I don't remember ever making conscious choices to train martial arts when I was growing up. It was just something that my family did. I cannot remember a time that I was not training martial arts, or that my older brother Nick wasn't training, or that either of my parents weren't training. I come from a family of martial artists. When it is something you have always known, it is part of who you are, and to not train makes you feel like something is missing. And it is! It wasn't until high school that I started to really ask myself why I was training. Questions about my future led me more and more to meditate on my motive to keep training.
What are you going to do when you graduate high school? What are you going to major in? What are you going to do when you graduate college? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be?
Thousands and thousands of kids just graduated high school last month and are being asked the above questions over and over again. The worst part is that most of them don't know and this will stress them out. I didn't know either.
But one of the first times I remember realizing how important training and teaching martial arts were to me was when I was a sophomore in high school. My brother and I were both on the wrestling team and there were many nights that I had to miss training at the dojo for wrestling practice or meets. This really used to bother me. I hated the feeling of not being around the academy when things were going on. So at the beginning of my Junior year of high school, I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I told my wrestling coach that I wasn't going to wrestle for the high school anymore so that I could dedicate my time to the academy.
Over the next couple of years of high school (and throughout college), I came to the realization that I really enjoyed teaching martial arts. I realized that I was making an impact on people's lives. All sorts of people! From the 4 year old Lil' Dragons up to the grown men and women with successful careers. I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And I've never looked back.