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Monk Introductory Thread!

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I just got this idea. i'd like you monks to introduce yourselves in this thread. to come and introduce yourselves, tell us about your martial arts background and what it has given to you. it's hard to wrap a picture about singular personas in this forum based on comments here and there so i thought it would help to get understanding about who we have here, and what we do.


I'd personally like to hear what arts you do, what arts you have done, and how long you have done them. what life around martial arts has given and taken. Tell where martial arts brought you and where you came from. :) i'm bad in writing so if someone has something to add here, please inform me.


My main point is! i want to hear a story! Tell me a story what made you a warrior. and tell me what kind of warrior you are! If you don't want to bring anything personal here, just tell the stuff you're comfortable with. anything you give, brings a lot into the table

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My story starts like so many do. i was smallest kid in the school. Bullied heavily, and loathing in deep depression already in elementary school. My bullies used to bully me very physically, and being introvert, i just sucked it in. At summer i had just turned 13, and my father told me that i'd really need to put a stop to my bullies and hinted that maybe i should try out martial arts, as it was in the family. My mother had won scandinavic championship in judo, and my father had won amateur championship in boxing in his younger years.

Few days later i saw a flyer marketing a new emerging martial art(which i shall not name here.) i went to the first class and training roundhouses wearing gi's felt amazing. In few minutes i was hooked. I started doing conditioning too, and in month i could spar out with guys who were from earlier course. It turned me into a proud being.


i fell in love with hard sparring, and more it felt like a real fight, more i enjoyed it. in about year i was sent to national championships, and i was disqualified for knocking the opponent out with a kneestrike as a reflex. I got angry and frustrated. I had started acting similarily outside the dojo too. i had started bullying my old bullies. few weeks after the championship DQ i challenged our sensei into a spar in fit of a rage... and knocked him out cold. i was 14 at the time. in that moment i realised that the guy was a complete fake. i had been following a "false idol" in my opinion. Today i know for a fact that guy was far from what he claimed, but i feel bit sorry for doing it to him, in front of everyone.


Soon i found local hapkido practitioners, and even though i was underaged, they took me in. Looking it today, the training was something many hapkido practitioners here wouldn't recognise. it was closer to a mix of MMA, Savate, and Muay Thai, mixed with some BJJ and Judo, but i loved it. Hard sparring felt just right for me. 2 years passed. I was ever more nosy, short tempered, ruthless and agressive, the very thing budoka should never be. That two years made me even tougher and more willing to engage in any kind of battle i could get in my hands. This time i started feeling like i need another point of view for my training, so i entered a Krav Maga gym, lying my age.

It felt like home. Training was hard, simple, and even knockouts were scored in training scenarios. Our teacher was ugly skinny man who had about 12 teeth in his mouth. He was known for having fought in mma fights before they had invented grappling gloves or started using mouthguards, hence the bad teeth.. I FREAKING LOVED THAT GUY!


next two years passed with me training with them and in hapkido gym. I still would get into trouble because i had small stature and temper like a volcano. these years were probably most teaching in my martial arts career, for i got a chance to train against lot's of different opponents with very different ways to do everything.

i got caught for being underaged but for some unknown reason guys valued my presence there and didn't throw me out. One day the local mma team's coach was holding a seminar to us, and spotted me. he came to ask if i'd be interested to come and try training with them someday. without a hesitation i said yes...


very next day i walked into local mma gym, for my small stature they paired me against a girl. i felt insulted. A GIRL! we touched gloves and started boxing. I didn't consider her a threat. I had dropped big men and girl my size didn't feel like a challenge... But then she punched... The hit landed perfectly, breaking my nose. my head sounded like fire alarm had gone off, and this girl kept pressuring me dodging almost everything i threw at her, and landing almost everytime she wanted to. I couldn't see anything and i felt like someone was pounding me with a sledgehammer. I stood up three rounds and quit. Later the coach came to me and told me that i did a good job for a first timer. This girl was one of the best martial artists in the country, and fought a very even fight against Miesha Tate. 4 weeks later my coach asked if i'd like to go and fight in the ring. He chose me an opponent he deemed to be even against me...


At the fight day i found out that my opponent had won junior nationals in BJJ. and oh did i mention i'm a horrible wrestler?! Fight was short in every term. i landed my first strike, dropping him on his back, and ran after him because adrenaline rushed through my head, and got entangled into guillotine. I was out cold in under a minute. i had been a machine in every training crew i had been before this, but a girl and a boy my age both beat the shit out of me in a month. i started to understand that i wasn't that good as i had thought.


