Fitness was part of my life from an early age. My Dad weight trained, cycled and swam. My aunts did aerobics. My Nan took us on long walks. Swimming was a weekly activity for us when we were kids. And I’ll never forget the Lycra thong leotard that my auntie let me wear at aerobics once! With Lycra leggings, obviously… I felt so grown up!! The same auntie took me along to kickboxing with her when I was 12.

Wow! This was different to anything I had ever known. Move over Jane Fonda and the  Lycra leotard! Enter push ups and squats, kicks and punches. This was tough but I loved it. Unfortunately though, I ended up letting self consciousness & lack of confidence take over and after 4 belts, I left. But I never forgot how much I loved learning all those new techniques.

Fast forward to 2012. I went along with a friend to a fitness class she had been telling me about for ages. It actually ended up being kickboxing and I loved it there from the very first workout I did. I’d become accustomed to what I thought were tough workouts but this was next level! After my first session there, I couldn’t move for a week and I LOVED it. I wanted more… Unfortunately, personal circumstances took over and I no longer had the capacity to train there until January 2014 when I decided it was time to change things up and get back to doing the things I loved. 

The time in between had been tough. Break down of an unhealthy relationship, dealing with the aftermath of that. Having no car. I suffered a bit of a breakdown and had to take time off work to deal with depression and anxiety but something clicked in the new year of 2014…  It was time to leave the comfort zone. 

I started back at BLK training once per week but I was hungry for more. I loved learning something new each lesson. I loved how tough the workouts were and how amazing you felt after, like you could literally move mountains. I loved our instructors ability to be able to draw every last ounce of effort out of you. Just when you thought you couldn’t go on, he would encourage you to do just that and before you knew it, that thing you thought you couldn’t do, was done. That’s what I wanted to be able to do! This was that passion that had started flickering away in my living room workouts at 6am in the morning. It came alive and burnt brightly on those mats! And I’m so lucky to have an instructor who recognises that passion within me. BLK has become my home from home. It’s like extended family. We are a team and we share each other’s sweat, grit and determination. We are bonded in a way few people would understand. There are times I don’t feel like training, but knowing that I’m part of a team, gives me the extra push I need. If life comes up and I can’t train, I feel like part of me is missing. We recently had grading and this is my most favourite thing! My chest swells with pride when I think about the effort we all put in and how far we have all come in such a short space of time. The goal is black belt and I’m looking forward to many more years perfecting the skills I am being honoured to learn. 

And on a side note, the tough workouts have been character building for me. They haven’t just strengthened me physically, but mentally too. Trust me, it takes some mental and emotional strength to be put through the paces on those mats. There are no excuses for the girls. We train just as hard as the boys and we have to roll with the punches too. And coming from an abusive relationship, it’s quite empowering to know that a man would be oh so stupid to ever try and put his hands on me again. This girl has got 2 fast hands and strong legs and I ain’t afraid to use them……… 

If you have never tried martial arts and it’s something you have considered, I encourage you to do so. It’s rewarding in so many ways. And it feels pretty badass too…