By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
At the age of just 25, Charlotte Lewis – pictured above readying an MMA competitor – is a former martial artist and Royal Air Force veteran who, after suffering a critical and life changing injury, pushed back against a damming prognosis to pursue a fruitful new passion in a life that has never lacked venture.
Today, she is a member of the international Cut Team established by UFC cutman Joe Clifford, with all members educated and certified under the IMMAF progression system, she travels the British and Irish events circuit for hands-on experience while also training to compete in body building’s fitness category.
Charlotte became immersed in the culture of martial arts from an extremely young age. Inspired by encouragement from her Dad, she began kickboxing at 8-years-old. It was from here that her tenacious spirit became channelled, readying her for the life journey ahead.
“I’ve always been a pretty focused and tenacious individual, [martial arts] had given me something to channel that into,” she told IMMAF.org, “teaching me discipline, to look after my body and to how to hold on to the TV remote completely unchallenged by my siblings!”
The Oxford born martial artist was a kickboxing and boxing competitor throughout her teens. At the tender age of 19, she made the bold decision to join the Royal Air Force.
“I competed through my teenage years, kept my head down at school and at age 19,” she recalled, “after a bit of travel and some self-doubt, decided the time had finally come to join the military. My parents hadn’t been in the forces, so it had come as a bit of a shock to them.
“I worked ridiculously hard throughout my career, I volunteered for everything. I was lucky enough to compete and travel and I did everything with a smile on my face, it was somewhere I never felt alone and really felt like I belonged somewhere.”
Charlotte’s life ambitions were well and truly realised through a passion for martial arts and greatly complimented by her fulfilling career. Then, she revealed, “The end of the world happened.”
“Not literally, obviously, but it felt like it,” she expressed. “I had a pretty terrible accident while I was at work, which resulted in my entire pelvis cracking in half, an internal bleed and an induced coma, followed by the prognosis: ‘Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to walk again, Miss Lewis.’”
Charlotte came out on the wrong end of a severe and shocking injury. Backed into a corner, professional opinion had left her with no option, but to accept a difficult future. Nevertheless, she opted to go on the offensive.
“For two days after I was woken up I did nothing but stare at the ceiling and cry. I refused to talk, eat and I couldn’t even look at my family. I couldn’t fathom how I’d gone from kickboxing, running obstacle races and having the most physical job in the military to being high on morphine, in bed waiting to be sent home from the hospital to spend the rest of my life in a chair.
“The first time they got me into that chair, I decided right there and then it wasn’t for me, there was literally no way I could live my life like this.
“Not a chance I was doing that for the rest of my life.”
Stick with IMMAF.org for the second chapter of Charlotte’s story coming soon, detailing her appetite for a comeback and the challenge of recovery.