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Catherine Kendall

KC 'Carnage' Kendall

We have know KC for almost the two years we have been doing this website. Recently she joined us and will be looking after Wales on our behalf. This is an indepth and may I add exclusive interview with the lady behind the 'Carnage'.
 
"This is a story about an average fighter who could have been an excellent fighter - if it weren't for her dark secret. Read about how this fighter tried to fight her demons through training and competing, and how she eventually overcome her addiction and mental illness."
 
 

Hiya guys! We’ve been talking about this interview for a while now. In fact, before I even became your Welsh Correspondent!  And I thought I would use it to introduce myself to your followers and fans from all around the world. I thought it would be a nice little piece to introduce myself, my experience, my thoughts and beliefs to everybody, and anybody I may be interviewing in the future. Please don’t get bogged down by anything I say, keep things light! I’m in a happy place right now! I hope you enjoy it.

Kc, you’ve had a few fights now, in a few different styles.  What’s your view on being classed as a “fighter”?  Would you consider yourself a fighter?

I’ve had 22 fights – 12 kickboxing, 3 boxing, 1 Muay Thai and 6 MMA fights (this doesn’t include all the judo competitions, all the ‘opens’ I’ve competed in and all the interclubs I’ve fought in along the way).  I’m honoured to be classed as a fighter, it makes me proud. But the bouts above have been my easiest fights (no disrespect to any of my opponents! I learned from every one of them). There have been 7 very difficult fights for me – the hardest of which was against myself, my psychology and overcoming various struggles. I suppose what I’m saying in answer to your question – is I think I’m a fighter of life/demons. If I lived a privileged, stress free life and still competed in MMA, I wouldn’t consider myself a fighter. But I’ve had to fight in 1 way or another since a very early age – at least I CHOSE to fight in the cage!

So, do you believe you’re born a fighter? Or do you think a fighter becomes ‘a fighter’ through their life experiences?

That’s a very good question! One which I’ve spent many many hours mulling over. Fighters, I think, are different from others. When I meet and speak to people about the sport I love – they look horrified! They have no idea why a person would want to get “punched in the face” as a pastime. I’ve even been told to look for help as I’m self-harming, by putting myself in a position where I let others do the harming on my behalf! Lol. Its not the MMA aspect either, or the cage, or the misled misinformed human cockfighting view. I had it when I competed in boxing and kickboxing too. The psychology of a fighter is different. Were fighters born with this psychology? Or are we moulded by our experiences from a very young age? Back to that old nature/nurture debate!  Obviously being around people who inspire you at a young age contributes – I started judo at 5yrs old because my older brother was good at it, and I wanted to be like him. But there’s a difference between DOING a martial art and actually stepping into an arena and COMPETING in a martial art. And personally, I think that circumstances make fighters – but obviously I’ve not done an official study and analysed results! Although I would absolutely be interested in doing that if the opportunity ever arose!! I think it would be very interesting.

Kc I’ve heard that you want to give a very revealing, exclusive interview for us. That you have something you want people of the martial arts world to know –

Firstly - Why now?

Now, because I am on the verge of peace! (as you read further, you will understand why).  I am no longer worried about what people say / think of me. And I don’t believe certain things should remain ’secret’ – such as mental health, addictions and the cause of these things.  And I’ve been hiding a dark secret now for 19 years – a struggle with an addiction, which is about to come to an end.

Secondly – Is there anybody in particular this is aimed at?

This isn’t aimed at anybody in particular. Although, there are 2 groups of people I have in mind when I write this. Firstly, the people of the martial arts world.  Its that whole cliché “I could’ve been better IF …” or “I was bad BECAUSE .…” (insert any lame excuse here).  But a record is a record, and mine isn’t too good. And I know I’ve been judged on it (kind of what records are there for I suppose!)  But I want this opportunity to explain to people who care, what went wrong, and maybe give others some hope. The second group of people I hope take something from this is ‘survivors’ (NOT victims!) of abuse of any type, addictions of any type, and the people who think they CANT do what they want – for any reason.  YOU CAN.

Thirdly – WHY? Lol. I mean, why expose your inner most thoughts and feelings for everybody to read?

