How To Be Like John Wick

John Wicj


By now you’ve most likely seen the movie ‘John Wick’ starring Keanu Reeves, and I guess that a lot of people have thought to themselves, “man, it would be really cool to be like John Wick.” This post is going to explore that question, and the short answer is yes, you can be just like John Wick, but it will take some commitment and dedication on your part to realize the dream of becoming John Wick.

Firearms: This category is a must if you’re looking to be like John Wick. Let’s get one thing straight: firearms are serious business, and it’s not to be taken lightly. Please take the time to research gun ranges near you, and go talk them about learning how to shoot a firearm, and receive feedback on what type of training that you would like to sign up for. Also, keep in mind gun laws in the state that you reside in. Always keep up to date on firearm safety and gun laws. Moving on now: so you’ve decided to sign up for classes (or you’ve already taken some classes) you’ve purchased a firearm, and now you’re on your way to becoming John Wick, right? Wrong! Learning how to use a gun (proficiently) is painstakingly rough, but don’t give up. Keep practicing and keep honing your skills. Nowadays, it is vital that you keep yourself safe (or your family) at all times, and learning how to use a firearm properly is very empowering, but please don’t get an ego thinking that you’re Mr. Wick just yet, we still have some work to do.


Hand To Hand Combat Skills: There is no way around this particular skill. This skill set is essential to becoming not only John Wick but a complete, well-rounded human being. It is in our DNA to express ourselves not only emotionally, but physically as well. Once again research in your area MMA gyms that are accessible to you, and visit the gym. Talk to the people that train there and ask questions. Everyone has to start somewhere, and when you first start training you’re going to feel discouraged, but that’s the whole point about mixed martial arts. MMA teaches you how to push past your own limits, and it also teaches you to rely solely on yourself and how you handle pressure situations. Even with just a month of training consistently with MMA, you’re way ahead of your average man or woman that doesn’t train MMA, but be careful and stay humble; there’s plenty of people that train MMA, and they let the world know it, too. Don’t be that person. Instead, continue to train and always strive to get better in the gym (and outside of the gym). Having trained in MMA is a great feeling, but keep it to yourself and never boast about it, but by all means, use it when it deems necessary.


Mindset: So far we’ve discussed being proficient in firearms and MMA, but one particular, integral part of becoming John Wick is having a healthy mindset. So many people know hot to shoot a gun and know how to somewhat defend themselves, but the missing piece to tie all this together is a mindset. Developing a strong sense of who you are and where you’re going is one of the best skill sets that you can have in life, but it doesn’t come easy, though. So, you’re probably asking how can build a stronger mindset? For starters, make certain decisions right away, even if it’s something as simple as “what should I eat?” when you make those certain decisions, you’re training your brain, just like you would be training your arms, legs, etc. Another way you can prepare your mindset is to read. That’s right read. Read anything and read often; reading will expand your thinking process, broaden your vocabulary, and you’ll be a more complete individual for doing so.


Being John Wick is not farfetched. With a lot of training (emphasis on “a lot”) and commitment, you’re well on your way to becoming the best individual that you can possibly be.

Why Do We Fall?

Don't be afraid to fail


Six months ago I stepped into an MMA gym (Stars and Strikes) wanting to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. With no prior experience in any martial art, I was intimidated at first but everyone at my gym was very helpful (especially my coach) in teaching me and giving me great advice. My first week was tough (very tough) in the fact that I thought that I was in great shape until I started doing the workouts, sparring, and grappling. It’s an extreme, grueling process that will push you mentally and physically. Even learning the moves and techniques was an exhausting practice, but very rewarding once class was over. Upon leaving the gym, I felt a sense of accomplishment and purpose. After a month of solid training, I was hooked and looked forward to learning anything that I could. Aside from training at the gym, I was making new friends and forming a bond with the other guys/girls at the gym. Going to my MMA gym is like going to a family members house; everyone takes care of one another, and we treat each other with the utmost respect. While I was having a great time training at my MMA gym, I had to deal with criticism as to why I was training and at first I was puzzled by the criticism, but then I came to realize that there’s not a lot of people who train in MMA in today’s society. Most of the criticism about MMA comes from simply not being educated on the sport, and once I explained the sport to people—they came to realize that it’s a sport that requires commitment, dedication, and the willingness to improve each day.


