This month we feature the one and only Charlie KO Torres, an inspiring Taekwondo Fighter, who after a successful career, translated his passion into a career as an elite coach and owner of two CKO Kickboxing franchises. Though he's no longer in the ring, he lives each day with The Fighter's Mentality which he uses to inspire the people he touches toward achieving their own goals...!
What were some of your most treasured experiences in your Taekwondo career?
Being a competitor was amazing; traveling throughout the US & other countries, engaging with Olympians & world champions, meeting legends in the sport – it all was treasured. When reminiscing about those days though, what evokes the most emotion was receiving my black belt. I come from a very traditional martial arts studio with an amazing Sah-Bum Nim (instructor) who is well revered in the TKD community. Out of all my trophies and national/international titles – nothing compares to wrapping that black belt around my waist. It’s like my superman cape, when it’s on I feel unstoppable.
What is life like after competitive Taekwondo? Do you miss competing?Finding my place in a world where all I knew was TKD was challenging at first. I traded in all of my college acceptance letters for a dream of being an Olympic Gold Medalist. A dream that had no pay, no accolades, no applicable skills in a professional world. But what I took with me was unmeasurable beyond belief - unwavering discipline and a commitment to finish what I begin. That took me to the highest point of my career as a Senior Security Manager and now into an owner/operator of 2 fitness kickboxing facilities. I take the competitive spirit from fighting and direct it into my professional life. So competing has never really left me as I am always at battle with my self-development, intellectually & spiritually. So do I miss getting kicked in the face…not that much, but at times it does feel like life on the mat was much simpler.
What inspires you and why?
Transcendence – To go way beyond of what I think I am capable of. I do not put any limitations on myself or my abilities nor do I allow anyone of my clients or members to place doubt on themselves. I am inspired by those who rise against all the odds and place faith in themselves and their capacity to be great. I was the shortest person in my division, I skipped college after high school and I abandoned a corporate career and still made myself a success. Why? Because I BELIEVE in myself and so should you! Go beyond!
What are your athletic goals for this season?
My current goal is to increase my physical strength. Being a fighter & OCR athlete my training mostly surrounded speed, agility and acquisition of skill. Having a certain physique wasn’t the goal, rather it was a byproduct of hard work. So I am currently working through different programs to increase my physical strength & physique.
What is the most significant challenge you face in achieving your goal?
With the 10+ years of heavy fighting my body has a bunch of different deficiencies. From broken bones, pulled muscles and torn ligaments. So with my current goal of increasing my strength, I battle with keeping my body healthy & mobile. Additionally nutrition is playing a huge role in my development as I learn more and more how my body adapts to certain changes in my diet.
What is a technical aspect of your sport you are focusing on or have previously improved?
Definitely my hand speed has improved. In TKD the majority is all kicks. Though I have trained in kickboxing most of my attention was focused on kicking, as that was my sports focus. So training/learning more on the different schools of thought surrounding boxing techniques, has opened a whole new world of new skills to acquire.
Charlie KO in Action!!
What is your approach to Recovery?
Usually - Rest, yoga, foam rolling/stretching, massage therapy & soaking in baths.
"If you refuse to quit on yourself and continue to fight, there's no limit to what you can achieve." - Charlie KO
What might you say to inspire other athletes?
Never stop believing in yourself! It sounds cliché - but I find with athletes when we fail, we get really down on ourselves. A loss is the end of the world for us and regaining the confidence to back to step on the stage and perform can be arduous. Just remember that road blocks happen, this life is a marathon not a sprint. So when doubt trickles in focus on who you are and what you are made of. Not what has happened to you. Use the fighter's mentality, because whether you're in the ring or not - if you refuse to quit on yourself and continue to fight, there's no limit to what you can achieve.
What do you like about iON?
Currently my favorite thing about the ION product is the aroma therapy. Soaking in my exercise is scentless and if I wanted to add that factor I would have to burn some essential oils. But with ION as soon as I place the product in the water I can smell the recovery coming. The ION brand though is unique, they understand the struggles of athletes and the commitment they make towards excellence. It isn’t your average recovery product, it’s a brand that truly cares about its consumers and constantly seeks to improve their methods, just like the athletes they support.
Fight, Recover and Retaliate like Charlie!
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