Sunday, January 6, 2019
The first story is about Van Sanders and how he has
Rick: Van, tell me a little bit about your life, where you have been, what steps you have taken to get into boxing, and how it has enhanced your life.
Also I would like to hear about how your life in fitness and boxing has been able to enhance other people’s life?
Van: My name is Van Sanders, and I have been in fitness ever since I was 9 years old. At that age, I first started in taekwondo and later I got involved in weight lifting about the age of 11 or 12 years old. At the age of 17 I advanced to boxing.
I thought it was funny on how I had started in weight lifting. I was trying to strengthen my body because of my home life. My father was a ‘strong willed man’and I was scared I was going to get my ass whipped, so I figured if I started my training in lifting weights, maybe it would make my body parts strong enough to take the ass whipping. Since then I have never stopped lifting.
At 18 I joined the Army and continued boxing during my time as a soldier. And I have been boxing ever since.
Shortly after I got out of the Army at the age of 21, I moved back to Chicago and got back into the ways of street life. While I lived in Chicago, my old ways resurfaced. Fitness was not my priority and I fell away from it.
I was still lifting weights with my friends but I never stopped lifting weights. Unfortunately I did stop the combative type stuff and moved more into getting into a familiar scene, the street life of Chicago.
Shortly after leaving Chicago, I moved to Arizona, which saved my life from my old ways. If I would of stayed in Chicago, I probably would being jail or probably be dead. So coming to Arizona actually got me back to combative sports, back into boxing, and also back into kick boxing which then got me into submission grabbling. Arizona is very huge fight state where a lot of people out here do a lot of wrestling and combative type of sports. So when I moved out to Arizona in 2004, I got back into boxing and also into kickboxing. From there I started submission grabbling and I became a full time mixed martial arts fighter in the process.
As a mixed martial arts fighter, I started teaching classes and working as a personal trainer, which developed into being a fulltime position as an instructor and as a fighter. This really helped my life out for the better, because if it wasn’t for fitness, I would always be into the street life. And fitness has literally saved my life.
I started training at Boxing Inc. first from 2004 up until 2006. And during this time I started falling back into my old Chicago ways. I just had a lot of personal stuff going on however I never stopped fighting, nor did I ever stopped training for fighting. In fact I never stopped competing in boxing or competing in submission grappling even when I was getting back to my old ways.
During this time I had a fall out with some of the people that were managing the gym so I ended up leaving and started doing my old thing. So I pretty much from there, like I said, I started falling back in my old street life ways.
During this time and I ran back in with some former trainers of mine and we all started training again. We were a tight group and we trained together for about a year a year and a half until I ended up going to another gym; a mixed marital arts gym. I was with this gym for a number of years, about 2012. I was fighting full time and I ended up blowing my knee out while I was training for a fight in 2012. That fight was to be my last fight for a while. Since my career in fighting ended, it kind of messed up my mind. I then started to notice that I was seeing life differently.
Here I was on the sidelines because of my injury, and it looked like everybody else was just like going on with their lives and surpassing me. I felt like I was being left behind, so I left fitness and I ended up getting back into the street life, which meant I started getting back into my old ways. I felt like I was a kid again back in Chicago and I ended up getting into some trouble. And because of the trouble I got into I went to prison for two years. During my time in prison, funny enough, I was still lifting weights more then before I went in.
When I Went To Prison
During this time in prison I was training my fellow inmates, so it almost felt like even though I was trying to leave fitness prior to prison, I ended up falling right back into it. While training some of the inmates, a lot of the other inmates saw what I was doing. They asked me to train them and then later I was asked to teach classes while I was incarcerated. What I mean is the guards at the prison were asking me to teach classes so I started teaching. It was almost like God was putting me back into teaching people, training people again so I knew that fitness was my life, even though I was trying to escape from it prior to my incarceration.
I knew that it pretty much this was my calling in my life and that I was never going to escape it, no matter how much I wanted to. So when I got out of prison I was looking for a job. And I wasn’t even out of prison for a month, living in a half way house, when I met up with one of the guys that I was locked up with and who I had train while we were incarcerated. He had a friend that worked at Boxing Inc. where I had worked at before.
At that time, Boxing Inc., was looking for a trainer. I knew the owner when I use to train at Boxing Inc. and when the owner found out that I was back in town he got in contact with my friend, and we were able to connect once again.
When the owner called me in and he was like, “Yo Dude, I heard you are back, you know how you been?” and then we chopped it up. He told me what he was offering and I have been rolling with Boxing Inc., ever since. It is a great place to be, Boxing Inc., and it is very family oriented.
Boxing Inc., is into fighting however we are more for everybody, we are about changing people’ lives physically, and mentally. If you want to fight you can fight. If you are just trying to get in better shape for your health we doing that. We are changing people aspects of their lives; we change peoples’ confidence about themselves, how they view themselves, and how other people view them. You know because when people come in here and you have somebody that is over weight and they look down on themselves.
Because we live in a varied type of society, where you know the way that people look at other people, they are going to judge you the way that you look. And so some of the people that first come here are down on themselves for various reason. Then after three or four months and with consistency in their training they literally change their whole way at the way they look at themselves. Like, they may drop 50 or 60 pounds and now they have this huge confidence about themselves. And other people start to see that change.
And they will say, “Dam Dude, something has changed about you or you look so much better now, what have you been doing?” Just knowing that I am here helping these people changing their whole life style about themselves, it is a great feeling. Just being able to help people change is so great of a feeling and this is one of the main reasons I am still here training people today.