,I notice my breathing is still elevated, as I check my stance; one last time. Fatigued, but
determined, I slowly sway left–then right–ensuring my structure is steady and balanced. The
feeder is standing at the ready with the Focus Mitts pressed against her body. The increasing
anticipation isn’t helping my breathing steady. “OK! Jab, Cross, Jab 30 second sprints…” Guro
announces with a slight pause and then finishes his command. “…and it’s yours!”

My feeder holds us the combination (showing me the mitts) giving me solid targets. I
throw my jab with full concentration. I know we are building speed during sprints, but first and
foremost our punches need to be crisp, snap, and meet the middle of their targets. The jab
didn’t snap, however, it was strong and on its mark. Instantly, I follow-up with my cross; as
soon as my fist reaches its destination, I heard the ‘snap” I was waiting for. This sound instantly
shot up the adrenaline within me and quickened my pace. My arms burned, but each punch
thrown energized me. An annoying drip of sweat tickled my forehead as it worked its way
down from my hairline. Feeling its descending path reminded me to place my attention back to
the mitts. They aren’t named Focus Mitts for nothing! I again hear Guro’s voice “And…Time!”
Wow! That was an awesome round!

I rapidly tear off my gloves as I reach for a water bottle. We don’t have much time to
rehydrate, catch our breaths, or chat before we need to refocus on the next task. Every minute
counts. As the cooling water reaches the back of my throat, I hear Guro Jamie’s voice over my
pounding heartbeat. “OK! Make sure you all get a drink of water and then grab two sticks on
your way back.” Immediately, I set my bottle down, opened my duffel bag, and grabbed my
Kali sticks. The only thought in my mind…I absolutely love this stuff!

This journey has blessed me beyond words. Martial Arts, specifically Jeet Kune Do, Kali,
and Silat, has only been a part of my life for just over a year. The adventure began in the middle
of 2017. From the first class, I was on the mats and I was hooked (no pun intended). I finally
found a challenging, beautiful, and life-changing art that I am passionate about. Martial Arts
have radiated positives into every area of my existence: mentally, physically, and spiritually. I
notice increasing growth, focus, and strength with each passing week. Simply explaining what I
do or what Martial Arts means is like giving you a puzzle without any of the border pieces. I’d
like to begin by explaining how it FEELS: energizes, boosts confidence, increases coordination,
and mental awareness to our everyday surroundings. Guro Jamie brings history to life and
meaning to some history by weaving their lessons into each technique we are shown. Learning
the foreign words for our moves and their different uses is priceless to me. I hope you find my
journey inspiring. It is my honor to share it with you.

Tina Marshall