Olympic grappler, former MMA fighter, gym instructor and Intermountain caregiver knows how to overcome obstacles.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, August 29, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ — Not everyone can draw on their experience as a mixed martial arts cage fighter to deal with workplace challenges or tap their training as an Olympic grappler to know how to wrestle a problem into submission, but one Intermountain caregiver can do both.

For 13 years, Koffi Aditzo, an inventory specialist for Intermountain Healthcare’s Logan Regional Hospital, was a mixed martial arts fighter before he became a member of the U.S. Olympic grappling team, which is part of the United World Wrestling organization.

Koffi moved to Utah as a refugee from Togo, West Africa, when he was 11 years old. Because he spoke and dressed differently than other kids, he was bullied until his senior year, when he discovered wrestling.

“When I started wrestling all the bullies started backing off,” he says.

Koffi took second in state that year. After graduation he found a gym that offered wrestling, and the gym’s owner, who put on MMA shows, asked him if he’d like to train to be an MMA fighter. Koffi didn’t know anything about the MMA but he knew how to use his fists.

“I’d been in a lot of fist fights in high school,” he says. He decided to give it a try.

“I remember my first MMA match like it was yesterday,” he says. “I was excited to get in there.” That excitement turned to frustration when he lost. “The Lion King,” as he was nicknamed, then spent nine months training for his second fight, which he won.

“When I got to my second match, and after that, I was just taking out guys left and right,” he says. He won eight of his last 10 matches and decided to retire with a record of 20-11 to focus on grappling, which includes some of the same moves he’d practiced in MMA fighting.

Grappling, which is often called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is like wrestling except that instead of trying to pin someone’s shoulders to the mat, the goal is to get an opponent to submit, usually by putting him in a hold that causes him to give up.

Koffi made the U.S. Olympic grappling team in 2017 and placed fourth in the world championships in Azerbaijan that year. This fall he’s heading to the Grappling World Championships in Kazakhstan from September 20 to 22 to compete again with the world’s best grapplers.

Here are some insights from Koffi about overcoming obstacles and reaching goals:

How do you deal with setbacks?

Koffi says losing his first match was good for him. He learned that whenever you want to undertake a difficult project or obtain a worthy goal you need to ask yourself a few questions.

“I have to ask myself, ‘Do I really want this or not?’ I have to be honest with myself. ‘Is this for me or not?’ That’s what pushed me to train harder and train better and that’s how I was successful in the game.”

At work he also has a clear idea of what he wants to do and what he’s willing to do to deliver results. “Just like I work hard at training to become number one and make it to the top, I do the same thing at work,” he says. “I try as hard as I can to find the supplies the doctors and nurses are looking for. I try my best to track those supplies down and deliver them to them. Just like in a match, I may be tired, but I still push to get the job done.”

How can you prepare for setbacks?

Koffi says you have to be mentally prepared for setbacks and know in advance how you’ll react when they come.

“When I trained in the MMA, I knew how hard I was going to get hit,” he says. “I knew that when I stepped in the cage, this guy’s goal was to make me quit. So, knowing that, I knew how to prepare for it. If I wasn’t prepared and it was a surprise, then I wouldn’t know how to follow through. If I’m prepared, I know how to react after I’ve been hit. I’ve seen a lot of guys who get hit so hard they just crumble and give up because they we weren’t ready for that. But if you’re ready for that, when it comes, you’re not going to be fazed.”

How do you make time to reach your goals?

Koffi works his full-time job at Intermountain Healthcare, runs a gym — the Koffi Fitness Training Center, where he teaches classes — and still manages to complete a three- to five-hour workout, six days a week. He says anyone can make time for a workout if they want to do it bad enough. He suggests you identify time in your life that can be replaced with something better, such as trading TV time for workout time.

Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.

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