How Training Martial Arts Changed My Life

How Training Martial Arts Changed My Life

I train to the limit so that I do not have to push myself in the street.
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Today I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but I have only joined this sport recently. I wish I had joined earlier. This is because going through school with students from the bad part of town makes knowing self-defense a necessity. If I had known in middle school what I know now about standing up for myself and self-defense, I would not have gotten jumped and had my arm broken. In high school, I could have put up with the guys who called me names and threatened me. I could have taken care of myself not because I know a few chokes and leg sweeps, but I would take care of myself because the sport I train in teaches me how to be comfortable when situations are bad and how to get out of them.

I was always an athlete and a smart kid growing up. I still love to be active and play just as much as I did when I was young. Back then, I was smaller than the other students, and my parents always liked to say that I was different or that I thought outside of the box. This made me an easy target for bullies because I stood out.

To remedy this after some hard run-ins with bullies in middle and high school, I started to learn Kung Fu. It was a great experience for me because I started to learn how to discipline myself by using self-defense. I trained every week and the benefits were apparent. My posture got better, I was more confident in social situations, and I became stronger. Kung Fu became a passion, but it lacked the intensity that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught me as an adult.

After completing two years of Kung Fu and time spent as a student-athlete in community college, I was getting out of shape and looking for something to keep me feeling good. My grades were always better when I worked out and I thought more clearly when writing a paper or doing research. When a friend invited me to try a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, I took him up on that offer thinking that it would be a great way for me to discipline myself and stay in shape. When I got to the class, I thought the gym looked like martial art Disneyland.

I was so impressed with all of the space and exercise equipment that I had high hopes for the workout. After practicing Jiu-Jitsu for the first time, I knew that I was onto something great. Jiu Jitsu puts an opponent right across from you with the goal of making one another tap out. As a college athlete who possessed a little martial arts experience, I took to the challenge well and gave all of my opponents a fair fight. Even if I won by making my opponent tap out or lost by tapping out, I would have a good time putting up a fight. Knowing that I loved the sport for what it was, I knew I could stick with Jiu Jitsu and grow with my training.

As of today, I have been in Jiu Jitsu for almost seven months. In those seven months, I have trained up to six days a week. I also attended my first competition where I beat a few opponents and managed to take second place after losing to a teammate. This Jiu-Jitsu competition was the hardest sporting event that I have ever competed in, and that is after a few years as a college long distance runner. I love training, competing, and growing in Jiu Jitsu. I will win and lose, but more experienced people are there for me to challenge and to make the adversity worth the struggle. I am going to continue training until I am the best possible person I can be.

After all of this combat training, I have never been in a real fight. I am still the same person at heart as I was in middle school, but I do not have to face the same discomfort on campus or living my everyday life. The bullies that plagued me daily because I was an easy target will look at the man I have become and see someone who is confident in himself and who can take care of himself when put into a dangerous position.

Through training in combat sports, I put myself through struggles against good people trying to become better so that I could go out into real life and take care of the people who try and make my life worse. I have dealt with the insults and have overcome the pain of bullying and I will not go back. Now bullies look at me and tell me how arrogant I am, but they cannot hurt me. I would much rather have someone think they can insult me than think they can jump me.I work hard on becoming the best version of myself. Not everyone may like me, but I like me and I love the sport I do. That allows me to go to bed at night sore and sleep well with a smile on my face.

Cover Image Credit: Robert Breuer

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30 Things I Would Rather Do Than Watch The Patriots Win Another Super Bowl

Because no one like the Patriots except the Patriots.
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The Patriots are definitely one of those teams that everyone loves to hate (myself included as a Steelers fan). With multiple past cheating scandals, it’s surprising that there isn’t more attention brought to the speculation that the refs are in their pocket. Somehow the rules are always in their favor just when you think they are going to lose. We are all tired of seeing the Patriots win in ways that only seem possible by ritual sacrifices and dirty politics. I don't even need to be a fan of who they're playing — here are 30 things I would rather do than see the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl this year.

