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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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4 Reasons To Start Golfing If You Don't Already

Golf may just be the best sport.

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Growing up in a golf-loving family, I've always been exposed to the sport and everything it encompasses. However, even if you've never been interested in golf before, it's never too late to give it a shot - literally.

And no, I'm not just talking about Top Golf. But it's a start. If you live in Orlando, I would recommend Drive Shack, since it's closer to the actual game of golf.

Here are four reasons you should book a tee time right now.

1. It's therapeutic.

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Some sports can easily become high-stress and high-anxiety inducing hobbies. However, since golf is more of a mental game than a physical game, it can actually be very relaxing and therapeutic. I personally love to go hit some balls when I'm having a bad day or feeling overwhelmed. Something about the calming silence and bright greens immediately lift my spirits.

2. It's a lifetime sport.

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Golf is one of the few sports you can play from childhood until your elder years. That's why falling in love with the game can keep you happy and healthy throughout your entire life. I recommend starting early so that you can build up your skill set and show up all of your friends when you join one of those senior leagues down the road.

3. It may help you in business situations.

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It's very common for business professionals to join each other for a round of golf. Something about the sport makes it a staple for business meetings for those who are tired of fancy dinners. Being good at golf may be that one thing that makes you stand out during a business negotiation.

4. It sharpens your focus.

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As I stated before, golf is a mental game. It takes a lot of focus and determination to master. Playing a lot of golf has definitely helped me sharpen my focus, especially when it comes to courses that facilitate a lot of target golf. There's nothing better than playing a sport that strengthens you both mentally and physically.

Not doing anything? Bored at home? Finished your Netflix series? Go book a tee time at a local course right now!

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