EIGHT months ago, Boston Caines walked into a Tweed Heads martial arts school, having just stubbed out a cigarette and puffing after the short walk from the car park.
The Kingscliff man was totally out of nick and a dedicated disciple of the demon weed, tobacco.
"He was out of condition but as well as carrying excess baggage around his midriff he carried with him a determination to get fit and healthy so he could have a long, healthy and happy life with his partner, Monique, and the couple's newly-born daughter, Kora," said Adrian McDonald the head instructor at Potential Unlimited Mixed Martial Arts.
Such was his determination and dedication to training, Boston was one of five club members who qualified to represent the club at the recent Queensland Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships in Brisbane.
The 28-year-old year-old missed out on a medal by whisker, finishing fourth in the 81-85kg open division while the rest of his club-mates managed to get some space on the placegetters dais.
Darren Mitchell unearthed gold in two events in the 75-81kg division, 47-year-old Pat Versteegh snared silver in the 84-91kg grade as did Jonata Prevost in the 65-71kg class.
Rounding off a memorable tournament for Potential Unlimited was Adrian McDonald's victory in taking on heavier opponents in the premier over 97kg division to also strike gold.
McDonald was delighted with the club's medal haul in Brisbane but he says what gave him the most satisfaction was watching Boston Caines perform so well in his first major tournament.
"It has been a wonderful achievement by Boston - all of us are extremely proud of what he has achieved over the past few months - and so should he," McDonald said.
"He's given smoking the flick, ripped off around eight or nine kilograms and is now one of the fittest members in the club."
Caines said the birth of Kora was the catalyst for him getting his health back in order.
"I played a lot of sport until I was 21, especially rugby league, but then I gave it all away after I had to have an operation following a serious shoulder injury in a footy game," Caines said.
"I was totally out of shape but after Kora was born I just knew I had to get fit if I wanted to be a dad to her for a long, long time.
"I had always been a big fan of martial arts and so not long after they (Monique and Kora) came home I walked into Adrian's gym and asked him to help - one of the best moves I've ever made."
Caines is also making all the right moves on the competition mat McDonald, Mitchell, Versteegh and Prevost have qualified for the national titles in Sydney later this year but Caines could join them if he continues his improvement and manages to place at upcoming local and regional tournaments.
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