I began training martial arts in 2004. My mother signed me up for a 6-week trial, and we both believed I wouldn’t be too interested. After a week, I fell in love! I started with the style of Choi Kwang Do, where I achieved my 1st degree black belt. During this time, I joined the studio’s demonstration team and enjoyed performing at various festivals and ceremonies while also becoming a role model for other students.
After some time, my master instructor decided to break away from the federation and develop his own style of mixed martial arts – Hup Kwon Do. In this style, we learned various styles of self-defense, including takedowns, ground fighting grappling, applications of all other styles, etc., in addition to traditional punching and kicking. Once I achieved my 2nd degree black belt in Hup Kwon Do, I began teaching both children and adults, and led the demonstration team with the master instructor and another black belt instructor.
After I turned eighteen, I tried out various styles, including: Naama Karate, Parkour, Wing Chun, Capoeira, and Taekwondo Jidokwan. In January 2016, I achieved my 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo Jidokwan. In 2017, I had the honor to meet Master Jabari and began learning the style of Hekima. Since then, I have began teaching self-defense classes and leading volunteer opportunities once a month for JMAA.
In over 13 years of training, teaching, performing, and trying out the several styles of martial arts, I learned not only self-defense techniques, but also fundamentals of martial arts that are very important for all aspects of life. I learned how to respect myself, my elders and superiors, and everyone around me. I learned the importance of self-discipline while encouraging others to improve. I learned the importance of teamwork, perseverance, and integrity, and enforced it among my students. I even gained self-confidence through conducting tests, classes, and demonstrations. The list goes on! I truly thank God and my family for all that I have learned and accomplished. Without them, I would have and be nothing. I am eager to see what else is in store for me and my fellow martial artists.
Update: 4th Degree Black Belt awarded August 2019.