I’ve been practicing martial arts for almost 30 years now. When I think about that number, I am surprised at how long I’ve been doing this.
I remember my first proud moment was taking first place, both in forms as well as sparring, at a Tae Kwon Do tournament. I can’t remember what belt I was but I definitely remembered feeling ecstatic.
Almost 20 years later, another proud moment was when I finally earned my black belt in Filipino Martial Arts. I busted my ass for that. Not just during the multi-day promotion exam, but during all the years leading up to that moment. What made it even more special was that my brother Randy and my best friend Wilton also earned their black belts with me. It really was a wonderful evening. And when I told my parents later that evening, to see the look on their faces, that right there was the icing on the cake. I knew they were proud, especially my dad, who took Judo when he was younger. And as is customary in most Filipino households, they couldn’t wait to tell everyone they knew. Not to brag but because they were just so proud of their two boys.
Fast forward about 10 years from that day and yet another one of my proudest moments. This was the day that my instructor, Datu Rich Acosta, asked me to help teach our Wednesday night classes with him. And for those of you who don’t practice martial arts, that was a big deal. Actually let me take that back…
That was a HUGE deal!!!
To be able to teach with the person who helped get me to where I am in kali, arnis, eskrima was a big honor. Especially when I still think there is so much I have yet to learn, it definitely helped to validate what I already know. And knowing that my instructor had enough confidence and trust in me to teach what he has taught me to others, words can’t even fully describe that feeling. Suffice it to say…
It felt AWESOME!!!
So if you are to ask me today, “What is your proudest moment in martial arts?”
I will tell you this…
I have no one specific moment that is my proudest. I am proud and grateful for continuing to be able to study martial arts for as long as I’ve been doing it, both as a student and an instructor, with passion and humility. If anything, what I’m most proud of is my martial arts journey.
Martial arts is a lifelong pursuit to be filled with many amazing moments. Live it, love it, and enjoy it.