I have always been drawn to Martial Arts from the time I was very little. I asked my parents to put me in Karate when I was in elementary school. I made it to yellow belt, but then due to some bad business practices the school was closed down. We didn't really have the money to transfer me somewhere else, so I had to quit until I was old enough to get a job and pay for my own training. I trained with Nick Guinn at Guinn Martial Arts while I was in high school, and I enjoyed his class immensely. At the time, I had no idea how lucky I was to be studying with him. Since high school I have studied at a few different dojos and under different instructors. It was never the same. I know all places are different, but I always had the feeling there was something fundamental missing from the instruction.
Once I graduated college I really wanted to get back to Martial Arts seriously, not just take a class here or there for a few weeks at a time. Since I was no longer in the same state as Guinn Martial Arts, I couldn't go back to that, and I hadn't been happy with the dojos I had selected thus far. (Don't get me wrong, Nippon-kan was actually really cool and very very traditional, which I LOVED, but I think I struggled to fit into an Aikido environment after having studied Aikijutsu the way I did in high school.) So, I turned to the one person I knew who actually knew what they were talking about and who I also trusted: Mr. Guinn. He gave me some excellent advice on selecting a school, (which, now that I think about it, I may write up in another post), and some style suggestions, etc. (If you're interested, you can find his blog here)
We'd been in touch off and on over the years, but started talking regularly... 8 months ago or more. In addition to advice for picking a school, he offered some good book titles if I was interested. I started reading and I was hooked. Not that I wasn't before, but it really added fuel to the fire.
I have had doubts about my choice of profession for a while now. Its not that I don't LIKE Graphic Design, but it doesn't make me want to jump out bed in the morning either. Since I started working out with a personal trainer in January, I have been strongly considering trying to take evening classes and get a certification to do that.
Through some very lucky timing of events, namely my brother's college orientation which I tagged along for, I was able to spend last weekend training with Nick back in Oklahoma. We're not talking like, an hour or two, or just a private lesson. It was 20+ hours of sparring, training, exercises, note taking, and really good discussions over the course of part of a Friday, a Saturday, and part of a Sunday.
It was... AMAZING.
If ever there was one in my life, I feel like I have found my calling. This is my passion. My bliss. I feel like I've always wanted to help others, and I have a ton of energy, and this is how I can wrap everything I love together. I can now say with a degree of certainty that I want to make a life out of martial arts and fitness. I have always returned to Martial Arts as often as possible throughout my life, I just never considered the fact that I could actually make a living out of it. Now, thats all I want to figure out how to do.
I cannot even put into words how excited I get when I get to learn something new, or its time to head to the dojo, or I go to the park to practice on my own. I want to share my passion with anyone and everyone! I want to help people feel good about themselves, I want to help them gain confidence, I want to help them learn to defend themselves and their loved ones, I want to help them get in shape, etc. I want to make a life out of being active, excited, getting other excited, teaching, learning, all of it!
People settle for what is safe, what is familiar or what is comfortable, safe, even if they are unhappy. The thought of that scares the shit out of me. I don't want to look around in 10 years, or 20 years and think "Where the hell has my life gone? What have I accomplished? Why am I unhappy?" Even if I am poor and living in a tiny studio apartment somewhere with only three sets of clothes and my martial arts Gi, I'd pick that over settling for the mundane and misery, any day.
At my college graduation the president of our school said, quoting from some author (I can't remember his name) "Follow your Bliss." That has stuck with me. The author was saying As long as you follow your bliss you will be happy and successful, because you're the only one who measures your success. And if you are happy and positive, the trend sticks and doors will open for you. So even if its difficult at first, or even the whole time, I'm pretty sure this is the life I want to choose.
I have no idea where to start, or how I'm going to make it happen, but I will find a way.
Since you have to at least have SOME *coughBLACKBELTcough* experience in the martial arts before you can teach, I think I will work towards things like getting certified to be a personal trainer, learning about anatomy, kinesiology, nutrition, leadership skills, etc while I am working towards becoming proficient enough in the Martial Arts to be able to teach.
That way, not only will I have a good grasp on whatever martial art I am teaching, but I will be able to understand how the human body works and supply my students with vital health/fitness and nutrition information as well. I don't see a lot of dojos working to supply their kind of students with that sort of information. It seems like martial arts is something you do in the dojo and forget about when you leave, you go home, eat pizza, drink some beer, kick back and play video games. And there is nothing wrong with that, but its not my life style. I want to be the very best martial artist that I can be. And I want my students to be the best that they can and want to be. So any way that I can help them with that is good news for me.
Its a start. Right now its more a dream than anything. But I will make it happen.
As it says on Mr. Miller's blog: "THE DREAM IS DAMNED AND DREAMER TOO IF DREAMING'S ALL THAT DREAMERS DO."
Get out there and find your bliss people. Make it yours. Do what you love. Don't settle.
~ a very ecstatic Samurai Girl Sahara