Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Fighting For Autism- Jamahl Golland interviews Professional Mixed Martial Artist Liam McGeary

Fighting For Autism has been so incredibly fortunate to have some outstanding athletes from around the world who have stepped up to be positive role models and help raise some much needed autism awareness, as well as inspire a generation coming forward of youngsters who are shining through the autistic spectrum and encouraging others to do the same.
 Professional mixed martial artist and former Bellator Champion Liam McGeary has been outstanding in helping us to raise Autism Awareness on both sides of the pond, both in the USA where he resides and trains and in the UK where he is he from., encouraging youngsters to be inspirations in there own right.
We asked Liam if he could do an interview with one of his superfans, Fighting For Autism Junior Ambassador Jamahl Golland. 
Im very honoured to have this opportunity to interview Mr Liam McGeary. I was lucky enough to catch up with Mr McGeary after Bellator 158 in July 2016 at the O2 arena and had my photo taken with him, which was awesome. My first question to Mr McGeary is how did you get started in Martial Arts, and how old were you?

Liam: Hey Jamahl,
 I remember meeting you at the show, and the picture! 
 I first got into martial arts properly when I was about 27 years old in  January 2009 at Gracie Barra in the Channel Islands under Rob Staples  who is a Braulio Estima trained black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
I had messed about a little before that here and there but this was when I took it serious.
I boxed when I was in my teens, around 15 maybe and wasn't very good and lost my fights, but I had potential lol.
What styles of Martial Arts have you studied?
Liam: I train in most the arts now, wrestling, jiu jitsu, boxing, kickboxing. Have a dabble with judo but for mma, not in the gi.
Jamahl: Who were your heroes inside and outside of Martial Arts when you were growing up?
 Liam: My heroes... well I was always a fan of B.A Baraccus from the A-team, but as for heroes... I think just my Dad and Grandad to be honest with you.
Jamahl: I Love to train and have done so from a very young age and near tournament time my training gets much harder. Could you please tell me a little about what a pre - fight training camp looks like for you?
Liam: Training camp, it sucks!! It gets really hard about 6 weeks out and then start to push. You have to get yourself in shape for the fight camp starts because its go. But I train every day anyway so makes no odds really, always have to keep in shape or near good shape.
I'll train 2 x a day. Morning and evening, used to do 3-4 sessions but  gettin too old for all that carry on. I'll train all aspects of the sport through our the week 6 days a week and with weight training thrown in there... ok so maybe still do the odd 3 day sessions a week.
Jamahl: You have a very exciting fighting style that must require a lot of energy.
My Dad is always talking to me about nutrition. What does your nutrition regime look like during hard training camps?
Liam: Thank you, yeah it does take up a lot of energy, but I have plenty of that, I like to keep busy, I don't like to stay still in those boring fights or in life either. I love a good old punch up.
I don't like to lose.
Jamahl: What aspects of training/competing do you like and dislike?
Liam: I love to learn new things and piece them together and put them into my game. I like to train and fight so it's all good to me, just that losing stinks.
Jamahl: Who has been your toughest opponent so far?
Liam: Toughest opponent has to be the last one, Nemkov.
That kid was made from steel! I broke my bones hitting him lol.
Jamahl: Who would you most like to fight?
Liam: I'd actually like to fight the current champion for Bellator. Belt or no belt, I reckon that would be a good fight.
Jamahl: You have been Bellator World Champion which is an amazing achievement. What other dreams and ambitions do you have in Martial Arts that you would love to achieve?
Liam: I've got to get back to work though for that to happen. Have to pick myself back up again.
There's not much else you can win in Mixed Martial Arts other than a world title, I could win it back.
I want to win a world title in Jiu Jitsu now too.
Jamahl: What else do you enjoy doing outside of training and competing?
Liam: I love to travel, go to the movies, hang out on the beach, fly kites, gunna start kite surfing too. Just building up for that one hahah there a few sharks out where I am at the moment.
And training ha-ha.
Jamahl: My Dad has known MVP since he was 13 years old and seen his career develop. In your fights I see you have very fast, accurate and strong punches. Would you ever consider doing a cross over to boxing like Michael "Venom" Page?
Liam: Yeah I'd defo give it a thought for sure. I do love to box.
Liam and former undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis
Jamahl: Who is your favourite all time Martial Artist? Plus your favourite MMA fighter?

