Why I Continue to Train?

Facing the challenges! – by Melissa J. Palmer

This is me at my very first promotion ceremony getting my gold belt. Every black belt started as a white belt with the courage to try.

Earlier I wrote about what it took to get me through the door at Karate International and in a karate class. Another side to my martial arts journey is why, after over 10 years, I am still training and have expanded my studies to other styles. I’m not going to lie, I wanted to quit several times but I had one great reason that kept me persevering and not giving up.To say martial arts builds confidence is really just scratching the surface. Yes you start to physically do things you probably never thought you could but it does so much more than that. Martial arts gave me the ability to understand who I really am. Martial arts forced me to look at myself.

An honest clear understanding of me. And it gave me the courage to acknowledge the good and the bad. Along with the knowledge of self-discovery, it also gave me the strength to change what I didn’t like. I was able to face my challenges and change myself for the better, to become who I wanted to be and who I knew I really was. By having the courage to really look at myself and by having the strength to change what I didn’t like, martial arts not only made me comfortable in my own skin but it made proud of who I was becoming. By recognizing I wasn’t perfect but had the ability to grow and change, I forgave myself for mistakes.

I allowed myself to make mistakes and learn from them. I realized I wasn’t going to be perfect but I would always be growing and learning. I was creating new molds for myself then breaking them to grow more. I understood and believed in my views, thoughts and opinions, making it impossible for others to manipulate me. This is where true self-confidence comes from. This is at the heart of how martial arts can build unshakable self-confidence in people.

Martial arts gave me the freedom to be me. I never had to prove myself to anyone but me. I never had to be better than anyone but me. I started martial arts because of a best friend that wouldn’t stop bugging me and wouldn’t give up on me. I started because I loved the positive environment where everyone supported one another. I started because everyone welcomed me and made me feel like I belonged. I started because of everyone else. I stayed for me.

IMG 4042 225x300, Raleigh Karate International

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