Why I went toe to toe with a 6’8″ 290 lb linebacker this weekend

“Did that wall just MOVE?” I asked myself…

“No, that’s your opponent in the finals – in 10 mins!” replied one of the voices in my head.


How did I get here?

At 45 years old, I’m about to go toe to toe with a linebacker… one who is intent on kicking my ass and winning this battle.

wku canada

The giant I battled in the finals…

I’m 12” shorter than him – 10 years older – and 80 pounds lighter.

Oh oh.

Now, this IS something I WANTED to do (didn’t know I would be fighting a giant, but I knew I’d be fighting).

I’ve loved and been involved in martial arts for a number of years.

15 years ago I was addicted to kickboxing and Muay Thai (and I was quite a bit younger, and able to heal much, MUCH faster :O)

I was so addicted, I did it until I could barely walk (due to a combination of overtraining barefoot on hardwood floors – and far too many broken bones in my feet from kicking an elbow or three – ouch).

But I loved it.

Nothing better than the rush I got (and still get) from an awesome workout.

When I couldn’t walk anymore, I stopped, got lazy and packed on a whoooole bunch of weight.

About 7 years ago, I got sick of being overweight and began my battle of the bulge.  I started walking, then into Tae Kwon Do (which I had done for a short stint in my teens).

6 years later I had received my 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do…

…but it wasn’t enough for the old boy here.

So I hired a personal trainer that specializes in Kettlebells and Interval training – LOVED IT!

My Tae Kwon Do training was dwindling as I just wasn’t getting out of it what I missed so dearly.

So what else does a borderline sane 45 year old guy do?

Gets back into Kickboxing and Muay Thai too, of course!

Next thing you know he’s doing 8 classes a week in martial arts and twice a week in the gym.

Crazy – I know.

But happy – I am!

The next logical thing now that I’ve found my “happy place”?

Elimination Round

Elimination Round…

Glove up and get fighting!

A couple weeks ago I did my first tournament as a 45 year old in the WKU Provincial Qualifiers.  Got a bronze in Point sparring and a Gold in Continuous sparring.

Good start.

Fast forward to this weekend…

…my second tournament as a 45 year old.

Tough competition and more qualifiers for the Provincials.

I won my first fight against a guy about my height – another heavyweight.

I’m going to the finals… when I realize I have to fight Sasquatch himself!!

This massive 6’8” 290lb linebacker is something else.

He and I are going against each other in the finals.

And I need to dig deep and look at squishing all forms of fears that are bubbling up all around me.

First, I’ve never fought anyone even REMOTELY close to someone that big.

Second, he wants this Gold as bad as I do – and he has arms and legs that are a foot longer than mine – how in the HELL am I going to battle this guy… and WIN?

facing fears

Wee bit of a height difference…

(probably the worst part was thinking… at his size he’d be ridiculously slow and I’d be able to use that as an advantage, but after watching him beat another guy in the elimination round, I realized that wasn’t the reality I was faced with. Uhg.)

Up against someone with that kind of reach advantage all I could do was try and be faster, and get closer.  Not giving him the chance to unload on me with those ridiculously long arms (that ended in fists), and legs (that ended in feet that kick).

My stomach was flip flopping, I was freaking out internally, but I was focused.

I paced the mats looking at the floor – seeing in my mind how it would all play out.

Looking at the moving wall was the last thing I needed to do at this point.

The finals begin… and I step up to centre ring.

And we begin.


He hits and kicks hard… and it’s flipping hard to get on the inside when he can hit me from so flipping far away!

I get some kicks in – some punches – but I am definitely not winning the first round.

wku finals, kickboxing, muay thai

Damn he’s tall and hard to hit!

30 second break and advice from my ringside coach… where I asked “what in the hell CAN I do with a guy like this?”  Coach says, and I agree – boxing – stick to boxing – and focus on his stomach.  Its eye level to me so about the smartest advice yet :O)

Round two…

…hands a flailing and landing as many body shots as I can (as my head is getting rocked by his 4 foot long arms and fists!)

It’s over… I survived… and I got some decent body shots in.

He won the Gold – I got the Silver.

He was a nice guy and deserved all his wins (he was undefeated in the tournament).

And DAMN did I learn some things about myself, about facing fears, and about focusing on ONE THING.

* Always be pushing yourself to find that place you are your happiest and most productive.

* When you find a sport and exercise you love (and I believe EVERYONE should have one – walking could be yours – it’s STILL exercise!) immerse yourself in your new passion and squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of it.

