Think the obstacles on American Ninja Warrior are hard to get past? No doubt about it, but even the Warped Wall and Invisible Ladder don’t hold a candle to cancer. Daniela Bright has battled this awful disease for over a year, and also found the strength to compete on American Ninja Warrior in 2015.
I got a chance to interview Bright this week to talk ANW, get an update on her health, and she also talked about how her MMA training has helped her inside and outside the cage. Yes, this lady ninja warrior is a mixed martial artist as well!
Daniela isn’t in the finals, but her time on ANW was as inspirational as any of the runners who did manage to make it to Vegas. She told me she’s heard from fans that considered themselves lazy, but were motivated to get going by her appearance on ANW. She talked about how it made her smile to hear from cancer patients who have thanked her for giving them a little bit of strength to “keep fighting.”
It’s great to look up to super human football players or the Lebron James type guys of this world. But clearly a woman battling cancer, barely able to hold her own body weight during her run on American Ninja Warrior, is a better role model than any internationally known athlete.
I asked Daniela about how her MMA training has helped her in her journey. She told me, “I was surprised at how much I missed the training when I was unable to do so because of being so sick.” MMA strengthened her body to endure her cancer treatment, but also gave her the mental edge to push through chemo.
It was also interesting to hear her response about her MMA plans. “Plans” are a tough thing for her. She knows, as we all should, that plans are best laid out on a day by day basis. There is no tomorrow guaranteed for any of us, and no need to worry about the months and years ahead. Living fully in the present should be good enough.
Bright knows full well the value of each moment.
We also chatted about Ronda Rousey and her impact on womens’ MMA. She had some tips for young athletes entering MMA training. Bright is a very humble person and her advice would help young fighters stay grounded, when it would be easy to think they are going to be the next Ronda Rousey or Demetrious Johnson.
There’s more to be gained from cage fighting than fortune and fame. Daniela Bright is living proof.
I don’t think there is a better example of an Ninja Warrior than Daniela. Obviously others have made it further than she did. But the larger point is that she was there. She competed. She didn’t let anything stop her from moving forward.
Not even freaking cancer!
What’s stopping us from achieving greatness? Tired? Boss doesn’t like us? Marathons look hard? Not enough hugs as a kid?
You can see where I’m headed. If Daniela can make it onto the stage of one of the toughest athletic events in the world, then we have no valid excuse for mediocrity. This warrior had the perfect excuse to lay down and give up. She did not, and has not.
Check out Shane’s other interview with American Ninja Warrior Sean Darling-Hammond.