Eyes on the prize
South River kickboxer sets career goals
South River native Scott Butler likes having goals. They keep him focused In his every-day life as a leadership and high performance speaker, Butler helps people and businesses realize their goals through inspiration and empowerment.
After two years away from any form of martial arts, Butler is back in the realm of competitive athletics because he has a goal in mind — winning a world championship.
It’s part of the reason he got back into the martial arts. It’s also what led the 32-year-old to Dublin, Ireland recently, where he competed in the World Kickboxing (WAKO) senior world championships late last month.
“It meets a need that I otherwise wouldn’t meet,” he said. “Health and fitness is really important to me, both for life energy and to be motivated. There’s a bit of transference. There is cross-pollination to other parts of my life.”
Butler was one of three Newfoundlanders to fight in the event, with the others being Matthew Hiscock and Jimmy Yetman. His trainers are Rock Athletics in Mount Pearl — Robbie Wiseman and Brand Leamen — were assistant coaches for the team.
Fighting in the light contact 89 kilograms (196 pound) division, he was matched up with American Jerimie Craig. Butler couldn’t pick up the win as he mistakenly stepped outside the fight area during the bout.
It wasn’t his first international competition, however, as he took part in an event in 2002 where he placed third. Still, the trip gave Butler valuable experience.
“It’s a whole different level,” he said. “It gave me a clearer perspective of what I need to do to succeed.
“We all have some need to excel at something and be competitive.” Rounding out his game In the fight game, athletes have to be willing to try different techniques in an effort to constantly add new manoeuvres to the toolbox. If they rely on one thing for too long, they get easier to beat in a fight.
With that in mind, Butler is working hard to add different elements to his game. Butler already has a black belt in Kenpo Karate and has dabbled in taekwondo.
At six-feet-two-inches, Butler has the length to cause opponents fits. So it’s natural that things like axe kicks and roundhouse kicks — techniques that take advantage of his considerable height — are at the top of the improvement list.
“I’m working on my boxing and throwing more combos,” said Butler. “I want to get better kicking and work on my flexibility.” Learning from watching You often hear fighters will spend hours on YouTube or other media streaming services watching fights at various levels. They might then use these viewing sessions as a way to identify things they’d like to add to their skillset.
Butler admits to watching kickboxing, UFC and bouts from other organizations, but he learns the most from watching his coaches Leamen and Wiseman in the gym.
He watches how they approach training, the ways they work their hands and use their feet.
“Right now, I wouldn’t train with anyone else,” said Butler. “They’re both well accomplished in their sport. With their attitude, it is the right environment to be in.”
The world championships offered some new experiences for Butler. He had to cut weight for the first time and he learned how to deal with anxiety before a fight.
Both are things he aims to get used to before his next competition. Heading into the New Year, Butler has his sights set the goal of championships and belts.
“I’d like to win some titles, belts and what not. That’s kind of my goal right now,” he said.
“It’s a whole different level. It gave me a clearer perspective of what I need to do to succeed.” — Scott Butler
Three competitors (from left), Matthew Hiscock (75 kg division), Jimmy Yetman (71 kg division) and South River’s Scott Butler (89 kg division) were joined on the Canadian team by assistant coaches Robbie Wiseman and Brandon Leaman (second from right) and head Muzammal Nawaz from Ontario (far right).