February 07 2020

Christopher Williams

“Eyes wide open. Eyes on the target at all times.”

I was born on a solar eclipse in Palo Alto, California at the original Hoover Pavilion at Stanford University, and I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 6 months old.  My fondest childhood memory was when my doctor told me at 16 that I never had to sleep in a mist tent again.  Ever since then, I’ve decided never to live my life according to CF, and I have never let my diagnosis get in the way of achieving my life goals.

I was a three-sport athlete in high school and ran a drag boat at 100 mph, which I built.  I swim, waterski, snow ski, managed a ski shop, trap shoot, and worked 32 years as an investigator for an Insurance Company.  I traveled all over the United States as a young man, and my favorite destination is the peaceful serenity of Yellowstone National Park.  My interests in motorcycles, cars, jet-ski’s, and boats inspired me to work as an Aid to Navigation for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary on the Sacramento Delta. 

I think it’s important to find a single passion in life.  For me, that passion came as a result of the close relationship I’ve cultivated with my son Aaron through our training, commitment, and love for martial arts.  Holding a Black Belt from Ernie Reyes’s West Coast World Martial Arts and having trained with UFC World Champion, James “The Sandman” Irvin, I spent five years coaching and managing Aaron for competition with The League, NBL, and NASKA.  I’m pleased to say that he currently holds a fourth degree Black Belt and seven World titles.  Furthermore, Aaron is presently enrolled in the dance program at Missouri State University, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

Martial arts transforms you into a totally different person.  My mental focus and my perception of what’s important in life have been greatly altered by my training.  If you can control the focus of the mind it is possible to succeed in areas that were never even conceivable. You are only held back by yourself!

Despite all my previous accomplishments and relatively healthy life, my CF symptoms advanced enough to require a double lung transplant in March 2016.  I don’t dwell on the negative aspects of my CF and my post transplant complications.  I just keep pushing forward and don’t look back.  I believe that hard work and dedication is essential to accomplishing one’s goals and to realizing one’s full potential.  I consider CF and transplant as just another challenge to defy!

My doctors weren’t really supportive of me returning to full contact martial arts (Krav Maga) post-transplant.  Therefore, I started practicing no-contact kickboxing, which allows me to practice my skills and to further develop my lung capacity.  At my gym, I was named “Kickboxer of the Month” for completing 44 classes in in one month, so then I pushed myself harder and completed 70 classes in 27 Days.  Kickboxing and martial arts have been the best exercise to open up my lungs and keep them clear.

A lot of people quit on themselves.  I never quit.  I’ve always pushed myself, and I try to push others.  I think that CF makes you that way. I have a new goal now. I want to be the oldest living double lung transplant recipient.  I won’t quit; I won’t give up; “Eyes wide open; eyes on target at all times.”