MEET Leticia Ferres, receptionist by day and one of the best exponents of Kyokushin Karate in the country by night.
When people hear the word fighter, images of muscle bound guys with more tattoos than the UFC and NRL combined flash through their heads.
Not a lightweight female that has made a habit of putting people in her dojo through the ringer in preparation for the biggest stage in her sport.
Ferres will travel to Japan as part of a 12-strong Australian team in what is the Olympics of Kyokushin Karate, as they take on fighters from across the globe at the World Championships next weekend.
While on the outside the 22-year-old is humble and respectful of her elders, inside a fire burns away at her that is only unleashed when given the signal to fight.
Unlike her first fight on the world stage, Ferres said she had only good nerves adding she cannot wait to fly out for the tournament and put into practice years of hard work.
“I feel ready, I’m definitely a lot different than when I went to Spain (in 2010), I just want to get over and do it,” Ferres said.
“I’ve gained a lot more experience because after Spain I wanted to get into the World Cup team again, so I went to every tournament that was available to me.
“I feel a lot more conditioned because I have been fighting a lot of the bigger guys in the dojo so I think that’s prepared me a lot more.”
When asked if she could quantify how much training she has done for this one tournament, the Australian champion joked that even her close family and friends might not realise.
“I don’t think I can explain what my training involves, maybe I’m crazy,” she said.
“I’ve sacrificed to get ready for this trip, from going from work straight to training for two hours and then going home and doing the normal things and doing it all over again.”
“But I love it and I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t it, and to be going to the homeland of karate this tournament means that much more to me.”
Sensei Frank Cirillo, who will travel with Ferres and the rest of the Australian team to Japan, said his student is a different person much less a fighter than when she travelled to Spain.
“She’s changed so much and I think the biggest, despite all of the physical changes, is that she has been overseas to fight before and taking that experience into the weekend will be her biggest advantage,” Cirillo said.
“She very unassuming really, she’s humble and our thing with Kyokushin is head down, eyes high, which basically means always be humble but always look up and have respect for people.
“But we’ve paid a lot more attention to core and general strength training and we used a lot plyometrics exercises as well.
“Because of that we’ve seen her punches and kicks are way stronger than that they were and they’re giving people a lot of trouble in class.
“And it helps that for the past year she’s been fighting in the middleweight class because there are not many girls in her class, and she’s been going toe-to-toe with them.”
Helping Ferres’ chances is that she will fight in the lightweight class in Japan, with her added power developed from fighting opponents up to 10kg heavier in Australia, likely to feel like a sledgehammer against fighters her own size.
But it has not come easily, and as recently as this week Ferres was being put through a torture test to make sure her body and mind are ready for the tournament, with constant sparring with fresh opponents for 12 minutes leaving Ferres feeling like she is breathing sand.
However, it is all part of the ground work needed if the fighting receptionist is to achieve her goals on the highest stage.