Fighting Ambition #3 – Renewal

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With a new haircut I continued my MMA journey. I walked into a barber shop in Port Moody and had my hair shaved off. They used a number two and it felt good. Why did I do it? I really don’t know. My hair was damaged due to the amount of sweat, and honestly, I was tired of dealing with it. It was time for renewal.

The last couple of weeks have been full of some ups and downs. I’m sure I’ll say that with every one of these blogs that I write.

There was the day where I was rolling and I jammed my big toe. I know, not much of an injury, but most of you can understand that sometimes when you jam your toe it doesn’t just magically heal on the spot. It hurt like a son of a… I didn’t really think too much about it until the throbbing increased and I couldn’t put any weight on it. I had kickboxing right after and trying to plant my foot with a purple throbbing toe made boxing or throwing kicks difficult.

For some reason that sore toe lasted for about a week. I was a bit concerned that maybe I had broken it or it was a slight sprain. I was relieved to see that it healed.

Besides big toes being bruised there are some other issues that have been in need of healing. One of my biggest battles has been dealing with my emotions. Earlier in the year I was diagnosed with depression. I saw a therapist and visited my doctor and I was prescribed anti-depressants. I never took the slip the pharmacy. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but for some reason it made me nervous. The idea of taking pills that help rebuild serotonin levels made me nervous.

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Don’t get me wrong, taking meds is probably the right thing to do. Otherwise I would drive my wife and two year old daughter crazy. I know that I lost a very special best friend because I had a hard time keeping my emotions in check. I wish I knew what I know now.

What I wanted to do was see if training and eating right would help in my therapy. That is why when I started this journey I said that this has become real therapy for me. I won’t lie I still have my bad days. It is a constant mental grind for me. However, so far there have been a lot more good days than bad.

I’m adopted. Not a lot of people know that, and really I’m not sure if it really matters. When I was younger it was always in the back of mind. My parents have said that they use to tell me when I was really young, but it never registered until I was in elementary school. I remember walking to my cousin’s house before school and in true eight year old fashion tell me that my parent’s were not my “real” parents and that I was adopted.

I ran home crying. I asked my mom if it was true. I was given the news and I was devastated. I have no idea why it crushed me so much. The parents that I have are wonderful and I look at them as my biological parents. I have never had any real desire to know who my bio parents are. From what I know my birth mom couldn’t afford to keep me because my birth father left when she was pregnant. I thank God that she gave me up for adoption. I’m sure she had some other tempting options like abortion or keeping me. Instead she did a selfless act and gave me a chance in life.

I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There is nothing about how I was raised that I would change. Great family and memories. However, I lived a lot of my childhood with a chip on my shoulder. I would get myself into trouble. Not only would I have behavioral problems, but I would find myself the victim of being bullied by older kids. Some of it was self inflicted…I had no problems standing up for myself. That usually ended with me in a scrap. We moved out to Coquitlam, British Columbia back in 1989. It was a big change, but I welcomed it with open arms. I remember looking it as a renewal period. I started competing in sports, new friends, and new outlook. Things drastically changed in Junior High.

A girl had made fun of or said something derogatory about my younger sister. I made sure to tell this girl where to stick it. What I didn’t know is that she had an older brother who was one year older than me. He was not a nice guy. He was a typical middle school bully. I spent two years of middle school battling him and his crew. From getting my head smashed into the edge of a door, to getting sucker punched at a Halloween Dance in front of some girls, or having personal items stolen, it was not a fun moment in my life. I would go see a school councilor or principal…nothing was ever done about it. Still to this day when I hear about kids being bullied I wonder has anything really changed?

I eventually had to change schools. From that point on things got better, but my own insecurities and self esteem was messed up. I found refuge in sports and drama. Not drugs and alcohol..which was probably a major relief to my parents.I was a theatre and TV and Film nerd. I also competed in organized sports like soccer. Sports were a great way to build friendships and release some angst. Trust me…I did my share of releasing angst while playing soccer or recreational hockey.

With acting I actually started getting some acting gigs. I was even accepted to one of the premier acting schools in the city. Things were starting to roll for me. I was prepared to work at becoming an actor. That didn’t work out very well. I lived the life for about a year and living below the poverty line wasn’t something I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed those days of eating Kraft Cheese and Macaroni in cheap housing…but not for me. I didn’t want to scratch and crawl through life wondering when my next gig would be. Perma waiter.