Next five years i spent training with mixed martial artists, and guys i met through them. through MMA, i met greatest people ever and most of friends i have today, come from there.

 During those five years my egoism started to even out, and i started to grow more peaceful. I trained with the pro team but i never got interested of competing anymore. I learned a lot of useful skills in mental control and learned to understand better who i was and what my real capacity was. I was better man than i had been ever. I slowly drafted back to self defense training, Training in Defendo and studying some mental aspects of stressful scenarios.


Now it's bit over three years since i moved completely back into self defense. I still occasionally train with kickboxers,boxers, wrestlers, bjj guys, and even some traditional martial artists. i've even trained with few guys who do aikido and they all have some interesting views to offer. I privately teach few people in self defense just because i like to, and it's kinda stress reliever for me.


Today i'm in peace with myself and the world, thanks to martial arts. I turned from introvert into an extrovert, and martial arts got me through many moments of depression. It took a me a good hard bit to become who i am, but today i'm happy. Without martial arts i would be a lot worse persona. Martial arts gave me friends that have become like a family to me, people i spend my days with and people i miss at lonely moments. i wouldn't change a day from those years. In good and bad i love every moment i went through.


As a last addition. Nowadays i kinda browse through  martial artists, trying to help out others with similar traits. 

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From when I was a kid, I always wanted to study the martial arts.  I knew that my parents had both earned their yellow belts in the 70s, when it took a year per belt, but I believe they worried that I would use any fighting skills I developed on my younger brother (which is perhaps a reflection of the philosophy of training that they were in way back then.)


In any case, when I finally moved out to go to university, my time was my own.  But I lacked the confidence to simply walk into the university dojo, so I gathered some friends who seemed interested.


They bailed at the last minute, and the year went by.


The next year, I gathered some other friends who seemed interested.


They bailed at the last minute, and the year went by.


By my third year, I had come to a realization (a slow one...)  If I was going to do this, I would have to do this.  No one else could (or would) do it for me, or with me.  


So I joined the university's goju ryu karate program.  And fell in love.


I had never been a particularly athletic kid.  My parents didn't really value it, and didn't push me to do much of anything besides academics and music.  So I suppose I surprised myself a little bit by how much I enjoyed karate, and how good I was.  I was tall and lanky, so good reach and not much target area.  Although at 6 feet tall and 145 pounds, I wasn't going to lay anyone out, I stuck with it.


That was almost 20 years ago.  Over those 20 years, I've been to many dojos.  I've had to take time off for work (shift work tends to play havok with training), children (shift-sleeping does the same) and injuries (two herniated discs had me in pain for 5 years, 2 of which I took off from training.)


During that time I went from white to blue belt, then restarted at white when my (soon-to-be) wife decided she wanted to train too.  Back down to white, back up to blue, and then children.


About 3 years ago, I returned to the dojo with my kids born and my home and work schedule under control.  And last June I graded for my Shodan (a 12 month mudansha program that I found gruelling and enormously rewarding.)


As you can well imagine of someone who's knocked himself back down to white, I don't much care about the colour of my belt.  But I sure do care about the advanced training, kata and sparring I have access to now.


What have I gained?  I can't imagine any part of my life that hasn't been improved in some way by my time on the path.  I've gained confidence, 30 pounds of lean muscle, a spiritual base, life long friends, more than a few calluses, and an exceptionally calm and laid back demeanour.  


What have I lost?  A lot of television watching, video game playing, a destiny to follow the body types of my family (obese) and health problems (I hope.)


I train at a traditional goju ryu karate dojo.  We bow.  We meditate.  We practice mostly karate, but also jiu jitsu and aikido.  When I'm ready, I can pursue traditional Okinawan weapons training and tai chi.  


My sensei believes in a rounded approach to the art.  We spar, a lot.  We practice kata, a lot.  We speak Japanese, with terrible accents, a lot.  We drill basics until our muscles ache, and we pound on the makiwara until our knuckles are red.  


I love that I train in a karate dojo that, from the outside, doesn't seem to deliver what most people think of as karate.  We practice ground fighting, joint locks, take downs, sweeps, jumping spin kicks, meditation, philosophy... all from a traditional Okinawan base.  


Becoming a father has given me even more reason to train.  I want to demonstrate to my daughters the importance of staying active and in shape, and I need the mental training when they're really pushing my buttons.  I dream that some day they will join me in the dojo...


And if I'm lucky, we'll all be doing this together in 20 years, and for 20 years after that. 

