I have not lost much weight.
I know, kind of a strange way to start a blog post that details my first year of studying a martial art. Stick with me though, it will make sense it a bit.
I needed to make a change in my physical activity. Its not that I was not active; I was. Just not enough. I was stuck on the (literal) treadmill. My working out was limited to mostly treadmills and running outside about once a week.
A change needed to be made.
Many moons ago I studied Judo. Can't really remember why I stopped. I do know that I wish I had not. I had always wanted to get back into martial arts, but school, time and life kept getting in the way. With the exception of a brief foray into a 'kickboxing' class, I was martial arts-less until October of 2011.
No reason for this. America's Best Defense is located in downtown Norwich. I had been living in Norwich for a couple of years, and my brother in law had been attending the school when it was still a Tang Soo Do school.
I finally made the decision. I filled out the online information form and waited. A few days later I got a call (if I remember correctly it was Sensei Fritz), and set up an introductory class. I went in not knowing what to expect, and left convinced I was going to sign up. My first official class was less than two weeks later.
But more importantly, I love the people. Never had I felt more welcome in a place of physical activity. From senior black belts down to the white belts who started with me, I have always felt welcome. There is never a negative word here, only words of encouragement. This place gets into your head. 650 jumping jacks and squats? A year ago I would have been hurting just thinking about it. Now, I did it and spent the next day joking about it with my fellow students. Doing leaping forward rolls over a chest high stack of shields? Done. Doing all sorts of crazy calisthenics? No matter how much it hurts in the moment, or days later, I still love every moment of it.
So you see, even though I have not lost much weight, I gained a lot. I gained confidence, I gained friends; training partners. I gained a place where I do not feel judged every time I walked through the doors. I gained a place where I will train for life.