When Kendall Reusing sets goals, she sets them high and never stops to question if she can’t achieve them.
The Fight 2 Win 148 competitor just got her black belt a year ago after a highly decorated career in the colored belts, and she’s wasted no time in proving that she’s earned it. Last year, she took home gold at No-Gi Worlds, and this year, she’s taken on big names like Gabi Garcia and Elisabeth Clay at F2W events. Tonight, she’s back on the stage again, this time against Bellator veteran and two-division F2W champion Brittney Elkin.
Between the expected challenges that being a new black belt brings and the added curveball that COVID-19 has thrown to the world, Reusing has had to adjust to a lot of changes over the past year. But she embraces them wholeheartedly and hasn’t shied away from her goals, no matter how tough they may be.
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Never back down. Keep moving forward. Bring your courage, bring your resilience, and bring your grit. 🖤👊🏼⚡️ . 📷: @kyushotya at @f2wbjj last Saturday #graciebarra #redbowie #f2wbjj #f2w #wearegb #equipegb #keepfighting #gratitude #bjjgirls #jiujitsugirls #martialarts #submissiongrappling #grapplinggirls #jiujitsu #brazilianjiujitsu #faixapreta #jiujitsulifestyle #bjjlifestyle #growthmindset #neverstop
“Being a brand new black belt has been fun and challenging,” she told the Jiu-Jitsu Times. “On the one hand, I was born for this. I’ve been dreaming of these moments since I was five years old. So I truly feel like I’m living my dream. On the other hand, I’ve had some adjustments made with the pressure I’ve felt to perform as a black belt, since accomplishments never feel ‘good enough.'”
Thankfully, the valleys filled with pressure and stress have also lead to peaks of success, and now, Reusing feels more comfortable with her place in the jiu-jitsu world. “After winning No-Gi Worlds a few months after getting my black belt, it really solidified things for me. It helped me realize that I am exactly where I am meant to be. After that, it’s just been balancing being a multiple-school business owner, full time instructor, competitor, my own manager, and everything else that comes with this lifestyle. I love every piece of it and wouldn’t trade the challenges for anything.”
As a business owner, Reusing has felt the impact of the pandemic. She’s also seen this as just another challenge to overcome, however, and has embraced the lessons learned in the process. “Business ownership and entrepreneurship is survival of the fittest. Adapt or die,” she says. “We have had to push and change and mold every single day throughout all of this, and I think it has made us better than ever. Of course there have been painful moments, but it has all been worth the lessons and experience. We’ve learned to balance focusing on short term (next class or next phone call with a student) with the long term (school growth in the next year). It has also taught me how to schedule things out and stay much more organized in order to make sure I still get my training time in for the athletic side of things.”
The tenacity that Reusing exhibits in every area of her life is impressive, but not surprising when you consider her background in wrestling. A California state champion and four-time U.S. national champion in high school, she was also a part of Team USA’s wrestling team, traveling and competing internationally before returning her focus to jiu-jitsu. She credits her wrestling experience with giving her that signature can-do, must-do attitude. “Wrestling taught me so many things, but more than anything it pretty much coded an insane amount of mental toughness into my DNA. It taught me that nothing can stand in my way if I want it badly enough, and that I’m much more powerful than I ever knew before.”
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Stronger, faster, more ready than ever. ⚡️ And it’s NOT easy. It’s hard. Some days I fight huge battles with my own head – with no “promise” that it will pay off the way I want it to in the end. I could do all the work and still not get it (whether “it” is a world title, financial goal, relationship, health, etc.). But the beauty of living an extraordinary life is LIVING it every single day. Because it feels like home. STRIVING for that extraordinary life every day feels better than anything else. You deserve what you work for. Want something? Go get it.
Despite all the benefits it’s given her, though, Reusing doesn’t sugarcoat the difficulties that come with being a wrestler, especially as a woman in the sport. “Find people in the community who you can be great friends with,” she suggests to other girls or women who are interested in taking up wrestling. “Only do it if you love the lifestyle (this goes for any hobby, job, goal, etc.). Because it is hard. So you have to love it. If you don’t, there’s no shame in trying something else. Learn to expect that people may doubt you or underestimate you as a girl/woman, but that you can find incredible people who will build you up and stick with you. Don’t overvalue the praise or hate, don’t overvalue advice from people who haven’t been where you want to go, and find people who have been where you want to go who will treat you with kindness.”
Tonight, Reusing looks forward to her match against Elkin not with nerves, but with excitement. She sees it as an opportunity to show off her strengths… and of course, a chance to add another win to her extensive record. “I’m super excited for this match with Brittney because I know we both have very strong stand up games,” she says. “I’m excited for the opportunity to use my wrestling and really show my experience on my feet. I think it’s going to be a fast paced match and I hope to finish with a guillotine or choke from the back.”
You can watch Reusing vs. Elkin, plus many other exciting matches when F2W 148 streams live tonight from Austin, TX, only on FloGrappling.