People who know what they want will find a way to get it, and they won’t let anything count as an excuse to stop them.
Few embody that spirit more than Stuart Dansby, the man who set a goal to become a champion kickboxer, and found ways to overcome several hurdles on his unlikely journey to becoming a champion.
Did I mention that he is 63? There would be several reasons for him to be out on a golf course or staying at the house. Dansby acknowledges that everyone can find reasons why they shouldn’t do certain things, but the potential of what he can do is more important to him than what he supposedly can’t do.
“All of this crap holds us back, but the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction is real,” said Dansby. “I have a right knee that the last surgeon that worked on it told me the next one is a knee replacement. He couldn’t medically explain how I could walk on it, much less train or fight. He could only explain that God gave me a positive attitude.”
That energy also flows into his business life. Dansby is the brand manager for Glanbia, which is the parent company of BSN, Optimum Nutrition, and other brands. The mentality that he applies to his sparring sessions and workouts is what he takes with him into the boardroom or the next meeting.
“There are excuses, apologies, and results. Only one matters.”
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 hardest sport he had ever done. He even shared his wife Stella’s opinion on his approach in the early part of his journey.
“She called it a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot. I was that awful.”
Clearly, Dansby got better because he wouldn’t allow himself an out. He made himself go back to get better. As he improved, the mentality of rising to the challenge grew with him. One mantra that Dansby found helped him on this journey was that there was no such thing as a loss.
“You either win or you learn. Did you win? If not, what did you learn? That’s what I love about fighting.”
Dan Solomon, President of Olympia Weekend, was impressed by Dansby after a recent encounter. “They often tell us to surround ourselves with good energy, those who inspire us to achieve, those willing to push us beyond our comfort zone. Stuart is that kind of guy. I can see why so many young fighters look up to him.”
Dansby also has a great ability to use whatever is around him as a resource—even comments from others. He gets told often that what he is doing inspires them or that it is a big deal. Instead of basking in that spotlight, he uses those words as fuel.
“I know I owe accountability to that person,” he explained. Another common excuse is a lack of access to resources, but Dansby shared that the things you need are around, but you need to speak what you want to the universe and know what you’re looking for.
“All of the resources, people, and things we want, 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 of ‘this is what I’m going to do.’ You don’t even have to know how to do it. Those resources and people will start appearing.”
Those people for Dansby included three-time World Muay Thai Champion and WBC World Super-Welterweight Champion Gregory “Cheetah” Chomplin and renowned MMA coach Manolo Lopez. They had never worked together before Dansby brought their forces together. Not only did they provide a wealth of knowledge, they also provide Dansby the incentive he needed to give his best on the days that he may not have had it all in the tank.
“I can get my ass kicked, but I can’t dog it. No matter how tired I am, I have to give them more.”
Dansby can always find more to give, which is incredible. He had previously did weights and what most people consider cardio, but he suggested that it takes a different level of cardio to endure what he goes through in training.
“Cardio is when you’re sparring a five-minute round, and your opponent beats your ass in the first two minutes, you look up, and there are still three minutes left. That’s cardio!”
Chomplin was the coach that convinced Dansby to get into the ring. Stepping into a ring in a competitive environment was a step outside of his comfort zone, but he figured that was all the reasoning he should.
“This scares the hell out of me. I have to do it.”
Eight years after he started training, Dansby would take his first fight at the age of 56. He acknowledged that it wasn’t an easy process to prepare. Whereas kids much younger started much sooner, Dansby’s body already had lived a half-century plus. However, he refused to fight someone in his age group. He wanted an opponent that was on the come up or at the top of his game. That opponent was a 6’2”, 26-year-old fighter that Dansby described as a “powerhouse.” Dansby was almost counted out in the first round, but he almost knocked out the opponent in the third. The opponent would beat him by decision after a three-round fight. What he remembered most from that fight wasn’t that he didn’t win, but what he learned afterwards.
“People were coming 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 continue. Dansby humbly stated that his growth in the sport and success he’s achieved didn’t come alone. The people he mentioned and others shared in the accomplishments just as they did the work it took for those accomplishments to happen.
One shining example of that was when Dansby won the 305 Fights Welterweight Kickboxing Championship at the age of 62 as the headliner of a pay-per-view event. Dansby was offered an opportunity to fight for the title, but the Florida State Boxing Commission kept throwing hurdle after hurdle in his way, including physicals that hadn’t previously been required, documentation of past fights, sparring videos, and even bleed out tests to show that he won’t bleed excessively if he gets cut.
“I was told about the bleed test and EKG on a Friday night, and I had to have it all by the following Wednesday. It took a mad scramble, but we got it all done.”
Not accepting excuses and his law of attraction came through again. Dansby got his license, won his fight and the title, but he acknowledged that the people that helped him at every turn were just as much a reason for that win as he was.
“The team won that belt. I brought it to the gym that day and said ‘this isn’t my belt. It’s our belt.”
That fight, along with a significant portion of his journey is a part of an upcoming documentary called “Taking the Fight.” Dansby wanted to document his experience because of the impact it could have on people that he otherwise may not be able to connect with directly.
“It’s been a seven-year process, it’s in the final stages, and it will be a full-length 90-minute documentary.”
The documentary may be in its final stages, but Dansby’s journey is far from over. With each day that passes, his goal is to find a way to be better today than he was yesterday – just like he tries to continue being a better kickboxer than he was for his last fight. Even with all the success he’s been a part of in business and life, Dansby is still finding ways to get better, and age isn’t stopping him, either. He credits his sport for that as well.
“Fighting has made me in every aspect of my life a better human being.”
To learn more about Taking the FIght, including its release, follow Stuart on Instagram @stuart_warren_dansby .