Eyes on the prize

South River kick­boxer sets ca­reer goals

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

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

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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).

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