I loved team sports as a kid, especially soccer. My dad also loved soccer, so from the time I could run, we were kicking around a soccer ball.
One day when I was twelve or thirteen, I went over to my mom after an episode of the Power Rangers TV show had finished.
“Mom,” I said, “Can I do martial arts? I want to learn to fight and beat up the bad guys, too!”
“Um, okay,” she said, and did some researching, probably the phone book. “How about Tae Kwon Do?”
I joined a studio in Kennett Square, PA. I loved it! I learned to punch, kick, spin kick, jump kick, and break wooden boards. I memorized forms, and rose in the ranks. I got different colored belts. I think my mom thought it had something to do with me wanting to get emotions out because my parents were going through a divorce, but that wasn’t it. Two words: Power. Rangers.
After about a year, the academy started to host fund raisers to raise money. I don’t think the school was in trouble. I’m not sure what was going on but it was weird, because I couldn’t get my next promotion unless I sold a certain number of pizzas.
“Mom,” I said, “I don’t want to sell pizzas.”
“Okay,” Mom said, not wanting me to sell pizzas either, and likely grabbing the phone book again. “How about Kempo Karate?”
“SURE! Cool, maybe I can try ALL KINDS of martial arts!” I said, really getting excited for the change. I joined Mark Lawler’s Kempo Karate studio. And I loved it too! They had self defense-y kind of moves, and combinations with names like Jumping Crane and Pouncing Tiger... maybe... (Sorry, Mr. Lawler, I don’t actually remember them, but things like that.) It was also the first time I was able to full contact spar. I was about fourteen. I had so much fun! Finally, I was a learning how to REALLY fight. I rose in the ranks but never made black belt.
Then my dad moved to Boston, so my mom moved to Lenox, MA, so I could be closer to him. Thank goodness because my middle school classmates were meanies. Along the way, we spent the summer in Amsterdam, NY. And of course, I wanted to do martial arts. Good old Mom researched. “There’s a Uechi Ryu school in town! It’s Okinawan Karate.”
I was so excited to dabble in yet another martial art, even if it was only for a short while.
Upon moving to Lenox, there was no Kempo studio so we joined another Tae Kwon Do School. They were nice but made me start from white belt, which I didn’t think was fair. I was really bored.