Bella Walston

 I vividly remember, an eleven year old me walking into NEXTStep Martial Arts studio.I cautiously walked in with horrible posture. I was immediately greeted by Master Jay, ever so charismatically. Intimidated by the welcoming atmosphere, I stayed completely silent as my mother introduced herself and me. I am not sure if I even spoke more than ten words to Master Jay at that point. I do remember telling my mother that I definitely wanted to try it. I realize now, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

        I started off going through many, many classes as the shy, timid girl I was. This continued for several months. Eventually I realized how much I loved being at the studio. When I became a blue belt, I was determined to continue with martial arts.

     As I approached higher levels of training, I was becoming more and more comfortable with the people surrounding me. I was coming out of my safe, little, quiet shell more and more everyday. I loved coming to the studio as much as I could. I was absolutely in love with the fact that I knew I could go there and immediately be completely surrounded by positive energy. I got the point where I was packing as many classes as I could into one day. I was over-working myself an incredible amount everyday, but I absolutely loved it.

     This continued through the first few months after I became a red senior. During this time I became very ill. I was not able to come to the studio, and I was missing weeks of school at a time. After many doctors appointments, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. It threw me down a well or two, and as soon as I climbed to the top again, it placed that one stone in front of me that I tripped on as it sent me falling back down to the bottom of the well. Not being surrounded by the positive energy that kept me happy, I lost my positivity.

     Finally, after many tries, the doctors put me on the right medications that decreased my symptoms an astonishing amount. I was able to get back on my feet after this huge motivation boost. I jumped right back into my training at the studio. I was there everyday again.

     Now, here I am preparing to take the test I never though to could pass three years ago. I like to think I have grown a lot as a martial artist, and a person. I have become much more open about myself. My confidence levels have advanced so much. Now, I cannot imagine who I would be without martial arts. I cannot imagine who I would be without the people who have supported me all this time. I cannot imagine who I would be without the knowledge I have gained through me journey at NEXTStep.

     It is extraordinarily easy to say that becoming a martial artist at NEXTStep Martial Arts was absolutely the best decision I have ever made.


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