* When you feel yourself getting lazy or bored with your sport of choice – switch it up!  Find a new one that you can get passionate about. Find a coach that gives you the attention and PUSH you need.  Find a place to train, with people you enjoy.

* Find ways to push yourself INSIDE the sport you love.  I found I LOVE the competing in Kickboxing and plan to do more of it.  I will train hard(er) and continue to improve.  Hopefully my next battles I will be able to get under the heavyweight division – fewer 290 lb giants to battle!

* When you have a really tough challenge in front of you… dig deep inside, breath deep, put blinders on so you see nothing BUT facing your fears head on, then step in and GET IT DONE.

* When you lose – you still won.  Nothing beats the emotional feeling you get after facing a huge fear, tackling it head on, and seeing yourself step up to the challenge!  The catch is not to shrivel up and fade away after a defeat – you need to use it as fuel to fire your next challenge!

The MOST successful people I have met in life fail repeatedly, and quickly.  They find things to do and ways to push themselves to fail faster.  You learn, and get stronger from each time you step up to the plate!

(I’ll admit – it felt pretty damn good after it was all over to have some of Canada’s most respected martial artists and Muay Thai Coaches – many of them multiple world champions – step up, congratulate me, and say how well I did despite the odds)

…so what in the HELL does this have to do with business and marketing?

Just about EVERYTHING!

Replace marketing or writing with my mention of exercise or kickboxing here.

Being successful in business and in marketing means doing things you aren’t comfortable with. Doing things that scare you.  Doing things that stretch your comfort zone.  Failing forward as fast as humanly possible.

Staying in something or doing something repeatedly just because it’s comfortable is no way to thrive in life.

Pushing yourself as hard as humanly possible IS.

I conquered a big fear – fought a giant – survived without serious injury – and feel like a different person because of it.

Pretty good lesson I learned.

Hope you can learn from it too.


PS: One spot left in the Writing ~ZING~ Coaching program that starts tomorrow for 6 weeks.  Hell of a deal if you want to push your marketing further, and harder, than you ever have before.  Details here

PPS: If you are in Calgary, and want a FANTASTIC martial arts place to train – 5 Elements Martial Arts is it!  Maeghen Cotterill owns and operates this place and runs it like a champ.  Maeghan is a World Champion Martial artist and has an amazing choice of styles you can train in (Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Ju Jitsu).  They have an incredible Little Dragons program for the little gaffers and have world renowned coaches for every style of martial art you choose.  I can’t say enough great things about this place!


  1. Congratulations Troy! That is amazing. That guy looks like he is SAMCRO.

    Funny how facing our fears is so inspiring for business. I found the same thing doing adult gymnastics for the first time.

  2. Frankie Diaz says:

    Proud of you, Sir! I am grateful also to your opponent for being the wall that consumed a fear and granted us a magnificent story. 😀

    I shall emulate. Thank you!

  3. Thanks Frankie. Great to hear from you.

  4. Hey Troy,

    Nice job stepping up and facing your fears. You definitely had your work cut out for you. Also, thanks for sharing the lesson with us.

  5. Thanks Dana. I’ll tell you – the first time I saw him the guts got a turning and a twisting real quick 🙂 But I focused, and fought. Didn’t win that fight but I put in my best!

  6. Way to go Troy, inspired. Has me thinking about hockey.

  7. Troy Steine says:

    Hello Troy,

    VERY Motivating words for me after a very long day. In fact, two specific points in your message stood out for me personally:

    1.Always be pushing yourself to find that place you are your happiest and most productive
    (This is one of the reasons I’ve joined your Coaching program)

    2.When you have a really tough challenge in front of you… dig deep inside, breath deep, put blinders on so you see nothing BUT facing your fears head on, then step in and GET IT DONE.
    (Words we should all embrace each day of our lives.)

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences Troy, and congratulations on a very impressive result in the competition.


    Troy Steine
    Vancouver, BC, Canada.

  8. Thank you Troy! Great to know some of the points struck a chord with you. Looking forward to working with you on the coaching program! Troy

  9. Thanks Terry… always great to hear from you!

  10. Ann Stewart says:

    Sounds like you had some of the same thoughts as David did when he first saw Goliath….oh crap, and I volunteered for this! I bet you were wishing you had your handy dandy sling shot in hand. Great job Troy, hope you aren’t hurting too much from all the kicks you took.

    Have a great day

    Ann Stewart
    Calgary AB


  1. […] As soon as I walked in, I saw the 6’8” 290 behemoth I fought in the spring of 2014. […]

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