How Martial Arts Changed My Life

My Personal Story of Finding Inner and Outer Strength in Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiujitsu

By : Jessie Zethraus, Co-host of The Family Burrito Podcast

Jessie at her marital arts gym

Seeing Things Differently…

One of the things that made me start this particular gym (High Altitude Martial Arts) was because the lockdowns were lifted here in Colorado June of 2020. I ended up seeing things differently. I wanted to actually learn how to fight in a way that taught me something about myself. For example, when I do make it to sparring, I am humbled SUPER quick. Which is great for someone with anger issues like mine.

I ended up googling a kickboxing gym near me because the cardio kickboxing gym near me was shut down for good, thanks Covid-19. I started looking at HAMA’s Instagram and noticed they reopened their gym on my actual birthday, June 10th. If anyone knows me they know I am into birthdays and numbers.

So I scheduled an appointment to go up there and check it out…..

My First Day…

On my first day I thought I was going to THROW UP after the warm up. Before this, I thought I was in somewhat good shape after cardio kicking boxing for about 8 months or so. I even bought a punching bag during the lockdown. Nope, I wasn’t in “fighters” shape… not even a little. So I was humbled day one just because of the feeling of wanting to throw up in a 15 minute warmup. I even almost made it an excuse not to go back! I know, how freaking lame is that?

It’s now been almost 2 years since I started that gym and I can spar without dying in the corner and I can roll (like sparring but a BJJ term) and it’s become one of my most favorite martial arts to practice. If you haven’t done BJJ do it… seriously life changing!

What I have learned about Myself…

I’ve learned a lot about myself because of this sport. I’m so beyond grateful that I didn’t let my excuses win and just kept pushing harder. I knew I was capable of doing more than just showing up to planet fitness 3 days a week. I literally had to get my ass whipped into shape. I’ve been “chubby” or “overweight” pretty much since I was 13-14 years old. I worked out here and there in high school but not as much as I really should have with the amount of fast food I was being fed. So, let’s just say I’m used to being the “fat girl”. I’m still technically overweight but I can bench press 130 pounds

So, it’s really about the fact that I want to be strong and capable of lifting something without a man’s help. Having applicable strength if you will. So on top of martial arts I also lift weights for about 1-2 hours every other day. I just have high expectations for myself and my physical body. Not trying to prove anything to anybody but myself… but damn it feels good when a man at the gym is looking at me like “Did you just lift that”? 

Following My First Instinct…

Anyway, I know I’m no amazing athlete but I sure do appreciate my body being so capable. It makes me a happier person as well. When someone says their sad or depressed. One of the first things I suggest is to just workout. Get that body moving and you’ll feel so amazing. I’ve noticed when I follow my first instinct in sparring I’m usually going to land a good kick or punch. Same goes for life, if I just follow my first instinct then most things should work out. Haha Get it?

Much Love, Jessie

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