Why I Fight: Brylan VanArtsdalen on the Importance of MMA Within his Life
Analyzing combative sports goes far beyond the basic objective of scoring a victory over an opponent as each participant carries an individual purpose in their hearts far exceeding the dangers faced when stepping inside the cage.
But that's not to say that competing within a sport like mixed martial arts doesn't provide some form of fame and fortune for top athletes. Yet Brylan Van Artsdalen the art of combat signifies a more personal gain.
Living and breathing the fight game has opened a gate for VanArtsdalen to escape his former vices and replace them with a new and positive lease on life. Recently, USCS sat down with the Bellator competitor as he opens up about what makes fighting such an essential component in his life.
Define Fighting and how it relates to Brylan VanArtsdalen?
Brylan Van Artsdalen: Fighting is a way of life to me. I wake up eat and breath Mixed Martial Arts.
When do you think about your start in MMA what aspect about it attracted you to participate in the sport?
Brylan Van Artsdalen: I first started at Daddis MMA as more of a personal escape from everyday life. At the time I was a Recruiter for the NJ Army National Guard. It was a very highly stressful job and I needed a little anger management lol. But, I have watched MMA since UFC 1. My family is fans of the first since day one. Also, I wanted to compete in grappling tournaments. I was a very active wrestler growing up and kind of became depressed when I didn't have competition in my life kind of thought it was over. Though out my life I always had a knack for getting into fights as well, this was another reason I needed to be in an MMA gym! 2 weeks before I started training I was attacked by a thief whom was much bigger than me who also hit me with a bat. I beat the guy up pretty bad and in my mind I needed to fight for a living hehe.
How has fighting affected your life on a professional and personal level?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: Aww man fighting is my life man! MMA has helped me become a 100% better person than I was. I have learned to love life and others more than ever. I have a sense of pride in everything I do now whether it has to do with friends, family, or my love life. MMA also has helped me curb the drinking problem that I use to have. I was pretty bad, but now I have something in life that is much more meaningful than alcoholism. I love helping others learn the sport as well at Daddis MMA. I am a fulltime instructor and I get to meet many new and awesome people that walk through our doors every day. I have two families now my immediate and my Daddis MMA family all my training partners and students alike!
Everyone has their own personal reasons for fighting. What does you fight for?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: I fight for the love and passion of the sport. Its kill or be killed in the cage and I thrive for that every day! I want to be champion one day just like the next guy, but I enjoy the self-confidence it gives me. To have a student or someone off the street come up to me and tell me they want to be like me one day is a blessing. If I can touch that one person's heart in life then I am a satisfied man. There is more to being a fighter then just fighting. I fight for fun it's a way of life for me. I'm an adrenaline junky and need the thrill of the hunt in my life. It keeps the blood flowing through my veins.
What is about fighting that allows you to enter the battlefield on countless occasions with no fear?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: Knowing that so many look up to me gives me the heart to walk into the cage with no fear. So many wish that they had the tools and talent to be a Pro MMA fighter, but just aren't fearless enough to do it. I'm not scared to fight at all; you cannot teach that to a fighter you just have to have that built into your heart. I wish I could give a little piece of that to everyone in the world who has been hurt by others or whoever has been made to feel inadequate.
In terms of being in the fight itself from a mental and physical standpoint what is going through your head?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: Truthfully, I always think this dude is trying to hurt me so I have to hurt him back lol. It's a fight there are no friends in the cage, afterwards we can be cool. During weigh-ins, during warm-ups, and in the cage I don't want to be your buddy. You are my enemy and I'm seeking to destroy. But, as soon as the fights done I will shake your hand and congratulate my opponent as a sign of respect.
In victory or defeat how do you deal with each scenario after the battle?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: After each win and loss I always feel like I have more to learn and to improve on. My losses shouldn't have been losses and it gives me motivation to train harder and sharpen my tools to become a better and more complete fighter. In wins I know I could have done better or won faster so I need to sharpen these tools as well. I'm only in my second year as a pro so I'll do everything I can in my power to become an ever improving fighter. It's great to know that I have the heart to step into a cage and fight live in front of a crowd! Or maybe I'm just crazy lmao!
When it comes to the hurdles you go through as a fighter what makes your goals so important that you are willing to go through these struggles?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: Ya know I had some personal issues in my life that changed my perspective. At the time when I first turned pro I had to take 3 trains to get to Daddis MMA in South Philly from South Jersey. It was miserable every day, but I kept pushing forward and never giving up on the grind. I even had to sleep in the gym at nights because the train in jersey stopped running at 930pm so I couldn't get home. It was a life changing experience not only in what I did but how I was treated by Brad Daddis. He gave me a place to grow as a fighter, he trusted me to stay in the gym at night, and he never let me give up. So, I will never give up this life until I'm dead or broken.
When it's all set and done how would you like to be remembered as a fighter?
Brylan VanArtsdalen: I hope to be remembered for my wars in the cage. Win or lose the guy kept stepping up and fighting tough fights and tough dudes. Hopefully, someone would look up to me and say; hey I want to a fighter like him.
Brylan Van Artsdalen would like to thank the following people: Everyone who told me growing up that I would do nothing with my life I would only be a dead beat loser...Hmmm look at me now. Shout outs go to my teammate and family at Daddis. Jackson Galka the dude that's stood by my side from day one. My boy Russell at Overthrow Gear For being my first and most trustworthy sponsor! My Dad and Mom for supporting me in my decision to fight professionally and my lady Rachel for sticking by me through the grind of cutting weight and being miserable though training camps no one is stronger than her for the time age put I to make sure I'm sane.
Photo Courtesy: Eric Zippe