What is the mother of two and the owner of a marketing firm doing kicking butt in the ring and undergoing combative pistol training? I ask myself that same question often – and the answer is always the same, like the old song says, “I gotta be me!”
But how did I get to be me? That too, is a very good question. It all started one January 14th when I was born the youngest child and youngest grandchild – into a family of two brothers. I guess growing up with two brothers was where I first learned about competition – and how to take a punch! I know they loved me dearly – but little sister always had to “keep up” with the big boys. I became the proverbial “Tom Boy”.
To look at me now – the last thing that probably comes to mine is “Farm Girl”, but I actually grew up on a farm in a small town in Oregon that surely none of you have heard of! I must say, life on the farm was great. I had my own little Noah’s Ark of animals to play with, and there’s nothing like taking care of a bunch of cows, horses and chickens to build physical strength, and teach you a thing or two about responsibility and how to deal with the daily good, bad and the indifferent!
By 5th grade I was playing the drums in band, by 6th grade – softball. By 7th grade I was petitioning the school principal to allow me to play football. I was all about equal rights.
Despite my brothers’ attempts, my mother tried everything to keep me involved in “girl activities”. I did my share of pageants, and girl sports. I played JV Volleyball. I lettered in Varsity Cheerleader, I tried track and hated it! I still had a passion for the drums and continued with that throughout high school. I even added Choir and Drama to spice up my days. I served on the Prom and Homecoming court – Mom loved that! But for me overall I was more content just hanging out with the guys doing “guy things”.
It was right around this time that I discovered my passion for the martial arts. You can imagine how that made Mom feel, she was 100% against it, particularly because she presumed I would get hurt. But the more I watched Karate Kid; the more I knew I needed a Mr. Mijagi in my life (and no, I’m not kidding). In all actuality, what I admired is every martial artist I ever saw portrayed had such a respect and passion for what they did, I wanted and needed that in my life. So much so, I was willing to wait until after graduation to explore my passion.
By the time I graduated, my family moved to Vegas, and I was conveniently old enough to make my own decisions. So despite Mom’s objections, I fed my Jones for full-contact by embracing Muay Thai. Once I found Master Toddy and discovered the world of Muay Thai – I fell in love with the sport. I began taking the classes to learn fighting techniques but NEVER in my wildest dreams thought I would actually fight professionally.
At this point I was already making my living as a marketing professional, so in addition to training, I stepped up to the plate and began planning kickboxing promotions for my Master. And then one day, much to my surprise, Master Toddy came to me out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in Commentating. This was something I really never gave much thought to, but my love for the sport and respect for my gym won out and I gave it a shot. My first experience was along side the world-renowned Colonel Bob, and I owe my commentating career to this day to the fact that I was trained by the very best.
Strength, confidence, expanding my marketing resume – just when I thought I was getting all I could out of Muay Thai, Master Toddy challenged me again. He asked me to Ring Announce an all female kickboxing card at the Stardust Hotel. As a marketing professional, of course I was familiar with public speaking – but a corporate boardroom is very different than an arena full of rabid fight fans (or is it?). As usual, I went along with this crazy concept and just did it – jumped in feet first, of course, how else would a kickboxer attack anything? Overall everything went well but to date I think Ring Announcing is scarier than getting in the ring to fight, but oddly enough I love the nerves that all of these skillsets provide.
At this point about the only thing that was missing from my ring career was stepping in for an actual fight. Master Toddy and Master Chan had been asking me for a couple of years to fight and I just kept putting it off. Finally, I gave in, and the rest as they say was history.
Today, I am a full contact Muay Thai fighter, with a winning record who was recently installed in the Black Belt Hall of Fame as well as the Masters Hall of Fame. I have been honored as Black Belt Magazines Woman of the Year. In addition, I have been featured on ESPN’s I’d do Anything, the theatrical motion picture Ring Girls, the Oxygen Network’s 2006 TV-movie Fight Girls, and a four-volume Muay Thai Instructional DVD Series, Vicious Vixens. I also mentored and trained 10 aspiring female fighters for the Oxygen Network 2007 reality series Fight Girls”. When I am not fighting or instructing I continue to Ring Announce, Commentate and Match Make for martial arts events nationwide.
With all my many years of experience in the corporate world and my achievements in the world of martial arts, combined to move my career in yet another direction – as a much sought after executive protection agent. Already skilled in martial arts and combat, I underwent comprehensive training and certifications in tactical disciplines, firearms, and surveillance techniques. I specialize in conducting advance work, security for female clients and families, and assignments that require maximum discretion.
In the midst of juggling my many careers I am still connected to the corporate world and have my own consulting service; Translucent Marketing, providing consultation and project management related to business development, media buying, and public relations.
With all my skills and experiences, I know I could not have accomplished any of these things without the support of my trainers and teammates, friends, fans, and family. To all of you, if I don’t say it enough – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. I couldn’t do it without you. Truthfully!!!
Muay Thai definitely will push you to beyond any limits, mental, physical or emotional. It is an extreme sport unto itself. I encourage anyone with an interest in Muay Thai to check it out – you just don’t know where it will take you. I certainly had no idea! Not only do I get the chance to continually challenge myself in the ring, I now also receive recognition and make my living doing what I love to do.
I am living proof that if you have a dream – go for it. Don’t settle. Be happy. Live life to the fullest. It’s really that easy!