When an athlete has trained since childhood in activity he or she loves, there is very little that can hold him or her back. I know that firsthand. It required a high degree of physical and mental commitment to compete on the US National Team at an elite level. From winning multiple World Championships, to taking home golds at the Pan American Games, I believe there is no challenge too daunting to face. For me, however, it has never been about the medals or the titles, but rather the sense of personal fulfillment at knowing that I had given my best. Through hard work and perseverance one can accomplish their goals and achieve a high level of personal satisfaction that is more valuable than any material reward or public acclaim.
The enjoyment of karate training and competition has given me a passion for life and enabled me to travel and form strong friendships with people all over the world. Together, with FMA’s amazing staff, we have built an organization that is inclusive and welcoming of everyone, and has provided people with the opportunity to push past their limits and discover that champion within. By training and sweating with people of all different races, religions, cultures, and economic backgrounds, karate students form strong bonds of friendship and mutual respect. Karate breaks down all barriers and is truly a wonderful, life-changing experience.
Karate allows every person to participate at their own level in a comfortable and accepting environment. Although karate is highly anaerobic with very explosive movements, it is an activity that one can pick up at any stage of his or her life and practice for a lifetime. There are a wide range of physical benefits from martial arts training at every age, including improvement in flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, balance, and coordination. In a class environment, a good instructor keeps students motivated and encourages them to establish and achieve their goals, which often come in the way of rank advancement. At FMA, we have had many adults comment on the positive impact that karate has had on them and their families. For example, one father became emotional when he told us that he was able to ski with his family for the first time in many years, as karate training had helped him to lose weight and become healthy enough for it.
So what’s stopping you from doing karate? It may seem like something foreign or an activity you might not see yourself doing, but once you start, it becomes infectious. There are so many aspects of karate training that you can focus on. Some people love the history and philosophy of the art, while others enjoy the physical and mental strength that it builds. Some prefer the self-defense aspects and combative side of this martial art, while others simply want to share a fun activity with their friends and family. There is something for everybody in karate training, regardless of age. We have students who are three years old and students who are 73 – and they are equally excited when they accomplish their goal and achieve their next rank.