“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” -Bruce Lee

“Tylor, you’re so fat!” “You will never be able to do a sit-up.” “Good luck running the mile at that weight.”

So many people out there, even kids, have the potential to destroy someone. Not necessarily physically, but mentally. After being bullied and hurt by so many of my peers (even teachers), I was completely in the mindset that I could never do anything athletic.

Those words still hurt today, but how I overcame it is an even better story. After being put on diets, put into athletic programs (like basketball, soccer, and volleyball), there was a realization in my mind that life would always be this way. My mind became consumed with the fact that I would always be slow, always be fat, and always be bullied for it.

My mom couldn’t take it anymore, so as she slapped the yellow pages onto the tableĀ and saw a karate ad for a free month. She brought me in, and right away I saw kids my age having fun. Even if they were as big as me, they were still moving.

For the first time in my life, I had teachers and instructors telling me “Move faster,” instead of usually hearing, “You’re too slow.” Every correction in my technique was positively instructed to be better, instead of being negatively forced to be on “standards.”

I remember my instructor sitting us down, and telling us stories to teach us how to be more confident and moral in our schools and at home. He told us personal stories of his own life, which no other adult in my life at that time has ever done.

I didn’t know it at the time, but now that I have grown up, I see the difference. I see people that will be my friends forever. I see a life that opened up before my eyes filled with opportunities. It was challenging, there were tears, but it only made me stronger.

When you can seek a sport, choose something that is going to make a difference in your life, something that challenges you. The community and the rewards after are worth so much more than the bruises and the sweat.

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Tylor-Anne Gardino

About the Author

, Head Instructor at Rockrimmon

A native of Colorado Springs, Head Instructor Tylor-Anne Owen, 2nd Degree Black Belt, has been training in the martial arts for over a decade.

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