We all have different reasons why we began training, however what we share is the experience of stepping onto the mat for the first time. What follows is unique to our personal journey.
I began studying martial arts as a result of an injury. My doctor suggested training as part of my rehabilitation. Even as I earned my first few belts, I didn't really "get it."
It wasn't until one day someone sat next to me on the subway wearing their school's shirt representing an unfamiliar style. Despite being an introvert, I asked a few questions and a conversation started. Although strangers, we quickly shared similar experiences, struggles and realized that we totally "get" each other.
That conversation gave me a new context for both my training and the global martial arts community.
I do believe we share some fundamental similarities in addition to the experience of stepping onto that mat for the first time.
Remember it's your responsibility to be a mentor to younger belts, respect your teachers, and empower your community.
Also, please take comfort in knowing - I totally get you.