Watching Katie Taylor box for Ireland and win an Olympic Gold Medal, has brought it all back to me, my years of training and competition… I feel so proud of her and so emotional, 20 years ago I had my first little taste of how she must feel, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
I started martial arts in 1988, actually you could say that I fell into it, a friend from school was doing it and I went along to try it, I had no expectations and little did I know that it was going to take over my life. I think what I feel in love with first, was the adrenaline rush, I went from being a normal 14 year old girl to one that couldn’t wait to get my adrenaline fix, it also had the added benefit of toning me up and increasing my self confidence.
In 1990, I made the Irish Kickboxing team and got to travel to Venice Italy and Birmingham UK representing my country. There is nothing that makes you feel prouder. You put on the Irish team track suit and feel exceptional, being part of something so much bigger..
In Sept 1991, my best friends Mum Nuala, let Fiona and I know about a course being run in our local parish centre, it was called ‘Investment for Excellence’, something that we didn’t know much about but would turn out to be on of the most influencing courses that I have ever attended. It detailed a very successful soccer team in the US where its founder Lou Tice had taken the principles that he applied to the team and adapted them to real life. It was all about developing your self-esteem, your self-worth, using motivational and visualisation skills to achieve that you wanted, be that in sport or in work or in any aspect of your personal life.
It turned me into an Irish Fighter with unshakeable believe and it gave me the skills needed to be number one in my sport..
So in November 1991, I won my first World Title for Ireland, it was a shock as I didn’t really expect to win it, I knew it was possible but until you actually get there, it is something that you aspire too. I can honestly say that for the first couple of days, I felt numb, I could believe that I had done it. My coach, said to me that my life would never be the same, I was no longer Nicola Corbett, I was Nicola Corbett, the World Kickboxing Champion… It felt great.
A little over 12 years later and I had one over 30 medals, 7 World titles, numerous (I need to count them :-)) European titles and silver and bronze World/European medals.
Sometimes it all seems so long ago, winning World and European titles, it is very different from the world that I live in today. I miss it a lot, I miss being fit and being in great physical shape, being the best at something..
So now I have a new goal, to live a full life while working through the challenges of Multiple Sclerosis, to try to help someone out there, to provide a listening ear, to be the best I can be… Maybe I can use my dedication and determination skills in this other way..
So to summarise, I think that Katie is the best and I am so proud of her, it is some achiement and she is a very worthy winner!!