Like most of us here at Xen-Do, Tanja has grown up watching the films of Bruce Lee as well as any other action movie Hollywood has released over the years, wistfully imagining herself playing the leading role and dreaming having the skills to save the world. Unfortunately, Tanja decided that becoming a martial arts master would remain nothing more than a fantasy for her, a pipe dream only realised by the hardy and the brave of this world, but not her. That was until one fateful day, she decided to change her life forever… And we are not being overdramatic. Well, maybe we are a little bit. But her life really did change, and we are here to tell her tale.
In September 2018, Tanja finally decided to give herself the opportunity to try her hand (or fist) at learning martial arts. Being the wise woman that she is, she decided that she would do this with Xen-Do. Good choice, Tanja, even if we do say so ourselves. And we do say so.
As we were saying, in September 2018 Tanja stepped into the Xen-Do dojo for the very first time. She said this of her experience:
I remember clearly feeling a little anxious and, honestly, slightly intimidated by what I saw when I walked into Xen-Do that day. There was a senior class underway and a multitude of different colour belts were swinging from the hips of the students as punches thrown and kicks performed on the command of a black belted Sensei at the front of the class. Having never participated in any martial arts or kickboxing classes before, I wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into and that I might have I had bitten off far more than I could chew.
As with all newcomers, she was swiftly greeted at reception by one of our Senseis. Recognising her trepidation in unfamiliar surroundings, she was quickly put at ease. Tanja said:
I remember the Sensei asking me a few basic questions about why I had come and what I wanted to achieve, but after noticing me being distracted by what was going on in the class and probably seeing the fearful expression on my face, the Sensei was quick to put me at ease. I was told not to worry and that every started with the basics. I remember being told “a black belt is simply a white belt that never gave up. Each Sensei is trained to ensure that you progress through the curriculum at your own pace. Don’t worry, just turn up and we will do the rest.” I liked the sound of that, so I decided to go for it.
In only 2 months Tanja has already achieved her orange belt (4th belt in our grading system – which you can check out here) due to her persistence and dedication. She told us:
I feel fitter and healthier than ever and I cannot believe that I am on the path to becoming a martial arts master. The Dojo has become the place where I can put my mind at ease, forget about other things and only focus on the moment. Overall it has been almost a meditative experience and helped my mood, as well as my physical and mental health. The positive and friendly atmosphere I feel at Xen-Do is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I feel supported and motivated by the Sensei and the camaraderie amongst the Sensei and all the students is so enjoyable.
We asked Tanja if she had any words of advice for prospective students and this is what she had to say:
What I was told the first time I came to Xen-Do was true. Every class makes me feel better about myself and gives the sense of achievement. I am pushed to get better at kickboxing, progress through the grades and get fitter as I go. The Senseis are experts at knowing how much each student can take and how quickly they can improve. The more you come, the better you get. As I was told from the off, just turn up and Xen-Do takes care of the rest, and that is so true.
Step aside the heroes of Hollywood, there a new sheriff in town and she goes by the name of Tanja.