No Excuses

By Henri Hyppönen

I always get pumped up when someone states that something can’t be done. Quite often it simply is not true. People just stopped trying altogether or they were not creative enough in their approach.

There is a story in particular that emphasises this idea in more concrete terms. It is Kyle Maynards life story. Kyle was born with congenital amputation, without arms or legs. (Read about Kyle in my book Nautitaan Raakana)

Most people who see Kyle in a wheelchair can’t see behind the device he is sitting in or the situation he faces. However fortunately Kyles parents, family, friends and Kyle himself saw past the obvious. They understood that what they see are merely perceived limitations, but not the true limit of Kyle´s abilities.

Kyle ended up being a wrestling champion in his University and even managed to wrestle himself to a ranking of 16th in his own age group at the university wrestling level. Kyle has made records in bench press and in 2010 he took his first MMA match.

I contacted Kyle for my book, and here is our previously unpublished correspondence.

HH: You have practiced thousands of extra hours to get where you are now. How do you deal with frustration?

KM: I deal with frustration just like everyone else. The important thing is to stay positive and not allow the frustration, doubt or fear get in the way of my goals. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but I know in that never trying is far worse than the pain of failure.

HH: How did you feel after you MMA fight?

KM: Win or lose, I was fine with the result. Many people voiced doubt that I could overcome my obstacles and survive a single round in the sport. I know in my heart how hard I worked and 99% of the naysayers would never have the courage to step into a ring and fight another man.

HH: What did you learned from that experience?

KM: The fight was one of the most peaceful moments of my life. I pushed myself harder both physically and mentally and I believe it made me better as a person.

HH: How do you feel about your opponent Mr Fry?

KM: I respect Brian for taking the fight. Honestly, it’s a lose- lose situation. If he wins, he beat up a guy without arms and legs. If he loses, he lost to a guy without arms or legs.

HH: What kind on mental strategies you use if/when you encounter distracting thoughts?

KM: I read the book Wrestle Your Perfect Match before my fight. I knew I would be nervous from hearing a big hit or having the crowd cheer. I also knew I would be anxious when I heard “Kyle, 5 minutes until you’re on”, or “Kyle you’re up.” I wrote down everything that I would experience. How I felt, what I saw, what it smelled like. I relived my fight over and over and when the pin was put in the cage and I knew there was no turning back, it was the most tranquil and peaceful moments of my life.

HH: You say in your book that sometimes you get to excuses too, what do you do when that happens?

KM: The excuses I give have nothing to do without having arms or legs. They are the excuses that everyone gives, but the important thing is to not let them interfere with what I want most.

HH: 2010 it was MMA, what are you planning to do next?

KM: I want to continue my speaking career to reach and help as many people as possible. Athletically, I want to get more involved in mountain climbing and in triathlons to be able to compete in an Iron Man. My goal this year is to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro by bear crawling.

Kyle ended up being the first person to climb to Kilimanjaro by bear crawling. He is still preparing for triathlon.

More about Kyle:

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