Women Now

The Achieving Women’s Guide to..summoning your fighting spirit

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate has joined Singapore’s Evolve MMA gym as an instructor. She approaches work the same way she trains: relentlessly and resourcefully
 

She’s quite the multi-hyphenate: New mum and also Strikeforce World Champion Miesha Tate is in Singapore not just as a trainer, she has also joined fight competition One Championship as its vice president.

This means she is now in the +65 actively grooming our future generation of athletes, possibly seeking out cupcakes (her favourite guilty pleasure and also famed moniker), and on the lookout for playdates for little Amaia Neveah Nunez, her 10-month-old daughter. 

She’s regarded as one of the greatest female mixed martial artists of all time, and we recently spoke to the 33-year-old in between her busy schedule.

 

How she got started in wrestling: 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Miesha Tate (@mieshatate) on

“I got into martial arts by wrestling in high school. I sucked at basketball, and the other sport offered was wrestling. It wasn’t even offered to women, so I pushed my way in there, and I decided to wrestle. I wrestled even when there was no women’s wrestling team, by competing primarily against men.”

 

How she finds time to train (Although technically retired, Miesha still makes time to work out (or sneak in a work out) at least five times a week: 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Miesha Tate (@mieshatate) on

“Even on flights I’ll go into the bathroom and do squats. Sometimes even by holding my daughter. I’ll do it in spurts like I’ll do 10 squats really fast, and I’ll wait a few seconds, do another 10, and I’ll do a set of 50. I also like resistance bands. They weigh nothing and I bring them with me everywhere I go.

When I can’t get to the gym, I use them. I’m in a better mood overall if I get a workout in for sure, particularly if I’m able to punch something.”

 

On introducing her daughter Amaia to MMA:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It’s a Mother Daughter thing

A post shared by Miesha Tate (@mieshatate) on

“Yes. Out of any sport there is – and I have played many – the values that a child gets from joining a martial arts programme is something you don’t find as easily in other sports.

You train together, but you compete as an individual, so martial arts teaches you how to work with others; how to have teammates, but also how to compete independently, and have independent goals.

Also, the core values of integrity, humility and respect are all invaluable lessons you gain when you learn martial arts.” 

 

On her new roles in Singapore:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Miesha Tate (@mieshatate) on

“My primary responsibilities as VP at One Championship is that of a pundit, commentating on the matches. I’ll also be heading various charity projects in partnership with Global Citizen. And I’ll be coaching at Evolve, so my schedule will be quite full. But I will make time for my daughter. I want to be a good example for Amaia. I want her to see that she doesn’t have to choose between having a family, and accomplishing your career goals.” 

Akin to Miesha entering the octagon, some of us enter the boardroom, confrontations, negotiations, the labour ward (a Whatsapp chatgroup, a packed MRT at peak hour, family gatherings etc.) you name it, in dire need of an inner fighting spirit. So we ask Miesha to fire us up a mental roadmap, by sharing tips on how she summons her fighting spirit, and how we can mentally prepare when facing challenges. 

Photo: 123rf

  • Plan Ahead for Challenges. As a martial artist, I know I’m walking into a fight. So whatever it is you’re coming up against, know that you’re going to face adversity. If you know it’s going to happen, then it’s not a surprise. Then plan ahead on how to deal with your stress and your energy.  
  • Compartmentalise. Outline the possible outcomes, define what’s negative and what’s positive. Then compartmentalise, such that you can put certain things away, and let other things come to the forefront.
  • Have Self-awareness, Focus on Positive Outcomes. Your mind is very powerful, and if you let it go where it wants to go, sometimes it goes towards the negative, so in a high-pressure situation, you can drain away if you allow yourself to focus on the negatives. Be aware of where your thoughts are going and catch yourself. Every time I find myself thinking “Oh I might lose…” I would immediately focus on something positive. It’s sort of an active meditation, you’re actively converting your mind. It doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen
  • Stop and Take a Deep Breath. If you’re just going going going, you are wasting energy. Stop. Breathe. Re-Group. Then go again.
  • Trust Yourself. The truth is when you’re in the middle of a fight, there are no words going through your mind, there is only emotion. And if I had to put it in words the best way that I can…it would be to “trust yourself”.  Have faith in yourself to make the right decision under pressure. I had a coach Robert Follis who told me, “Miesha, I may tell you to do something that you can’t do at the time, or that you know isn’t the best decision, but it’s because I’m looking at you from the outside. I may have your best interest in mind, but I am not in your shoes, I’m not in your position. So I trust you to make the right decision.” That instilled confidence in me. 

For those looking to get a workout with Miesha Tate, you should know this: 

“I’m a trainer who will lead by example; how much you give is how much I will give.” 

So are you ready to bring it?  

Miesha Tate has no fixed schedule at Evolve MMA (https://evolve-mma.com/) and teaches all through the week.

ALSO READ: THE ACHIEVING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO...GETTING AHEAD IN THE WORKPLACE

International Women's Day

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