People who know what they want will find a way to get it, and they will use nothing as an excuse to keep them from getting it.
Few embody this spirit more than Stuart Dansby, the man who set his sights on becoming a kickboxing champion and found ways to overcome several hurdles on his unlikely path to championhood.
Did I mention he's 63? There would be several reasons for him to be on a golf course or stay indoors. Dansby acknowledges that anyone can find reasons why they shouldn't do certain things, but the potential of what they can do is more important to him than what they claim to be unable to do.
"All this crap is holding us back, but the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction are real," Dansby said. “I have a right knee that the last surgeon who worked on told me the next step would be a total knee replacement. He couldn't medically explain to me how to walk on it, let alone train or fight. He could only explain that God gave me a positive attitude.”
This energy also flows into his business life. Dansby is Brand Manager for Glanbia, the parent company of BSN, Optimum Nutrition and other brands. The mentality he applies in his sparring and workouts he takes with him to the boardroom or the next meeting.
“There are excuses, apologies and results. Only one thing counts.”
Dansby is also a BSN athlete himself. He didn't start fighting when he was in his 20's or even his 30's. He started training for the sport at the age of 47. He called it the toughest sport he had ever done. At the beginning of his journey, he even shared his wife Stella's opinion on his approach.
"She called it a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robot. I was so awful."
Dansby clearly got better because he didn't want to let himself go. He forced himself to go back to get better. As he improved, so did the mentality to take on the challenge. A mantra that helped Dansby on this journey was that there is no such thing as loss.
"You either win or you learn. Did you win? If no, what did you learn? That's what I love about fighting.”
Olympia Weekend President Dan Solomon was impressed by Dansby after a recent encounter. “They often tell us to surround ourselves with good energy, that inspires us to achieve, that is willing to push us out of our comfort zone. Stuart is one of those guys. I understand why so many young fighters look up to him.”
Dansby also has a great ability to use everything around him as a resource - even comments from others. He is often told that what he does inspires her or that it's a big deal. Instead of basking in that spotlight, he uses those words as fuel.
"I know that I am accountable to this person," he explained. Another common excuse is lack of access to resources, but Dansby shared that the things you need are there, but you need to speak to the universe what you want and know what you're looking for.
“All the resources, people and things we desire, especially in this country, are all around us. We just don't see them until we put that energy out there. It has to be an unrelenting commitment, "I will do that." You don't even have to know how to do it. Those resources and people will show up.”
Those people for Dansby included three-time Muay Thai World Champion and WBC Super Welterweight Champion Gregory "Cheetah" Chomplin and renowned MMA coach Manolo Lopez. They had never worked together before Dansby joined their forces. t only did they provide a wealth of knowledge, but they also provided Dansby with the spur he needed to do his best on the days when he might not have everything in the tank.
"I can get my ass kicked, but I can't follow it. matter how tired I am, I have to give them more.”
Dansby can always give more, which is incredible. He had previously done weights and what most people refer to as cardio, but he suggested that it takes a different level of cardio to endure what he's going through in the workout.
"Cardio is when you're sparring a five-minute round and your opponent smacks your butt in the first two minutes, you look up and there's three minutes left. That's cardio!”
Chomplin was the trainer who convinced Dansby to get in the ring. Stepping into a ring in a competitive setting was a step outside of his comfort zone, but he figured that was all he needed to reason.
"It scares the hell out of me. I have to do it."
Eight years into training, Dansby had his first fight at the age of 56. He acknowledged that the preparation was not an easy process. While much younger children started doing it much earlier, Dansby's body had already lived half a century plus. However, he refused to fight anyone in his age group. He wanted an opponent who was on the rise or at the top of his game. That opponent was a 26-year-old 6ft 2in fighter whom Dansby described as a "powerhouse". Dansby was nearly counted out in the first round, but nearly knocked out the opponent in the third. The opponent would beat him by decision after a three-round bout. What he remembered most about that fight wasn't not winning, but what he learned afterwards.
"People came out of the crowd to tell me how much they admired me and were proud to see me fight," he recalled. That was all he needed to move on. Dansby humbly stated that his growth in the sport and success did not come alone. The people he mentioned and others shared the achievements just as they did the work required to achieve those achievements.
A shining example of this was when Dansby, at the age of 62, headlined a pay-per-view event to win the 305 Fights Welterweight Kickboxing Championship. Dansby was offered the opportunity to fight for the title, but the Florida State Boxing Commission presented hurdle after hurdle, including physical exams that were previously not required, documentation of past fights, sparring videos and even bleed tests showing that he does not bleed profusely when cut.
"I was told about the bleed test and EKG on a Friday night and needed to have it all by the following Wednesday. It was an insane mess, but we made it.”
He didn't accept excuses and his Law of Attraction resurfaced. Dansby got his license, won his fight and the title, but he conceded that the people who helped him every step of the way were just as much a reason for that win as he was.
“The team won this belt. I took it to the gym that day and I said, 'That's not my belt. This is our belt.”
This fight, along with a significant part of his journey, is part of an upcoming documentary called Taking the Fight. Dansby wanted to document his experience because it might impact people he might not otherwise be able to connect with directly.
"It's been a seven-year process, it's in its final stages, and it's going to be a 90-minute full-length documentary."
The documentary may be in its final stages, but Dansby's journey is far from over. With each passing day, his goal is to find a way to be better today than yesterday - just as he tries to continue being a better kickboxer than he was in his last fight. Despite all the success he's been a part of in business and life, Dansby still finds ways to get better, and age doesn't stop him either. He also attributes this to his sport.
"Fighting has made me a better person in every aspect of my life."
For more on Taking the Fight, including its release, follow Stuart on Instagram @stuart_warren_dansby .