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Current Big Fat Hairy Goals:  Hip to Waist Ratio down to 88%.  Capable of 50 pushups, 100 situps, 20 pull-ups in one massive superset.  Able to do a bodyweight bench press.  Run 10K 1/week for 1 month.  Earn 2nd Degree Black Belt.


Why?  Because I want to model the kind of health and strength that I want my girls to have when they grow up.

Introduction / Battle Log / Current Challenge

Previous Challenges:  1

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Since I've already written one introduction today I might as well write another, right?


My interest in martial arts has been with me all my life. It started as a kid, when I at some point I can't remember developed a fascination for swords. When I was around 10 I had found the Japanese sword making art, and I could literally spend hours on various websites selling the swords just looking at them, dreaming of the day I turned 18 and could actually buy one. My parents were never too happy about my obsession, and to this day I think they're a bit surprised by my immense interest in weapons (it's not just swords anymore) as I am quite the pacifist.


Anyway, when I was about 13 I think I thought it was time to do something about this. Looking at pictures wasn't enough anymore, I had to act. Somehow I managed to find a Shaolin school in a town nearby. After some research I realized that while the Wakizashi and Katana are works of art, the Chinese really knew how to make weapons. Straight Jian swords, broad Dadao swords, crazy Twin Hook swords, even metallic whips and darts at the end of ropes being thrown around like it was nobody's business! Knowing the kind of arsenal that was used in China, knowing that I had a Shaolin school nearby and knowing that they actually tought their students how to use at least some parts of the arsenal made it a no-brainer. I started attending the Shaolin school, and good god did I love it! It was the bee's knees, the dog's bollocks and just straight up awesome! Then I started high school. I didn't really feel that I had time, so I had to quit. I had been training for about five years at that point. Then I went to study at the university.


In the town of my university we have a very limited range of martial arts being practiced. There's Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Jujuitsu, Krav Maga and Wing Chun. Naturally I looked up Wing Chun, as it is closest related to Shaolin out of the available options. It was all good fun, but I didn't really like it. Shaolin is a very "theatrical" style with large, sweeping motions, animal imitations (you just have to love fighting like a snake or monkey) and, of course, weapons. The school I attended also was quite fond of tradition; we greeted the dojo when coming and going, we were taught the Chinese names of the techniques, we thanked for the help in Chinese and even had some form of short "manifesto" in Chinese we said before and after each session. It became quite spiritual actually. The Wing Chun club lacked all of that. They didn't even teach us the Chinese names of the techniques. Even worse, we didn't even need to use our teacher's title when talking to him. The only positive things about the club was that the dojo was right on campus, and they had no fee for attending whatsoever. But as I didn't like the lack of spirituality, culture and tradition I quit quite soon.


After a while I found a group of historical reenactors. Viking reenactors, to be exact. Being a proud, bearded Swede who love snow, the cold, beards and fighting with weapons, joining them was a no-brainer. They met at awkward times though, and too far away for me to get there with a sword and a large round shield, so I didn't really last long there.


So now here I am. I'm soon finished with the university, but I'll stay as a teacher and hopefully a Ph.D. student in the future, so I'll be in this town for quite a few years. My fascination for the Chinese arsenal is ever increasing, and I have now started collecting weapons at a slow pace. I am considering taking up Krav Maga, as the guy owning the school is the guy owning the "gym" I'm going to, so we may be able to strike a deal for a dual membership. I don't really have high hopes though, because the Krav Maga club costs $70 a month per default. I also consider giving Wing Chun another go, and it feels like that might be the better option. After all, I love Wushu and I can get the spiritual part somewhere else.


So what has martial arts given me? Well, it's provided me with one of my biggest interests, countless hours of pain and joy, a few friends and, since I couldn't attend my Shaolin school anymore, a longing which I have yet to satisfy. I do my best though. The occational purchase of swords helps, as does the thought that I some day will master the rope dart if I so have to teach myself. Also, one of my life goals is to visit the Shaolin Monastery Shàolín sì in Henan province in China. Living there for a year training would be really cool, but that's not going to happen.


That's my story. Lifelong dreams of learning how to fight with swords and spears that I still hope will become reality.

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Level 1 Human - Shaolin Neophyte

STR: 6 | FELX: 3 | STA: 8 | WILL: 8 | WIS: 8 | KNOW: 15

Progression to next level: 15/100XP


Current challenge: First Forms




More Chi!

Train Harder!

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This might be a bit dead, but why the hell not?


I started out in martial arts at the age of 21 with borderline-high blood-pressure (spent most of high-school in front of my computer drinking pepsi as I suspect many other nerds did). When the nurse told me about the state of my health it was a wake-up call. I knew I needed to do something, but I've never been into organized sports (big surprise, I know). So I decided to look into martial arts.


