It didn’t take long before I picked up a circuit training class in addition to kickboxing and within the first six months found myself jogging a mile fairly easy and getting through classes without the near-death experiences that accompanied all of my early classes. It had been hard to realize how far I had allowed myself to sink, but with constant pushing and support from my KMAA peers, I began to watch my body change. Six months saw 60 lbs melt away and I was increasing my strength and stamina. For the first six months I was only doing kickboxing despite my coaches and new friends urging me to try BJJ (Brazilian JuiJitsu) because lets face it, 32-year-old mothers of two DO NOT wrestle. At least that is how I had been raised.
The more weight I lost and the more athletic my body began to feel, the more I felt like my old self. Curiosity eventually got the better of me, and I decided I wanted to try and take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When I timidly brought the subject up with my husband, he laughed at my trepidation and said I would end up in the cage. Knowing how competitive I am though, he thought I would enjoy it. He didn’t understand why I thought he might object, so I stepped into my first BJJ class and once again loved it.
After two or three months of BJJ, I added MMA class. I had fallen in love. Pretty soon my kids and husband were also coming to the gym. We all had a new family. A positive, accepting family who pushed me to my limits and made me better. Within a year I wanted to fight, but I was hesitant because I felt like I shouldn’t. At the same time, Taylor Turner, who was one of the coaches (and also a pro fighter) had a little boy. She was a mother, and she was doing it. Why not me? My husband thought I should, and he was all for it. I just struggled to pull the trigger. My coach Eric Turner told me that I needed to just to be me. The box I had allowed myself to be trapped in was self-imposed. Sure I would be judged for being different, but you can’t escape judgment, and I would be judged on anything else that I did anyhow. Life was handing me an adventure, and when life hands you an adventure, you accept your call. I was reminded of Jonah. I was reminded of Gideon. MMA was my path, and I would be okay.
Fast forward three more years and I have now lost 190+ pounds and I am a 4-0 professional MMA fighter (5-0 Ammy) looking to step up to the next level. More importantly, I am a vastly different person than the woman that timidly stepped onto the kickboxing mat, and then into the cage for the first time. I accepted my adventure; I allowed my old life to burn. I let my preconceived notions regarding my role as a woman to burn. It has been hard, there have been times in my life when the changes hurt, and I have certainly experienced judgment from others, but I have absolutely no regrets. I would not change my life for theirs, so why listen to their negativity? I am now surrounded by people who push me and make me better. I feel reborn, like a new person. I am a Phoenix.