As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I was wrong. I stayed, launched my first company, Flipside Fitness, and then opened Korea's largest boxing club, Hulk's Boxing (now called Hulk's Club).

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again.

Now I live in the Philippines where I am the CEO and head coach of Empowered Clubhouse, the Philippines' first and only boxing clubhouse exclusively just for women. I also am the founder of the Lil' Sistas Project, CEO and designer of Slay Gear and Baa Baa Black Sheep .Ph.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Bit of A Ramble... Sunday, November 19

I know all too well about being the visiting boxer and being put in less than favourable situations so when a visiting fighter today needed help I stepped in. "It's going to make for an interesting story", I told him and it definitely will. Fighting overseas, not a comfortable or easy thing to do and it's more than just dealing with the different local food, the weather and the time zones. Those who have fought overseas, much respect. It's a whole other fight and it starts well before the round bell rings. Props here to @tsunamijsm for travelling here and winning his fight. He did his father proud.
When I was told there were some live fights this weekend, I was intrigued.  

When I was told it was a fight with a visiting fighter from the States, I wanted to go.

I attended the fights today. 

I had been invited by that pro MMA fighter I met just yesterday, Mark.  His teammate was fighting.  I was originally going to go to Belle & Dragon to watch the UFC fights on the big screen with the guys but I'm always up for attending the live fights.  I'm not really a MMA fan but I'm definitely becoming one because I've been watching a lot of UFC fights lately, like almost every weekend.

I arrived at the fight location and no sooner had a done a lap in the exhibit but I turned and there was Mark, walking towards me.  He took me over to meet his crew; there was 4 of them in total.  Nice guys but I could tell their fighter was stressed.  They were all concerned.  They were told they'd have a cut man but there was no cut man to be found.  They were told to prepare their fighter in whatever space they could find and there was no one to wrap their fighters hands.  We grabbed a chair and I grabbed the gauze to wrap his hands.  I know all too well about being the visiting fighter and being in less than favourable situations so I took it upon myself to help him out.  I entertained them by telling them what happened to me in Korea, in Thailand and in Mexico.  How I could go on about the horror stories I collected as being the away fighter and how I resorted to fighting underground in Korea.  How in Thailand they never wrapped my hands and how I had to scramble to find my own corner help because they didn't even so much as give me a corner coach.  How in in both Thailand and Mexico they changed my opponent last minute and made me fight fighters outside of my weight class despite the weight requirement I was forced to follow to a T.  

The horror stories of being the visitor fighter, there are many in my books.

"It's going to make for an interesting story", was what I told today's fighter and his crew.

I wanted to lighten their stress, have them focus on what they could control, have them focus on just the fight, and then leave the Philippines with a great story, a great experience.  I didn't want them to leave not having any fond memories of this country that I've grown so quickly to love.  

It's interesting because I lived in Korea for 11.5yrs but sometimes find myself so bitter towards it and it's people whereas other times I really do miss it and want to go visit.  I still feel very much Koreanized and more so Korean than Canadian.  I do have good memories of Korea, of course, but the last year and a half of my life there was so splattered with moments of pain, sadness and loneliness.  I never really experienced what loneliness was until I got married and his family became mine.  There was them (his immediate family and him) and then there was me.  And I know that if there was no them then my experience in Korea would have been so much different.  It would have been awesome.  Instead though, it wasn't.  I can't blame them entirely for what happened to me, to us, but it definitely played an incredibly huge role in the fact that he broke and I became super defensive and tough.  He would yell, I would totally shut down and shut up, then he'd leave me there crying by myself.  

On this day eight years ago Snickers proposed to me.  It popped up on my "On This Day" Facebook feed and it sparked a conversation between him and I tonight.   We ended up getting into quite the lengthy text message conversation about it actually and it lasted for 60+ text messages between us -- the longest text message conversation we've had since I left Korea.  It was interesting to note the tone of the conversation too.  With his mother and father there breathing over our shoulders and shaking their heads at me, at us, we actually conversed quite comfortably.  He told me he was proud of me and then wrote it in English, so to make sure I understood what he wanted to say.  It was the only English sentence in our entire conversation but it was the hardest to digest because I use to always wonder if he was ever proud of me.  Today was the first time he ever told me he was and ironically it really hurt to have him write this to me.  

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