Lessons from Martial Arts – Starting

Comfort zone

One beautiful day in August, I drove to a local martial arts academy preparing to sign up for classes and then I drove away.  I had planned to walk in and find out about the classes including time of classes, costs, and age groups.  I was looking for an activity my then 12-year-old daughter and I could participate in together that would make us challenge ourselves, and an activity we could start from the beginning regardless of age.  I realized I was nervous about starting something new, and physically challenging, and unknown to me and my family.  I was too scared to even walk in the door.  I was overwhelmed with the thought of starting something new and failing.  And starting martial arts would definitely take me out of my comfort zone.

The following week, I put the action in my calendar, drove to the academy again and walked in.

The need was triggered by a mom of one of my daughter’s friends who said “I guess we’ll have to take them shopping now so they’ll want to spend time with us.”  I knew in that moment I didn’t want my entire relationship with my daughter and all our conversations to be centered around what I could buy for her.

I told people I was planning to look into martial arts.  I gathered strength from their comments about how it builds physical confidence, inner strength, and discipline.  Almost everyone I talked to had a story about someone they knew personally who had taken martial arts classes and all the benefits they achieved.  The stories were inspiring and supportive and I gathered my courage and walked in that door.

Michael was the person who greeted me as I walked in.  He was kind and knowledgeable.  He took time to show me around and talk to me about who I was planning to sign up, explained the class structure, and mentioned that we could take free trial classes to confirm we were interested.  My biggest fear now was that I couldn’t do push-ups.  Not one.  And I knew push-ups would be involved in a martial arts class so I mentioned this to Michael.  He told me not to worry and that they eased people into it.  I thanked him and said I’d think about it and then he said something that changed my life.  “We have class tonight, why don’t you come?”  I was planning to think about it, make a note, talk to my daughter, and probably ponder the decision for a week or two.  This thought process may, or may not have, resulted in me returning for a class.  His calm nature and his encouragement to just come and try it out worked.  I went home, informed Emma we were going to try out a martial arts class, and we got ready to attend that evening.

Until this moment, Emma was not aware that I was thinking of signing us us!  She resisted a bit, and then realized I was telling her and not asking her so she agreed that she would attend the trial class.

There was no thought in my mind, and certainly not in Emma’s, that this trial class would change the course of our lives.


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