Saturday, February 20, 2016


During my time as an amateur fighter, there is one specific fight that has left the deepest mark on me… It was 2010, and the training camp was not a positive one. I'd done all of the physical preparation, but I wasn’t in a mentally sound place.  There were multiple contemplations of quitting, and even complete emotional breakdowns after training. I'd never felt such a lack of confidence in myself, and the truth is I'm not even 100% sure why this was the case. Yet I went through with the fight anyways, as my coaches believed in my potential.

However, what left an even deeper mark than the anxiety were the words from my corners (Kru Jen and PC Lindor), right before the first bell: 

"You CHOSE to be here".  

After hearing these words, the bell rang and I went on to fight harder than I'd ever fought in my life. It wasn't a pretty sight and far from technical, but I'd never felt stronger or grittier. I stood toe to toe with a heavier and stronger opponent, trading shots with bad intentions. It might not have been the smartest course of action (my face certainly felt it afterward) or the most technical performance, but I didn't care. I wanted to fight...fight past the nerves, fight past the all of the negativity from the training camp, fight the urge to give up. And fight I did. Ultimately, I unleashed a side of me that I believed was, up until that point, completely untapped. The power of self determination helped me rise to the occasion instead of succumb to fear.

Those words still echo in my heart every time I take on a challenge at work, the gym, home etc. I still feel nervous, and don't always get past the anxiety, but my ability to deal with stress has grown significantly (granted, my life isn't a very difficult one and full of privileges, although that has presented different kinds of challenges as time has gone on). Knowing that I have the power to choose my course of action makes it clearer for me: I must overcome.

I believe that we are always given a choice, no matter what the situation is. In tough times, we can choose to stand and fight, or turn tail and run. Even times where we aren't challenged, we can choose to coast lazily or embrace and make the most of the experience. They aren't always easy choices, but they are ours to make.

Every day there are people who choose to flee. Heck, I still do often, though I am more aware of it and willing to learn from it now. A lack of commitment, abusing a position of power, and ignoring a cry for help are just a few of the ways these negative choices manifest themselves. The power of self determination is knowing that you are choosing to overcome the challenge, and that it is the right choice. You may believe that it is fate or chance that puts you through struggle, but in the end it it is you who chooses to endure. It's a daunting, but also empowering thought. It sets a bar for us to reach and exceed everyday, both inside and outside of the ring.

- K. Cam

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