Photo by IMMAFed on Facebook
Colleen Augustin, who is 22-years-old this year, is a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. She started her journey way back when she was only 17 years old. Throughout her time in this field, has won the title of Champion at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Asian Open 2019. Many athletes in Malaysia possess inspiring stories of success like how Colleen Augustin made history in MMA. She has crafted her mind to cut negativity out from life and focus on the positive. Her philosophical approach in life shows that everything begins with our mindset.
Back in November of 2020, I had the pleasure of interviewing Colleen. We talked about her experience as an athlete, her journey and some tips that might benefit you!
1.You learned ballet when you were young. What made you have a significant change for yourself?
For me, it's actually not a huge change because I started learning martial arts and ballet when I was a kid. I started karate and ballet when I was six years old, and from the age of eight to ten years old, I learned Taekwondo. Then from the age of ten to seventeen, I learned Aikido. It's like something I already did when I was a kid. I started with Muay Thai first. One day, my friend invited me to get into an MMA Class. When I learned about MMA, my coach found out that I have potential in it, and I love MMA. Because I was a professional obstacle course racer, I already had my career over there. And I knew that my parents would be shocked I chose MMA, but I know that MMA is my passion.
2. Was your family against you joining MMA?
Before I decided to join MMA full-time, I also encountered struggles. Because back then, I already had a job which was obstacle racing, and I'm doing well from there. However, my mother still respected my decision. And how I really made the decision was when one of my seniors asked me a good question. He asked, "15 years from now, are you going to enjoy your obstacle training or the training of MMA?" From there, I immediately knew my answer.
3. What's the most valuable part that you learned from MMA?
I learned a lot during this journey. I have met many friends from different countries. Through encouragement given by my coach to participate in MMA, they will not look at the ego because I am a girl. From there, I kept practising exploring. For me, losing is not a miserable thing. You lose, so you learn from the experience. I knew that I was still learning and I made sure I won't make the same mistake again.
4. Have you encountered the feeling of giving up? How do you stand up again?
Honestly, I was frustrated sometimes but not at people. I feel frustrated when I can't get the technique right when I want it to be excellent and perfect. But I've developed some strategies to minimize the impact of frustration in my life. Like, changing my mindset that if I can't get it now, I will keep practising and practising.
5. If you've reached your retirement age from MMA, which industry will you choose?
I will still choose to be in the same field. Because I love martial arts and I already have this knowledge, and I am also a fitness trainer; coaching and teaching are natural for me. And all of these can be taught to the next generation.
6. Do you have any message to youth, especially for those fresh graduates, and some who are losing their life compass?
In this current economic situation, I know it does take time to find a new job. But what I want to say is not to give up on applying. But at the same time, don't lose focus and also take this time as an opportunity to develop yourself in other talents. When you really want it to be something, try it, do it, explore!
From Colleen's story, I hope this can help those who feel lost and don't know their worth by giving the inspiration to explore whatever you want and try it. Your life is to be appreciated by you. I believe that you have the right to live your life in whatever way you want. Anything you do should be in service of your happiness.
By Victoria Wong