Warriors in Paradise fight for suicide
Fighting for suicide may seem like an oxymoron.
But 34 Muay Thai fighters jumped in the ring to support the cause at the Warriors in Paradise 2 event at the Copthorne in Waitangi on November 7.
The event raised around $1000 for the Kawakawa St John Cadets and world champion kick boxer Israel Adesanya attended.
Bay of Islands Lee Gar gym trainer Nik Jessop organised the event after the devastating suicides this year in the Far North.
He says his family has experienced the impact of suicide and he wants to lift the taboo. He says suicide leaves a wake of grief behind them.
"It still hurts. It really cuts deep.
"Everyone lashes out at each other. They get angry then start looking internally at what they could have done.
"You're left with all these issues unanswered and there's nothing you can do about it because it's finite."
Jessop urges anyone with mental health issues to reach out to the many free services available.
He says the event was a huge success. The only issue was when one of the corner men fainted with an apparent heart attack. St John were right on the spot to deal with it Jessop says.
"It was scary. They just took control and calmed everyone down. They did their job very well."
Jessop says Muay Thai is all about having a healthy mind, body, soul and balance to life. He says you can liken fighting to a car crash. How well you train your body and your mental strength will determine how big the mess is at the end of your fight.
"[Getting in the ring] is like when you get to the giant drop of a rollercoaster. The anxiety sits right at the top of your heart. When the drop goes your stomach is in your throat.
"If you make it through the ropes you've already won because of the amount of work, dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the fighter and their family."
The youngest fighter was a 7 year old which Jessop says is so cute to watch.
Where to get help
Lifeline - 0800 543 354
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Samaritans - 0800 211 211
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865