Cornell Ward is a Muay Thai fighter, a sci-fi devotee and co-host of the Walking Alone Podcast along with MMA fighter Diego Lopez. I was recently interviewed on their podcast, which you can listen to here :
I had the opportunity to also interview Cornell, and our conversation is below:
Joshua Katcher: How did you get started fighting? Cornell Ward: When I was a kid I loved the scenes in the movie Bloodsport with Muay Thai fighter Paulo Tocha. Back then I didn't even know what Muay Thai was, it was just something about the movements (which were very much Hollywood Muay Thai) that piqued my interest. It wasn't until years later that I actually found a Muay Thai school and began really learning about the sport.
JK: Did your upbringing inform both your interest in martial arts and veganism? CW: Not really...well growing up watching Star Trek helped a little, haha. I was never really super into eating meat, and when I realized that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry as well as a lot of the characters he created were vegetarian, I looked more into it. When I got a little older and got deep into the hardcore scene, which had a strong vegan community, I wanted to learn even more. The more I learned, the more I realized that veganism was the natural progression for me. As far as martial arts, my love of Street Fighter video games and kung fu movies was the main catalyst for stepping into my first Muay Thai gym. So pretty much being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today ;)
"...being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today."
JK: What are the typical obstacles you face as both a vegan and a man of color in the world of athletics? CW: Fortunately not many, save for the occasional "how do you get protein?" comment. Also, I'm very lucky to have a gym like Five Points here in New York which provides a great environment for athletes of all backgrounds. Everyone is there to train, learn, get healthy, get strong, etc. I've never been anywhere as free of judgment as that place. Its definitely my safe place.
JK: Why did you decide to start Walking Alone Podcast, and give a cross-section of your listeners. CW: I wanted to do a podcast for a long time, but just wasn't sure what it was going to focus on. I met Diego, who also wanted to start a podcast so he said, lets do one together. We did it and it was fun so we just kept doing it. Our listeners are anywhere from martial arts practitioners and fans to scifi/comic nerds. We like to keep discussion open and touch on all kinds of random topics and that usually means there is a little something for everyone.
JK: What music are you listening to, book are you reading, and food are you currently obsessed with? CW: I listen to a few tracks off of the record Gala by Lush pretty much every day. They will always be my all time favorite. At the moment I'm super stoked on Tweens, Boards of Canada, Bad Brains, Faith No More, Go Deep, Outer Limits Recordings, Troubled Sleep, old Metallica....shoot, I could go on forever. I'm currently reading The Sigularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil and Dune(for the 100th time). Sushi...I haven't been able to get enough of it for the past few weeks and anything from Blossom Du Jour.
JK: Do you have any upcoming fights or events? If so, what does your training regimen look like? CW:I don't have any fights scheduled at the moment. I still train about 5 days a week, though. I love it so much, that its hard to stay away for too long.