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Ashley William Robinson On Fighting

Stuntman, trainer and combat sport champion Ashley William Robinson on 25 years in the fighting industry.


Born and bred in the Boland, in a small town called Paarl, Ashley William Robinson knew he was destined for bigger things. Undeterred by an environment that inhibits growth and influencing social issues that beset every small town in South Africa, Ashley was determined to establish a better life for himself.  ‘I used sport as a way to make better choices in life, to escape all my negative surroundings and to live a life where I could proudly say “I’m genuinely happy”,’ he explains. ‘As a young, impressionable teenager, it is extremely challenging to avoid following the crowd and doing as others do. For me, this was a struggle early on in life.’ At 14 years old, Ashely became involved with ‘a wild crowd of friends who would skip school and do more wrong than right.’ 

But driven by his desire to triumph over poverty and stereotypical societal standards, he quickly realised the negative impact these external factors had and how they influenced the direction in which his life was going. ‘During this time I started to pour more energy into my martial arts, which I had been practicing since the age of five,’ Ashley recalls. ‘Luckily for me, my passion for sports saved my life. It led me to strive to become the best version of myself, to make better decisions and choose the right path.’ Instead of merely training, he used martial arts as a distraction and began competing and grading. ‘I eventually got my black belt and, after a few years of competing, became the South African Amateur and PRO-AM Kickboxing Champion, CFL Champion and PFC K1 Champion.’

Ashley fondly reminisces about his journey, and with a sigh of gratitude says, ‘I am very lucky to say that my passion became my profession and through this I developed a career as a stuntman. I was introduced to an entire new world of excitement where I could use my skill. Luck wasn’t the only thing that got me here, I worked day in and day out to make it happen. Failure motivated me even more, and if I was rejected for something I went back to the drawing board, trained twice as hard and came back stronger every single time until I was respected.’ He continues to say, ‘Everyone started somewhere. We all once feared stepping into the ring or onto the mats. You’re going to pay money so you can go to a place every couple of days and get beat up or just sweat too much. But, joining up to study a martial art can be extremely rewarding for your fitness, confidence, and your overall well-being. You’ll automatically strive in all other fields of your life.’

All In A Day’s Work

Working in the film industry can be extremely unpredictable, with varying hours and odd call times. Yet, Ashley emphasises the importance of making time to train. ‘The best time for me to workout is immediately after waking up. It helps to set the mood for a busy day ahead, plus being healthy and agile motivates me to keep moving,’ he shares. ‘Once you get to train you never regret it afterwards. Your body will praise you.’

Apart from maintaining a solid fitness routine, Ashley also keeps a balanced diet filled with fibres and proteins. But, like most of us, Ashley professes his love for those late-night snacks, including grapes, berries and dark chocolate. He also opts to use alternative nutrition sources to ensure he gets in all the necessary vitamins. ‘I love NeoVita Vegan Gummies, FUTURELIFE Repair Food and collagen bone repair shake.’

Harmony In Health

Having competed for over 13 years in different weight classes, fighting styles and sporting types, Ashley has mastered the art of listening to his body and understanding his physical and mental strengths and weaknesses, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to living your healthiest life. ‘Write down your stronger days as well as your weaker days. Find which nutrition works best for your body type and allow your body to digest every form of natural thing the land has to offer,’ he advises. ‘I eat whenever my body wants to eat. I get days where I’ll eat four meals a day and I’m fine, then I’ll have days where I eat three meals. And when it comes to the evening I tend to over-snack. But that’s okay, because it works for me. My body wants to run on a full tank. I eat a lot of fresh fruits any time of day or night. I drink up to six or seven litres of water every day.’

While Ashley places a large focus on making sure his physique is toned and his body’s in shape, he takes just as much care to respect and support his mind. ‘Mental health is a very big part of everyone’s well-being and people should feel free and open to discuss what works for them. I wasn’t always as mentally strong but with years of being challenged I’ve developed a rock set mental state. I maintain a nutritious diet, and I balance my personal life, relationship and work life well. I don’t attend many big social events and keep my circle small and intimate. All of the above keeps me at peace.’


Words by Aadilah Hallam
Photography K-Leigh Siebritz

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