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A Champion’s Uprising with Muay Thai Champion Chris Romulo

How do you learn how to make something of your life when you never had an example to follow?

Today’s guest knew he wanted to make a name for himself in the world, but he didn’t know how. Growing up with an unavailable, addicted father, he was filled with anger and took it out on those around him. But he says that we are all born with the champion spirit within. All we need to do is tap into it.

Muay Thai legend Chris Romulo returns to the show to share his story of a champion’s uprising. He talks about how he grew from a frustrated, depressed young man into a world-renowned fighter, and how he’s used what he’s learned in the ring to become the husband, father, entrepreneur and community leader he is today.

Chris Romulo

From the humblest of beginnings in Queens Village, Queens, it was Chris Romulo’s dream to make a name for himself. While he was physically present, Chris’ father was not emotionally or psychologically there for Chris or his family. This took a toll on Chris as he struggled with abandonment, depression, and bouts of anger. Watching his father struggle with a gambling addiction provided Chris the drive to achieve something greater for his life as he inched and clawed his way through his early years. But, it was a near death street fight that turned out to be the decisive moment that turned Chris to Muay Thai, setting him on a path to personal growth and success, in both the sport and life.

Muay Thai was the perfect outlet for Chris’ natural physicality. With this newfound passion, Romulo became a true pioneer of the sport in 1995. Despite limited opportunities to showcase his skills in New York City, his successes were many. Romulo was determined to learn and gain as much experience as possible training and fighting up and down the East coast. At the start of his career he racked up an impressive amateur record of 18-3-1(7), earning 5 WKA state and national titles.  His bronze medal performance at the 2004 IFMA tournament in Bangkok was the launching point for his jump to professional fighting.

In 2011, after an illustrious career in which he posted a remarkable pro record of 13-3 (10KO) and, his crowning achievement, earned the Professional North American Super Middleweight title in 2010, Romulo made the momentous decision to retire from fighting and pay his passion for the sport forward. Due to his successes in the ring, many of today’s young athletes grew up watching Chris, were inspired by him, and continue to look to him as a foundation of the East coast Muay Thai community.

The year 2009 was a pivotal year for Romulo in his desire to extend his reach beyond the ring. He decided to bring his passion and respect for the culture of Muay Thai to a more mainstream audience as he opened CROM Physical Culture in Rockaway Beach, Queens. Through CROM PC, Chris has been able to continue his work with the youth by partnering with the Muay Thai Preservation Project, offering scholarships to at risk youth for no cost. Romulo and CROM PC have helped shape and guide the lives of countless youth that have gone on to winning national Muay Thai championships, excelled in their education, and have become competent and confident individuals in their community.

Chris Romulo is a product of his resiliency and Muay Thai. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc to Rockaway Beach. Romulo and his wife, as well as many others in the community, lost everything. Their home and their business were destroyed. The entire peninsula was devastated. But, Chris’, and his wife’s, resiliency powered them through this time period. While living in a friend’s basement, Chris and his wife, Sarah, rebuilt their gym and became a central part of the Rockaway community as it tried to climb out of the hole that Sandy left. Today, CROM PC has a permanent home, incorporated new programming, and has a 300+ member community.

While reflecting on his 20+ years as a Muay Thai fighter and coach, Chris felt the need to increase his reach beyond the four walls of his gym and NYC to try to help change as many lives as possible.  In 2015, Chris began offering online training programs that focused on martial arts, fitness, and mindset. Chris’ projects in 2016 included creating the first ever World Muay Thai Summit, featuring superstars John Wayne Parr, Bazooka Joe Valtelini and Chris Algieri.

Champions Uprising

In May of 2017, Chris’ memoir, Champions Uprising, will be published. His story displays his unwavering mindset of determination, grit, and the perseverance of the human spirit. Chris Romulo grew up in a broken home. His mother Lucita, a Filipino immigrant, wanted Chris to go to college and live the American Dream. His father Carlito, also a Filipino immigrant, detached himself from the family and turned to gambling.

