; I stay in Hyderabad, despite me making the country proud it didn’t get me recognition or gratitude from the people. I had personally called in news reporters from newspapers and channels to feature my story as it would bring in a lot of glory to India. Being a two times Guinness World Record Holder for Taekwondo is no joke. Had this been a case in some other country, news channels would flash the story like crazy but sadly our country media did not well support my achievement. I would especially like to thank the Hindu Senior Sports correspondent V. V. Subramanyam and Hans India Sports reporter Sateesh Reddy sir as they featured me in their article and neighbors and others came to my parents acknowledging the fact that my story was featured in a nationwide selling newspaper and all the big people will read my article, only then did their perception towards my decision started sinking in. I only wanted to make a difference, if my story inspires young people to take up martial arts and represent the country in Olympics - it would make me proud that at least I could make a difference. Seeing the increase in the number of students in the martial arts academy that I too am training under, makes me happy.
How can one identify & encourage talent in the family?
During the school phase it is evident in a child what he/she likes and is getting attracted to. Like I was always attracted to martial arts since school days, but my parents feared since martial arts is not an easy sport because of the physical injuries it brings along. But that apart, identifying and encouraging talent since school days is easy.
Any other thoughts you want to share?
I hope that my story inspires others and even if by reading my story a person enunciates passionately towards their goals, I think I have made an impact.