My name is Julie Kitchen. I was born on April 19th 1977 in Cornwall, England. Growing up I was extremely shy. As a result, I kept to myself and didn’t make a lot of friends and people didn’t think much of me.
As I grew older, I went on to win 14 Muay Thai World Championships and became a globally known female martial artist.
These are the 7 lessons that I’ve learned along the way.
#1. Take Responsibility
A major turning point in my life came when I gave birth to my twins Allaya and Amber in February 1999. When you get children, you put your own life on the back seat and they become your priority. I realised that I now had to take control of my life. I had to learn how to stand up for myself, speak up and take care of them.
The first step is to take responsibility for your life.
#2. Go For Your Dreams
After I had my twins I wanted to lose some baby weight and got addicted to the feeling of training and getting fit. That’s when I really became involved in Muay Thai at Touchgloves Gym.
I went on to support one of the junior fighters who had been preparing for a competition with my husband Nathan. When I watched him get in the ring and experienced the lights and the sound and the music I decided that I wanted to have a go at it as well. Not too long after I had my first fight and dominated the fight.
Always go after your dreams.
#3. Never Give Up
First fight I had no expectations – I just wanted to prove to myself I had it in me. While I won that first fight, out of the first seven I only won 2 and had to endure 5 losses. Muay Thai didn’t come natural to me, it was a lot of hard work. A lot of training. And along the way I’ve had to overcome a lot.
Never, ever give up.
#4. Learn From Your Experiences
When fighting, for me, it’s not about winning or losing. It’s about the challenge and the learning experience. Each fight, whether in the ring or in life, is an opportunity to learn new things. To better yourself. A loss is not a loss unless you don’t learn from the experience. I make it a priority to learn from my experiences.
Try to learn from every experience, whether positive or negative, to continuously better yourself.
#5. Recognise Opportunity
A huge turning point was a visit to London to watch two of the girls who had beaten me before fight each other. It was a really big show for Sky Sports and their fight was the only female fight. Just before the fight a girl got pulled out because they were fussing over a kilo in weight. I just had something inside of me that said: “You should fight. You should step in.” I wasn’t in fight shape but I gave it my all and beat her every round. That fight really helped my career take off and enabled me to participate in bigger events.
Recognising opportunities and just “going for it” can make a tremendous difference in your life.
#6. Don’t Limit Yourself
I was shy and quiet when I was young. People didn’t expect much of me. I started fighting very late. Muay Thai didn’t come natural to me. People told me I was crazy to get into the ring and fight. Yet I decided not to limit myself despite all those things. I’m so happy I listened to my gut and never limited myself. The sport has made me travel and see the world and experience some of the most amazing things.
When I started I never could have imagined that I would be world champion, let alone 14 times world champion. Even now when I write this it seems unreal.
Don’t ever limit yourself.
#7. Keep At It
While I’ve now retired from fighting, my journey is far from over. Life has many seasons and right now I’m hoping to inspire and play a role in the success of future fighters. I find tremendous pleasure in passing on my knowledge. Aside from my teaching in Holland I travel the world sharing what I’ve learned through seminars and my involvement in events.
I try to listen to and respond when my fans ask me about certain things. One of the things that keeps coming up is diet so I’m working on a line of sports nutrition products that I stand behind and believe in to help fighters improve their performance.
And who knows what lies in the future! Keep at it, I certainly will.