May 18, 2022
Christine Ferea is an American bare-knuckle boxer who competes in the Featherweight division of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. She is currently the BKFC women's featherweight champion capturing the first BKFC women's title ever awarded.
She’s also the first ever World Diamond Gazette Police Champion. To sum it up, she’s a badass.
We met at my gym here in town, DLX Boxing, and I knew I wanted to have her on my podcast.
In this episode, we dive into how she got into fighting, the mental techniques and strategies she’s used to rise to champion-level, and her secrets to consistently staying at the top of her game.
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5:37 Christine’s start in fighting
Christine couldn’t participate in sports in school because her grades weren’t good enough. She describes herself as “rambunctious” and an “adrenaline seeker” so that energy had to go somewhere. She stumbled upon a fight gym.
“There was a fight gym. And I was always looking at these little 125 pounds girls. I was like, I can definitely handle all of them. You know? I would mean mug them for about six months. And then they're like you guys are sparring today…. Well, they beat the living crap out of me. I found out that street fighting is not really fighting. And it hooked me from there. They beat the crap out and it made me want to get better. And a lot of things didn't hold me like that. So, I got hooked and they threw me in my first fight within 3 months.”
10:39 What began as a discipline turned into a lifestyle.
James asked her what she loves about what she does. She says it keeps her disciplined because she has to stay strong. Who wants to get the shit beat out of them?
“It pushes me in every single way– mentally, emotionally, physically, and I have to be disciplined. I have to eat well. I have to be healthy, you know. A lot of people are like, oh, you're so disciplined. I'm like, well, if someone wants to beat the shit out of you, are you going to fuck up on your diet? Are you not going to get up and run? Because I don't want to get knocked out on TV in front of my friends, family, and to me and all the sponsors that.
11:40 Mental techniques and strategies
She says she learned a lot from Gil Martinez, her mental coach. Visualization plays a key role.
“When you walk through the door of your gym, you flip the switch. It's focus. You can go in there or I liked Martinez because we didn't talk during the practice. We were super laser focused and worked very hard. And I believe that in my training, when I walk into that gym and I'm going in there to train, I go in there, I might look like an asshole, but when you walk into that ring, it's not all fun and games and talking and making friends… you're literally there to fight. And at any time, anything can happen. So I like to walk in and be focused, get straight to work, and everything is a fight in there. The bag is not a bag. It's a person when I'm on pads. It's not just some guy telling me to hit something. That's my opponent's face moving, punching web shadow boxing. I'm picturing someone in front of me. It's not just moving around, throwing my arms, you know. I find it very important even when I run, I listened to either motivational stuff or sometimes just background music to focus and then visualize, visualize my fight and what I want to happen.”
16:50 High-performing athletes must be highly coachable
James asks her what goes through her mind when she gets hit unexpectedly by a kick or punch that knocks her off center.
“I have coaches tell me if you get dropped, or you get your bell rung, deep breaths, get it back, throw your jab out there or clench up. So that's all that comes to my mind when that happens. It's what they told me. And when I have coaches, I listen and I'm going to do whatever they tell me. I’m pretty good at listening.”
19:00 “I can see fear. I know when they’re scared.”
When asked what she looks for in her opponent, right before the fight starts and they hit gloves, Christine says its important to look in their eyes.
“I'm definitely looking at the body language, but you can hide body language. You can't hide the eyes. I look to see if I could see fear. I know when they're scared or I know when they're determined and they're coming in.”
20:00 Fights are 99% mental
Mental strength is the whole game.
“It’s 99% mental. Yeah, because if you can't push through a run. You're not going to. If your mental tells you to stop, I'm tired. You're not even going to get a physical part because your mind's already stopping you. Or if you get up in the morning like ‘Oh it’s too early.’ You're not even going to get up to do the physical. So I think mental is huge. I think it's the whole game because we can, if, if you tell yourself you're strong is going to be strong. If tell yourself you're a victim, you're a victim. We're all human. We're all capable of doing anything we want.”
24:35 How to push through and commit to discipline
Remembering your ‘why’ can be motivating.
“When I first came up, when I first started coming up it was remembering what you started for. Why you started, the reason why you started to stay motivated. So I think remembering the reason why. Only good things come out of pain and the struggle. That's why I appreciate it. Appreciate the struggle. I appreciate it. When that shit's happening to me, I'm like, thank you. 'cause I know that something great is going to be at the end of it. It will, but it sucks during of course I don't like it. It's not fun, but I know the more I suffer in training, the more I suffer in life through a certain whatever period time period it is because we all know it, nothing lasts forever, no pain lasts forever. You know, we all, it comes in bouts or it's like mountains, we're climbing and then sometimes we're chilling in it, you know?”
32:30 Imagination is a fighter’s greatest superpower
James asks Christine how someone can get better at their craft by embracing imagination or visualization to get better at something.
“For me, I'm very extreme. I'm so extreme. So for me, I just literally drown myself in whatever I like to do. I want to be great in everything I do. I don't want to just be okay. I dont just want to be number one contender. I want to be the champ. So I bury myself in it. I watched Sugar Ray Leonard. I see what they do and, and I know running and doing the things that you hate to do, do them the most, because usually when you're doing the things that you hate the most are probably the best for you.”
43:00 Giving back and coaching others
It’s important to Christine to give back and help younger generations– especially those who are less fortunate.
“When I was younger and I won, I was like I want to help these kids and these kids. So I have, it's taken a little bit longer for me to get where I wanted to be in terms of like what I wanted to do with my platform. I want to get to the little gangster kids that nobody gives a shit about. They ones in juvenile hall, they send them, get them locked up and they just forget about them. I’m talking to a kid in prison right now. I talked to him every day and he's like, thank you. I help him. They just need someone to give a shit, someone that is important or, you know, an authority figure to have respect for them. Talk to them with respect and. Compassion. Because I was a youngster that people threw away and they didn't understand me.”
49:10 Learn when to be a savage, and when to be a lover
Christine adjusts her power accordingly.
“When you're in the ring and you're punching or you're with someone who's smaller, you don't go in there and just, if you're sparring lead, you're not going to hit me with all your manpower. Right? You have to learn to put that savage away that you would use for another person. I think with all those trainings and in boxing and combat sports and martial arts, you learn how to turn that on and off, you know, at certain times cause you, and when you're teaching kids, you can't go in hitting super hard. You have to learn control and learning when to be loving and kind to your family and friends.”
52:40 Keeping your ego in-check is crucial
Christine consciously reminds herself to remain coachable and always be open to learning.
“I still got to keep my ego in check when I'm with a new coach and I'm like, why is he telling me this I don't do that. But then I’m like to shut up… you're learning something new, you're learning a new combination. Let this guy teach you. I still have to be coachable. Like I am very coachable, but sometimes you get your head to be like, I know this, like no shut up. Listen and learn and be open to other people's views and tools and ways of life. I mean, you never know when that you're going to need it.”
54:06 Your water intake and nutrition is paramount
Christine says her nutrition habits have been life-changing for her. She stays away from drugs and alcohol for peak performance and stresses that you have to cut things out to be successful.
“First and foremost is the nutrition. A lot of people are depressed and have a hard time when they struggle with either weight, or mental, emotional, it's all comes down to what you're feeding yourself. What you're intaking– your water. Alcohol I try not to drink that much. I noticed that I'm at a elite level. I probably drink about 10 times a year. You know what I mean? Like eight times a year, maybe probably less.”