Thirty years ago, I was not fit. In fact, I was that kid that hated gym. I was not good at sports, and I was always one of the last ones to get picked for teams. By the age of 38, when I signed my sons up for the Black Belt program at WMAAH, although I was at a healthy weight and got on my treadmill semi-regularly, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never be an athlete. I just couldn’t think of myself that way. It had never occurred to me that I might want to train in martial arts, but that changed one day as I watched my sons in class.
I saw Master Dickerson demonstrate a tornado kick for the kids. He spun around and jumped four feet in the air like it was nothing! I thought, “That’s so cool. I wish I could do that.” It just so happens that Master D. let parents train for free that August, so I tried it. Two weeks later, I was hooked. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. I had weak hip flexors, and struggled for two full weeks to complete just one sit-up. But I persevered, and before I knew it I was doing jumping and spinning kicks I had thought impossible just months earlier. Now I CAN do that tornado kick, and I CAN break boards, and I CAN spar, and even teach. Who knew?
Tae Kwon Do has not only changed my body for the better, it’s changed the way I think about myself. I no longer limit myself to being ‘the smart kid’. I’ve grown into an athlete and a fierce competitor. In this gym, girls are expected to be strong. This is a rare place where we are encouraged to find our voice and be heard. As a Black Belt member of the leadership team at WMAAH, I’ve had the privilege of helping young girls and friends my own age find flexibility, strength, and coordination that they didn’t realize they had inside them. Here I get the honor of helping other women “find their fierce”.