I started martial arts when I was 10 years old much to my discontent. My mom wanted me to take lessons, although I had no initial interest. But once I finally started at Team Karate Centers, I fell in love with it. In October 2013, I earned my first degree black belt, and am a candidate to earn my second degree in October 2015.
It didnt take long for me to realize my passion for teaching. Just one year into my training I began to help teaching classes where I could. I started with Little Ninjas (ages 3-6), and as I gradually got better and gained more experience, I started teaching juniors, and over time I became an instructor.
When it comes to teaching, I dont consider it a job. Its just something I love to do. Every class I get to see kids become happy and watch them grow, and I know I was a part of it, makes teaching a rewarding experience.
From training to teaching, to life outside TKC, one hero has continued to inspire me to reach new heights: Sensei Fariborz. His impact on my life motivates me to want to follow in his footsteps. Coming into TKC, my life was rough. Atop the challenge I faced, I did not have a dad around while I was young. With a lot going on as a young ten-year old kid, Mr. Fariborz took me in and opened my eyes to the difference between good and bad, and in so doing, made me realize what I would have to do to become a black belt. That influenced me to change my life for the better at a young age. At that point, I was headed in the wrong direction, but fortunately, Mr. Fariborz guided me to live the martial arts life. By taking on that father figure role, those challenges I faced before starting at TKC gradually disappeared. I finally had someone to look up to. Without him and TKC, I dont think I would be anywhere near where I am right now, or have accomplished many of the goals for which I have worked tirelessly.
Earning my black belt in 2013 signified a new beginning for me. All the things that happened in my life before that were now over, and I embarked on my best journey yet.
What does a black belt mean to me? It represents the single greatest thing Ive achieved in my life thus far. Each time I tie my belt around my waist, I look back and am reminded of what Ive been through. But more importantly, I look forward to where Im going. And now as a second degree, I realize that while black belt is the big picture, its the little things that create the biggest differences. Its the regular things like helping the kids that it’s all about.
And as I grow, my training continuously evolves. While I still take a blended approach to my training, I focus mostly on boxing and kickboxing. Its there that I feel most comfortable and adaptive. Before focusing on kickboxing, I was doing everything just to do it. I didnt understand much of it, but focusing in on kickboxing has helped me understand everything better, even in the areas I dont particularly enjoy. All for the good of course.