“Why do you fight?” It’s a question I wasn’t asked in my youth. I was the child always doing my best to stay under the radar and go with the flow so as not to cause waves. But, over the years, I have learned to “fight”—but not in the “fists in the air” kind of manner. For me, it was a fight to candidly be “me.”
But why was I fighting? Why did I choose to make the metamorphosis from acquiescence to challenger? Honestly? I had never really asked myself that until the fateful day I was honored with interviewing Youngstown’s very own, Clemate Franklin.
Clemate is an esteemed husband, father, boxer & instructor responsible for the notorious 12 Rounds program at Youngstown’s YMCA; the class is a high-intensity, cardio, and boxing infusion wellness class —always beginning with the query to his students: “Why do you fight?” He took his life adversities and successes and went on to implement something unforgettable within the spirits of those who dare to step foot in his gym.
I was there to interview and photograph Mr. Franklin for this Elloparley, yet listening to him speak life and fight into his students was stirring a quiet entity within myself. I just wanted to put my equipment down and join in on the sport. That is the power that Clemate possesses. Be that as it may, Clemate Franklin takes no glory. Read on to find out Who it is exactly, this extraordinary teacher has learned from himself; I asked:
Who does the world see you as & what do you do as you?
“The world sees me as a father, a gentleman, and a fighter.
I'm in the health field and I own 12 Rounds by Clemate Franklin. I help the community get in shape mentally, physically, emotionally—you know—all around the board. I run the class to help the community get fit.”
Who do you see yourself as & what would you like to be doing?
“I see myself as a believer of God and I see myself doing what He put me here to do—to deliver the message while using me as a vessel.
I would like to be taking advantage of my purpose. One thing about it is helping the community—the village—fight and fight all around; you know—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically—all around fight.”
What is Present-You most proud of?
“Finding God. Growing up there's always something that is in the back of your mind—that is all around—that's inside you, but you can't pinpoint it, you know? Because, sometimes, that wisdom isn't there. But you feel it. Once I was able to get wise and older and go through couple things in life—well, a lot of things in life—trials and tribulations—I realized and I was able to pinpoint that that is God's work.”
What is your vision for change and how motivated are you to do as such?
“I feel at peace when there's equality throughout the world. When individuals are seen for what they do and also who they are—not just being seen or viewed from, ‘He said—she said,’ because that can get misconstrued a lot.”
What has been the most negative experience in your field and how did you overcome that?
“A hard day for me in my field is when people don't take their life seriously—or they don't take their fitness seriously—or they don't take their time seriously on this earth, you know? I tell the people in my class there's no cure for aging but there is a process to slow it down and ‘this’ is the process—and that's working out… and ‘me time;’ that self-love—self-care.
Don't put pressure on yourself ’cause that stress. That’s one thing, my grandparents taught me: Longevity. Let God handle it and He’s gonna put you in the right and connect you with the right people.”
What is the best part about doing what you do that the average person may be envious of?
“I would say allowing God to take the wheel. Allowing God to instruct me. A lot of people that would be envious [are that way] because they're being too stubborn or too independent to allow God to come in and work.”
How much work would you say you put into your profession and process?
“1010%. We gonna cut to the chase—we ain't gonna say nothing about no 100—I don't even know what that is. 1010%. ‘Cause that’s all I know; when this is all you know, you don’t know nothing else.”
If you would’ve never started down this journey, where do you think you’d be today?
“That's tough… That’s tough to answer. I’d probably be somewhere where God wanted me to be—teaching me a lesson. I’d be somewhere with God—still with His hands on me—still working. I’d be pastoring somewhere else.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
“‘Keep smiling.’ It will lead you through life.”
What would you say to someone whose fear prevents them from starting the journey to their wildest dreams?
“You know, one thing about fear is it can prevent you from doing a lot of things but one thing I’ve had to tell myself is that I’m human. Someday this flesh will subside and I'm human. My time is ticking. Everyone's time is ticking so you need to take that leap of faith. You need to step into your greatness and the only way you can do that is by trying. And, if you try and you fail at it, keep trying. Hey, if it doesn't work, then try something else—try something different. You gotta try something different.”
Is there anything you’d like to let the readers know?
“I’d like to let 'em know that I'm not gonna give up on them… And, and I hope they don't give up on me. And that they are enough.
I want them to keep fighting at whatever it is because nothing hits harder than life. So, if you feel you got knocked down, get up. If you’re reading this right now—you’ve come a long way.”
So why did I choose to fight? I chose to fight because I had to; like Clemate, I have been called to it. If I wasn’t going to fight for myself—who would? After all, had I rejected the call to arms, you would not be here, in this very moment, able to read the telling of another remarkable fighter’s incredible journey.
Truth be told though, simply to read about Clemate is not enough. When you are actually around Mr. Franklin, you cannot help but be filled with his wealth of energy, positivity, and light.
I’m on the edge of my seat, looking forward to seeing what Clemate Franklin does next. But one thing I do know for sure is that, as sure as God is his strength, he will never stop fighting.
Select HERE to view more photos from Mr. Franklin’s 12 Rounds class. And, if you’re in the Youngstown area, subscribing to a membership is worth the monthly fee, just to be involved in the class itself—to be involved in the fight for yourself.
Enjoyed this Elloparley? Want to be interviewed next? Know someone just as talented who is rising to the top of their industry in the Youngstown area? Contact me HERE and let’s set something up! The future is now.