Joseph Parker’s burger addiction, Inky the Octopus and the challenge of being brave

It’s Samoan Language Week and the theme for 2016 is, “E felelei manu ae ma’au i o latou ofaga  – Birds migrate to environments where they survive and thrive.”

It’s been inspiring following the journey of Samoan Kiwi boxer Joseph Parker. His career reflects the theme of Samoan week.

Before Joseph teamed up with trainer Kevin Barry in 2013, he says he wasn’t in the right mind frame to become a world champion. “I wasn’t that serious about it and I would even eat burgers on the day of a fight,” he said.

Kevin agreed to train Joseph, on condition that the training camps take place in Las Vegas where Kevin lives with his family. Joseph is a very family-oriented person and close with his friends. But he knew he had to “migrate” to a new environment if he was going to thrive and survive in the world of professional boxing.

Joe and Kevin

Joseph says that initially he found it challenging being away from home for so long. One evening Kevin sat with him and told him a story about another Samoan boxer he once worked with – David Tua.

“It was a massive change for a young family-oriented Pacific Island boy like David to move to America back then and he spent a lot of time alone,” Kevin explained. “There was no social media, no Skype. His prize money didn’t even cover his phone bills. But David endured it because he wanted to be successful.”

Samoan Terminator 2

It was just the kind of message Joseph needed: migrate to survive and thrive.

Early this year Inky , an octopus at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, escaped from his tank, by squeezing through a drainpipe in the floor that eventually led him out into the ocean.

NPR reporter Scott Simon commented, “Inky chose to bolt from surroundings in which he was safe, secure, and hand fed, for the dangers of an open sea that teems with sharks, seals, and whales that might eat him. Inky chose liberty over security.”

Inky the Octopus

Has there been a time when you chose to walk away or escape from a lifestyle that seemed safe, but that you weren’t satisfied with? That wasn’t going to help you survive and thrive?

Hope you can find the bravery and courage to do it if you need to guys.

Hope I can too.

Here’s a great resource you can use for Samoan Language Week Samoan-Language-Week-2016-Education-Resource. Read more about David Tua’s achievements in Samoan Heroes. Watch out for a new biography on Joseph Parker, coming early in 2017.

Happy Samoan Language Week everyone!

Holiday in Samoa Dec 2014

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