I’ve explained above that I would like to explain my record / performances.  I also want to be able to help anybody who wants it (my details will be at the bottom). Anybody I can give strength to, or anybody I can inspire to push themselves to achieve the things they want to achieve, or overcome things they never thought they could.  I never thought I would – but I have!  And I am now happy (I will be by the time this is published! Just 1 more step to go).  In addition to all of this – it seems mental health is being spoken about more than ever before! And that’s great! And I was recently inspired by something I read on a website –

“There is nothing wrong with talking about the pain of (child) abuse and neglect. There is nothing wrong with healing and becoming empowered by exposing how we lost our power and choice in our lives. We have everything to gain by doing this!  I took my life back when I finally validated the pain … that I had felt at the hands of other people. If the truth is what sets us free then its time expose the truth and talk about it”. (Darlene Ouimet. www.emergingfrombroken.com)

Ok Kc, so we’ve spoke many times about this, and against my advice, and every opportunity I’ve given you NOT to do this – lets start.

What is your addiction?  I am alcohol dependant (very different from being an alcoholic).

How long have you suffered from alcoholism? Since I was 16yrs old, so 19 years now (it would’ve been 20 years in November this year, which is what shocked me into taking action).
 
 
What caused this addiction?
 
A gang rape at knifepoint. During my college years, my friend organised a lift for me from my digs to hers for a party.  On the journey there (my friend wasn’t present) the men pulled the car over in a lane and attacked me.  Afterwards, we carried on as normal to the party as if nothing had happened! When we got there, I didn’t want to cause a scene or a fight, so didn’t say a word to anybody.  Instead I just grabbed a number of beers, bottles of wine and other spirits, and sat in a corner for the rest of the night drinking until I passed out.  I’ve drank every night since that night – I have never been able to face bed time without numbing my anxieties with a few drinks beforehand.
 
This was just one thing in a string of events and I don't mean to marginalise it in any way but can we wind back the clock. Anyone reading this take a seat, your going to need one.

I have described the attack above as this is when my relationship with alcohol first started – and its this relationship that has had a huge impact on my martial arts career.  But it wasn’t the first, or the last incident like this in my life.  I mentioned in the first question about 7 very difficult fights I’ve had in my personal life. This attack was one, I actually fought for my life. And the alcohol dependency that resulted is another (very long) fight!  But I was already struggling, bruised from previous battles. I could mention my first battle which started at the age of 8yrs old – a 3 year long sexual abuse that I suffered. Or the second being the fact that my Dad suffered from depression after losing both of his parents and brother within 1 year, which made my upbringing quite … unconventional lol, and caused me to self harm whilst growing up. The third was another rape which took place 6 months before the gang rape at knifepoint (being the fourth, leading to alcohol dependency being the fifth).  The sixth was my last relationship which lasted just over 4 years and was very abusive - I was not only beat on a weekly basis, headbutted, regularly locked in the garage for hours at a time, I was shot at with a real gun etc etc. But the worst aspect of that relationship was the mental abuse. I know people don’t understand that aspect so much because there are no bruises to be seen. But believe me – I’m a very strong minded, determined individual – and he had me believing that all my attacks were my own fault, and that I needed to be locked up in a padded room. Worst 4yrs of my life.  My 7th battle is a result of a combination of all the others,, and something I will live with for the rest of my life, it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I have been diagnosed and it is now being controlled with medication. And soon (last step!) I will be having my brain reprogrammed so I don’t suffer from flashbacks or nightmares anymore!!  It’s amazing what we can do with our brains – but that’s a whole different interview lol. 

Look, Im not going to use this as a therapy session, and by no means do I want to take away from anybody elses experiences.  I know there are people who have experienced a lot worse than me – I’ve met a few on my journey to peace.  But there are so many amazing things out there which can help somebody who suffers from any form of mental health issue or addiction. My journey through all the shit times has led me into a search to ‘fix’ myself.  I have studied a psychology degree with the OU, and specialised in criminology.  I was consumed with not becoming a victim again, so covered Victimology amongst other things including the Anatomy of Motivation, Violent Minds and I studied violent criminals and their historys, and what circumstances create these types of personalities.  Obviously I continued martial arts – but became interested in competing as well as training.  I also wanted to learn how to control the anxiety I faced every night, which created my alcohol dependency, so I joined a spiritualist church, learnt meditation, completed a hypnotherapy course – and I am always looking to further my learnings in this area - so I have read (and continue to read!) a number of books recommended by a mentor and friend of mine - the Professional Sport Psychologist known as Gary ‘Smiler’ Turner!  I even became a Personal Trainer and a Massage Therapist!

