Last Friday, a 57 year old woman bring a roomful of Black Belts to tears.
Her name is Moe. She did NOT bring these Black Belts to tears by tossing them around the room, wrist-locking them or making them cry “Uncle!” She did it by sharing her heartfelt story on how she got started in the martial arts, how it has changed her life – and touched her heart.
She was kind enough to give me permission to share her story with all of the Z-family. It made our eyes mist when we heard it – I hope you enjoy it.
A Single Step into the Z-Ultimate Studio Leads Me on an Incredible Journey
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Confucius)
“This was a Confucius quote shared by my Sensei on my first day of group classes in the T.O. Z-Ultimate dojo. Little did I know at the time how this proverb would have such meaning in my life; nor did I have any idea how a single step could have such dramatic impact on my life….spiritually, physically and mentally.
I am 57 years young, decided to take a hiatus from a 30 + year career and was looking for balance in my life. I was looking for “more”, and although I could not pinpoint what the specific “more” was at the time, I knew that I wanted to find my “quintessential-self”. This was my goal , my end game so to speak, at least it started out that way. Not sure what I needed to do to get there but knew I had to take that single step to begin.
My journey began several months ago when I took my first step into the dojo. An opportunity afforded me with a 30-day trial promotion that the studio was offering at the time. By the second week of the promotional period, I was hooked!
In each class my Sensei reiterated the fact that each and every one of us has control over where we take the journey, constantly reminding us that by keeping our thoughts focused, our hearts open and engaged, the body’s strength, endurance, agility will follow. On that road to perfecting each new Form, DM, block, punch, kick, line drill, sparring technique and fitness exercise I learned, I felt a synergy evolving, a harmony between my thoughts, my heart and body.
I uncovered a treasure that had been hidden for quite some time deep down in my heart. The treasure had no monetary value however it was priceless to me. This treasure I uncovered was a sense of empowerment and exhilaration. I felt it and could see it in my fellow students and Senseis around me.
It was a thirst for and a drive towards excellence in the TOTAL human experience. Each encounter we shared together, each step we took together got us a little bit further in our own individual journeys. It did not matter where we were in the journey at any point in time, all that mattered was that we kept on moving, taking those steps with open hearts and focused minds and engage the body in the curriculum.
I had the humbling experience to be invited to test for my yellow belt. Although I now proudly tie the yellow belt around my waist, my white belt remains tucked honorably in my pink gear bag (a present from my husband on my 57th birthday!) reminding me of that first step I took. I will always treasure my white belt because it symbolizes the start of this very incredible journey I am on and whether that journey’s path becomes a thousand miles, ten thousand or more, it is a journey that began with a single step with this treasured white belt tied around my waist.
As the belt is exchanged for another at the milestones I reach, I will be most proud, not in its’ color, but very proud of the steps I took to have the honor of tying my next belt around me. Steps, that have enhanced my life spiritually (I am more aware of all that physically surrounds me and emotional and faithfully moves me), mentally (I have a focus and discipline that permeates everything I do in and outside the dojo) and physically (I started with a fitness level that was poor to begin with and I find I have continued to improve upon my agility, my endurance and my strength).
All of it and so much “more” began with Z-Ultimate offering me an opportunity by extending an open invitation on a trial basis and graciously handing me my gi and white belt. Open hands and hearts greeted me as I took my first step and bow at the dojo entrance several months ago and that greeting continues to embrace and guide me with each subsequent step I take into and within the dojo.
I have always thought that the best part of any journey I have taken in the past are the people I meet along the way, and in those engaging encounters, I learn a little bit more about myself. Although each of my fellow dojo students and Senseis have their own individual journeys, I feel each member of my newly found Community ,from white to black belt ranks, collectively celebrate each other’s milestones lending encouraging support with their open hearts .
The higher level of confidence that I have developed interacting with them side by side has empowered me, provided me with a network of friends and dojo acquaintances that have added value and has impacted my life as a whole. Each step I now take is more decisive, honorable, and respectful of myself and those around me, leading me down the path of becoming a better person (a better Wife, Mom and Friend) spiritually, mentally and physically.
On this journey I discovered the “more” I was looking for. I realized the “more” was not reaching my goal of finding my “quintessential-self”—- the “more” was each step I take and the footprint I leave along the way. There was no end game to the goal. It is a continuous journey striving for quintessence of my spirit, my mind and my body and infusing the harmony between them into each footprint I make, one step at a time.
Thank you for extending the karate open hand and the unconditional 30-day trial promotional opportunity to take that first step on a journey that enhances my life “more” and “more” each day. I am honored to be part of the Z-Ultimate Community.
Your Humble Student,
Maureen (Moe) Theobald
Z-Ultimate Thousand Oaks, California”
That story is just a small part of what self defense training can do for anyone who gives it a try.