After a series of unfortunate events in grammar school, Chris took to the streets of Queens, New York, where at twenty years old a near-death street fight redirected his life and purpose. Chris then set off on a twenty-year journey through the study of Muay Thai, which took him from New York City to Bangkok, Thailand and back again. As a fighter, Chris went on to become the first professional North American Super-Middleweight Muay Thai Champion in 2010. But after retiring, Chris was forced to make one more comeback when Hurricane Sandy destroyed his home and gym in 2012.

Chris is convinced that struggle and setbacks can be the fuel to future success. He also believes that by understanding how the mind works, you can use your thoughts as weapons for hunting down your dreams rather than digging yourself into a hole. “Control your thoughts. Control your reality,” is a mantra Chris likes to live by. And he is eager to share his story with the world and uncover stories of “champions” of other industries, to show how we all have the tools inside us to overcome adversity when we tap into our fighting spirit. So while continuing to coach at CROM, Chris now motivates people outside of the gym’s four walls through public speaking.

“It all takes heart.”—Chris Romulo

MENTIONED EPISODES:

Larry Hagner on The Eight Count Podcast with Chris Romulo

Reversing Generations of Bad Parenting with 6-Time Muay Thai Champion Chris Romulo

The 4-Step Process to Build Unshakable Confidence

 


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Chris Romulo

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The Eight Count Podcast

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Larry Hagner on The Eight Count Podcast with Chris Romulo


Larry Hagner is the host of The Dad Edge and the founder of The Dad Edge Alliance. Larry’s used to talking with big names as well as the everyday dad, but today it’s his turn to be interviewed.

Chris Romulo is a former Muay Thai Champion, author, motivational speaker, and the host of The Eight Count Podcast. He asks Larry Hagner about the times he thought he was down for the count in life and how, with the help of his tribe, he picked himself up and got back in the ring to fight his inner demons.

Chris Romulo

Chris Romulo is a Queens, New York native who always yearned for growth. In his early twenties, he transformed himself from a street kid into a Muay Thai Champion with over 40 fights and 6 titles under his belt.

Today, he’s a coach at his gym CROM Physical Culture and mindset speaker to both youth and adults. Chris has taken what he’s learned in the ring and turned it into a practical curriculum, U.P.R.I.S.E. The curriculum shows you how to tap into your natural abilities and become the champion of your life.

In May of 2017, Chris co-authored and published his memoir, Champions Uprising, which displays his unwavering mindset of determination, grit, and perseverance of spirit.

Chris has taken his focus from performing in the ring to jumping on stage to motivate, educate and inspire the masses. He has been featured in Yahoo News, The NY Daily News and Men’s Journal, to name a few.

The Eight Count Podcast

Hosted by Chris “Mr. Classic” Romulo, a six-time Muay Thai champion turned speaker, coach, and podcaster, The Eight Count explores the championship mindset of entrepreneurs, business owners, and athletes to uncover the tactics they use to beat the count and win at life. Through gritty interviews that hold no punches, you’ll discover how to overcome adversity and become a successful and self-reliant champion.

MENTIONED EPISODES:

The Eight Count Podcast: Larry Hagner, The Transparent Father

Reversing Generations of Bad Parenting with 6-Time Muay Thai Champion Chris Romulo

Imposter Syndrome: Defeating Your Inner Bully with Dr. Jamie Hope

How to Optimize the 5 Dimensions of Manhood


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Chris Romulo

chrisromulo.com

The Eight Count Podcast

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Reversing Generations of Bad Parenting with 6-Time Muay Thai Champion Chris Romulo

How do you become an incredible dad and husband when you grew up with a neglectful father? How do you break the dysfunctional pattern of your family and reverse generations of bad parenting? Chris Romulo is a 6-time Muay Thai Champion and author of Champions Uprising: Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8. He tells us what it was like growing up with a gambling addict and how he uses his past experiences to be a better husband, father, and community member.

