Coach John Kavanagh, author of 'Win or Learn', and world-renowned coach to the Conor McGregor phenomenon, took time out to inspire students at Rosses Community school in Dungloe this month.
Friday the 13th definitely was a lucky one for students and staff at RCS.
MMA coach and bestselling author, John Kavanagh, gave a number of interviews on a variety of life lessons to an attentive and inspired group of senior and junior students and staff. The students were enthralled by the life lessons that coach Kavanagh had to impart and the great insight to Conor McGregor’s training and preparation.
John covered various themes which are dealt with in his inspirational book, 'Win or Learn'. He encouraged students not to be afraid to follow their passion, whether it be sport, academics, music or the arts. He warned them that it takes dedication, discipline and time to succeed at your chosen path. Talent isn't merely enough, he said, saying that work ethic and commitment, discipline and intelligence are key.
He also impressed on students that lying around feeling sorry for oneself isn't the answer, either. His key message was that the true mark of a person is how they handle disappointment - do they choose to be a victim or do they learn from it and come back stronger?
He discussed his own time as an adolescent and the importance of having a sport to live a healthy and balanced life. He said you did not have to be part of the popular group, that it was important to be individual and fulfilled. And while he spoke of finding a passion - whatever that may be - and pursuing that, he also spoke of the importance of education and having a good, balanced approach.
John himself had completed a mechanical engineering degree whilst pursuing his own MMA dreams. Both required an intense work ethic, and he paid great tribute to the life lessons and core values that he learned from his own parents.
He particularly cautioned Leaving Cert groups not to feel overly-pressured by exams and to do their best, but not to add undue pressure - nothing was worth sacrificing one’s mental well-being over. He cited the ethos in their own Straight Blast Gym, which was to have an honest, healthy approach to mental health issues, and said they worked closely with Pieta House and other support groups to ensure that there was a positive approach to stress and difficulty of life. He encouraged students to reach out if help was needed and to encourage their fellow students to express themselves in their own unique way.
John was so humble and congenial to all the young students who posed for more than two hours for pictures and selfies, with Conor McGregor’s UFC world title belt. Management, staff and students were thoroughly inspired by coach Kavanagh's visit and were so grateful for him taking the time out of a hectic schedule to give so generously and freely of his time. It was a wonderful visit by an inspiring man.