So, how have these things have effected your martial arts career?

I’ve always tried to be the best person I can be, and work to not only better myself, but to better understand myself.  Unfortunately, because of what life has thrown at me, its taken a very long time to go through the process of denial, anger, depression, coping mechanisms, grieving for the person I was (each time) … and a lot of people wont understand that stage … recognising where things went wrong, recognising my coping strategy (alcohol) no longer serves me best, accepting I have to change, finding the help I need to change … the list goes on lol.  But along this journey, I have had to have a drink to get to sleep every night.  This includes not only the lead up to a fight, but on the eve of a fight.  I would hope my martial arts friends would know all about the effects of alcohol on the body and the mind! But slowing me down, being bloated, sapped of all energy, even dehydrated hours before a fight – has taken its toll on my fighting AND my training.  And with hindsight, its made me feel like I’ve let myself, and others down. Especially all the ladies (and a few men!) who have contacted me privately over the last few years telling me what an inspiration I am – I don’t actually know how much to believe them lol. I mean, its very kind, and a lovely thing to say. But I wouldn’t want me for an inspiration in martial arts.  I haven’t really done it justice in my actions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been studying martial arts most of my life (as already established in my interview with the fabulous Welsh magazine, Bocsio, Edition 1), and I’m not a stupid person – I feel I have a lot to pass on.  I have taken away so much over the years from the many amazing people I have trained with, and the many seminars I’ve attended.  I know technique – but I’ve let myself and my opponents down in my performances, and that is very disrespectful to my opponents.

 
As an end note to this part of the interview can you sum things up for us.

I find it frustrating that life has made me the fighter – but because of my inability to deal with certain life changing incidents, I couldn’t become the fighter I wanted to be in the arena.  But every day is an extra day that I am clean, and working towards the ‘new me’, and my long term aim is to build on this.

What does the future hold for Kc ‘Carnage’ Kendall?

Its been a very difficult 18 months.  I’ve had a second knee reconstruction – and I don’t know if its old age, but I’m finding it much more difficult to recover from this one!  I’m through physio now, and it wont be long until I’m allowed to start training MMA again.  I’ve started boxing again – I’ve found a very good boxing gym called Arthurs Gym in Rhydfelin, which is local to me. Its run by the boxer Jamie Arthur – the Commonwealth Olympics gold medallist.  So I’m brushing up on my boxing skills again, and he is very supportive.  Having said that, I am now having problems with both my elbows, which require steroid injections and possibly another operation.  I think my body is trying to tell me something Lol.  As for fighting – I really cant answer that right now.  It seems I’ve overcome the hurdle which has kept me back throughout my competing years, and now I can be healthier, fitter and more focused.  But my body has given up on me! Lol. So I suppose my aim for 2014 is to get as fit and healthy as I can, recover and strengthen my injuries, slowly get back into training, and go from there! I’m expecting to become fitter and healthier than I’ve EVER been! And if that happens, and the opportunity comes up to fight – I cant see any reason not to accept it. But I’m in no rush. I used to rush straight from one fight to another, training especially for each different opponent. I cant remember the last time I actually trained for fun. So I’m going to reignite my passion for training for fun.

Making this a positive ending, as you know – I have now become the Welsh Correspondent for Cage Amateurs UK! So I am just getting used to interviewing people (rather than being interviewed!) and writing up events. I have a few big Welsh events coming up, and a few idea’s to promote some very good welsh clubs.  I have just interviewed my favourite UFC fighter (favouritism??! NOOOO – but he’s from Dragonslair MMA! Lol) and this will be published before next week.  So I will definitely remain in the MMA world, whether I fight again, continue writing up shows and interviewing fighters / clubs – or even do both!!  I love martial arts, and especially the MMA world for 1 very important reason – it saved my life.  Without this focus, discipline, outlet and huge support from all the amazing people involved – who knows where I would’ve ended up.  On the streets, addicted to drugs, behind bars … or worse.

