IT'S a scenario that is as old as the combat sports which inspire its never-ending cycle.
Liam Mckillop - a diminutive, baby-faced Muay Thai fighter dubbed "Notorious" - was a participant in the scenario.
When the Tamworth teen walked into Chaffey's Black Belt Academy some four years ago, he had trodden a well-worn path: a youngster looking for a confidence boost by learning how to defend themself.
"I was not a very confident kid when I first jumped into high school," he said.
Two months ago in Sydney, the 17-year-old amateur achieved a long-held ambition when he won his first bout, fighting at 48kg in what was his fourth ring outing.
Members of his extended family in Ireland watched a live stream of the fight (his trainer, Scott Chaffey, named him Notorious after Irish mixed martial arts legend Conor "The Notorious" McGregor.)
"So it was a big moment for me," Mckillop said of the win, adding that it was "probably the best feeling I've ever had".
"All the emotions build up - hard work finally paying off," he said.
"I've got that momentum now," he continued. "And I've got that mentality that I can do it [win fights] - it's not impossible."
The year 11 Oxley High student does not have to look far for inspiration: he trains with national Muay Thai champion Josh McCulloch.
McCulloch's star was already on the rise when Mckillop started training in Chaffey's beginner Muay Thai class.
"It's good to have that person to look up to," Mckillop said of McCulloch, who, as a teen, also entered Chaffey's Black Belt Academy looking for a confidence spike.
In search of back-to-back wins, Mckillop will either fight next month in Sydney or on the undercard of McCulloch's next bout, in Sydney in August.
As with McCulloch, Scott Chaffey knew early on that Mckillop was a "natural" - and quickly promoted him to his adult Muay Thai class.
"He has a lot of natural ability and he's very, very hard working for his age," Chaffey said, adding: "He's just a very coachable kid."
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