To keep this blog short, (okay too late for that) I have delved into many different projects and schooling. Here is something most of my friends didn’t know. I actually went and did a semester of religious schooling to become a pastor. What a mistake that was. I grew up in a pretty religious home and family. It was always a part of my life. In some ways it helped me build solid values…in other ways it held me back in experiencing life. It caused a major rebellion phase when I was 19. Since that time I have developed some dislike for organized religion. It’s not for everyone. What I gained was spirituality but I don’t need structure or rules to guide me. However, I will keep my opinions and beliefs to just that. I don’t want to offend anyone. I think there is a lot of truth in most religions; it’s too bad there are fanatics who miss the point. That’s all I’ll say.

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Something I am proud of is getting my Marketing and Management Diploma. I had to retake high school math and english courses before I even touched that program, so it was a major struggle for me. What was a two year program took me four years. Mostly because I worked full time and took night classes. I also went to broadcasting school and got my diploma in broadcasting performance arts.

I have been floating. I don’t really know what to do with myself on a career basis. I have found a love for MMA. I enjoy working with It’s a passion project. I worked with the guys of a local amateur MMA promotion called Honour Combat Championships. That was a blast. We put on a couple of shows in the Vancouver area. Unfortunately we took a big risk and got burned. Right now HCC is picking up the pieces and hopefully in 2011 they will be back on their feet.

In the meantime I’m finding satisfaction in I work a day job that I’m grateful for, but it doesn’t feed any of my passions. It’s work. However, I’m working on building a career in MMA journalism. MMASucka has been evolving and a lot of good things have happened and are in the process of happening. It’s exciting to build something from the ground up. I have met people who don’t like doing that. They want instant success. What they fail to realize is that there is more satisfaction building something from the ground up and paying your dues.

Instant success, with a few exceptions is quick and fizzles out. Success is built through hard work, and time. While I’m building, I’m rebuilding. I’m a man now with a wonderful wife and beautiful little girl. I still battle personal demons; I’m still learning how to be a better person. I think we all are. There are some real skeletons in my closet. Having a focus on something that I’m passionate about has helped me heal and has given me something to put my energy into.

This training at West Coast BJJ has been a physical and mental grind. One thing Don Whitefield said last week has really stuck with me. It doesn’t matter what physical or technical attributes you bring into a ring or cage, if you are not right in the mind you will not win. I leave this blog with a quote from Canadian MMA Superstar George St. Pierre’s sports psychologist. This does not just apply to MMA…but all sporting activities or life in general.

“The past is history, the past does not dictate the future, the future is a mystery, once you start thinking about what’s going to happen in the future that’s when you’re going to get caught, Great athletes are not focused on what ifs, they’re focused on what is.”

Time to get the mind right. Next Blog Oct.20th. I will talk about my entry into the 2010 Western Canadian Martial Arts Championships on Oct.22 and 23rd at BCIT in Burnaby. I’m going to see how I react in a one on one competition setting. I’ll be competing in a beginner No Gi tournament. I have no real expectations. I’m looking forward to the challenge and learning experience. Instead of giving a shot out to my sponsors Reign Full Contact and (see how I did that? ) I want to thank my friends, family, West Coast BJJ, but most of all, my wife Liana and my beautiful daughter Raeleigh for being there. I make life interesting.

Music Choice: Eminem and Rihanna “Love the way you lie” Mostly because my daughter tries to sing the Rihanna parts in the car. So funny. Otherwise I listen to anything depending what mood I am in. No Ga Ga or manufactured pop music though. Give me Muse, Vampire Weekend or Deadmau5. I will even listen to down tempo or relaxation music.

Movie Choice: I downloaded, yes downloaded because it’s legal in Canada, Predators. Not a bad movie. Should have been the second film after the first Predator and those other abominations. Worth renting when it comes to DVD. If you want a good action flick. I also watched the Expendables… pure guilty pleasure nostalgia, otherwise not a very good movie.

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Starting Weight: 203lbs
Current Weight: 180lbs
Goal for September was: 179lbs (Awesome!!)
Goal for October is: 175lbs (I was going to say 170lbs, but the weight is coming off nicely but slowly. I am right on schedule)
Ultimate Goal: 155lbs


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