Friday, July 19, 2024

WINNING STRATEGY: Rayna Vallandingham Is aware of Easy methods to Say No on Her Phrases


Rayna Vallandingham started her journey in martial arts on the age of two. At 6, she earned her first black belt. And two years later, she received her first world championship — her first of 13 world taekwondo titles.

Now 20, the Indian American taekwondo grasp has continued to mature each out and in of the dojo. Sadly, oftentimes the remainder of the world has but to evolve as rapidly. “[Growing up,] you at all times had these ‘courageous’ boys who would tease and say you kick like a woman,” she says. “And now that I’m 20, nothing’s actually modified. As a black belt, you’re at all times taught that you simply’re solely supposed to make use of your martial arts and self-defense. So I’d simply stand there. However it’s unhappy that individuals really feel the necessity to do this.”

Vallandingham spends about two hours per day practising martial arts; as well as, she logs a number of power coaching periods. She’s additionally parlayed her success into a number of jobs: a martial arts teacher, struggle choreographer, and content material creator with greater than a million followers on TikTok. (In case you haven’t seen her whip a pair of nunchucks or backflip in a swimsuit or night robe, you’re lacking out.)

Like anybody who ventures onto the web, with followers come trolls and anger, notably from old-school martial arts traditionalists who disapprove of her Gen. Z method.

Unsurprisingly, she’s unapologetic about the best way she expresses her artwork and makes use of her podcast, The A THREAT League, to vent frustrations and discuss store with co-host and choreographer Samantha Lengthy.

“I’m doing one thing that’s not likely been performed earlier than, within the sense of taking martial arts and adapting into content material creation,” Vallandingham says. “That’s the place some the hate comes from. And I’ve simply determined to decide to that and feed into it and be true to myself and who I need to be. Hopefully that may encourage lots of people to be genuine to themselves as properly and never care about what different folks say.”

Nonetheless, there’s a positive line to Vallangham’s finesse with the spoken phrase, particularly as an envoy to the immortal icon of martial arts: Bruce Lee himself. She says she acquired the chance to work with the household representing the worldwide icon after they acquired a glimpse of a few of her viral martial arts social media exhibitions. Now representing her childhood idol, she is aware of the duty of being of the feminine artists to be honored with this partnership.

“It was such an enormous blessing, and only a cultivation of every thing I’ve dreamt of, as a result of I at all times noticed that for myself— to make an analogous influence that he’s had on the world ever since his profession flourished, even it was for a brief period of time,” she says. “His influence goes to encourage generations and generations to return and, and he impressed me and so I’d love to do this for all these little ladies on the market who’re informed that they’re not robust sufficient to dominate a sport like martial arts.”

Her mission assertion, she says, is to be the feminine Bruce Lee. Her Successful Technique to attain that features staying true to that mission—even when means saying no to alternative, whereas persevering with to unfold out her skillset, studying losses, and nonetheless having enjoyable as a “newbie.”

Rayna Vallandingham training with boxing gloves and a heavy bag


My recommendation to somebody who’s offered with a chance that they don’t actually know easy methods to navigate is to take a seat down and write precisely what you imagine your functions and targets are. Take this chance that you simply’ve been given and assume, “Does this align with this and this and can it get me to the place I’m going?” If it doesn’t , then I’m an enormous believer that every thing is supposed for you and can by no means go you by. That may at all times resonate with you.

So in the event you’re offered a chance, and you’ve got a foul feeling in your intestine otherwise you really feel one thing unfavorable brewing inside you, I’d attempt to keep away from that, even when it guarantees you fame, cash, something like that. Ultimately, it’s simply not value it—imagine me, every thing will work out for the higher. And shortly, you’ll see that you simply’ll begin attracting issues that actually align with who you might be and what you want.

As soon as I used to be as soon as supplied to do a voiceover for a personality on a present, that it didn’t align with my values. To me it appeared like form of a racist tackle a martial arts spin off. I used to be like, I could possibly be into rewriting the story of what it takes to be a feminine martial artist, however the unique is just not aligned with who I’m and who I need to characterize. So despite the fact that it had the potential to be enormous, I needed to flip it down.

I additionally acquired supplied a contract to be with WWE, and though it’s to not say that I’d by no means do it, it simply didn’t align with who I used to be on the time. I’m going to construct my profession.

First, I need to be an motion movies. I’m going to proceed doing what I’m doing with content material creation and paving that path after which return and perhaps write my very own story there. So there’s been so many instances the place I’ve needed to reevaluate what’s essential to me and what I need to characterize on this business earlier than transferring ahead with these alternatives that clearly would catapult me.

Rayna Vallandingham performing a taekwondo stance in the desert
Courtesy of Alex Miller


I used to be conditioned to profitable for a very very long time, as a result of as a 7-year-old black belt, no one was actually on my degree. However as I grew up, and I took a while from martial arts to concentrate on faculty and determine what I needed.

After I went again [to taekwondo], I wasn’t on the high anymore. It was actually troublesome being in that surroundings as a result of it was new to me and one thing I had by no means skilled. You don’t bear in mind having to work up from the underside. In order that was probably the most defining moments in my life, as a result of I may’ve mentioned, what, time handed, it’s simply not for me anymore and left it there.

