MMA isn’t just combat, it’s spiritual. A Chippewa fighter finds her focus | Emptying The Tank

Published by Jan Heaney on

MMA isn’t just combat, it’s spiritual. A Chippewa fighter finds her focus | Emptying The Tank


(Insects chirring) (Exhaling sharply) – I’m Ashley Nichols, and I’m from Chippewas
of the Thames First Nation. (Breathing heavily) Having somewhat of, I guess,
a tougher upbringing… I was bored,
and I wasn’t really active. And it just
wasn’t good, mentally. It wasn’t good emotionally
or spiritually for me. When I found boxing,
it was a healthy outlet. (Grunting) – Two! One,
two! OK! Knee! Hey! Uppercut across!
Uppercut across! Uppercut hook!
Across! (Both grunting) Switch kick
across! OK! One, two! – (Ashley): Because of
the positive environment that it was in, I knew I was working on myself
and I was improving when I was in the gym, training. It felt good to train. That’s when I
made the transition into a more
healthier lifestyle. – Uppercut across! (Ashley grunting) Jab, uppercut across! Uppercut across. – When I first started
training Muay Thai… I learned that there was
a traditional component. There was a ceremony
that’s done before a match. It’s showing respect
for your teachers, your ancestors,
your gym, your team. And learning that it wasn’t just
the physical fighting, I was able to connect with it. Because in
First Nations culture, it’s very traditional
and spiritual as well. It’s about
taking care of one another and, you know, our ancestors, so, our lineage,
where we come from, our roots. Martial arts is about respect. (Breathing heavily) (Birds chirping,
insects chirring) Fitness will help
with confidence. It helps you
with your balance… helps you feel empowered
and feel strong. So it gives me
a sense of belonging. My team is a community. The gym I train at
is a community… and we help each other improve. Without our teammates, we’re unable to accomplish
what we’re accomplishing. Without our coaches,
without our support, we’re not able to accomplish
what we’re doing. It’s not just
what we’re doing in the gym. It’s also what we do
outside of the gym. So, how can I improve myself, not just as a fighter,
but as a person too? That’s the most important part
of the fighting journey. Women in martial arts are proving they’re
very skilled and very strong. They’re very technical
and powerful, and they have the courage
and the ability to compete. (Breathing heavily) So, whatever your strength is… believe in it. (Exhaling sharply) I get to be in my element when I get into
the ring or cage. I go in, and when the bell goes, it’s just me
and the other fighter. You can be from
different countries, and you have dreams,
and you have goals… And you’ve prepared.
The other fighter’s prepared. You know,
it’s an amazing experience. We’re making our names known as athletes, as fighters. It’s awesome. (Laughing) Just as when
I was first learning and training, I was inspired by someone else
who was in the ring. So, I want to put on
an inspirational performance… and just go in
and give 100% of my being, like, my heart… and just put it all in the ring. (Birds chirping,
insects chirring) ♪♪Let’s take a journey,
a journey through my mind
♪ ♪Got some soul-searching
and some answers to find
♪ ♪Why this pain keeps
trying to hold me down
♪ ♪Keeps my heart searching
and my feet up off the ground
♪ ♪How will I break away
from the one who’s racing?
♪ ♪Seeking success
and keeps this mind chasing
♪ ♪Still can’t figure out,
mind full of doubt
♪ ♪Even though the light inside
is trying to break out
♪ ♪As the time’s passing by,
silently, I try
♪ ♪Got my soul searching
and wondering why
♪ ♪Why this pain keeps trying
to hold me down
♪ ♪Keeps my heart searching♪ ♪Gotta get my feet
on the ground
♪ ♪I gotta keep moving
when every day I try
♪ ♪Finally start to see
the answers of why
♪ ♪Then I heard a voice inside♪ ♪You never ever have to hide
I cry
♪ ♪Then I heard a voice inside♪ ♪Is it just a dream
or someone in reality?
♪ ♪Is it just a dream
or someone in reality?
♪♪ (Ashley breathing heavily) Closed Captions:MELS


9 Comments

Happychicx · January 22, 2019 at 4:58 pm

Completely fit! Mentally, emotionally, physically & spiritually. 🧘🏻‍♀️

Norm Landes · January 22, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I feel that I must add to this viewpoint. All of Ms Nichols' reasons for training are very true in all the martial arts. Thank you for voicing these truths.

TheIkawatay · January 25, 2019 at 7:16 am

Shes gorgeous.

Dany Loubos · January 26, 2019 at 2:52 pm

"Making our names as athletes and fighters" " I wanna give on an inspirational performance, and just go in and give 100% of my being and my heart and just put it all in the ring"

Very inspirational and not only an athlete/fighter, she's a role model so needed to our confused younger generation that seems to not be able to find a meaning to life.

Meymeygwis · January 26, 2019 at 6:00 pm

Wow, this is superb, you are an inspiration Ashley Nichols, Chi Migwetch!

Scott · March 20, 2019 at 11:49 am

This is muay thai not mma!

Ashley Nichols · May 11, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Thanks Everyone_/_In the documentary I am practicing and talking about the Muay Thai journey, and share the Wai Kru, the ceremonial dance done before a Muay Thai match to pay respect and give thanks to teachers/coaches, ancestor's, my team, my family and communities. I also competed in MMA, BJJ, and GLORY Kickboxing so maybe why it says MMA. Wishing everyone the best and to live a happy life.

Imma H8tr · August 11, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Just wait until transgender women start fighting in female mixed martial arts. I don't think this young woman will stand much of a chance against another 190 lb "woman" with pig tails and a bulge in her tights.

Jord Cornelius · August 11, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Proud of you Ashley. Your a inspiration to alot of the people. A true warrior women. Nice raps. Deadly.

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