Shalyn Quigley – Survival of the Fairest

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DSC_7235What moves us? Sometimes, it’s a conversation with a friend. Other times, it’s a passing thought. For some, it takes years to work up the courage to spring into action. For others, the simple question, “What if?” is enough. Shalyn Quigly decided to act on her “what if.” Her question: “What if I fought in a cage?”

A Scituate native, Quigly played softball in school. She’s artistic, draws and plays the bass guitar. After graduating from high school, she obtained a degree in law enforcement at the Community College of Rhode Island. Quigly does not come off as aggressive or intimidating, and at first glance it’s surprising that she wants to fight anyone. However, beneath her easy smile and friendly demeanor is an intensity and passion that is manifest in her workouts.

Quigly says, “I always wanted to study martial arts. It wasn’t until seven years ago that I had the means to pay for lessons and a car to get me there. I can thank odd jobs over the winter and  summer that made that possible.”

After searching she found Sensei Kevin Koslosky. Koslosky was more than a trainer; as a sensei he showed her a new way of life. Quigly continued her training with him when he opened his own gym, Darwin Martial Arts, located in the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. Koslosky encourages her to look at her limitations as things to overcome rather than as walls. In his words, “It is often said that heart cannot be taught. On the contrary, I feel that’s exactly what we’re learning here and I believe that is the one thing that makes us different.” Quigly has grown to love what she gains from this martial arts training with Koslosky.

She has found that an effective way to grow in training is to push forward through a situation, even if it makes her uncomfortable. “It brought me out of a very shy and timid shell. It helped with anxieties I’ve had about not reaching goals throughout my life. As long as I stay determined and focused, I can reach those goals.”

Her growing passion for martial arts has opened another path: “Things are falling into a place where I can dedicate more time and effort into becoming a better martial artist.” But not just any kind of martial artist — the kind that fights in a cage. This summer she plans to fight in Cage Titans, a promotion based in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Traditionally, an amateur will train for two separate fights: a kickboxing (or boxing match) and a grappling (jiu-jitsu) match. The logic behind this approach is to refine and hone skills in each field, challenging athletes in their weight and experience class.

Quigly, however, has taken a combined, direct route. “About six months ago I decided I wanted to put what I’ve learned to the test and make training like a part-time job.” Striking and grappling are mixed freely in her training regimen rather than isolated as separate areas to compete in. It takes intense commitment, dedication and maybe a black eye here and there. It also happens to be the training that most resembles the reality of cage fighting.

Quigly and Koslosky train together fiercely for her amateur debut. Training camp hours are long. The practice is physically and mentally grueling. Quigly steels herself for the coming months saying, “I haven’t made the decision as to whether this will be my first and only fight or if I will continue afterward. I do know that I haven’t looked forward to something like this in my life before. I’m a pretty driven person to begin with, but training gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.” Motivation is important, but she holds the keys to sustained success: commitment and heart.

Facebook: @DMAEVOLUTION; Twitter: @DMA_RI; Instagram: @darwin_martial_arts

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