Yeah well, once you get to know me you’ll find out I am a total softie, but finding the sport of kickboxing and “kicking” the ‘only guys should fight’ belief to the curb saved my life and gave me a chance to be brilliant in my life at a sport that came very naturally to me. Even if it isn’t naturally a woman’s sport and many people gave me a hard time about getting in the ring I didn’t back down because I knew I had talent, and I was passionate about my sport. Truthfully, I am an amazing fighter and give the term ‘fight like a girl’ some serious street cred. After 15 years in competition the sport of kickboxing has been proof for me that I can do anything.
Rather than trying to prove the rest of the world wrong, I have used the sport to open doors of limitless possibility for myself. After so many years of fighting you might expect I don’t face doubters or adversity any longer. On the contrary, I often experience resistance from friends, family, and strangers that don’t think I should fight because I am “a girl”. I stand by my passion and the sport that pulled me from a dark place and gave me a chance to shine.
I have been fighting since I was 22. Please don’t try to add up numbers, no matter my age I am still rocking it in the sport of kickboxing. I find that as I get older, I get better. Nothing beats experience! I am on the US National Kickboxing team and 2011 saw me fighting on an international scale that I am continuing to rise to the top of in 2012, I just won the CASK north american light weight championship in Toronto, Ca.. Fighting isn’t the only important thing about me but it does explain a lot about who I am. I found my way to the sport when I was 19 years old. I was suffering from lack of motivation, depression, and a really skewed sense of my skills, talents, and body image. . Suffice to say my self-esteem was KO-ed and I didn’t see myself coming back from it. (oh yeah, one thing about me…I love using metaphors, really obvious ones)
And then…I put on gloves and punched some pads. My life changed right there. In that moment I felt strong, and confident. The feeling didn’t stay with me right away. I spent a few years struggling to find the light and laughter living within me, learning to love who I was, and gaining confidence in myself. But even in those bleak years, I always knew that I could lace up my gloves and punch/kick my problems away for an hour. And now I am proud to say I am someone who walks boldly forward towards my dreams .
In actuality the journey I am on was spawned from that first kickboxing class I took at 19. Btw, I went into that class in tears, and the owners Suzanne and Beth Williams (two amazing women) helped me see that there was so much in my life to get excited about. I went from feeling defeated in life to living my victory. I am in LOVE with my life, and I have lots of dreams, BIG dreams. One of them is a gold medal and a world kickboxing championship. I am well on my way and have competed in the last year in 4 bouts fighting on the world stage of kickboxing including the WAKO world championships.
An even bigger dream of mine, and the ULTIMATE GOLD for me is empowering girls to to follow their dreams and live their life proudly and joyfully in the body that was gifted to them. I believe that if you move your body with love and appreciation, that love will spread into your life. When you feel well, you have energy to live well.
Find me at: http://www.lisavanahn.com
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