I ended up signing up at the first place I walked into. It was what I recognize now as a something of a McDojo. Although funny enough, I did manage to develop a pretty good grounding in physical movement and a decent understanding of how to make things work (I realized later it was what I put into the training, as I was bit more dedicated that most of my classmates). The school taught a mix of American Kenpo with some Shotokan derived forms mixed in (it really bugs the shit out of me now how I was required to know those forms to progress even though they never taught any useful applications!). My biggest gripes with the place were that the whole process was corporate, fast-food martial arts. Individuality was stamped out, real understanding was glossed over in favor of lots of techniques, and self-protection training amounted to a large array of interesting techniques with no grounding in how to really make them work (just as long as they looked "effortless").


After 7 years there (under contract of course) I left. I'd already been going to a Tae Kwon Do school with my then fiance (she wanted to learn, but I didn't want to be her teacher). I didn't much like it after about a year. They focused almost entirely on sparring with the implied understanding that it would help in fight or a self-protection situation. Somewhere in there I had also taken Kajukenbo and Tai Chi classes at the university for a semester.


Once I left TKD, I decided to look into Wing Chun. I signed up for classes with the only school in the area and took classes for a month but ended up stopping because i was too busy with school/work/wedding stuff. After I got married, I started looking into WC again, my long time friend that taught at the school had quit because he was tired of the owner's BS. So I asked him if he'd teach me, he said sure and gave me a crash course in the parking lot behind his apartment for the next year and a half. Then he moved out of state. From that experience I really started look at what I wanted from my training. I wanted practicality plain and simple.


Toward the end of my WC crash course, I took a couple of other classes through the university one was a more traditional form of Karate (I don't remember which) and an ITF TKD class. The Karate class was okay, the teacher had been teaching for something like 30 or 40 years, the TKD class was a joke though. The techniques the instructor assured me would work in a fight would require nothing but compliance from the other side.


It was around this time that I got introduced to work by Rory Miller, Geoff Thompson, and Iain Abernethy. Miller's work in particular had a universe shifting effect on my view of making stuff work for self-protection.


After my friend moved I found a Jujutsu class (funny enough in the previous location of the first school I trained at). The instructor took a very different view on the martial arts, he broke things down and analyzed them from different perspectives. How could they be used in war, how could they be used by law enforcement, etc. He was also the only instructor I ever had that actually knew what the law in the the state of Utah is regarding use of force. I didn't get much in the way of technique from him, he told me that I had all the physical knowledge he could provide. But what he could offer me was a shift in how I understood the arts and he wasn't kidding. He got me started in understanding kata application, as well he told me to start teaching. Then to get rid of any excuses on my part, he said "here's some time and here's some space, we'll worry about money later." He was also the one that really helped ground my practice in physical reality, as opposed to chalking everything up to ki/chi he broke things down in terms of anatomy and bodily systems.


Here I am now, I teach a small class that I refer to as an "open lab" where essentially my students let me use them as guinea pigs. I tell them up front that I have no formalized system and that I'm not in the business of making clones. I'm learning probably 10x more than they are while I'm teaching.


Stuff martial arts has taken from me? My hubris and my tendency to blame others for my problems.


Stuff it's given me? A decent sense of what I'm actually capable of (physically as well as mentally) as well as a possible livelihood outside of sitting on my ass in front of a computer.

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STR[3] DEX[2] STA[2] CON[2] WIS[4] CHA[3]

My Character Sheet - http://nerdjutsu.com/about/character-information/

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So, I'll just link to my intro post:


As for my martial arts back ground it's a bit checkered. I was put in Pai Lum Kung Fu classes for 6 months when I was in grade school. I didn't appreciate it at the time but a few of the basics I learned in that short time have stuck with me my entire life. Later, when I was in high school I studied Chang-Hon TKD for a few years. During this time I ended up as the Uke on the demonstration team for the Martial Arts for the Handicapable, run by the late Isshinryu Grandmaster Ted Vollrath. While getting beat up by a no legged 10th Dan with pieces of his wheel chair hurt like bloody hell, this did allow me to attend training seminars run by people such as Bill "Superfoot" Wallace and Joe Lewis.

I left TKD after a falling out with my instructor. I still tried to practice independently over the years but often more of then on. Finally, in about 2009 I found my martial arts home in Taijiquan and Historical European Martial Arts. In short, I love swords and sword training. Japanese swordsmanship just seems to be a bit too restrictive for me, so Taiji sword and HEMA are where my heart belongs.

