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One Student's Journey

I never thought about martial arts beyond “Oh, that’s cool, but not for me” growing up. As an introvert who prefers reading fantasy novels and playing board games, anything involving that much physical movement was not for me. This attitude changed after I became a mother. Suddenly it felt like the world was full of scary things I wanted to be able to protect my child from. So, when Sifu Marcie suggested I join her on a Sunday for a self-defense class, I jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know that I was in for the journey of a lifetime.



I have learned that martial arts have many physical and mental advantages.


Physical fitness:


This has been a great way to get in shape without ever becoming bored with my workout. It is an aerobic exercise with strength training, and it helps burn calories, build muscle, and improve flexibility. I must use my body in a coordinated way, which has helped to improve balance, agility, and reaction time.


Martial arts also have a shocking amount of cardio that can help improve your heart health by increasing your heart and breathing rate and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.



And ultimately, I have been learning how to defend myself against an attacker. While a valuable skill for everyone, it can make a significant difference for women and children. I never want to face off against someone. I know that I will always choose to avoid a physical altercation. But the knowledge that I may be able to physically impact an attacker long enough to get away certainly helps mentally.


Mental fitness:


My mental health has also been positively impacted by martial arts. I have greater self-awareness, focus, and discipline. Following instructions and practicing regularly requires dedication. When practicing a technique or sparing, you must focus completely on the task or risk hurting yourself or your partner. Self-esteem increases as you learn new skills, which helps to overcome challenges and provide a sense of accomplishment.


As I’ve learned new skills and become more proficient with martial arts, I have developed a sense of self-assurance that has carried over into other areas of my life. I have learned about my strengths and weaknesses and how I hold stress/fear/anxiety in my body. I have discovered how I overcome challenges and how to respect myself more.


And, of course, this is a great way to relieve stress. The physical exertion and mental focus required for martial arts can clear your mind and relax your body. It provides a healthy outlet for physical and emotional energy. I am a big fan of the endorphins that come with martial arts.


My first class was almost 2 years ago. During this time, I have learned more than I could have anticipated. Not only can I take on any monsters under the bed for my daughter, but I am more aware, less fearful, and full of self-confidence I never had before.



My advice to you? Be prepared to put in the time and effort to learn the techniques. Be patient and persistent. Martial arts are a journey, not a destination. But if you are willing to put in the work, you will reap the many benefits.


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