Jenn Selman doesn’t want to live her life with any regrets.
A single mother to three boys, the Langford resident has had a busy life, but still manages to try new things. She ran her first marathon at the age of 40 in Greece and now she’s training for a new challenge: competing in kickboxing in the Be First Championships this weekend.
“It’s more nerve-wracking than anything, I’ve never done it before,” said Selman, who will be competing in the novice category.
“I’m not going in it to win, I’m going in because I don’t want to ever say ‘oh man, I wish I had done that.’ I don’t want to wake up one day and regret not doing things.”
Selman is one of roughly 100 to 200 athletes who will be competing in the championships put on by Crusher Combat Sports at Eagle Ridge Centre.
The tournament, which started eight years ago and takes place two to three times a year, combines various types of martial arts – boxing, continuous sparring, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu and nogi grappling – into one event. The last event in March drew participants aged eight and up from around the Island, as well as some from the Mainland and as far away as Terrace.
“It provides newcomers a chance to give it a try and see if it’s something they’re interested in or it can be for the most elite athletes that we have on Vancouver Island, even some professional fighters use it to get some extra practice,” said Keri Scarr, who owns and operates Crusher Combat Sports on Westshore Parkway, alongside Mike Jorgensen. She is also Selman’s coach.
“It’s a great family event, all ages are welcome. They’ll be seeing some of the best of the best martial artists on Vancouver Island competing against each other that night.”
For Selman, competing in the Be First Championships is something she’s been preparing for since she started kickboxing four years ago. She admitted she didn’t like the sport the first time she tried it because it required co-ordination and fighting some of your natural instincts, such as flinching when someone throws a punch. But she stuck with it and has come a long way since then.
“You just learn to step in to it and it becomes second nature,” said Selman, adding she recently earned her blue belt. “You have to be in the proper stance all the time and light on your feet. It was a big adjustment, learning all those things and putting them together.”
Training for the competition hasn’t been easy.
On top of being a mother to 15, 18 and 22-year-old boys and working two jobs, Selman also trains at the gym five to six days a week, taking boxing, mixed-martial arts and boot camp classes.
“I don’t think about it, I just do it,” she laughed, when asked how she juggles the activities.
“The more time you put in the easier it gets. It’s a good workout and a good stress release … I get a rush out of it.”
She expects to put on a good show at the championships as her three sons and dad will also be in the audience.
The Be First Championships take place on Saturday, June 9 at Eagle Ridge Centre (1097 Langford Pkwy.).
Doors open at 5 p.m. and the tournament gets underway at 5:30. Tickets are $20 at the door.
For more information visit crushercombat.com.