1. Get a Brazilian bikini wax

2. Be allergic to the sun

3. Give up chocolate for the rest of my life

4. Get my wisdom teeth pulled… without anesthetic

5. Have to speak in front of a class in my underwear

6. Put my hand in a deep fryer

7. Have a bloody nose every day for the rest of my life

8. Use my first ever email address (saigepoo@aol.com)

9. Never be able to text again

10. Have to walk to class in the rain every day

11. Lose my wallet

12. Wait in line at the DMV

13. Be stuck in high school forever

14. Shave my head

15. Go without power for a week

16. Fall off a cliff

17. Get hit by a car

18. Run an ultramarathon

19. Never pet another dog

20. Walk on legos

21. Go on a juice cleanse

22. Have my car break down on the interstate

23. Bite my tongue over and over

24. Get a sunburn on my butt

25. Have to speak without using E’s

26. Be chased by a clown

27. Get braces... again

28. Never eat at Taco Bell again

29. Drop my phone in the toilet

30. Throw myself down a flight of stairs

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Most Underrated Sports People Should Consider Watching

The common five sports that are underrated.

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There are sports that get more attention than others. That is because of the amount emphasis that people put on particular sports. There are some sports that are underrated because some people don't understand the sports or they think that it is just boring. Today I am going to address some of the things that people say about the common five sports that I think are underrated.

1. Golf

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Golf is so underrated as a sport. I have heard all kinds of reasons why people don't watch golf. They say it's boring and hard to watch, it takes too long for a round to be played, and no one can watch golf for 3 hours. As a person who watches a lot of golf, I can offer some insight into the sport.

The people who say golf is boring I have found don't know about golf. They don't understand the scoring or they don't know a lot of the golfers. It is easier to find a golfer or golfers and follow them. I found it easier to watch once I found golfers (86 to be exact) to follow and watch.

2. Racing

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There are many forms of racing; NASCAR, INDYCAR, IMSA, F1, etc. If a person really understood and looked there is a type of racing for everyone. If you like a variety of racing or racing tracks than INDYCAR is the type of racing for you. If you like road courses and street courses than F1 and IMSA is the racing for you. If you like motorcycles, guess what Moto GP is the racing for you. It is an intense and exciting form of racing using motorcycles. There is also supercross which is also as cool as Moto GP.

I know that people believe that racing is too long but if you think about it all sports are over 2 hours longs (I.e., football and basketball). Once you find a type of racing that you like or find interesting it is easier to watch racing. The time does not mean anything because if you think about it all sports are long. If you use they go round in circles all day, well basketball and football run up and down a court or field all day. It is the same amount of strategy and mental preparedness that goes into racing like any other sport.

3. Hockey

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Yes, hockey. Unfortunately and fortunately it has to compete with football and basketball. Not just professional football and basketball, but also college basketball and football. Hockey is another sport that can be long. If you don't live in the big cities than it gets hard for the hockey teams to compete.

Hockey is a fun sport because of the exciting play and the rivalries in hockey. There are a lot of rivalries from the Original Six to division/conference rivalries.

There is not only ice hockey, but also field hockey. Field hockey does not get enough recognition because people commonly confuse it with lacrosse. Its nothing like lacrosse, it more like ice hockey in a sense that there is a good amount of body contact in field hockey as well.

4. Baseball

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Baseball takes TOO LONG!!! But baseball is action packed and has great rivalries. As a person who grew up in Connecticut, I know rivalry. The rivalries within New York and the rivalry with Boston. As a person who had two older brothers who played baseball, it has been my whole life. I can honestly say that baseball can be fun and interesting. You have learned about the sport and pick a team, and once you do that you will enjoy it.

5. Archery

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I know what everyone thinks when they hear archery, summer camp. But as a competitive sport, it is actually really fun. From the longbow to the compound and recurve bow, the sport, which you learn how to play, is really fun and entertaining. The scoring and the technique of the sport is pretty self-explanatory.


There are a ton of sports that are underrated, but these are the five common ones that I hear people talk about. People do not watch these sports because they do not understand the sport or they are not aware of the most popular people in sports.

I know when I first started watching and following these five sports I looked up with are the most popular people in that particular sport. I found the team or player that I liked in each of these sports and fell in love with the sport. I am a person who loves all sports (I have to in order to fit into my family), it just these sports get a bad rep and I wanted to address it.

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