My family and I have been training at UMAC for almost 11 years now individually as well as in the family program together. The impact it has made on our lives is immeasurable. Not only physically, but more importantly mentally and emotionally. Sure we learn kicking and punching as well as traditional Kung fu forms, but that’s not what this program is really about. Quite often in this world adults and children alike are not prepared for the challenges they have to face in work, school or anywhere in their lives. My children are growing into strong young adults and have never failed to face and overcome any obstacle in their lives. The life skills they learn at UMAC they will take with them throughout their entire lives. Below is a speech I wrote for my 2nd degree black belt test. It is a complete testimony to the impact this program has had on me personally. I encourage everyone to come in and try a class. It will change your life.
“For me to give a black belt speech on what martial arts has done for me I would probably be here all day. There is so much I have gained through my training. Too much to list. For this reason I will focus on the word “me”
In Martial Arts we quite often say “This is not the me show”. It is more about reaching out and helping others in need. Finding ways to change the world in positive ways. Leaving behind a legacy that will continue on infinitely through others we have touched through our own journey as Martial Artists.
So when asked “What has Martial Arts done for me?” I don’t even have to hesitate before answering. Martial Arts has defined “ME”. I didn’t know who I was when I began the journey down this path 10 years ago. I didn’t know what my purpose was and I certainly believed I would fail no matter how hard I tried. I followed others and attached myself to their negative beliefs. When someone said “You will never do that” or “your not good enough” I believed them without question.
What I didn’t know was that during the darkest times at the very beginning of the path when I took a leap of faith and started this journey, a seed was planted. This seed told me to keep going, don’t give up, and most importantly “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something”. The more I trained, the more the seed grew. A line in the mastery quote sticks out in my mind. “Let the experience be like the planting of a seed within you that, with nourishment, it will grow into your own individual mastery”. Though I am far from mastery, my seed is growing strong.
I do not follow the negative anymore. When someone tells me I can’t do something I say “watch me”. I have the strength and confidence in myself to walk through any wall of fear because I know something much greater and more beautiful is waiting on the other side. I believe in myself and my ability to achieve any goal I set. Life is difficult and at times we are knocked to the ground with such incredible force that the wind is taken right from us. Martial Arts has given me the ability to get back up. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, only that you get back up and keep going.
I have had the privilege of training under great teachers who have walked this very same path before me. They planted this seed within me and encouraged and empowered me to “nourish it and watch it grow”. I am grateful beyond words for their belief in me before I even believed in myself. I have much more to learn from them and I am still at the beginning of this journey. Through martial arts I want to continue teaching others through my experiences and help the community grow stronger. I want to give back more than I get back. I don’t ever want anyone to be standing and watching from outside the door because they think they are not good enough and that wall of fear is too great to walk through”
Shannon D February 11, 2019