The source of it all — how I started training in Martial Arts.
I didn't start training in kickboxing until I was 23. I'd dabbled in boxing, and I always wanted to do Judo as a kid (I was the definition of tomboy), but it's just something that never happened. I'd always been an angry little shit so thought it would be a good way for me to vent (I've learned a hell of a lot more about that since) and was intrigued by weapons and the way martial artists used them like another limb. I needed some of that!
As soon as I started I couldn't stop. I tried a few clubs and enjoyed them all but after my first session at Blackburn Martial Arts and Kickboxing Club I felt like I had found my place. The teaching just suited my preferred way of learning, the people were awesome and I kinda forgot everything else that was going on in my life as soon as I got to the door. It's now the place I go to leave everything else behind and just focus on what I love the most. I honestly believe it's the healthiest (physically and mentally) thing I have ever done. I have a lot to thank those guys for, that place really feels like home now.
My coach suggested to me and a friend that we should take up Kempo as we'd get to learn skills with weapons and bring a real attitude into our training. Once again — hooked. I got my white belt just after my first kickboxing grading so it's pretty intense for me to train in both disciplines but I love it. Putting on the black gi and perfecting a kata makes you feel badass. I'm now a lover of both martial arts — I feel like I can use intense power and endurance in kickboxing, but then Kempo really challenges your mind and technique.
It's true that martial arts gives you discipline and focus. I feel like my life has changed a hell of a lot since I started training, and I'm kinda proud of that. Whichever channel you prefer to go down doesn't matter, it's the emotion and the effort you put into it that makes shit happen.
Photography — Scott Cross