Growing up, my energy was consumed by playing year-round soccer, not to mention the other seasonal sports I did such as basketball, track, and cross country. Every school break was reserved for national tournaments or state cups. I felt, and still feel to this day, very passionate about soccer, for it has been a well of life lessons and a source of stress relief. As a child, my dream was to play collegiate soccer at Brigham Young University and then play professionally. Despite the time I put into soccer, though, my religion and family were always my top priorities in life. Since I was so absorbed with my soccer dreams, religious activities, and family relationships, I never saw myself having the time or energy to devote strength to any other interest, especially not martial arts.
After a year of playing college soccer, I met the man of my dreams and it changed my goals and life around. Raising my own family was now the top priority and professional soccer didn’t appeal to me any more. I finished out my four years of soccer eligibility, graduated from college, and then moved out to the East Coast because of my husband’s job. The time since I moved out here until now have, hands down, been the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life. Adjusting to being a young mother of two small children changed my life and identity. Because of my involvement with family, church, and having a very inconsistent lifestyle due to my husband’s medical schooling and Army obligation, I never thought I could add another thing to my plate. With all that was going on, and through a process of various events and circumstances, my sister-in-law came to live with us to help us out.
Having a child diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago has been an almost-insurmountable trial, but my teenage sister has been an amazing help and blessing to our family. While I recognized that I am not her parent, I felt it would be beneficial for her to engage in an extracurricular activity to continue her personal development. Because of her spunk and gumption, martial arts seemed like the perfect fit.
When I researched Potomac Kempo online and had her participate in a trial class, I got really excited for her. I may even have been more excited then she was! However, I never considered myself ever doing a martial arts class even though I thought it was super cool when I saw other people do it. I felt respect for all those who develop the skills; but, even though I didn’t understand all the details and the meaning of martial arts, I did know that having a Black Belt was an impressive accomplishment. Despite this, I just didn’t feel like I had the time, energy, and consistency of life to devote any time to it. After a few months of my sister learning Kempo, Sensei Gary talked me into doing a Kali Seminar. I absolutely loved it! As a result, I convinced myself to sign up for private lessons.
At the time these lessons began, I was going through a particularly intense period of anxiety and depression. I had been battling to overcome these feelings for two years now. I was desperately trying to find tools in my life to overcome the internal torment I was facing. I loved the way that Kali challenged me and helped me to push my mind and my focus. Every time I left a private lesson, I felt more motivated and rejuvenated. Despite the fact that I felt comfortable memorizing the movements, however, I also felt a little lost with Kali because I had no foundation for fighting. Sensei Gary explained to me that Kempo was the perfect starting point to develop a martial arts cornerstone.
At the beginning of this week, I finally decided that I loved Kempo and Kali and I really needed to make martial arts a priority in my life. My husband just left for a two-month military training and I felt that this was an essential outlet that I needed to strengthen myself, which, in turn, would fortify my family. I officially started just this week but I now love Kempo as much as I love soccer! My goal is to work really hard and in time earn a black belt. I have a long road ahead of me, but I am very excited to start this process.