Nic Langman was first introduced to mixed martial arts at Gauthier’s Martial Arts in downtown Orillia when he was about four years old.
However, he decided to solely focus on hockey after being made to choose one sport or the other by his father.
“I remember being better at hockey so I stuck with that,” he recalls with a chuckle.
Langman, who grew up in Severn Bridge, played a gritty role despite often being one of the smaller players on the ice. Over time, his style of play caught up with him and resulted in some life-changing injuries.
At the age of 15, he had to give up his hockey dream.
“That was a time period where I was lost. I was physically challenged by injures and I wasn’t able to have my outlet through sports, so I sort of got into partying and made some poor decisions,” Langman recalls.
When Langman turned 18, he decided it was time for a change in lifestyle; he says he was exhausted from the way he had been living.
Langman got back into karate and sought out chiropractic therapy to re-strengthen his body from the injuries he sustained in hockey.
“I regained a lot of strength, I was able to go back to work in construction full-time and I rekindled my love for martial arts,” Langman said.
Quickly, Langman became obsessed with karate. He ate, slept, and breathed the mixed martial arts sport.
After obtaining his black belt in the summer of 2007, the then 25-year-old saw a newspaper ad for an open black belt championship tournament.
“I was the freshest black belt on the planet, but I signed myself up and did anything I could think of to train and make myself superhuman for this tournament,” Langman recalls.
Even though Langman’s experience was limited, his talent and athleticism was unmatched and he ended up winning the tournament.
“After that I wanted to see what else I could do and I had the mentality of, 'OK am I going to do it? Or sit back and watch,'” he said.
Langman started gaining tons of experience by fighting in one tournament after another and had great success. He ended up representing Canada at the 2009 World Wushu Championships, one of the most globally known mixed martial arts tournaments.
The pure talent level of Langman was put to the test between 2013 to 2015 when he continued to fight with an injured shoulder. He had 1.2 centimetres of a chunk of bone fragment forcing one of his arms to stay in one position during his fights.
Amazingly Langman won a Canadian National Kickboxing Championship while competing with the gruesome injury.
After winning the tournament Langman finally got surgery and rehabbed his injury but didn’t remain sidelined for very long.
The local athlete kept up his intense training and made Team Canada for the 2016 Pan American Kickboxing Championships in Mexico where he would come home with a bronze medal.
Langman last competed in a tournament in South Africa in 2017.
Since then, he has shifted his focus mainly on his own kickboxing academy, Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts and Fitness, which he opened in 2012 by converting a small garage into a dojo.
“Karate changed my life so much, and before I got into it, I was not in a good place,” Langman reflected on the inspiration behind Black Lotus.
“I was an athlete at heart and was ready to give up everything because I was injured, so to be brought back from that it made me want to help people the way it helped me.”
The name Black Lotus comes from a mythical flower that blooms to purity through the dirty, grimy mud - a tale that accurately depicts Langman’s rise in mixed martial arts, he says. Now it rings true for his academy.
Once located in a dark 800-square-foot facility on Powley Street, the academy moved in 2018 to an 11,000 square foot facility on Kitchener Street where Langman has a fully equipped weight room and training area.
“I built and created a culture and a community with Black Lotus. It’s the biggest success of my life,” Langman said.
But growing the business to where it is today came at a cost for the decorated fighter.
“The focus it takes is incredible. I wouldn’t be able to fight, win, and grow a well-developed business at the same time, so I chose to grow the business,” Langman explained.
The big move to the new Black Lotus facility has consumed Langman's time and the dojo has become busier and busier. To make life even more busy, Langman recently became a proud parent as he and his wife Jessica welcomed a baby girl into the world this past January.
“I have a lot going on but in the future, if I can fight again I would love to,” Langman said.
However, the clock is ticking for the now 37-year-old who is tasked with ensuring his business survives the pandemic. There are a lot of priorities on Langman’s agenda ahead of getting back into the ring.
One adaptation Langman has made to Black Lotus during the pandemic is moving the training online. He gives access to two live classes a day and a library of other content used to connect with his members.
“Now is when there is the most uncertainty and now is when we need to figure out ways to connect with our members and the community and let them know that things are going to be OK,” Langman said.
The next goal on Langman’s horizon is one he can work on during the pandemic: he wants to make Black Lotus a staple of the Orillia community.
“We want to influence the future of the community and help people. I want to reach out and do more within the community and have more opportunity for children,” he said.
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