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I Tried Martial Arts And Achieved A Life Goal

Without a struggle, there can be no progress.

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It all started with kicking drills against red and black, round shaped kicking pads. I then moved on to sparring where I got punched in the neck. I couldn't breathe. I kept going and this ended up being one of the best days of my life. This was all a part of my black belt test at the beginning of my Sophomore year. Testing for my black belt has been a dream of mine and I'm proud that I finally got here.

It was the beginning of the school year and I was in eighth grade. My mom saw an ad from Championship Martial Arts. She asked, "hey, would you want to try this?" I ended up saying yes without truly knowing what I was getting myself into. I tried a class and it seemed like fun, so I continued to go to classes. It became a part of my weekly routine. It was a good stress reliever, so I enjoyed that it acted as a study break.

I didn't realize how long I had been going to classes because all of a sudden, my instructors came up and said, "Your black belt test is in a year from now. It's time to start reviewing and really preparing." I was nervous and excited at the same time. My goal would finally come true and I'm close to achieving it. I was very motivated to keep going and to try my best.

There was a lot of preparation to do for this test. It took a lot of effort and determination. I started going to more classes and practicing at home. To prepare, there were multiple parts to complete and turn in at least 2 weeks before the test. There was a fitness portion where I had to do 5,000 pushups, sit-ups, burpees, and squats. It was a lot, but it forced me to space it out and to be physically prepared. I actually procrastinated a bit and I ended up doing 100 burpees every day for a week. I definitely do not recommend. I needed letters of recommendation from a teacher and a school counselor, and I also wrote an essay explaining what a black belt means to me and why it is important.

It finally came the day of the test. It lasted 6 hours and it took a lot of focus and effort. The most important part of it was surviving the test and getting through it. It was difficult, but I had people alongside me, and we were all cheering each other on. In the end, I found out that I passed and I was so happy that all of this hard work paid off. I also had a marching band competition the next day, so that was a fun weekend.

Even though I knew most of these things going into it, this experience taught me how important they are. One that stands out is having the confidence and believing in yourself. With most tasks and goals, a majority part is mentally knowing that you can do it. It might be harder at the moment, thinking that it's impossible, but I promise it will all be worth it in the end.

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11 Reasons Why Hiking Should Become A Pivotal Part Of Your Life

It's good for the body and soul.

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I was lucky enough to grow up 10 minutes from a national park. This meant that some of my earliest memories were riding on my dad's shoulders through miles of beautiful trails. As a got older, the simple joy of enjoying the fresh air and getting away from the craziness of life that hiking offered only made me fall in love with it more. Now, whenever I have a rough day or just need a break from stress, the first thing that I want to do is hit the trails.

1. Fresh air

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Being cooped up inside for too long can take a toll on anyone. Being able to get out and breathe the fresh air and feel the sun shining can instantly boost anyone's mood!

2. Exercise

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Hiking is a great way to get those extra steps in, and many areas have different paths you can take depending on your fitness level.

3. No electronics

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I am so guilty of going on my phone way too much. Being outdoors allows a break from social media and time to focus on being in the moment and enjoying the amazing world we live in.

4. Scenery

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Hiking allows us to see some of the most gorgeous untouched pieces of nature. It is hard to not be amazed by how beautiful our earth is.

5. Vitamin D

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There is nothing that a little bit of sun can't cure. Being outside in the sun not only gives you a nice summer glow, but it can be so beneficial to our health! Vitamin D helps boost our immune system and gives us energy.

6. Way more fun than going to the gym

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Going to the gym and using the treadmill and other machines provide a workout but can become more of a chore than fun after a while. Hikes are an amazing workout that hardly feels like a chore. So, the next time you are getting tired of the same old routine at a smelly gym, think about taking a hike instead.

7. Stress reliever

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Being out in nature can be such a great break from the "real world."

8. Great way to spend time with friends

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The next time you don't know what to do with your friends, consider going on a hike! There are so many fun things to do, like bring a picnic or watch the sunset. It's a great way to switch up your typical routine of watching T.V. or Netflix.

9. Perfect way to exercise with dogs

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Instead of taking your dog around the neighborhood, switch it up and take them on a hike! It's a great workout for them, and oftentimes, a lot more enjoyable than the daily neighborhood route.

10.  It's free!

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What more needs to be said? Free fun is hard to come by nowadays, so going on a hike can help your bank account too!

11.  It's fun!

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What's not to love about the endless ways to enjoy hiking?

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