The factory of Russian fighting machines

Russia is home to many of today's heavyweight martial arts superstars. Fedor Emelianenko is one of the best and well-known. RT went to his sports school to see the “factory of champions” and meet future stars.

Fedor Emelianenko has numerous nicknames – “Man-Machine”, “Russia’s Last Emperor”, and even “Russia’s Military Experiment”. The slayer of America’s Brett “Grim” Rogers, he is considered by many the best heavyweight fighter on the planet.

While many in the world try to unravel his secret, Fedor’s trainer Vladimir Voronov, who has been with the champion since his first steps in the ring, sheds some light on the fighting phenomenon.

“There is no secret here. He has been working for years, very hard, overcoming laziness and tiredness, moving forward despite pain, despite everything. That is his way,” says trainer Vladimir Voronov.

The future legend spent most of his time at a sports school in his native Stary Oskol, a sleepy town some 200 kilometers from the Russian-Ukrainian border. Its founder Nikolay Belousov – the man who trained Fedor's trainer – does not see Emelianenko as a phenomenon, just a product of his champion factory.

“We always tell our students – second place is a failure. There is nothing but first. It is hard, but it works,” says Belousov.

Today, there are about 500 children at the school – all of them from many different backgrounds, but united with one goal. Not surprisingly, everybody there wants to match Emelianenko’s records – or even beat them.

For 14-year-old Vova Molodykh, being like Fedor is not just his dream, he feels it is his destiny. He has taken judo classes for five years already. He has also achieved a lot, but says there is still a long way to go:

“Fedor has always been saying that you have to work hard – and then you will be rewarded. He has achieved a lot – but it cost him a lot as well. He has earned all his titles with blood and sweat. We also have to believe in ourselves and keep on moving – whatever it costs.”

Not one of the students at the school has any doubts that there is only one way to reach the top – to start from the bottom.