Mistakes Happen

Whatever martial arts style you learn, it teaches you discipline, patience, and also teaches you life lessons. Admitting to your mistakes and learning from them is the step of improving yourself as a person. I’ve met lots of people who won’t admit mistakes and blame it on others. I used to do that. I learned all I’m doing is hurting others, and myself.

I remember teaching the class for the first time. I had no idea what to do. I was scared and nervous. After bowing the students, we always did a warm up before doing any techniques. So I started with neck rolls, arms, legs, and then did some stretching. To warm up the group, I told them to do knee raises and jog in one spot. It’s real important to warm up to keep the student’s heart beating, my teacher always says. They are here to work out and learn, so I need to give it to them.

I did some reviews with the students. All the students had colored belts. I didn’t want to mix the higher belts in doing basic techniques. So in order to keep things balanced, I told the higher belts to partner up and work on techniques they want to work on, while I worked with the lower belts.

My first hour teaching, I was still nervous and made some mistakes, like showing the lower belts a technique they shouldn’t be learning yet or not talking loud enough. I was also not confident in myself so the students could tell. One thing I like about the students, is that they encouraged me. Even if I was scared they believed in me.

After class was over, my teacher pulled me off aside and he was happy with how I was teaching. Things I needed to work on was to be myself. My teacher told me that he instructs the students differently and the other instructors as well. When you’re the teacher, you have to be yourself and have fun with what you’re doing.

The other thing he mentioned is that I was speaking too softly, so some students couldn’t hear me from the back of the dojo. I admit, I’m a soft spoken person. That’s something I have to work on. I’m always like that when I’m on stage, but when I sing, I’m a totally different person.

I took all those tips and learned from it. I was able to get better and better at teaching and I really love it. Everyone makes mistakes, but theirs nothing wrong with learning from it. Mistakes happen, if you learn from it, it will never happen again.


Getting Started

When I was little, I got bullied a lot. I was very shy and scared when I was in Elementary. No one liked me, I was a very sensitive person (still am). One bully decided to push me around and call me names. I came home going straight to my room, just crying. My mom would wonder what was going on, but I would say nothing.

One day I went to school with my mom and my teacher wanted to sit down with us. I’ve always kept things to myself. I would be made fun if I was a taddle-tale or get hurt for peoples pleasure. My teacher found out, and it was heartbreaking for my mom. When I was 5, my mom decided to enroll me to martial arts classes, so I can learn to defend myself. Plus it’s really good excercise as well. I started taking TaekwonDo Kickboxing classes. I learned a lot, but it took a while for me to get used to it. I stayed there for 5 years, reaching up to green belt.

I had to leave because I wanted to try something else. I always had an interest in Kung Fu Martial arts. So my mom managed to find one close to home. It took a while to get used to learning a new style, but I worked hard and I managed to get better. I’ve been doing Kung Fu for thirteen years, martial arts plus 5 years of TaekwonDo, total of 18 years of experience.

Martial arts has helped me with my confidence, to maintain balance, and to be myself. Whatever the things I do in life, I apply my martial arts to my work, acting in plays, and school. Learning how to control your anger, don’t do too much that can stress you out, and to learn to deal with people. I think Martial Arts help with anything you do. And to learn to respect for yourself and others.

Taking Big Leaps

Taking those big steps isn’t easy. I sometimes give up easily, or just run away from it. But how do I know if I’m gonna fail, if I never try? Martial arts taught me not just self defense, but a lot about myself. The biggest achievement and obstacle I faced is obtaining my black belt. “Once you’re a black belt, it will be with you forever”, that’s what my teachers told me. And I’m really fortunate that I took that step and worked real hard to obtain.

I learned that you shouldn’t be afraid of something that looks difficult, keep an open mind and work hard to master it. It may take a long time, but as long as you respect the learning process, you can master anything. I’m still learning as a person and as a martial artist. Keep an open mind no matter where you go, try something new. You will have the sense of accomplishment. You could also help that person who is going through the same thing. Never stop learning, because you will learn more about yourself.


Who’s my Hero? Roméo Dallaire

Hero’s come in all colors. I have a lot of martial arts hero’s, but I have to say that Roméo Dallaire is one of my favorite heroes. For those who don’t know him. He is a retired lieutenant-general, and he was a former commander for the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda. I really admire Roméo’s courage and his passion to help others. And I had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem in front of him when he was a guest speaker at my high school.

In 2011, my Social Studies teacher called me and asked if I wanted to sing the Anthem. As some of you don’t know, I have been singing since I was 8 years old, singing has been a passion of mine. I asked what was the occasion? And she said it was for guest speaker, Roméo Dallaire. Now I had no idea who he was until my teacher gave me a movie, “Shake Hands with the Devil”.

I watched it. It was based on Roméo’s story of his experiences in Rwanda. I highly recommend anyone to watch it. You have no idea how hard it is to witness thousands of dead bodies and trying to survive this killing spree. So many people are living normal lives, when people are trying to survive. What’s even worse, is that children are being trained to be soldiers. They can be used as weapons of war if it keeps up. Please watch it.

It was the big day for Roméo Dallaire to come talk to our school, I was so nervous. When I saw him step into the doors, my heart was pounding. I had to step outside to take a few breaths and I drank water constantly. I remember it well, but I drank like 8 bottles of water. My hands were cold, and I was jumping up and down to shake out the nerves. I went back to my seat, just swaying my body forward and back like a rocking chair. People were laughing at me, saying I look like a child with a mental illness.

My teacher called me up. My heart started beating, but the shivering stopped. As I walked up to the stage and grabbed the microphone, I saw Roméo Dallaire looking right at me, he had this look like he was not impressed. Well I guess his expression is always like that because he used to work in the military. I quickly looked away to avoid feeling nervous again. I was thinking, “What if he doesn’t like my singing?” or ” What if I messed up?”. Once the piano started playing, everyone stood up, especially Roméo.

I started singing, my fears started to go away. My heart started to beat normally. I didn’t even bother to look at Roméo Dallaire again, don’t want to feel nervous. I managed to make it through to the end. I think people clapped, I was too focused on the song I didn’t pay any attention to my surroundings. I felt really accomplished to sing in front of the whole school and to Roméo Dallaire.

After the event ended, I walked up to Roméo and thanked him for coming. He smiled, shook my hand and gave me a big pat on the back. He really enjoyed my performance, but he preferred to be a little fast paced as a joke. The most memorable thing he told me, was to “Keep singing”. It was an honor to get such praise from him.

I was so happy. I had the honor and the opportunity to sing, and meet him. I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. If I had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the Saddle dome, or anywhere, or to him again,  I would do it. I believe singing and speaking are very powerful things, and I want to reach my full potential to create change with my voice, and make an impact on people, just like Roméo Dallaire did.