With each passing day that I was going to the gym, I realized something: my teammates are really good (scary good) at competing and ultimately, winning many titles and awards that go up on our gym wall. I first got a sense of the MMA world back in January, and watched my teammates compete in an amateur MMA league titled PCFL (Prison City Fight League) in Jackson, MI (hence the prison city reference). Watching them compete was an incredible experience, and I could not believe that the guys I was watching—was the same group of guys that I train with on a daily basis. Each show that came up, I was sure to be there and root my teammates on. Then after about the four-month mark of training at the gym, I had a thought: I want to compete.


Aside from MMA, my gym also competes in amateur kickboxing shows. I felt that it would be a great way for me to start out, and to see if I could compete in such a pressurized environment. Now I just had to talk to my coach and teammates about it.


“Absolutely! I think kickboxing would be a good start for you,” said my coach after telling him that I wanted to compete in the upcoming amateur kickboxing show. That part was out-of-the-way, but the hard part would be getting a match up. Almost a month had passed by since I put my name in to compete, and I was losing hope that I would not be able to get a match up. Coming into the gym one evening—my coach had great news: he had found a match up for me. I didn’t know much about my opponent (other than the fact that he had been knocked out in 12 seconds in an MMA match). My immediate feeling was a sense of relief, but that quickly went away when my coach smiled and said, “you’re getting shark tanked soon.” For those who don’t know: a shark tank consists of you sparring against a number of “fresh guys” for 8 minutes long, and no rest at all. A shark tank is supposed to get you to your breaking point (mentally and physically), and to see what you’re made out of.


It was a Thursday night, and as I entered the gym—I felt anxious, nervous, and scared. The time had come for me to get shark tanked. Exhausted, broken, and tired were the exact diagnosis of how I was feeling during the shark tank. Getting hit repeatedly, trying to breathe, and movement seemed like an endless carousel that I was on. Once time was called out, I was drained and had nothing left to give. Going through the shark tank was one of the hardest things that I have ever endured in my life. I learned a lot about myself during the process, and I’ll never forget that night. As if the shark tank was not hard enough, I had a harder task to go through: weight cutting.


Weight cutting is an integral process in combat sports. The point of weight cutting is to get down in weight, and on fight night be at your everyday weight. For example: my everyday weight is around 164-165 lbs. My fight was scheduled for 150 lbs., so in theory—I would be 14 pounds heavier on fight night, which would (hopefully) give me a strength advantage and overall performance advantage. It would be my first weight cut, and it was hard; extremely hard. I stuck to a strict diet/regimen and not going over 50 grams of carbohydrates in a day was tough. The process was grueling and as weigh-in day approached, I was desperately trying to hold on. On weigh-in day, I had no food and water for the whole day (weigh-ins were scheduled for 7 p.m.), and throughout the day, I could actually feel my heart beating slowly. Stepping on the scale, I was praying that I was exactly 150 lbs. and when the final numbers came out: I weighed 148 lbs. and I was relieved, and could not wait to start hydrating and eating (normally) once again. But before I could do those two things, I had to face-off with my opponent. Finally, after training hard for this fight—I got a good look at my opponent. He was quiet, and didn’t say anything to me but just nodded when I told him good luck on our fight.  After weigh-ins my coach and teammates headed out to Starbucks and let me tell you: drinking coffee and feeling go down my throat was exhilarating. I know you’re probably laughing at that statement, but try to deprive yourself of your favorite foods/drinks, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.


Fight day had finally arrived, and it was definitely an interesting and exciting buildup for me. My mind was racing with all kinds of scenarios and situations that I was imagining for my upcoming fight. Arriving at the venue, my nerves started to sink in for me. Checking in and after clearing medical checkup, all that was left to do was to wait for my fight. Being in the back room was nerve-wracking, and just knowing that my turn was coming—was a crippling feeling to me. It all felt surreal to me that I was about to fight. Putting on my fight trunks, having my teammates support me, and my coach trying to calm me down was an experience that I will hold on to forever.