This message sent with 100% recycled electrons.

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Race:  Dragonborn     Class:  Druid/Monk

The Journey to Force Mastery: #1 #2  #3 #4 #5 __

The Legend     The Struggle    My MFP Profile    My Strava Profile

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So...hi! New guy here, here's my story - I consider myself a 70% Monk - 30% Assassin hybrid. Play 'A Hero's Return' by Two Steps from Hell for maximum dramatic RP effect.)

My first contact with martial arts was at a very young age, let's say around 5. My uncle, who used to train in Taekwondo when he was a kid, is one of my role models. He would often come to our house and we would watch classic Hollywood action B-movies and little me would jump around the place and try to imitate martial artists such as Jet Li, Jackie Chan and JCVD. Whenever he saw me, he would grapple me and it always became a game as I struggled to release myself and try to 'hit' him back. As I grew into my teens, I tried various sports since my parents wouldn't let me try martial arts but I found football, basketball and the likes extremely boring. My body itself - agile and resilient to physical pain- was telling me that I was build for something else. That's how I persuaded my parents that I wanted to try Taekwondo; I got mesmerized by the high kicks, blocks and self-defensive techniques. I asked around for information and I finally decided TKD-ITF was the thing for me.

I fell in love with it instantly. I would attend every class with focus and endure any one of the extremely strenuous exercises my teacher put me through. He put extreme emphasis on tempering our bodies, conditioning our punches and most of all, honing our reflexes to unparalleled levels, something that has stayed in my muscle memory to this day. For some reason, that school had a very slow belt-gaining process so after 3 years I only managed to get my green belt, yet 3 years were enough to set my combat confidence in stone, as unconfident as I grew up to be in my life. Unfortunately, due to a serious injury I sustained on the left knee (a bone fragment splintered and touched my tendon, giving me extreme pain every time I stretched my legs) and the fact that the operation had a high risk of severing nearby nerves, I had to stop attending. I never stopped training though. Instead of simply lifting weights, I would couple strength training at the gym with martial arts training at home. At that time, parkour became a trend, so we decided to try that too - coupled with my light footing, I got my second class of Assassin then. As the years went by and as the nerd I am, I had to put that aside to study for my finals, but after that, adult life kicked in and job/studies left me little time to practice. I wanted to try something new though, so I enrolled in a local kickboxing class. That was an eye-opening experience: while I still had TKD flowing through me, my light sparring was no match for the brutal punches and low kicks. But I persevered, I bugged my teacher all the time and begged him to spar with me...then I transformed. At my 20 years I was at my peak fitness and combat levels. I had extreme endurance, lightning-fast reactions and a tactical mind. I was walking through dark streets with arrogant confidence and I was really fearless.

But life hit me again. I was diagnosed with depression and was on therapy -including medications- for about two years. When I stopped therapy and just as I thought I bounced back, a dreadful financial situation had me finding a 7/7 job, working irregular 12+ hour shifts. After these 3-4 years, I was left with a shattered confidence, tormenting sleep schedule, debilitating stress and a few extra pounds. 

I decided to take life into my hands once more. I quit my job, set a gruelling study schedule, started working on my dream (game development), I'm slowly but steadily rebuilding my social skills and most importantly, I have to get back in shape. If martial arts gave me something that all the money in the world can't buy, it's my will to always get up after I've tasted the ground. I'm willing to once again become the warrior I used to be: agile, cunning and efficient. My fighting style has always revolved around my southpaw orientation: swift counter-attacks, playing with the opponent's mind by tiring them and bringing tension to their every move and when it comes to self-defense, using as little force as possible. Meditation has always been a favored tool.

Dear Monks, I request to be welcomed to your ranks and to be taught anything I need to be to become a well-rounded warrior. My skills are at your service.

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My journey is quite short - yet.

When I was young, i always thought martial arts were cool, but my parents wouldn't let me learn any, partly because I had some control issues.

When a teacher at my school started doing a Weng-Chun class as extracurricular activity I joined, more or less with out them knowing.

Over the 3 years I was training there, my self control got better and better, but the training ended as I was done with school.

After school i went to university and the university sports had a course on kung fu and pentisilat, so I trained with them for 1 year, until i didn't manage to go to the training any more because I had no time ( now I know I just didn't make it a high enough priority ).

At the End of Last Year I did a trial training at our local Mugai Ryu, but I couldn't afford the fee.


I joined the Academy in this quarter to get fit again.

Currently I am doing some basic training and I plan to revive my memories and do at least some kata, until i find a school or a partner to train with. I am also trying to learn some tricks of the assassins, because i want to be able to decide when it comes to fight or flight.


