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Cover Story

How To Balance Between
School & Your Passion?

We sat with Hassan Hamza who talked about his passion for MMA fighting,
the hard work and dedication it requires along with sharing some
tips on how to create a balance between
school and his passion.

Photography Saeed Khalifa
Videography Jear Velasquez
Special Thanks to Underdog Box'n 

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How old are you and how long have you been an MMA fighter?
I am 15 years old and have been doing MMA since I was 8 years old and it’s been a great journey so far. When I was 7 years old, my older brother Moaz used to do MMA and he introduced it to me to it. He had a passion for it and he used to train with the professionals. One day, he told me to go with him to the gym as he was the co-owner and asked me to give it a try. It was scary at first, but amazing at the same time. Ever since I got in contact with the gloves and felt the thrill, I just couldn’t resist it. So I trained like crazy and fell in love with it ever since.
Tell us more about your training and how do you balance between school and your passion?
I used to train 2 times a week for maybe an hour, now I’m more dedicated and I train around 5 times a week, 2 to 3 hours each time.
It’s hard to balance between school and MMA especially that I’m going into my 12th grade this year which means a lot of studying and exams. It’s nice to have something outside of school to look forward to and release the stress. So after a long day of hard work at school I go to the gym and get everything out.
Who’s your role model and why?
My role model is my brother Anas Bukhash, ever since I was younger I always looked up to him. I used to hang out with him and listened to him and his stories. We didn’t get the chance to spend time together as much as we would have loved to, now I get to see him much more but he was always there. He had that spark and ambition; he grew up with nothing but worked hard and graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Boston University. I really admire him and what he has accomplished and although he didn’t work as an engineer, I guess it helped him become an entrepreneur, and now he has like 3 or 4 different businesses. I have the chance to be involved in some of them which is very eye opening for me. Every time I see him in his work environment it motivates me to push myself further. I was lucky enough to be brought up with a lot of things, a lot more than what he had and I don’t have any excuse to sit around and do nothing. For me, it doesn’t matter where you are from or how much money you have, you can be whoever you want.

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Any advice for young people who have a dream?
My advice for young people who have a passion is to just go for it. Don’t sit at home and wait or think about it, just go out and do it. There is no point in sitting there in your room, just go out there and follow your dreams.
Are you excited about the new school year?
Yes and no, it’s my last year of school and I am happy about that and the fact that I can hang out with my friends, learn some new things. However, this is going to be a stressful and a very tough year. School teaches you a lot. For me, it’s more about the social aspect of it where you build relationships with people. A lot of things can happen at school such as bullying, drama, and those things teach you even if you don’t want to learn. I think it’s great that I am able to balance it out with MMA which teaches me discipline and how to be humble. That is a very good combination with school, it helps you release the stress you feel at school. I believe that your passion helps you go forward in school.
What are your favorite subjects?
My favorite subjects are biology, geography, drama and PE. I like to express myself and drama lets you show who you are. I know that I need to go to university, but for now I want to pursue my dream and see where it takes me, that’s why I would like to focus on MMA and sports in general. If that doesn’t go well, I would like to pursue a career as a doctor.

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