“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.”- Henry Hartman. It took some time for me to grasp this quote, but I am now aware that I have been preparing my entire life. To me, the quote means we have bodies that we all use differently; whether we are sedentary or active and it is up to us to prepare ourselves, mind and body accordingly. Personally, I'm preparing for any challenges, experiences and obstacles I may encounter each day that I am given.
I grew up in the dojo; and was fortunate to have been supervised under two great leaders, my father and Master Ivan Mendez. Principles such as integrity, perseverance, concentration and respect were instilled in me at a very young age. My dojo training helped foster the indomitable spirit within me. Additionally, the ability to move through space and knowing when to flee from danger keeps me sharp and focused. Two new forms of “Martial Arts” I am developing, Myofascial Therapy and Functional Training, keeps me performing at my highest level. I am passionate about sharing this mindset and these skills with the world.
By utilizing the mental, spiritual principles and physical skills learned from martial arts, I transitioned into sports quite easily. However, as with any sport, the risk of injury is nearly inevitable. I suffered a grave injury that required surgery, causing me to miss a couple of games early on in my senior year of football. Through physical therapy, functional movement and strengthening my mind, I was ready to return. Approaching my head coach with utmost enthusiasm, “I’m ready coach!”, he looked me straight in my eyes and told me NO with zero explanation; my heart sunk. In the moment of hearing no, I recall my mind going blank; not knowing exactly what was going to happen next. Even though I had a lot of anger built up inside of me, I didn't express it physically; instead I used that energy to build myself back up. Eventually, I was led down the path of fitness, and on to the rehabilitative/therapeutic industry.
This very scenario is how I can relate with many athletes. The one’s who instantly lose hope and optimism after facing an injury. In my situation, a door opened for me in the rehabilitative industry and lit a “fire” in my soul. This fire is a reminder that not one athlete should ever have to go through pain like I did. I started this path by learning Massage Therapy, obtaining the necessary training and skills. This was the foundation of my practice, which gave me the understanding of our body and how it works. I had a position at a spa as a Massage Therapist where I was formally introduced to Myofascial Therapy. When I discovered this, a light went off for me. A semblance of this therapy was exactly what had helped me recover and I wanted to share that with others. Many therapists have their own unique style, in time, I was able to develop my own. Patience, empathy and the ability to ‘listen’ to you, your words and your body are key points in my overall technique.
If you are an athlete reading my story, I am here to say that you have come to the right person. I have been where you are. I encourage you to experience my craft as I firmly believe it will help you overcome pain, physical limitations and mental blocks. I also want to motivate, guide and support you on your journey back to your sport. Welcome to Athlete’s Hope!