Hi! My name is Dan, and I’m a nerd!
Welcome to our martial arts blog! I figured we’d start at the beginning…
“Who am I? You sure you wanna know?” – Peter Parker in Spider-Man
So, I grew up a small, skinny, smart kid who liked Star Wars and science class. In other words, “NEEEEERRRRRRD!”. I don’t mean today’s definition of a nerd either. Oh no! Today’s nerd might miss D&D night because he had football practice as opposed to because the football team used him to practice tackling. In my day it was much harder to straddle the social strata like that.
Now, in all fairness the bullying wasn’t too bad in grade school. A lot of name calling. Not being able to fit in or be a part of the group. Maybe the occasional bump or bruise. It didn’t really get bad till right before Jr. High all the way through my Junior year of high school.
I asked my parents to send me to a new school after 6th grade. That summer I went away to camp and got the crap beat out of me by a bully in my cabin. However, in the same week I made a discovery that would be my version of Peter Parker’s spider bite: Taekwondo!
One of the camp counselors was a black belt, and he taught classes while I was at camp. This was the first time in my life I can honestly say I was excited about something that took exercise. Before this my fav sports games were Techmo Bowl and Track & Field on the Nintendo. Really I was fed up with having my feelings (or body) hurt on a regular basis by others. I was tired of being afraid.
Camp finished and when when my dad picked me up the first words out of my mouth were, “I want to do Taekwondo!” I’m sure this was a serious surprise to my father who had put so much effort previously into trying to find a sport for me. I have to give him credit. My old man got me to try soccer, baseball, wrestling, & basketball. He definitely wanted me to be active. I’m sure neither he nor my mom thought it would take. That’s probably why they actually let me start. I imagine a conversation where my mom was terrified I’d get hurt, but that my dad convinced her that it was my own idea finally, and that really I’d probably fizzle out fairly quickly.
Well, here we are a full 30 years later. Not only did I not quit, but I got my black belt. Not in a single art either, but in several. Teaching martial arts became my dream early in high school, and I have done that now for 20 years. But my motivations are still very simple. I’m always looking for that next version of “me” that just needs a chance in order to learn how to believe in himself.
Thanks Mom & Dad