PS: sorry for the poor english

PPS: will crosspost

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old PvP:bodyfat dd

debt: bodyfat

Allways eager to get better

If you spot mistakes, tell me

NF Charakter

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On 12/23/2016 at 4:04 AM, fit927589452 said:

I joined the Academy in this quarter to get fit again.

Hey, fit..., hope you are still fighting the good fight! 

Question: I'm thinking about joining the Nerd Fitness Academy. Have you found it to be helpful? Anything I should know in advance?
Thanks for any help you can offer.

*Member of 2018 Hogwarts House Cup Championship Team*

If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress. -Barack Obama

Anyone who moves on, even a little, walks like Jesus on the water. -Antonio Machado

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Hello, all!

I've always been interested in MA. I even studied eastern philosophy in college (got my BA in it, in fact) because of its ties to various styles of martial arts and yoga.


In my 20s, I briefly studied Kyokushin and then later Goju-ryu for a few years (reached 2nd kyu/purple belt). After that, I got busy with life and family and haven't done much since other than a short tai chi chuan class. 


Flash forward a couple decades. Over the last several months, my bride and I have been taking a fitness kickboxing class at my daughter's TKD school. They also offer adult classes in Muay Thai. My goal is to start taking MT once the contract for the fitness class is up in the summer. I plan to use the intervening months to keep conditioning and strengthening so I'll be more ready for training.

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Ok, I gave a short intro in the other Monk thread as well as the main intro thread, but I'll flesh it out here.

NF Intro: https://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/96244-hello-my-fellow-nerds/



My interest in martial arts started as a kid, but I didn't really do much about it until high school. I loved Jackie Chan movies, the Karate Kid, etc., and Mulan was my favorite Disney princess. But when I was younger, my personality was very shy and quiet. I was bullied a lot in grade school, and in high school I dated a guy who eventually became abusive. At the beginning of the relationship, he was very kind, of course. He was also part of a karate school and when he heard that I had an interest in that, he invited me to come train with him. I really took to the sport, and enjoyed the challenge. I got through several ranks before my relationship with that guy ended, and he left the school shortly afterward to go to college, so I was ok continuing to train there. The instructor at the time knew nothing about how he had treated me.

After three years of training, I had progressed to 1st degree brown belt (1st kyu), but then I had to leave for college. After that, work and other life responsibilities kept me from continuing, but it still hung over my head that I had gotten so close to the next belt and had to quit before reaching it. There were a couple times over the years I tried to go back, but I was embarrassed by how much I had forgotten (even though the instructors were nothing but encouraging), so I didn't stay long. Nearly 10 years later, I was in another abusive relationship, this time much worse. When I had gotten away from that guy, it became my motivation to get back into karate. I no longer cared if I was embarrassed, I knew I needed that confidence and skill back. So I returned to the school finally and stuck with it. It took another two years of training to remember what I had forgotten and then continue forward to earn my black belt. Amazingly, most of that old knowledge was still in there - it just took several months of "refreshing" to bring it back out again. I had not been patient enough before. But those 15 years (total) were worth it. I am only the 5th female in our school to pass the black belt test (thus the "5" in my SN), and my confidence is back. I even lost my fear of that former b/f from high school, who has recently returned to classes from time to time (I did eventually tell the instructor everything, and she has been very good about dealing with both of us).

What all this experience has done for me is given me a passion for other women in abusive situations, and the skills to do something about it. I volunteer with some anti-human trafficking groups now, and my instructor has been giving me private lessons focused on things I need to know to teach self-defense seminars on my own. I am hoping to eventually become an instructor myself someday, so I am in the process of earning my 2nd Dan (hopefully in the next year - we'll see!) and continuing training.

Oh, and the technical stuff: My style is Okinawan Shorin-Kenpo karate, a combined style that includes techniques from Okinawan Shorin-Ryu and American Kenpo. Our head instructor is a 6th Dan master in both OSK and Shuri-te karate, as well as a 4th Dan in Jujitsu. Her husband holds black belts in a wide variety of styles, including Kung Fu, karate and even street fighting. I love that all of these styles get brought into our training (more for the advanced students than the kids, but every once in a while we let them see some of the fun stuff as motivation). They are also known for teaching self-defense classes for our city prosecutor's office and battered women's shelters, and the Wall Street Journal once did an article on us due to our uniqueness of being a Christian karate school (we do the majority of our classes in churches).

