By Rochelle Brenner
Did you know that in Germany, elementary students learn judo in school?
Did you know that if you run-walk by a karate school enough times, and you are slightly intrigued, it might ignite a passion to train for your Black Belt?
The way I remember it, Martina seemed kind of surprised that she entered the building, like she had just been picked up by a tornado and deposited at the karate school. Looking around with eyes wide open, she explained that she’s in graduate school, recovering from a foot injury -- hence the non-running run-walk -- and isn’t sure she has any interest in martial arts.
I offered for her to take a class soon and try it out.
She scheduled her first class that day.
“I was hooked. A couple of things that attracted me was the class was mixed in terms of age. We all trained together at our level. It also was a diverse group which I find appealing as well,” Martina said. “I get to challenge me. I don’t ever feel like I’m competing with anyone in the room and that’s appealing to me. We truly support each other.”
“I really loved the rigor and discipline of karate and being able to practice something like kata even at home on my deck or dining room,” Martina said. “It brings a certain focus. I’ve tried meditating many times. I need active focus, it’s somewhat meditative nonetheless,” she said.
Martina is married and earned her U.S. Citizenship last year. She is in a graduate program for innovation and finds Action’s proactive response to Covid related to her studies and helped her stay on track. Her wife is supportive of her training and even came to some of the outdoor workouts.
“So many other places shut down or didn’t know how to react. Action Karate really pulled together, looked at its resources and immediately reached out. It was there right away when I needed it the most because work was getting really hectic, we had to convert, school had to convert,” she said.
From a tentative start to a journey through leadership training and reaching an advanced belt well on her way to black belt, Martina has grown stronger and more confident.
So if you happen to walk or run-walk in Mt. Airy and you stop by on a whim, you could add another layer of fun to Martina’s classes and start an unexpected journey to Black Belt.
“Be open. Be surprised how engaging it can be. It’s better than not doing anything. The time’s going to pass anyway. Might as well make it something that’s good for you. I think if somebody’s hesitant there might be an element of fear. Everyone has felt fearful or uncertain. We’ve all been there and we’re still here.”