Chris Romulo

Chris Romulo is a martial arts champion and trainer who won several Muay Thai titles, including a US National Championship, a North American Championship, and a Bronze medal in Bangkok in the World Cup. He now runs CROM Physical Culture in Rockaway Beach, NY where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and two sons, Jube and Giovanni.

Growing Up

As a 4th grader, Chris’s parents moved him from an Asian neighborhood to a  community that was a mix of Latino, Caribbean, and Black. He was the only Filipino kid in class and he got bullied because of that. Even his teacher was physically abusive. Chris would try to explain what was happening to his mother, but she grew up in the Philippines where this kind of treatment from teachers was acceptable. She’d ask Chris, “What did you do to deserve this?” That’s when Chris questioned everything. He couldn’t trust any of the adults in his life, making him sad and angry. It affected the rest of his education all the way into high school.

On top of the struggles Chris had at school, his dad was a severe gambling addict. There was no physical or mental abuse. It was neglect. His dad was simply not there. He’d sit at the kitchen table with his head buried in lottery numbers trying to decipher what was coming out next. There was never any conversation. His father never even scolded Chris. It was as if his dad didn’t care if the family existed.

The Father He Is Now

At an early age, Chris decided that his purpose was to break the mold. He heard stories of his grandfather back in Philippines, and found out e was the same neglectful parent as his father. This allowed Chris to understand why his dad was the way he was, but he wasn’t going to be the same kind of father to his kids.

Breaking this Cycle of Bad Parenting

Before Chris met his wife, Sarah, it was just him and his first son, Jube. Chris was a single dad and admits that he wasn’t a very attentive dad. Chris wasn’t into gambling, but when he went to the gym to train, he was so engulfed in what he was doing that his son was ignored. Once Chris realized that he was slipping into the same pattern as his father, he did his best to purposely engage with his son.

On How to Be an Engaged Dad

Chris says the ‘how’ of being a good dad is the basics – interaction, conversation, doing things together. Chris watches TV with his son, goes to the movies, takes him to games. Chris says it’s not complicated. It’s very simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but even if you only have a half an hour, make it the best half hour. Be patient and persistent in making quality time a priority.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Just stick to the basics.

Biggest Challenge as a Father

There wasn’t a lot of patience in Chris’s household growing up, and as a dad Chris says that is the main thing. He not only strives to develop patience as a father, but also to set an example for his sons on how to approach life with patience. Life is going to test you every day. The only way to work through the struggles and obstacles is to take a step back and let the emotions settle down before they get the best of you.

#1 Lesson Learned from Fighting

Chris Romulo says the most important thing he learned from fighting was to always have goals. Goals gave him the drive and motivation, whether it was for a single fight or for world championships. Set targets for minor and major goals and have a target for your life as a whole.

Champions Uprising

Chris Romulo always wanted to write a book, but he was full of self-doubt and negative self-talk. He never went to college and barely finished high school. Luckily, he had some friends in the marketing and publishing world who helped him make his dream of becoming an author a reality.

When talking about the subtitle of Champions Uprising, Chris says, “You’re’ entire life is going to be full of stumbles and falls. You will not go through life unscathed. You’re going to deal with stuff. You have to get back up.”

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Dad Wisdom

Chris Romulo’s dad wisdom is to be flexible. He says that as a man and a father, you must adapt. You can’t be stuck in old thinking habits when you’re in new situations. You need to be dynamic in life and in fatherhood. Your kids are going to grow and change and the way you interact with them will have to change too.

Don’t live off your past.

 

Mentioned episodes

Secrets of the Navy SEAL Mindset: Courage, Confidence, Perseverance and Resilience

The Unexpected Secrets of Men, Women, and Sex with Nell Gibbon Daly

Pressure, Perseverance, and Fatherhood with UFC Fighter James Krause

Frankie Edgar on Life Lessons from the Octagon

How to Raise Strong, Confident, Resilient Girls with Bas Rutten


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We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Download a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Download this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

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Chris Romulo’s Links

ChrisRomulo.com

Champions Uprising: Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8

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