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The journey of an aspiring fighter #56

Published On March 30, 2014 | By Helen Harper | Blog

When I tell people about my lifestyle, there is always an immediate jealousy. Right now, I live in paradise, I train at one of the best gyms in the world and I have a group of amazing fighters around me, constantly pushing me to become the best version of myself. I am extremely lucky.

It hasn’t always been like this though, like anyone I have had my share of bad times. It’s through the bad times that we discover who our real friends are, and what really matters to us in life. One of the worst times in my life in fact lead to my discovery of Jiu Jitsu, which has in turn made me in to a far stronger person (both mentally and physically) than I ever imagined I could be.

As I came through the worst, I must have had an angel watching over me and passing notes to the one person who truly got me back on my feet. My cousin, Nick, let me stay with him whilst I tried to mend my tortured mind. It wasn’t until I had been living with Nick for over a year that I finally felt strong enough to continue my journey through life.

Nick could see where I had gone wrong in the past, and gradually pushed me back on to the right path. Despite he himself not being a huge fan of Martial Arts, he could see how much it meant to me, and how focused I was. It was Nick who persuaded me to come to Thailand to live my dream, it was Nick who told me I CAN do it. Nick does not accept the word “can’t”.

When we are put through hard times, it is easy enough to believe that there is no way out. Sometimes it feels like a black hole has consumed every last scrap of energy, and we have nothing left to fight it with. The absolute worst thing you can do if you ever feel like that is give up. That’s what ‘they’ want you to do.

Trying to fight negativity is never going to be easy. In fact sometimes I believe it is put in place to test us. Test our loyalty to ourselves, and to those around us. When negative thoughts come about the only way is to fight it, and prove you can over come it.

Being the only female on a team of males in a male dominated environment tests me daily. Naturally I look to my team mates to guide me through any tough times that arise, as they are all far more experienced than me. My team mates have in turn become my brothers: We all seek the same success, and we know we can not get there alone.

Like any family we also have our ups and downs, minor discrepancies, frustrations with ourselves and those around us, but above all we know that tomorrow is another day, and we will power on to fight it together.

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me what I would be doing if I wasn’t in Thailand following my dreams and trying to make a career from martial arts. The question stopped me in my tracks, because usually I have an answer for everything.

Whether I knew the answer to that question but it scared me to think of it or I didn’t know the answer at all, it got me thinking that’s for sure. What would I be doing if I hadn’t decided to come to Thailand and follow my dreams?

Would I be working in an office, bored out of my mind by the mundane life it would bring me? Or would I have stuck to my guns and pursued my career as a Personal Trainer?

Although my choice to become a Personal Trainer came long before my discovery of martial arts, I wonder if some how life was setting me up for it. The two go hand in hand absolutely perfectly, so I can’t help thinking it was ‘meant to be’.

Does everything really happen for a reason? Does life really ‘bump’ you in to the people it needs you to meet? What happens if it all goes wrong?

Would life be so cruel as to let you pursue a dream, work so hard along the journey and let it all come crashing down? Of course. There would be a reason for it, but of course it could happen.

Failure is not an option. Wrong. Failure is the easiest option out there and it is the one 90% of people take.

Why do so many people fail? Maybe a life in martial arts isn’t as appealing as it is believed to be. Pushing your body to the absolute limits, a very strict diet, a great deal of traveling away from home. Unless you have a true passion for the sport, dealing with that on a daily basis can take its toll on your mind and body. Only a few survive, even fewer make it to the top.

What is the key to survival? Honestly, I have no idea. What I do know, is that every fighter who has made it to the top has that survival instinct. They have a passion and drive like no other, and they are truly willing to make sacrifices to get where they want to go.

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Thanks to Tracy Lee for the photo: Us with the Muay Thai gang after Saturday mornings training session


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About The Author

English Mixed Martial Artist fighting out of Andy Roberts BJJ and Legacy BJJ with a pro record of 4-1.

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