Why I started?
I started cardio kick-boxing at the age of 16 out of interest from watching TV. I thought it looked cool so I wanted to give it a try. I had never been particularly good at anything, never had any real passion or drive for anything and I was always second best growing up, just never good enough as most Asian children aren’t. I was a super shy and insecure girl and never felt I had an identity. As I practiced more and more, I got better and better and started considering the idea that I could be good at something. So my journey began. I joined Karate to start competing where I encountered the humbling experience of competition. I had never competed in anything before so I had no idea about the pressure, the nervousness and the disappointment.
Growing up I always liked being active, running around, throwing balls, playing soccer, etc. At one point, recess was about girls vs boys; soccer, races, A-wall and finally arm-wrestling, when I beat the biggest dude in 5th grade! My brother and sister were very intelligent so I was automatically branded the dumb one when I didn’t get into the gifted program. So who was I then? I guess if not brains, then brawn. So I started doing push-ups and sit-ups every night before I went to bed.
What do you love about Fighting?
Fighting is insane! The technical aspects of the sport is incredible. The angles, the movement, the precision, the power, the possibilities, the will and how the athlete puts that all together can be brilliant.
As a fighter, it takes everything but nothing in particular to be successful. You must be driven, determined, strong but have the ability to be calm and focussed under pressure. You must possess a strong mindset to overcoming obstacles. In the ring you will find out who you truly are, as you are pushed to your limits your true self will be revealed. Physically you have to be strong, powerful, fast, flexible, have incredible stamina, be coordinated, have quick reactions, have impeccable precision and be well-trained so your body can rely on muscle memory when needed. Intellectually you have to have the knowledge and ability to perform the multitude of technical skills of the sport, accurately judge the situation you have in front of you and be able to make the right decisions in minimal time. You also must be a mastermind; be able to read people and get them to think what you want them to think. Furthermore, you need to have the creativity to string everything together in your unique way. Emotionally you must feel what you need to feel to be able to perform at maximum capacity. And lastly Heart; the magic of a person that can not be explained. A combination of any number of these in any quantity can produce success. But at the end of the day, anything can happen!
What has Fighting taught me?
Fighting has taught me to keep working, keep focussed and never give up on what I want to accomplish. It has taught me that anything worth winning takes work, sacrifice, discipline, failure, disappointment and a never-ending will. But also that the road is always extending, the scenery is always changing and there is no end while you are here; nothing is finite, there is more, there is better, there are other roads and other ways.
“Above sky there is more sky” - Thai Proverb
The beauty is the ride, the experiences along the way, the lessons you gain and the people you meet. It’s taught me to be positive, think positively and do positive things because that’s the only way progress occurs and the only thing I want to contribute to. And lastly it’s taught me to focus on what really matters. Anything else is irrelevant and your life is what you make it.
How has Fighting changed my life?
Through the years of training and practice, I had discovered that the more I trained and the more I practiced, the more capable I was. I started doing more and more push-ups, I started hitting the bag with more and more power, I started to realize there was more. And slowly I surprised myself and continued to challenge myself. Today, I live every day knowing there is more, knowing I can be better and knowing anything is possible. I love working in the gym to find that ‘more’ and I’m working on pushing through my daily life to be ‘more’ despite the pressures I feel to just be ‘normal’ and do what is expected because it’s safe and predictable. It’s incredible what you can do when you just work hard and keep pushing to achieve. Lots of lessons along the way, lots of hurt, lots of pain, lots of disappointment but never a want or wish to be anywhere else.
What is your advice to others?
My advice to others is to go for it, never look back and never give up. Open your mind, challenge yourself, be fearless and do what you want. Be what you want.
The reason why I am a trainer and coach is because I want to guide others to see how strong and capable they are when they put in the work, the focus and the effort. I want to make exercise and active living fun for everyone and show them it’s less about how you look and more about what you can do and how you can live. Being active is a way of life, a way of thinking. It’s about getting out there, trying new things, doing it with other great people, challenging yourself and always improving. All of these lessons help you succeed in all other areas of your life. A way of Life, a way of thinking.
Specifically for the female fighters out there, I want to tell them that anything is possible, be the fighter you want to be.
Don’t be influenced by what others see you as. I’ve been told by many people that I kick harder than most guys. My skill is increasing and only improving. My ongoing goal is to be able to destroy any one; male or female, 100 or 300lbs, 4 or 7ft. Anything is possible. Female fighters CAN be powerful, CAN fight smart and CAN fight skilled. You don’t have to be super aggressive and vicious or fight like a ‘man’. You choose. Define yourself.
Why I Fight?
1 It’s fun! I love being active and working out. I love getting stronger and improving my fighting abilities.
2 I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. I live to die once.
3 It’s a challenge, a goal, a drive, a mission, a purpose.
4 It’s exciting! It’s beautiful! It’s crazy!
5 It’s a community and world I understand and connect with.
6 There is so much history, culture and science behind it.
Natalie Yip is a professional Muay Thai athlete. With over 25 fights she is one of the most experienced female fighters in North America. She has competed globally with some of the top fighters, some of her notable fights have been against Sandra Bastian and Tiffany Van Soest. She is a certified personal trainer and Muay Thai and Boxing coach with 13 years of experience in the following roles: wellness consultant, fitness coordinator, personal trainer, strength conditioning specialist, group exercise instructor and Muay Thai coach. She instructs and coaches at York Muay Thai and Grants MMA & Rival Boxing Gym and is owner of her own personal training business where she caters her tremendous knowledge and experience to help clients fulfill their fitness goals. Check out her website at: http://www.trainwithnat.com/