On another note – this has been a fairly quick interview, which has allowed me to skim over a number of ‘adventures’ I have had very briefly!!  I have had friends and family urging me to write a book of various experiences (not all bad! And I have a healthy way of looking back and making light of things. I wont be all doom and gloom.  I am here, today, sat in a library as I write this up, knowing I have plans to spend a few days with a very good friend later on this week. I am safe, happy, have a good future and blessed).  So hopefully - some time in the future – I may even release a book!  Not only about my passion for MMA, but I have also had a varied career too, working a number of jobs from a giraffe keeper, lifeguard and door supervisor – to a forensic scientist, cytogentetacist and in the prison service!  So many happy and funny tales to tell!  So keep your eyes peeled!

Are there any shout outs you would like to give?

I would like to thank you guys at CAUK for giving me this opportunity to ‘come out’ (as it were!) to people as I’ve always felt I wasn’t allowed to express myself, my journey, my struggles and why I have become the person I am.  I would also like to whole heartedly thank somebody who I already mentioned in the interview – Gary Turner.  I remember the first time I went to see him fight, and I became a huge fan of his talent and humble personality. He’s been a huge inspiration to me in my martial arts career. And in later years he has become a mentor and friend. He has guided me after completing my various courses when I didn’t know where to turn next so I could carry on furthering my understanding and education. He has also been a huge help to me since I have been practicing hypnotherapy! When I run out of idea’s, he is the first person I turn to.  So many thanks Gary.  I would also like to thank Beccy Davies for being a true friend.  She introduced me to my first MMA club when I moved to Wales – Dogs Of War, and through this club I have made many good friends. Beccy has also been my rock when I need a training partner, corner girl and general friend.  MMA wise (nothing to do with this interview – but some people I will be loyal to forever!) I would like to give a huge shout out to Dragonslair MMA in Wiltshire. They are the friendliest ‘family’ I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of.  And they’re not bad at MMA either!  And lastly, obviously I would like to say thank you to my family who have always tried to understand me and help me through things – no matter how difficult I have made this at times.  I hope they all know how much I love them.  My Mum has been the brunt of a lot of my anger, and Im not sure I can ever make things up to her. My Dad has been my biggest inspiration throughout my whole life, showing me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to, and teaching me how to be strong – but diplomatic (when needed!) He’s always been my strength and my friend.  My brother who has always been my safety net when I’m about to fall off the edge of the world, he picks me up, shakes me out and puts me back on my feet.  And my sister who I look up to more than she’ll ever know. She’s shown me who I want to be.

But I would like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes which will refocus anybody who needs it –

 “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become” Carl Jung.
 
CATHERINE can be reached at mailto:kckendall@cageamateursuk.com
 
also KC has used us to add Gary Turner who's web site is  www.garyturner.co.uk and his blog is garysmilerturner.blogspot.com/
 

KC Kendall At Women Fight Back

August 25th 2012
 
Previous to KC joining Cage Amateurs UK we had seen her at the MASSIF Ashford Open which was one of the first events we attended and then again at Women Fight Back. The later being a charity show arranged by Emma Smith then partner of CSMMA Promoter Gary Bond at Fight Science Gym was held on 25th August 2012. This show was to arranged to raise funds for Victim Support a charity aimed at helping those affected by domestic violence and was a great success. An all female card and roles reversed by having ring 'boys' made this show of which I have not seen since. Even Lady Referee Michelle Browning who referees at Bellator had flow in for her holidays and offered to referee at the show. Add the venue run by Nick Chapman, Fight Science Gym, into the mix and everything was in place for an excellent night of MMA Action.
 
Before KCs TWO fights, she stepped in for a second fight despite injuring her shoulder, we had time for an interview with her and this is what she had to say. 
 
 
The first bout of the evening was against Katherine Brown it was in this bout Catherine injured her shoulder.
 
 
When another fighter found themselves without a fight KC stepped in for her second bout of the evening.