There’s a palpable energy of passion and determination.
The kickboxing student in their second class of the day, still hitting the heavy bag at full power. The white belt standing up after back-to-back difficult rolls, smiling through the struggle. The fighter on their fifth hard pad round, exhausted but cracking the pads with every strike.
What keeps them going?
Everyone has come here for a reason, and you’re ready to find yours.
On the surface, beginning your martial arts journey has plenty of obvious benefits:
- Getting a full-body, high-intensity workout
- Developing strength, explosive power, flexibility, and stamina
- Learning a new skill with endless opportunity for growth
- Finding confidence, mental resilience, and discipline
However, those are rarely the only reasons why we start our journey, and they’re rarely the reasons why we stay.
When I first walked through Easton’s doors, I was drowning and looking for a way back to the surface. I was navigating the grief of a recent traumatic death, exhausted with career burnout, and still trying to find my place after moving to Colorado.
With so much happening all at once, my anxiety and depression spiraled, and I struggled to feel whole. I needed an outlet, a purpose, and a reason to keep going.
After every kickboxing class, I left feeling accomplished with a huge smile on my face. No matter what was going on in my head, Easton became my place to leave it all behind. For that full hour, I worked hard, improved my technique little by little, and hit the bag with everything I had in me.
Every bruise on my shins, every burning muscle, and every time the bag swung just a little further than before – those became my rewards, my signs that I was growing, learning, and becoming stronger every time I stepped into the academy.
The strength, confidence, and progress I could see myself making became a huge motivation to keep showing up and working through the slumps. I was hooked.
Developing mental and physical strength was the start of finding myself again, but there was one thing that made me stay — the one thing that made Easton stand apart from every other gym I had tried: the people.
After a couple months of keeping to myself and being too shy to speak to anyone, one of my coaches made the effort to talk to me before and after every class. They asked me about myself, brought me out of my shell, and gave me the push I needed to put myself out there.
That’s when I knew I had found people that cared about my wellbeing, not just providing a good workout.
One night I found myself staying an extra two hours after a kickboxing class, talking to the coach and another student. We weren’t talking about Muay Thai or how awesome class was – we delved into the deeper things we usually kept hidden. We had found a safe space in each other to talk, cry, and feel heard: we shared the struggles we had overcome, the fears and insecurities we held, and the amazing qualities we saw in each other.
That’s when I knew Easton was more than just a gym, and the people were more than just teammates – they were becoming my family.
On a particularly difficult day, I stayed late to take out my frustrations on the bag. I was practicing my round kicks when a coach came up to me and offered some encouragement and pointers. Sure, I was impressed by how just a few quick tips could immediately make my kicks feel 10x stronger. But I was more stunned by the fact that this coach I didn’t even know yet had taken a little extra time to help me out.
That’s when I knew I was surrounded by people who had a real passion for martial arts, sharing their knowledge, and lifting others up.
After a grueling fight camp and my first Easton scrimmage, I had multiple students from other academies coming up to me and messaging me on Instagram to congratulate me. I already felt accomplished for overcoming my fears and making it through the entire process, but the outpouring of encouragement truly warmed my heart more than I can express.
That’s when I knew I was supported by not only the amazing humans at my home academy, but everyone in the Easton community as well.
Martial arts isn’t just about showing up, getting a good workout, and leaving.
While we’re all here to get better at our craft, we’re also here because of the people that continuously have our backs. The ones that pick us up when we’re struggling. The ones that push us to work harder and become better fighters and people. The ones that become family even after we punch each other in the face multiple times a week.
Find your Why
Everyone you train with will have their own stories and reasons.
Some people begin their journey to have something concrete to work towards — a new skill to build. Some people find martial arts after going through an experience that broke their confidence and spirit, wanting to feel safe and whole again.
Maybe you want to compete and fight. Maybe you’re just here because you enjoy the sport and want to keep practicing it for as long as you possibly can.
No matter your reasons and no matter your goals, at Easton you’ll have a whole team of supporters to keep you accountable, keep you going, and make the entire journey more fun.
Through martial arts, I found a sport I’m beyond passionate about, lifelong friends, strength, courage, support, discipline, self-confidence, myself, and a community I cherish. I even found my D&D group. It’s difficult to put all I’ve gained from martial arts into words, and I can only hope you experience this same loss of words throughout your journey.
So keep talking to your teammates and coaches. Learn their stories, passions, and motivations.
Keep showing up to class. Keep trying, failing, and learning. Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Share your doubts. Share your struggles. You’ll realize you aren’t alone.
And in the end, you’ll have gained so much more than just a cool new sport.