37, LAWYER, SYDNEY AU
TRAINED AT LEGACY BJJ ACADEMY
"I wanted to do something that scared me and forced me to challenge my social anxiety and depression. But then I found out my dad had advanced cancer a few days before tryouts and I thought about cancelling as I wasn't sure I'd be able to commit the time with everything going on with my dad. After talking to the team, I decided to do it anyway and it truly helped me get through the most difficult time of my life. The discipline and focus that forced me to get up every morning, show up and work my butt off is what helped me get through those difficult and uncertain days. I felt empowered and like I could take on whatever came my way. It was important to have something for myself to focus on. Sadly, my dad died just a few weeks after my fight and those days are a blur. I do know that he was incredibly proud of me and I was proud of myself."
"It was a challenge to be weighed regularly as I was in recovery for an eating disorder. But I refused to let myself obsess about the weight and focused on the training which got so intense that I felt I had to nourish myself and be kind to myself every day. I fell in love with my body for what it could achieve and I pushed myself to places I thought not possible before. It made me so proud and the weight came off without even trying. I felt amazing and I loved seeing myself in the mirror, strong and capable."
"As I had to commit to myself to show up and finish the program, it really helped me to stay in the present and not become overwhelmed with my dad's illness. I had to spend days by his bedside in hospital and it was so emotionally draining. Had I not had the program to take me out of my head and away from the sorrow, I might have fallen into a deep depression. I feel like it helped me get through the dark days. The feeling of community and being part of a team, fighting through the anxiety and physical pain...it was all just incredibly rewarding and gave me courage to face whatever else came my way."
"I learned that the limits I put on myself is a fallacy and that overcoming anxiety, fear and pain was all within reach. I learned that I am strong and that I could be proud of who I am."
"I have managed to keep my weight consistent and I had a lifelong love and respect for martial arts. I also still train BJJ and I love it - it has done wonders for my mental health."
"I was terrified and I put on a brave face every day. It's not an easy thing to do but it's so incredibly worth it. Everyone is afraid - just do it anyway."
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