In addition, one of the things I've enjoyed about learning is that there is never a point where you are an "expert" as there is always something new to learn! Shihan once told a story about when training with a grandmaster: he had all the students (who were all instructors themselves) spend a whole weekend on basic punches & kicks to point out subtleties in technique that many often overlooked in favor of the more "advanced" moves. This is part of why I enjoy sometimes dropping in to other dojos or self-defense classes when I travel and playing the part of a total noob. I like learning to look at basic things from a new perspective from time to time. I am going to be moving to a new state soon, and if I don't find a dojo of our same style out there, I may pick up a new, completely different discipline to supplement my first training, even while continuing to grow in my own. So this story is still to be continued...

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Hi guys. I'm new here. I love reading about everybody's martial art's experience.


Like most people, I started Karate (Chito-Ryu) as a child. My dad had a music writing buddy who was helping his friend start a non-for profit Karate school, where poor kids like me could practice every night. I poured myself into it from the ages of 10 to 13, becoming a brown belt, when my Dojo closed down. I didn't really do much after that, except participate in JROTC in high school. I really enjoyed Karate, because it gave me a focus and a social outlet that I, a nerdy poor kid, didn't have before. I'm still in contact with my slightly crazy karate instructor. 

After high school, I joined the Army. I participated in standard hand to hand/combatives training that all soldiers get. I did get level one certified, and did weekly sessions with my unit's Combative Coaches. I loved that period of time in my life. There is no greater thrill than making your First Sergeant tap out while engaged in sparring. 


After I got out of the active Army (I'm still a reservist), I didn't do much. I started getting depressed and gained weight. My little sister died, and my depression worsened. I had a daughter, and decided that I was wasting my life not doing anything. I endeavored to find a way out of my funk, and thought martial arts was a great way to do it. However, the schools in my area are generally McDojos that cater to after school kids programs...or "traditional" schools, with old fat "masters" that couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag.

One night, when celebrating my 26th Birthday at a local watering hole, I ran into a bachelorette party. Their designated driver, was an older woman. Somehow we got started talking about martial arts, and she told me that she practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I'd heard of BJJ, but always thought it was kinda flashy (gi patches, lol). I set aside my karate rooted biases, and went to a class the next day. I've been hooked since.


My gym is unique. We don't have an owner. We are a club. We have very low overhead, because we rent an area from a church. We have one instructor that we pay a pittance, because he is VERY legit (Carlson Gracie 3rd Degree Black Belt). All of the senior students take turns teaching, and we operate a lot like a co-op. Its honestly the best arrangement for learning an art that I can think of. We truly are a tribal group. I am a senior blue belt (4 stripes), and I hope to get my Purple belt this year. I never really conceived that I could be a purple belt when I first started, because they seemed like Jedi Knights. I help teach sometimes as well, which helps immensely. 


I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I won't go as far as to say it saved my life, but it has given me more than I could have hoped. I love the realness, and the aliveness. I love that it is based in combat, and that I can safely practice techniques against my training partners at full speed and resistance. I love that our sparring is real. I love that BJJ allows you choose the level of violence you can employ, which is great for military/police types. 


My goals in BJJ:

Earn my Purple Belt (this year)

Earn my Brown Belt (three years)

Earn my Black Belt (Five years)

Compete this year

Compete in a MAJOR tournament (three years)

Teach more (I had to step back from a lot of my classed due to personal issues)

be more aggressive (I'm a lazy grappler, lol) 


Thanks for listening, and for sharing your experiences. 

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Hiya I'm also new, just joined a little over a month ago. As a child and teenager, I would never have seen myself as a martial arts sort of person! I remember my intense dislike of boys who did martial arts because they invariably tried to show off and ended up accidentally kicking or punching you and it would bloody hurt, and as a teenage girl I'd just think that's a sport for self-centred, careless gits - urgh! So I came to associate martial arts with boys acting mean, which is far less impressive than a strong person being kind. As a child I'd done netball and swimming a lot, then as a teen I stuck to tennis mainly, until in my 20s I entered office work and didn't look at a sport again. I joined various gyms over time but my interest always waned quite quickly and I never saw lasting results. My default position was as an office potato videogamer with big dinner tendencies, a 20-a-day habit and a bottle of wine on the go at all times. I skinnied up ish for my wedding but I was right back to myself a heartbeat after the honeymoon was over. I cook, oh boy do I lurve to cook.


