Elie Challita

My never quit moment came three years ago when I was still in college. I was rolling with a much heavier rookie before class to give him some pointers when I slipped and dislocated my shoulder completely. I had to spend that night in the hospital.

During the two subsequent months I missed the two local tournaments my coach had signed me up for. Recovery was painful, but the worst moment came when the doctor told me my shoulder suffered from a congenital weakness, would probably never recover completely, and that I would have to quit competitions, if not martial arts practice altogether. You can imagine just what effect that announcement had on me. To be honest most of my family was glad that I would have to quit, as they disapproved of a 'brutal’ sport.

My grandfather supported me then. Though his own health was badly failing and he had always abhorred all forms of violence, he told me not to let the doctor's opinion stop me from trying. He told me how proud he was of what I had achieved in that respect, going from a scrawny asthmatic kid to an accomplished fighter in a few years. With his confidence in me I decided to keep fighting.

During the two months of recovery and physiotherapy I did my best to heal as quickly as possible, but when they were done I found that I was indeed such below my previous level. It wasn't just my shoulder; my entire physical condition had deteriorated as I could barely train anything else. Though the doctor's advice seemed uncomfortably true, I began training again. It took me another month to be able to do a full pushup, and the pain often kept me awake at night but I refused to take any painkillers. I fought through it.

Two months later I started lifting light weights. Although I had avoided heavy weight practice before I found myself improving. Week after week, month after month I gritted my teeth, went to the gym and pushed myself, shopping only when my fingers were too numb to hold on to the weights. I also went back to MMA, where the coach put me through a special kind of hell I now know he did it to force me to my limits, and I will always be grateful to him for showing me just how far I can go. It worked.

I went from barely able to lift my hand over my head to pressing 2 kgs dumbbells, then 4, all the way up to 24 kgs in a year. I had pushed myself far beyond my limits to beat the injury and my own weakness, and I've been doing so ever since.

And here I am now. The road wasn't easy, and I almost fell off the path more than a few times, but in the end I kept fighting. My grandfather died a few months after my injury and never saw me recovered, but I live to think he would've been proud. Through that trial I found new strength and toughness and I haven't let go of them since, whether in training, at work or in my personal life.

That is how I learned to never quit.