Martial arts & me

It started as a bet with my eight year old. My two girls already took part in weekly classes and were loving their new activity but my eldest (8) wouldn’t shout. You can’t do martial arts without some vocal oomph, so I bet her that if she could shout loud enough for me to hear her outside in the foyer, I would join in with the family class the following week. She shouted and that’s where it all started.

Four months on and I now take part in weekly Ladies Only kickboxing as well as the family martial arts class. Tonight we completed our first fitness test at Ladies Only. I had to have a few adaptations as my wrist is still weak & not up to press ups (after a fracture to the radius in December) but I still exceeded all my goals & proved to myself that I *can* do it & *am* getting so much fitter & healthier.

[Above: (middle) getting my yellow belt in January]

Since January (despite poorly wrist) I’ve noticed such a massive improvement in my fitness, flexibility, self-confidence & health. I’ve lost 17lbs & that’s pretty much through exercise alone, although I no longer eat the rubbish I once did as I’m becoming a lot more picky about what I put into my body. I feel stronger, happier and more alert.

I was talking to some of my Faringdon Ladies Only mates this evening & it made me realise how far my confidence has come on. I no longer feel anxious if I’m being watched, I don’t care if people want to cast judgement on my ability or how I look and I have stopped the once constant self-talk that, “I can’t do this / I’m not good enough.” I might even go so far to say that I am now believing that I can progress and succeed at this…it’s all in my power.

So what next? I want to grade to my orange belt feeling really on top of my game. I want to become an Ambassador for my club (Matt Fiddes Faringdon / Oxfordshire) and share my love of martial arts with others – particularly encouraging others who may lack confidence & self-belief that they too can do it. I also want to continue to lose weight and build on my fitness so I can do burpees like the best of them (a stronger wrist would be nice too so I can join-in with press-ups!).

It has been the most awesome journey for me and it’s only just the beginning. Martial arts is not just a hobby, but has become a way of life, a philosophy and a quest for constant self-improvement. I’d never have got this far without the most amazing and inspirational instructors who act as role models and mentors, always encouraging, motivating and challenging, so thank you Mr Neil Miles, Mr Kevin Johnsey and Mr Andy Reeve.