I remember when I was a teenager I really wanted to try kickboxing. I weighed about 46kg and I was no taller than 5ft2, but I didn’t care – I thought kickboxing looked cool and I wanted to do it. Unfortunately, I was never able to try it out as a teenager. Where I lived back then I didn’t have access to a dojo that would be friendly for someone like me. So I put it in the back of my mind.
Fast-forward: it is 2017 and I am finishing drama school. At the same time my anxiety is skyrocketing and working out at the gym is just not enough of a stress release, especially as I don’t feel like I’m achieving much. So I’m walking down the street and remember the Xen-Do banner outside my gym: BOOK A FREE TRIAL. I take my phone out, go on the Xen-Do website and fill in my details, I’ve got nothing to lose, the trial is free after all.
I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea that my life was about to change forever. From my very first class I felt super motivated and as if I was “getting it“, I was in my element. Of course, there was still a LOT to learn and there still is. For my first year, I was on a once a week membership and was going up the grades on a fairly standard pace. As the months past, I felt more and more as a member of the community, I went from mumbling “hello” and “goodbye” as I entered and exited the dojo to proudly exclaiming “ouss!”
When the time came to renew my membership I did not hesitate to upgrade to twice a week and soon started doing personal classes on top of my membership as well. At the same time, I finally decided to try sparring. Now, although I loved kickboxing and all my Sensei had been amazing at helping me achieve my goals, sparring did not look like something I’d be good at – I’ve only gone up to 50kg and 5ft3 after all… and I also tend to overthink when sparring. But although I’ve been progressing slower in it than in my overall technique, I will never give up on it. Mostly because I do not feel that the Sensei and other students will let me. In a good way. I feel their support and it is extremely motivating. I love giving newer students the same support and help too.
For about two months now I am a black belt and yes I had to spar to get it as well as do a jump spin crescent kick (amongst other things, but that kick sure sounded impossible at one time). I am now going regularly at least twice a week to group classes and once a week for a personal class so that I can continue developing and progressing, I do have a black belt to live up to after all!