Ruth Saunders with her truck, kite board and dog Mila, a mini Shar-Pei at Clover Point. Don Denton photography

The Evolution of Ruth Saunders

Financial advisor is also a mixed martial arts athlete, a kite boarder and body builder

  • Sep. 10, 2018 11:10 a.m.

Athlete and financial advisor Ruth Saunders is an enigma. She is warm, ferocious, vulnerable, fearless, funny and direct. A fighter in every sense of the word, Ruth is no stranger to life’s occasional inadequacies, but she transforms them into fuel and pushes herself to explore the limits of her strength.

“There have been some rocky moments in my life,” Ruth says humbly. “Lifting weights became a natural therapy for me and I think my sports are another huge outlet. You could have the worst day in the world and walk into the gym and you just give it everything you have; leave it in a pile of sweat on the mats and when you walk out, you don’t have the energy to be anything. It’s the very best therapy.”

Ruth’s dedication translates into her day job. She is one of the most proficient financial advisors with Island Savings (a division of First West Credit Union) and attributes her success to her drive and relentless commitment to everything she does.

And as a busy single mother of two boys, she has learned to tackle the throws of life head-on.

“I started wrestling in high school. I really liked the physical aspect of the sport,” she says.

From wrestling with the boys in high school, Ruth began training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). For the last 12 years, she’s worked with a tight-knit group of men in Victoria.

“I’ve always wanted to be treated like one of the boys. I have always said, ‘Don’t hold back, don’t treat me different. Give me 110 per cent like you would any other guy,’” Ruth says with an impressive tenacity in her voice.

Ruth explains that her patience and defensive skills give her an advantage as a fighter.

“I train so much with bigger, stronger, faster guys, I don’t have a ton of opportunity for offence. I’m patient. I look for an opportunity to go for a submission. And I don’t give up. There is absolutely no quit in me.

The athlete divulges proof that hard work pays off with a number of wins in various bodybuilding and MMA competitions. Ruth first discovered her knack for competition in 2010 when she won a round-robin style MMA event.

“That event gave me a thrill for competing, and qualified me for the Western Canadians in 2011, in Vancouver,” she says.

The Western Canadians went extremely well for Ruth; she won all of her divisions in the 2011 competition. With two substantial competition wins under her belt, she set a goal to go to the World Martial Arts Games in Austria.

“I am very goal-oriented. I have always believed in setting a personal goal and going for it.”

Unfortunately, while the tenacious athlete made Team Canada for the World Martial Arts Games, she would never have the opportunity to compete.

“I broke my leg three weeks outside of the competition. I didn’t want to pull out. My trainer modified my training so I could keep going. So I kept training and broke it again,” says Ruth.

While Ruth didn’t make it to the World Martial Arts Games, she was offered a professional contract for an MMA super fight league out of Mumbai, India.

Ruth focussed on her training while waiting for her visa to be processed — but the Indian Consulate misplaced Ruth’s, her coach’s and corner man’s passports for two months.

“Training for fight camps is no joke. I was so burnt out after waiting those two months that I needed to take a break and be nice to my body,” explains Ruth.

Ruth Saunders with her kite for kite surfing and dog Mila on the Victoria waterfront. Don Denton photography.

Without skipping a beat, she turned her focus back to bodybuilding and discovered the therapeutic benefits of kitesurfing.

“I’ve always been drawn to very aggressive, adrenalin-based sports. I would sit and watch the kite surfers on Dallas Road after I had started surfing and I was like ‘I have to do this,’” she says with a laugh.

Ruth learned the sport at Nitinat Lake on Vancouver Island, where kitesurfing schools are located.

“It’s terrifying learning when you are so vulnerable and trusting something that can hurt you. And yet learning and realizing you are in control and letting go of your fear and anxiety and be under your own power — it’s unbelievably liberating. When taught right, it is great, safe, fun and healing,” she says.

Ruth will be running women’s weekend kitesurf camps with her girlfriend— who is a professional kitesurf athlete — with the intention of helping other women.

“So many women are survivors of emotional, mental and physical abuse in some sense. The one thing that I have found that is so healing, is being out on the water and being under the power of something that is so incredibly strong and freeing, and being able to control that. It is incredible to shift that control.”

She adds: “My passion is to work with women who are survivors.”

With an ever-growing list of goals to pursue and lives to change, the evolution of Ruth Saunders continues. Ruth has yet to find the limit of her strength, and her journey to discover the depth of her power as a human being promises to be an even better story in the years to come.

-Story by Chelsea Forman/Boulevard Magazine

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Just Posted

Tim Horton’s Smile cookie campaign on until Sept. 23 in Sylvan Lake

For the seventh year in a row the proceeds will be going to Sylvan Lake and Area Ugrent Care

Fourth annual Eckville River Run to take place Sept. 29

The annual five kilometre Eckville River Run is hosted by St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

More than $4,000 raised during snowy Terry Fox Run

The Sylvan Lake Terry Fox Run was held on Sept. 16 in Centennial Park.

NCHL Senior AA Sylvan Lake Pirates finalize roster

The Pirates open their inaugural season at home Sun., Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. against the Eckville Eagles

Lakers buck off Broncs in home opener

The H.J. Cody Lakers won Sept. 13, 32-14

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Mix-up of bodies leads to funeral home reforms in Nova Scotia

One woman was was mistakenly cremated, another was embalmed and presented to family members during a visitation that went horribly wrong

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Most Read