I quit smoking 5 years ago and, wowser, did I balloon like a zeppelin. About a year later I was made redundant juuuuust as I was about to move into my new house. I'd had enough and opted to take 3 months off on my savings to regroup and get away from it all. I bought some gym equipment for the new house and dedicated a whole room to it, and I started exercising. Six months later I employed a personal trainer to help get me fit, at first I saw her once a week and we were at Level 1 in all ways, I could barely do a squat. After a while she started introducing self-defence, and as I was interested, then some kickboxing and kung fu... I was hooked.

I've seen her 3x a week ever since and, despite working a sedentary job, injuries, illness, doing a degree and, hardest of all, experiencing a bereavement, I'm now training for my green belt in kickboxing (ours goes yellow, orange, red, green). I've also taken up Tai Chi Softball which is an emerging sport here in the UK and I've even started to give yoga a bit of an amateur effort and I do try to meditate. Occasionally we do a fun session and practice random kung fu forms.


Kickboxing has become a part of my identity and I can't imagine giving it up. It is SO different to what I expected, it isn't aggressive and violent, showy or mean. It's an amazing physical and mental challenge, and there is NO reason to practice it on untrained people - turns out that this kind of showing off is not at all what it's about. I get excited about landing a (light) punch on my trainer (a 2nd dan black belt in both Kickboxing and Kung Fu), and she totally celebrates my win with me. It turns out that martial arts aren't just the provision of angry men, there are lots of women and gentlemen, people who are more interested in teaching those behind them, meeting those at their level and learning from those above them.

I am sooo happy to have found kickboxing, and I've been inspired to start this journey and be here on nerd fitness because all I can think about is learning new techniques and ace-ing them, not hitting physical barriers, and doing multiple, longer sparring rounds but being able to think clearly instead of gasping for breath and just defending. It's giving me the drive to push myself harder.


Anyway, that's me. Hallo!




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3 hours ago, ~Ayla~ said:


Kickboxing has become a part of my identity and I can't imagine giving it up. It is SO different to what I expected, it isn't aggressive and violent, showy or mean. It's an amazing physical and mental challenge, and there is NO reason to practice it on untrained people - turns out that this kind of showing off is not at all what it's about. I get excited about landing a (light) punch on my trainer (a 2nd dan black belt in both Kickboxing and Kung Fu), and she totally celebrates my win with me. It turns out that martial arts aren't just the provision of angry men, there are lots of women and gentlemen, people who are more interested in teaching those behind them, meeting those at their level and learning from those above them.

I am sooo happy to have found kickboxing, and I've been inspired to start this journey and be here on nerd fitness because all I can think about is learning new techniques and ace-ing them, not hitting physical barriers, and doing multiple, longer sparring rounds but being able to think clearly instead of gasping for breath and just defending. It's giving me the drive to push myself harder.


Anyway, that's me. Hallo!





Congrats on landing a touch. 

One of the things I love about martial arts, is the sense of community. My training partners are my people. We go to dinner together, we tease, etc. When one of us hits a really awesome submission, the guy getting submitted is happy. He usually asks to see the set up and how it happened. 

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Thanks! I am a bit too shy to attend group classes but I think I will have to at some point, or my experience will end up stunted. Had a great session today, we call it 'the 12 days of Christmas': so you start with one punch each hand. Then two snap kicks each foot and one punch each hand. Then three punches, two snap kicks and one punch. and so on up to 12 kicks each leg, 11 punches each arm etc. Also learned spinning back fists today - whoop whoop! Sooo much fun but dear lord they don't half make you dizzy after a while! 

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4 hours ago, ~Ayla~ said:

Thanks! I am a bit too shy to attend group classes but I think I will have to at some point, or my experience will end up stunted. Had a great session today, we call it 'the 12 days of Christmas': so you start with one punch each hand. Then two snap kicks each foot and one punch each hand. Then three punches, two snap kicks and one punch. and so on up to 12 kicks each leg, 11 punches each arm etc. Also learned spinning back fists today - whoop whoop! Sooo much fun but dear lord they don't half make you dizzy after a while! 


Our classes are generally less than six people, so plenty of one on one work. I'd always recommend getting out there and mixing it up with a group class. One of the best things about Jiu Jitsu is that we highly encourage visiting other gyms and style and the sharing of techniques. When I studied Karate, there was a bit of a "keep to your own" mentality. You grow quite a bit when you expose yourself to other styles.


Ugh, Dizziness is the worst. I still get dizzy doing forward rolls in our lane drills. 

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On 1/3/2018 at 1:03 PM, Gredge said:

be more aggressive (I'm a lazy grappler, lol)


Same. We better work on that. CG Jiu-jitsu is mean, high-pressure, "ugly" jiu-jitsu. Our professor actually had a DVD titled Agressive BJJ.

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