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I asked Frank Shamrock, a living legend MMA fighter, “How many titles have you won?”

“I think I won them all.”

He calls himself a “super athlete.” So I told him he lacks humility… And we laughed.

But he’s right. He IS a super athlete. He evolved the art form. And went one level deeper than any opponent. He didn’t just say “how do I crush this person?” He said “How is the body working? What is this machine? How can I use it optimize my performance?”

“I was studying the biomechanics,” Frank said. “And how to maximize it… everyone else studied technical fighting.”

But he wasn’t always a fighter. He found the sport in jail.

He was 11. He left home and learned “crime was a tool to change your situation and protect you,” Frank said.

His parents were abusing him. “I was an emotional basket case,” he said. “I couldn’t hold anything together for more than a few days, no sport, no activities I would just fall apart.”

He escaped through crime. “ I actually threw rocks at a train and in California, that’s a felony. I went and did ten days in juvenile hall.”

It was his first time away from his “family.” His abusers…

He was hanging out with all the other kids in juvie. So he started to ask questions. “How do you deal with x, y and z.” He listed out all the abuse. They looked at him shocked and confused. And asked him repeatedly, “What are you talking about?”

“You don’t get locked in the closet till they get home?”  he asked. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing.  

That’s when this small 11-year-old realized he had to get out.

“When things didn’t work out, I knew what to do: commit a crime, go back to juvenile hall, see my friends…”

The cycle didn’t stop.

He turned 17. Committed another crime and went to prison for 3 and a half years. “Because I was married and an emancipated minor, anything that I did illegally was charged as an adult.”

THIS was Frank’s wake up call. It all fell on him. He had ruined his life. He had 20 felonies, no education, and a baby to support.

“I know what the bottom is like,” he said. “I know what it’s like to have zero. You can always build up. But it starts by changing your mind and taking action.”  

This is a story about the making of a legend.

It’s the story of a criminal turned champion. I want to take these lessons and apply them to my own life.

I realized I don’t have to fight, but I can at least live with the mindset of a fighter.

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