The time had come. It was time for me to fight, and it was all becoming a fast reality for me. With Metallica blaring through the venue, I walked out with my team. Stopping at the front of the cage, my team had a gathering and everyone was giving me encouragement for my upcoming battle. Then they left to their seats, and leaving me alone to face the toughest challenge of my entire life. Stepping up to the cage and hearing it close, I felt a sense of calmness that came over me. That sense quickly faded when I stared across the cage to my opponent (he looked like he was on a mission to destroy anything in his path). The referee slapped his hands, and it was go time. Touching gloves with my opponent, I was getting ready to throw a combination, when out of nowhere (seemingly) I got blasted with one of the hardest shots that I have ever felt in my life. Then another one came, and each one more crushing than the previous one. Falling down on the mat, I was about to experience my first standing eight count. The ref holding my gloves, and counting to eight will be etched in my memory for years to come. I was OK, but a little woozy. The ref slapped his hands for a second time, and we were off once again. Hitting my opponent with a kick, he came at me with the ferocity of a 19 year-old Mike Tyson, and again, his crushing blows were too much for me to handle. I was seeing gloves coming my way, the ref, the crowd, and the cage all at once. It’s a helpless feeling, and scary at the same time. As expected, I went down again. This time the ref signaled to the nurse to come check me out. The nurse gave me a series of tests and after examining me, she told the ref that she will not let me continue to fight. And just like that, the fight was over. Leaving the cage was the most embarrassing moment in my life. I had just been destroyed in front of strangers, friends, family, and teammates.


Going in the back room, I knew something was wrong when one of my teammates grabbed an ice pack, and put it on my right eye. Looking like Rocky, the embarrassment set in even more. My coach and teammates offered words of encouragement and praise, but I felt otherwise. Getting dressed and getting my stuff together, my brother appeared and told me how proud he was of me, and told me about one of our favorite scenes from the movie Batman Begins “why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up,” said Thomas Wayne to his son, Bruce. When my brother said that to me, it clicked in my head: you have to fail before you succeed.


I have absolutely no regrets about my first kickboxing match, and I learned a lot of valuable lessons that night. Take it from me: get out of your comfort zone, and see what happens. You might fail like me, but even doing something that you set your mind to will be extremely gratifying. Don’t waste any more time, and really commit to the goals that you’ve set for yourself. You just might surprise yourself on how far you can actually go.





Turning Up The Heat In South Africa: Chantel Nilson

Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith
Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith


Allow me to introduce you to South African beauty, Chantel Nislon. Chantel has a big personality, and a great sense of humor. Her gorgeous looks will leave you speechless, and her personality will have you intrigued the moment you speak with her. 


Justin Marroquin: Were you always interested in modeling?

Chantel Nilson: I’ve been doing modeling since the age of 14—I probably would have started earlier if I wasn’t as shy I was back then—It’s always been something that I loved doing and I still get excited today for modeling assignments.




JM: What was your first photo shoot like?

CN: I was excited and nervous at the same time—At the time I didn’t know anything about posing and facial expressions, but the photographer helped me and I learned a lot from that shoot. By the time we were finished, I actually didn’t want to stop as I then started getting into it, and enjoying it even more.


Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith
Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith


JM: How do you prepare for a photo shoot?

CN: I have a suitcase ready with all the necessities for shoots—Then I would pack accordingly the day before, make sure I get a lot of rest and like most models, I practice my poses in a mirror—I know it sounds funny, but it helps when you know what your own body does when you stand or sit in certain ways. Also, it makes you less nervous for the shoot.


JM: Is there a certain goal you would like to achieve in modeling?

CN: To be honest, I see my modeling as a hobby, not a job. No job can be that awesome, haha. But on a more serious note, I take it one step at a time. My goal is to enjoy myself, and if I end up going further, that would be a bonus.