However it grew to become motivation for me to work even tougher to get again to the place the place I used to be profitable once more. However even then, I imply, after a few years of tirelessly working and realizing that I deserved that when politics nonetheless comes into play, errors do occur, I didn’t prepare arduous sufficient.

And I went to World Championships. And the shape was nice. I used to be nailing every thing.

After which I went to do the final flip, I slipped and fell. Issues like that occur. I acquired up. I used to be at all times informed, and I at all times did lose with grace. It was by no means like a query for me is like, what, that’s, that’s completely positive. Simply motivation to work tougher. However I acquired up, , I used to be like, okay, that occurred. Let’s simply guarantee that doesn’t occur once more. So simply getting again within the dojo working even tougher.

I wouldn’t be who I’m as we speak with out shedding as a result of by saved profitable, it will have been too simple for me. By now I’d have slacked off and turn into lazy. So I’m grateful for these moments, as a result of it’s on condition that starvation and actually reignited that spark inside me to maintain working arduous. And it’s not as a result of I’m competing with anyone else. It’s as a result of I’m competing with myself. And I do know the usual I’ve for myself as properly.


Some martial artists concentrate on their craft a lot that they oftentimes overlook to develop themselves exterior of martial arts. I’ve at all times been blessed with unbelievable mentors who’ve informed me that I should be good in entrance of and behind the cameras.

It is advisable to be a price in each single room you stroll in. Even ranging from a younger age, I used to be at all times investing in these totally different elements and proceed to take action. I really like choreographing, instructing, performing, doing stunts, and each single a kind of falls underneath the umbrella of my ardour—martial arts. It’s enjoyable to have the ability to have all these totally different retailers to go to. It’s additionally important now to develop your arsenal, particularly in such aggressive industries. And on the similar time, simply to really feel fulfilled for your self.

Earlier than I may simply stroll right into a conference middle the place a match is occurring and really feel very assured. Now I really feel as if that I can stroll right into a room with producers and administrators and really feel simply as assured.

Assembly those that I’ve regarded as much as my whole life working with folks I’ve regarded as much as my whole life doing issues which can be fulfilling for me having the ability to make my very own schedule, calling folks having folks come to me and little ladies come to me and ask me Rayna, how did you do that, or Reina you impressed me a lot, is it’s unbelievable, it’s, it’s, I don’t know easy methods to clarify it, when you’ve got a ardour for one thing and different folks will start to acknowledge that inside you. It’s actually particular and it’s actually transferring. And I’m persevering with to have these little glimpses every day.


I thrive off of the adrenaline of making an attempt one thing new and changing into nice at it. However it’s additionally the conclusion of you don’t must be nice at every thing. You possibly can have one factor that’s your goal and fervour and cause for all times. However you may produce other issues which can be simply your hobbies that you’ve enjoyable with. You should be in contact along with your internal youngster to have the ability to have enjoyable with various things.

And I’m actually studying that myself. I took dance up this yr to have that outlet of simply having enjoyable and to even be a newbie once more at one thing. To me it’s truly a fantastic talent to have to simply be a newbie at one thing and study from there. Whether or not you’re 30, 40 , 50, it doesn’t matter.

Get pleasure from not having the strain of getting to be excellent. I feel that in the event you’re an athlete, or no matter you might do in the event you’re nice at one thing, what that appears like of getting to be excellent on a regular basis. So I’d say that it’s extra essential than you assume simply to have the ability to get on the market and take a look at one thing new. And simply be OK with no matter occurs. It would find yourself changing into one thing you’re nice at, or it would simply find yourself being one thing such as you falling off a skateboard each 10 minutes. However it’s so enjoyable—it’s actually essential in life to to have the ability to chuckle at your self as properly.

Rayna Vallandingham modeling in the desert
Courtesy of Alex Miller


There’s nothing extra womanly than simply being badass—that encapsulates every thing {that a} lady is.

However I utterly perceive that it could possibly be troublesome to really feel whether or not health is for you in what actually nonetheless is a male dominated business. It’s not at all times simple to go to a health club for the primary time and have all these guys lifting heavy weights and going by their bro discuss. Generally everybody trying and watching you, particularly in the event you’re the one lady there. It may be actually arduous.

In case you want a spot to start out, I’d 100% suggest simply beginning out in your individual residence.

Placed on some music and dance, attempt a Zumba class. Something that you simply like and genuinely take pleasure in, give it a attempt.

It doesn’t must be weightlifting. There’s so many various avenues on the market. You possibly can take self protection, jiujitsu, martial arts—I like to recommend these! Dance, run, stroll, even go to Disney and stroll to twenty totally different rides, that’s going to be a exercise. Something you actually take pleasure in, it’s essential to capitalize on on your health. And be artistic too.

You possibly can even purchase some nunchucks and swing them round. I used to be working with an MMA athlete, and he began taking part in with nunchucks, and was like, Oh, my God, that is gonna be my new exercise. Simply getting within the health club and combating can turn into so monotonous at instances. There are such a lot of totally different alternatives so that you can develop your self. You’re worthy of investing in your self and actually discovering that as a result of it’s value it.

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