Name: Damian Darker
Sport: K1 (Kickboxing)
What made you choose combat sport? Did you start with something else?
- I was 4 years of age when I started a combat sport so I guess it’s all I’ve ever known really, I wanted to do it because of the tv programs I was watching at the time had cool martial arts scenes in them and that had an influence on me but the decision ultimately came down to my parents at that age so they decided it would be a good decision to find a local club for myself and I started Taekwondo from there.
What is your greatest sporting achievement?
- My greatest sporting achievement to this day is probably winning my first professional k1 title last year and then successfully defending it twice this year winning it outright.
What is your current sporting goal and how do you plan to go about getting it?
- My current goal is to break into the international k1 scene and get the biggest promotions & shows out there. I’m going about it by constantly training hard in order to better myself but also trying to stay ready cause it’s not like a season in a lot of sports it’s a lot less predictable as far as competitive regularity so that’s why when opportunities arise I have to be fit & ready in order to grab it with both hands.
Aside from your sporting achievements and athletic ability, do you think there are any attributes you have acquired over the years from sport, that benefit you in your life outside of sport?
- Yes, 100% there are plenty. Socially there is a lot to be gained from sport and I feel I gained a lot of social skills just from being involved in sport from a young age. I also believe it helped me a lot with dealing with pressure & nerves when In school or college exams. I always felt if I could deal with the nerves before physical combat/competition and still go through with the contest the nerves before an exam would be a piece of cake and it always was the case for me personally. Also manners & etiquette are another huge things gained from sort by learning respect for team/club mates & opposition.
What was your lowest point in sport and how did you stay positive so that you continued to grow?
- My lowest point In sport would have to be losing in the full contact WAKO world championships in 2015 and I remember being so disappointed with my performance but ultimately I had lost the love for that style of kickboxing and felt we didn’t have a level playing field with other countries in that discipline so I decided after that loss I was finished with amateur full contact kickboxing and I was going to make the transition to professional k1 and I haven’t looked back since as I feel personally it’s the best I’ve been and I have that hunger back again.
What is the greatest opportunity that sport has given you?
- Traveling the world competing is probably one of the greatest opportunities sport has giving me as I would have never been to most of the countries or seen what I’ve seen or met the people I’ve met if it wasn’t for sport.
To a lot of people think what you do is extremely intense for many reasons. Do you think you have to be a particular type of person to enjoy it?
- Not particularly because I certainly don’t class my self as an aggressive or extremely intense person which people sometimes think you need to be, I just badly wanted to win my chosen sport and that is what became addictive to me is the winning aspect not the fighting aspect and I know that sounds funny but it’s that feeling of winning that got me hooked and you just have to be willing to put in the work in to be ready come fight night in order to get that win and that’s the hard part so I believe you have to be determined more than anything I believe you have to be a determined and dedicated individual more so than just an aggressive person in order to do well in this sport or any combat sport.
What’s your advice to the younger you?
- It would be to find that happy medium between training hard and being the best you can be while still being a kid and having a childhood that you can look back on fondly because if you don’t you will more than likely look back on it with some regret in some shape or form and the same can be said the other way around if you don’t play a sport as a kid you can end up looking back in regret but it’s never too late to start! I feel my parents done a great job of having that happy medium approach with me and it’s something I’m grateful for.
What’s your advice to someone who has never played a sport before and is considering, picking one up?
- Try and find a local club that’s easily accessible so there are as little hurdles in your way as possible as far as you attending and then join ASAP! Seriously as I’ve already stated in a question above there are numerous attributes you will gain from sport whether it will be physical or mental it will change you for the better and I can guarantee you won’t look back once you find the sport that you enjoy.
Who is your inspiration?
- My coach, family and girlfriend are all an inspiration to me and they all drive me on to succeed.
If you have any additional comments, please share below.
- Thanks very much Nutrikate for asking me to do this questionnaire, I love what your doing keep it up!