Photo Credit: Shoots Imaging
Photo Credit: Shoots Imaging


JM: Do you have any plans to come to America?

CN: I would love to come to America—I would actually like to travel the world and see every city.


Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith
Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith


JM: Besides modeling, what else are you interested in?

CN: I love to dance—but not as a profession, just for fun. Then the normal every day stuff: seeing my friends and family—spending time with them. To me, there is nothing more valuable than that.


JM: What has been your favorite experience as a model so far?

CN: Every shoot/fashion show is a great experience for me. It is really hard to choose only one. From bikini shoots at the beach to chocolate shoots where I have been covered in 4 liters of chocolate, to fashion shows where I could mingle with the crowd after the show, working on movie sets. The list just goes on. I really enjoy each and every assignment.


Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith
Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith


JM: How do you handle negativity?

CN: I always just look back to the one day in my high school class, and my teacher asked me what career I would want to go into, and I answered with modeling. The whole class started laughing at me; as for them it would be something that would never happen, but it turned out that I am doing what I wanted to do, and when people hear about it, they are amazed and they never thought I would be able to get this far. That’s what keeps me positive. I have never been one to quit at a task because others don’t agree, and I don’t think I will ever give up on anything I would like to do.


Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith
Photo Credit: Darrel Camden-Smith


JM: Tell me one thing that people don’t know about South Africa?

CN: Except for the fact that our houses aren’t located in the bushes, surrounded by lions and other wild animals? Haha—I would say the fact that we have 11 official languages.




JM: How do you want to be remembered?

CN: As the happy-go-lucky girl, who always had a smile on her face, and the friend who would always be there to support a person.




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Developing a Strong Mindset: Miss Texas and Miss United States 2012 Whitney Miller


Meet Whitney Miller. Winner of Miss Texas and Miss United States 2012, Professional wake surfer, fitness model, and practitioner of jiu-jitsu, I am thrilled to have the honor and privilege of sharing her advice on how to live a better life.

Justin Marroquin: What motivates you daily?

Whitney Miller: Definitely my fiery inner drive that forces me to challenge and better myself each day. Being in athletics since age four has given me the discipline and motivation that is necessary for me to continue pushing even if I’m having one of “those days.” I like to look at it sort of like a competition with myself by asking “what can I do today that will make me a little better than yesterday?”

JM: Define success and what it means to you?

WM: Everyone has his or her own definition of success. It seems that most of us are always trying to fall into others definition of the word when we should be focusing on what it truly means to us. With that said, success for me is living a happy, healthy, life while continually challenging and taking the steps to accomplish any goal I have set for myself.

JM: How do you approach accomplishing a goal you have set?

WM: First off, I write it down and put it somewhere visible, perhaps, on the screen saver of my computer or phone background. This is a constant reminder of the decisions I have to make in order to accomplish the goal. I also like to tell key people in my life the ultimate goal because, if you tell the right people, they will always check back in with you. Having other people hold you accountable is important in reaching a goal.

JM: What do you do to handle negativity?

WM: I make a conscious decision to not let it affect me. Mainly to prove to myself that I won’t let other people have control over my happiness or outlook/attitude about life. I’ve honestly had to deal with a bit of negativity towards a recent goal I set for myself which is entering an MMA fight. Unfortunately, more people than I had anticipated don’t understand my decision and have reacted negatively. In this case, all I can do is try to understand where they are coming from and respect them for their own opinion, but I’m not going to let it phase me. I have a goal to accomplish and I need to take the necessary steps to not get my ass beat. Outside of that, I’ve learned that most of the time people only want to unload their negativity on others because they don’t know how to handle it themselves. We are addicted to suffering, as author, Don Miguel Ruiz, would say. These people are dealing with their own inner demons that have nothing to do with me, so why would I give them the power to bring me down?

JM: Offer one piece of advice that you feel people would greatly benefit from?

WM: If something doesn’t work out the way you had expected don’t see it as a failure, you most likely benefited from it in some way. Honestly the most challenging and hurtful experiences of my life are the ones I have learned the most from.


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