Nine years ago, this week, I took my first martial arts lesson in the corner of the basketball gym in an athletic club. I was six and my first class was a family class I took with my parents and younger sister led by BKJN Dan. I rose through the Little Dragon ranks pretty quickly and tested for my solid gold belt at age 8. There were a lot of people around then who aren't around now. I remember 3 brothers around my age whom I took class with and tested alongside me all the way up to solid purple belt. That was when they left for baseball and never came back. The same is true several students lost in the movement of the Aim High facility through three, four, five locations. Even some of my fellow testers from Power Within, my first black belt test way back in 2009, have been absent in recent years. Wow! I've been a black belt for 4, almost 5 years. I think I have grown a lot since them, let alone since I first started my journey.
Things that have stood to me over the years that have impacted my martial arts experience heavily. One is the first time I met KJN Jeremy. I was 8 and I was practicing with the gigantic and inexperienced demo team when BKJN Dan introduced us to his friend Teacher Jeremy. I was highly intimidated. Pretty quickly, KJN became one of the people I look up to the most. Another moment that really stands out to me isn't technically one moment at all. That was when I started helping out with classes. I remember helping out for 12 hours on hot summer days, always observing the head instructors to figure out how to teach things. Now teaching is one of y most favorite things to do.
Martial Arts has been my lifestyle for more than half my life. It has significantly impacted me as a person and an athlete as well as shaped my view of the world.