Liam: My favourite MMA fighters are the Diaz brothers.
 Jamahl: Do you teach Martial Arts or ever guest teach at seminars?
Liam:Yeah, I've been busy last few months getting schools and classes
I teach MMA over in Jersey in the Channel Islands and I'm going to be opening up a school in Spain. So keep eyes and ears open for that.
Also putting together and event for  some Ultimate White Collar fight nights, so that's getting put together now as we speak.
I will be available for seminars and classes in Europe later this year.
Liam popped in to Immortal 365 Martial Arts Academy to meet up and give some encouragement to some inspirational youngsters (Junior Ambassador Hannah Roberts and Aaron Lister)
and also talk to an MMA class that was going on during his visit. 
Jamahl: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time, what would you most like to be doing in your
Liam: See myself in 10 years... on a beach somewhere with my son running around and exploring where ever we are living at that time
Jamahl: I was very excited to see that you recently became an Ambassador for fighting for Autism. I myself have Autism and ADHD. Is this a cause that is very close to you personally and how did you becoming an Ambassador come about?
Liam: I have some really close friends and family of mines children are autistic, so hold it close to myself too but I'm not sure how it came about, I was asked and I jumped at the chance to help out.
Liam has been raising Autism Awareness in the USA too along with Junior Ambassador Parker Biedenkapp #Team Parker.
Liam has become part of Parkers family and vice versa too. 
Jamahl: Mr McGeary, a huge thank you for taking time out to hear my questions, this really is a genuine honour for me. My final question is purely for me…could I please have a signed photo?
Liam: Haha yeah of course mate, I'll get one out to you, but when I get back home in July I'll be able too.
Like I say mate, bit of a crazy time Haha.
Hey I heard about your acceptance speech to for the award. Massive congratulations to you too my mate! Keep up the good work.
 On behalf of everyone at Fighting For Autism, we wanted to say a massive Thank You to Liam McGeary for taking the time to be interviewed, as well as for everything he does to make a difference for others, and also a humongous congratulations on the birth of their baby boy who was born a few weeks ago as well.
And also a very special Thank you to Jamahl Golland, a young gentleman whose story is beyond inspiring, in and outside of competition, Fighting For Autism's Paul was there to see Jamahl's acceptance speech at the Warriors Assemble Awards a few months ago and was amazed at how this superstar in the making is not only facing his own challenges but encouraging others to do the same as well, please have a read of Jamahl's story below.
Jamahl was the recipient of an award at this years British Marital Arts Awards
Jamahls Journey so far…

Jamahl aged 18 months used to cry to be let outside to join his father hitting the punchbag at the bottom of the garden. Even at such a young age he used to swing his leg so high with a huge grin on his face.

At aged 3, Jamahl was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and later at aged 5 with ADHD and Dyspraxia.

At age 4 Jamahl began training on the Little Dragons programme at his Dads Martial Arts Academy. It took 17 occasions to get Jamahl to be able to complete a full class due to his ASD related anxiety issues, however once this was overcome he became a model student. At age 6 he was helping encourage 4 year olds to join in, despite being a young child in special needs education himself.

At age 8 Jamahl took part in his first ever Martial Arts tournament. His anxiety levels were so very high that he nearly didnt take part. However, once the contests began it was obvious that there was a little magic there as he narrowly defeated a 13 year old en route to the final which he then won comfortably.

At age 10 in only his 2nd tournament ever, Jamahl won the MWTA British Taekwondo Championships in the continuous division, whilst also winning sliver in points.

At age 11 and after 7 years of hard training, Jamahl atchieved his full black belt in December 2016, then announcing “I want to be World Champion next year”.

In 2017 Jamahl knuckled down to serious training and competing. In May 2017at the MWTA British Taekwondo Championships, Jamahl won both the continuous and points fighting categories at a canter within half an hour of each other, all against high class black belt competitors.

Jamahl then fought at the WKU German open in June 2017 demolishing a very high calibre field on the way to winning the continuous title. Jamahl narrowly lost out in the semi final of points on sudden death to the eventual winner.

Jamahl then attended the WKU World Kickboxing Championships in Kilarney, Ireland in August 2017. Jamahl was in 2 hugely attended categories containing talented and hungry fighters from around the world. On day 3 Jamahl fought in the points category, beating a very tough Lebanese number 1 by 8 points to 4. Jamahl was then warmed up and in full flight as he fought the German number 1 and 3 times European Taekwondo champion. This was a fight that had people flocking around the matts to watch. However, in a display from Jamahl that Id never seen before or since, he defeated his opponent 11-0 in only 53 seconds to secure his place in the final. The final was a close fought contest but a nervous Jamahl won by 2 points to secure his first ever World Title.

In the continuous category Jamahl fought the Lebanese number 1, then number 2 on the way to the final. Jamahl had unanimous victories all the way through and then fought a very game Welsh opponent in the final. Jamahl had no nerves at all in this bout and totally outclassed his opponent pulling out his best continuous performance to win his second Gold medal, again by unanimous decision.

Jamahl also had a go at Karate Kumite which he had never done before…he won a silver medal!

In October 2017 Jamahl then attended the prestigious Warriors Assemble, winning an award for his outstanding achievements.

To top off an amazing 2017, Jamahl then won the WKU England title in points in October. Jamahl was not at his best on the day and had to dig very deep but simply refused to lose. He had been struggling with a stomach bug and hence had to pull out of the continuous category.

Jamahl is proud to represent Spartan Martial Arts, his sponsor and has received Love and kindness from so many quarters since his story has been told.

Jamahl is currently growing like a bush fire which has re-sparked quite a few Dyspraxic traits, especially around his core. Hence Jamahl is having a transition training year in 2018 with a view to returning to competition in 2019.




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