This week we’ve got kickboxing instructor Carrie Riedel. Carrie is the Program Director and kickboxing instructor at Pro Martial Arts. She’s overcome her own set of injuries to amass over 25 years of Martial Arts experience. Carrie also uses her position and influence to helped raise funds for Veteran’s organizations. Learn more about Carrie here:
Introduce yourself to America!
I am Carrie Riedel from Illinois. A 25 year kickboxing veteran, a single mother of the 2 most amazing boys ever and a lover of life regardless what it may bring.
Give us a little bit of background on yourself and a run down on some of your accomplishments thus far.
My biggest accomplishment are my two boys, Maximilian (12) and Cooper (10).
My second would be getting back into shape after an injury that left me bedridden and 215 lbs.
I simply woke up one day and decided, “I don’t want to feel this way anymore. So what am I going to do about it?”
“Is this how I want my kids to view me? Or do I want them to understand that regardless of how bad things may be, we’re fighters, we’re survivors, we are warriors.”
The pain will always be there. But I got up, started kickboxing again, lost 90 lbs and am in better shape at 40 than I was in my 20’s. My proudest moment was when my oldest son said to me, “I can’t believe you’re my Mom!” (not sure whether this was a good or bad thing) I asked, “What does that mean?” He responded with, “I mean, look at you. You’re such a bada** and I’m so proud of you.” (tears)
What inspired you to start kickboxing?
Martial Arts runs in my family. My cousin was an amateur kickboxing fighter and all our friends trained at the same place. I was never particularly good at one specific sport. Until I started kickboxing in ’89. I had found “it”, MY passion… and I was good. As a young girl, I can’t tell you how amazing that felt.
What is it that keeps you on the move and motivated daily to go out there and be the best that you can be?
My kids! They inspire me because I want to inspire them. Everything I do, every decision I make revolves around them now. I can only hope and pray that one day they see and understand that.
You’re so fit and beautiful! Do people often ask you about your daily routines and how you stay active?
Oh my, well, thank you. I am a kickboxing instructor and I workout as much as possible. I have friends that have contacted me from high school asking me to train them or their kids because they’ve seen all I do on Facebook or in the few articles and photo shoots I have done. It’s a very very big compliment but I am still just a person. There are people out there that deserve a heck of a lot more credit than I.
Tell us how you feel about women’s empowerment in Martial Arts.
I think women are underestimated to this day and we’re forced to work much harder to earn the respect we deserve. Due to my size and the industry I am in, I am constantly underestimated. Which only fuels me to push harder. My favorite sayings, “Small I may be but mighty is She!” and “Go ahead, underestimate me!”
Women are powerful beyond measure. As long as we believe in ourselves first and foremost.
What are your future goals that keep you looking forward?
To continue to inspire people. I am a huge advocate for our men and women in arms. I do a lot of fundraising for our troops with the support of the Chicago NFL Alumni, The USMC Fox Valley Recruiting office (who I have even taught classes for and have always had my back). Every event, fight or fundraiser I have coordinated, they’ve shown up to support me in return. I was going to join the military myself after high school (I come from a long line of military men and women. I traced my Mother’s side back to include every single world conflict to include the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812). I’m not ashamed to say, I chickened out. ha ha. However, my redeeming moment was taking a temporary position as a flight attendant during the Gulf War, flying our troops to and from Saudi. I still to this day carry a challenge coin with me at all times that one of the soldiers gave me along with his Field Jacket. TSGT Kevin Pratt with the USAF, wherever you are, I thank you in more ways than you can ever imagine!
What’s your favorite piece of OM gear?
Well, that’s not a fair question! Because I happen to love it ALL!!! What your company stands for and the pride you take in your product, not only being American Made but also supporting our military at the same time is what makes Oscar Mike stand out above the rest. You guys are doing amazing things and I am truly honored to be even a small part of it.
What’s your proudest achievement so far?
I know it’s redundant but by far my 2 boys. After that I’d have to say walking through the “Valley of the shadow of Death” and coming out on top. Not unscathed but stronger by far. Then, I am also honestly very proud of the work I do for my fighters and for the military. So in that order are my top 3 proudest achievements.
Final words of wisdom or inspiration for our readers:
ALWAYS believe in yourself. NEVER let anyone tell you who you can and cannot be. Belief will change your world!
Lastly, kindness can come from the most unexpected places, the most unexpected people at the most unexpected times. Pay it forward always!!!
My Life’s Mantra has always been ~ Carpe Diem (Latin for Seize The Day). It’s tattooed on the back of my neck.
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