MYMARTIAL ARTS JOURNEYS AROUND THE US
martial arts, and others participated in it themselves when they were younger. Having the chance to connect with people all around the country through martial arts, both in and out of the tournament, was one of the best parts of these road trips. After the competition, driving back home was just as exciting as the journey there. We’d swap stories, cheer each other on for our victories, and comfort each other in our losses. Sharing those experiences always made everyone feel good about
Throughout my middle and high school years, I would travel to martial arts tournaments around the United States every three months or so. I loved all the experiences I had and the people I met on the road. The tournaments offered a chance to reunite with my friends, meet new people, challenge myself, and have fun. I remember visiting some beautiful places, but it was my friends who made the trips so memorable. This was before cell phones and texting, so my friends and I had to occupy ourselves on the road with your typical road trip games. We played the ABC game, bingo, and car trivia, where we would write questions down on a piece of paper and hold them up to the windows for the other cars to see. Whenever we found ourselves at a hotel or pit stop, my friends and I would practice martial arts. Sometimes we’d be in a parking lot or a ballroom at the hotel. Our parents would ask the hotel staff first, and they were always more than happy to let us practice for a few minutes. Of course, people would ask what we were doing and give us an odd look or two, but we didn’t mind. Having people watch helped us build confidence. It doesn’t matter where we were or who was watching — we had a mission to do and needed the practice to accomplish it. Additionally, when we told people we were practicing for a martial arts competition, they would light up. Some had relatives who did
the competition because we had each other’s backs no matter what. Even though martial arts is an individual sport, we don’t practice in a vacuum; we’re all part of an encouraging and supportive community.
Traveling to those martial arts competitions was a positive
and influential part of my life. Win or lose, the moments I experienced will last me a lifetime, and I haven’t regretted one moment of it. – Amanda Olson
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