To succeed at an elite level in sports requires a high level of specialization. Small details are determinant.
Being successful in one sport and moving to another can be very risky. You can go from being the best to just be one more.
Our today’s guest has experienced great success in two different martial arts.
He has been twice Kickboxing world champion and has been twice world medalist in Taekwondo. Silver in Chelyabinsk 2015 and Bronze in Muju 2017
I’m talking about Damon Sansum.
Damon was recruited to the GB Taekwondo team as part of the Fighting Chance program, which scout athletes from other martial arts to compete at taekwondo.
He had the skill and mindset necessary to adapt to a new style of competition.
He kindly talked with us about how he made it, how he had dedicated his life to martial arts and how he after his retirement is still contributing to the martial arts world adding high level technology to it.
Damon works with Kick.ai, a Finish company that is incorporating data driven technology to martial arts training. Damon shared with us all the exciting things he is doing with this martial arts startup.
I highly recommend this interview. Damon has a great passion for martial arts, technology and self improvement.
How to win confidence if you are scared of competitions?
Damon started to train martial arts with his father, a martial arts expert who for many years was a bodyguard of Mohamed Al Fayed’s family.
He started to compete in small competitions of KickBoxing and Karate point fighting.
You could think that being Damon Sansum, he always had the confidence to fight and win.
But it wasn’t always this way. When he was around 15 he was scared of competitions and not performing as good as he did in the Club. Sometimes he even got sick before tournaments.
His father even suggested that he take a break and to come back when he really wanted to compete.
After that pause he started to compete again, in certain particular fight where he again didn’t perform as good as he wanted he remembered thinking:
“You know what, is not gonna kill you, is not the end of the world, you gonna have to fight anyway so go and fight and give it your all”.
Two or three hours later he fought again and won all his fights that day and beat everyone who used to beat him. Later became a senior European Kick Boxing champion at 16.
That was when he started to be serious at training and competing.
After a very successful career in Kickboxing including being twice World Champion he was thinking of retirement because of a shoulder injury.
He was not able to perform as good as he wanted. By that time the Fighting Chance program was launched.
And he discussed with his father the idea of giving a try to Olympic Taekwondo as it was more focused on kicks than punches. So he could continue training and competing at a world class level.
He applied for the tests. Participated in a 5 days camp fighting against all kinds of martial artists but with taekwondo rules.
Damon proved he had the necessary talent to succeed in taekwondo, first in the camp and after it in competitions.
Of course it was not easy. He had moments of doubt when he asked himself “What am i doing here?” but his efforts were compensated and soon he started to medal in important competitions.
Martial arts, technology and Kick.ai
On October 2019, Damon decided to retire from taekwondo competition.
Damon shared with us that he knew that he was very interested in martial arts and technology as he knows is how the world works now.
We are like part robots having our phones all the time in our hands. After his retirement Damon wanted to do something that could mix technology and martial arts.
The day after his retirement he had a message from Jan-Eric Wargelin from Kick.ai. A Finish Tech start up developing data driven technology for the world of taekwondo and martial arts.
Damon flew to Finland, met the Kick.ai team, tested the technology and realized how good and accurate it was.
Now he works with Kick.ai contributing with his experience and knowledge of martial arts and taekwondo to the development of Kick.ai Technology.
By the way, Kick.ai is launching the new Club Pro and is offering a 1 on 1 demo to selected martial arts club owners. If you want to know how Kick.ai can help you with engagement and retention please contact Damon or me to arrange it.
Please enjoy the interview with this amazing guy. He also shared with us some stories he has accumulated through his martial arts journey.