I am a 4th Dan Master Instructor and co-owner of Mercer Island Martial Arts.
People often ask me, “What got you into this?”.
Without sounding trite, the main reason why I teach martial arts, is to help people.
Let me tell you the longer story:
My mom was very young only 19 years old. My mom ended up beating the odds and putting herself through medical school. She is now a very successful doctor.
I guess you could say that I find my inspiration through her, as she is one of my heroes, but it’s not only her that I draw upon it is also my experiences throughout my life that have made me always want to help people.
I started my college career determined that I was going to become a counselor or a psychiatrist. After getting out of college I had plans of possibly continuing my education in that direction or possibly going a different direction and getting a second bachelors degree in another field. I ended up getting a job in a nursing home working as a recreation assistant. At the same time I started taking martial arts.
I had no idea that my job at the “old folks home” would actually make a difference in peoples lives. At first I thought it would be running bingo games and wheeling old people around. I thought it would be a great temporary job until I got on my feet and was ready to go back to school. What I found was very different.
I had a really great boss and mentor who showed me the ropes of my job required me to continue my education in that field and pushed me to go further. I learned about brain function and the role recreation plays in dementia, mobility and quality of life. With the help of my new boss I went on to get my certification in the field.
I eventually “out grew” my position as the assistant and my boss encouraged me to move on to a director position. Being 27 and eager to move up in my career I applied for jobs as a recreation director and eventually landed one. What I found was that my new job was vastly different from my old one. I had paperwork up to my eye balls and was rarely able to interact with the residents.
My new boss didn’t give much credence to the recreation department and gave us very little budget to work with. At first, these things didn’t slow me down. I was after all that 27 year old eager beaver and thought I could change the world. Meanwhile I was starting to come into my own with my martial arts training. I say that here because it really helped me stand up to my new boss about things like the budget and getting my department at least a little more attention then it had received in the past.
Being in my 20‘s and looking very young it was often hard for me to be taken seriously by my bosses and my martial arts training helped me be able to stand up for what I wanted. It really helped me not only become more self confident, but also helped me reduce my stress levels as this new job was becoming more and more stressful.
I fought the good fight with my new job, however, the new nursing home I worked for did not have the same aspirations as I did and eventually I found myself becoming more and more discouraged and unable to help this population. My only relief was that at the end of the day I could go and workout hard at my martial arts school as well as teach others a few times per week.
I was finding that same feeling that I had when I started my job as a recreation assistant. I was finding that this particular environment was so beneficial not only to myself but also to people of ages. From the 10 year old kid who was being bullied at school who was finally able to stand up for him self, to the 60 year old woman who felt young for the first time in her life, and actually had mobility again.
Somewhere along the line it was like a bell went off in my head. This is it. This is the career path for me. It has all aspects of what I love to to do. Working out, helping people, and allowing myself to grow as well. I thought to myself, I have finally found my niche. This was perfect for me, a job that I could workout in and really make a difference in peoples’ lives.