From Black Belt to White Belt!
By Sarah Ebarhart
18 years ago I was the only female to have attained the rank of 2nd Dahn Black Belt in Choi Karate. At the height of my achievement I was in many local newspapers and on a personal level I was at the peak of my physical fitness. At the age of 16 I moved away from martial arts and became absorbed by mainstream goals such as further education and learning to drive.
A few years later I was involved in a bad car accident which left me with a permanent injury to my spine. I was fortunate that I had done martial arts for so many years, it meant my core muscles were strong and this helped reduce the damage to my spine in the impact. I had pain with walking and sitting and the medical professionals advised me that they didn't know how much I would improve from this state. I was pretty certain at this point that I would never be returning to martial arts.
Over a decade later I found myself a single mother of two beautiful daughters and I took the opportunity to enrol my eldest daughter in Kuk Sool Won. I sat in the viewing area, nursing my 2 month old baby grateful of the opportunity to sit down for an hour, I was still recovering from her emergency cesarean delivery. I watched my eldest daughter proudly as she enjoyed her first class and I reminisced over my younger days. In that moment I felt so far removed from those days of fitness and achievement...
Two years on and my eldest daughter is now a yellow belt. She has been an inspiration to me. I have watched many classes and demos and had a slow yearning growing within me to return to the world of Martial Arts. Aside from my physical limitations, my ability to become involved was hampered by the practicalities of being a mum trying to organise childcare. I was inspired seeing KSN Vicki Barker one of the Head Instructors participating in classes during her pregnancy and seeing her return to training swiftly after her daughter’s birth.
Last week I had the opportunity to book in for a trial class. I was so uplifted by the class, it inspired me to write about my experience. I am mindful that as a parent we regularly put our children first and do all that we can to help nurture and support them. We often overlook how we can nurture ourselves. In particular after having a baby our bodies don't look, feel or work the way they used to and that can have a detrimental effect on our confidence and self esteem.
I am writing hoping to inspire readers to step out of your comfort zone, dig deep and find that self belief. I can tell you first hand from my experience the class was accommodating and understanding, I was encouraged for the effort I could manage within my own limitations and I never felt self conscious. My mind and body was fired awake by a new type of engagement and I was left more energised even after the good work out! I am just at the start of my second Martial Arts journey, but I couldn't be more ready! I look forward to training my mind and body with the excellent instructors at Kuk Sool Won, to sharing a hobby with my eldest daughter and making new friends along the way.
Find out more about Kuk Sool Won and the Claygate Martial Arts Centre on 07973 173892, or at www.kswclaygate.co.uk.