From a young age my upbringing is flooded with images of family members working with their own hands to build their dreams. Out in the fields and on ranches, on the streets and in the shops Hispanic Americans worked in the community. Others carried their vegetables, fruits, their wares to different road corners to sell for the day, whole families playing, laughing, working making ends meet the old way, the American way. America, where you can use your own two hands to build an empire. Much like fighting I work hard to earn money and through years of Martial Arts have started a few businesses.
The heritage of America is vast, the fabric of colors mixed, the pastels vary like carefully painted rolling hills at sunset. In San Diego’s little Italy Cesar Valin sets his tables and prepares for an evening of patrons at his Restaurant Cloak and Petal, his guests ware his latest products from his other business Trinidad Jeans and he is proud to see his hard work bearing fruit. At the table of smiles and good food, Paulina Granados a professional fighter, enjoys the night of cocktails after spending hours working at a brewery and training earlier in the day for the prize ring. Her hands feel broken and her eye shadow covers blackeyes from training, but she supports Cesar and other fighters from the Gym.
Getting carried away at the end of the Table is Orlando Jimenez, owner and CEO of Fightrope.com. He originally hails from Arizona, where he first joined the navy, then used the GI Bill to go to school and earn his Associates of Science and his Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University all while wrestling for the university and serving in the Army National Guard as a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team. A few years later after serving as a police officer in Casa Grande and an Investigator with Uber Orlando (OJ) went on to go to law school at the Sandra Day O’Conner school of Law. Now he uses his hands and his brain to build his business and wrestling prowess as a Professional MMA fighter.
At home head Coach Eric Del Fierro gets out of his firefighting uniform only to strap on gear to work with the highest caliber of fighters from around the world. As a Coach and Business owner as well he sets the example for his family and community that there are ways to be more and have it all. In all of his capacities he gives time, energy, and love he receives. This is true for Hispanics from all nations, all backgrounds, and all of us who put in the work and stay humble, we receive the love and what is necessary for us to thrive. Keep reaching for the stars and dream big. You can be the next Cesar or Paulina. The next Orlando or even the next you, you with the dreams the passion, and the drive to have many careers, many adventures, and many business led with love and service to others.