My experiences Throughout My Martial Arts training

Hello, my name is Nina Maria Contreras, and this is a story of my experiences in martial arts training.

I do Arnis. I started in May 2019. Back then I really didn’t know anything about martial arts. Then I got enrolled in arnis classes with my father, and we started on the same week.

On my first few weeks in training I was incredibly lousy and I didn’t really have any efforts in my training. I get tired very easily, and after training I don’t have any motivation or energy to do anything else. Of course, my dad wasn’t very happy with my behavior because I didn’t really try to be better, on those first few weeks I thought I only enrolled in arnis training sessions because I thought that I was only forced to do so and I don’t have any other choice.

Then June came. First day of school, of course. I know that school isn’t part of the topic, but the bullies at my school played an incredibly big and important role in my journey throughout martial arts.

So, there were these bullies who not only love making fun of people that they know are weaker than them but they love stereotyping me and my gender (I am a girl).

Normally, girls and women are known by almost everyone to be the weaker gender. And of course, this escalated quickly in my school. The boys (not all of them, I have good guy friends) would make fun of us girls in PE class and keep telling us that we girls should just stay at home and clean the house, and that we women should just stay at the very bottom of the society and not aspire for more, and that we women are just subject to men. It may be true in relationships and especially marriage, but what if I don’t WANT to be ‘just a woman’? What if I could turn the tables and be the independent one for once?

At first, I didn’t really mind it because it won’t do any good to me and my esteem, but they started to do it more and more every day, as if my gender’s feelings don’t matter.

Then I got really mad. I went home every afternoon sweating with rage. I know that I shouldn’t mind those bullies, but of course, it started to hurt. All of their mean words and cold comments made me go nuts every single day I see their faces but it also motivated me to insert some work and effort in my training. No pain, no gain.

From then on, I got motivated and I got livelier in our arnis practices and training sessions, and I didn’t notice it, but everyone, my arnis classmates, parents, friends and teachers kept telling me I got better and better every week.

Then, soon enough, my white belt exam started. At first, I got really nervous because I thought it was going to be complicated, but it turned out that white belt exams were a lot easier than I thought. My master/teacher said that the black belt exams were the ones we should really get ready for. But, of course, that’s a long way still. I got promoted to white belt, and it was one of the best experiences and achievements I ever had.

Not only that my first belt boosted my esteem, but it also motivated me to keep up all my efforts in my training, and it helped big time.

A few months passed by, and then my yellow belt exam came next. I got promoted again, and by the time I was a yellow belt I motivated myself even more than ever before, and before I knew it, I never got as tired as I used to be in arnis training or any other sport and activity, and, not to boast, but I also developed some muscles on my arms 😉.

Then, Coronavirus pandemic has begun. It was hard, as there was quarantine and all future arnis plans and training sessions are cancelled and I was stuck as a yellow belt for almost the whole year (I was devastated as my Master had planned for our arnis group to go camping on a beach for a week but it got cancelled due to the pandemic ☹).

But then it had gotten slightly better on September as our arnis academy had decided to have arnis training again as long as we preserve the rules given for our safety, and also we are not allowed to have as much people in our training gym as we used to before, and we have to be more secretive and still have to maintain social distancing.

Throughout my training I have discovered a lot of things. I learned, physically, about basic strikes, basic disarming, and all of those things, and emotionally, for my well-being, I have learned that I can be anything I want to be, no matter what other people have to say or think. I guess a friend of mine was right, that I don’t need other people’s opinions of me to decide my destiny 😉.

This week I am having my green belt exam, and I am practicing hard 😊. Wish me luck!

These are all of the things I learned throughout my training:

-basic strikes (1-12 strikes)

-forms, or anyo (1-4)

-Sinawali (9 different kinds of Sinawali)

-basic blocks (1-6 blocks)

-Basic disarming (1-6 disarmings levels 1-3)

-classical strikes

-Tres Pasadas technique (three strikes put and done together)

– Singkuteros (6 classical strikes done together)

-basic rolling

– basic throwing

And this is the level of belts

Beginner (no belt)

White belt

Yellow belt

Green belt

Blue belt

Brown belt

Black belt (with ten degrees)

That is everything I have to cover, thank you for reading! 😊