I can appreciate how some would misunderstand why I fight. Mixed martial arts can appear like a chest-thumping cacophony of punk-jitsu. But after enduring the violent fallout of post traumatic stress in our family, which eventually consumed my father after his return from the Korean war, I gravitated to the martial arts as a cathartic release from rage and shame.My father sacrificed more than a physical existence. His illness forfeited his entire family life. Ill-equipped to reacclimate to domestic living, his alcoholism and abuse spiraled into our disintegration. I externalized this drama repeatedly throughout my life, unwittingly seeking a solution to excessive stress. And violence became my bedfellow, as my peers smelled the victimization like chummed waters, bloodied by my obesity, learning disabilities and impoverishment.
Martial art, like yoga and athletics, became a proving grounds for me to remain calm under stress. If I could face the strain of combative arousal, and keep mentally focused and emotionally controlled, I could perhaps find the solution to my family’s, to my Father’s, post-traumatic stress.
I did not know this was my journey. I was only an actor in the storyline. Not until after I found my “perfect fight” - where I could remain calm in the storm - did the lifetime of struggle unriddle itself…
Risking my business reputation, and my body facing opponents half my age and even 100lbs heavier, jeopardizing my own family’s livelihood, to emancipate myself from the cycle of rage of PTSD, winning the World Martial Arts Games was not a conquest for gold. I am honored to have gold placed over my neck for the US Team, but it was the gold placed in my heart which compelled me to compete.
I found my perfect fight and healed. The tools and techniques my teachers taught me allowed me to achieve that calm in the storm critical to my healing.
I have made a lot of mistakes over the years, and hurt a lot of people in my process of blidnly seeking a solution to my drama. But I hope to somehow compensate for any pain I caused by sharing these tools, and perhaps prevent the next generation from the burden of carrying excessive stress as their inheritance.
This week, I release my new book “Primal Stress: Revive - Survive - Thrive.” I’d like to give you an opportunity to have it for free, if you’re interested. If so, please check here tomorrow for more info.