Tash P - Junior Black Belt

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When I was 6 years old my father, invited myself, and my two best friends to begin karate lessons. I never really saw myself as having much of a choice as he was not only my dad but also my soon to be instructor. My dad has been training in the martial arts for 40 years and I wanted to do the best I could to make him proud.

I’ve never understood how someone could hurt someone else. Even to this day I still ask what could make a person want to do that.  I knew that Karate wasn’t and shouldn’t be used to hurt people. I especially learned that Kenpo is intended to stop people from hurting us. My dad would go on to tell me that the best self defense technique in the world is a smile, a handshake and a sincere “I’m sorry”. Over time I would come to understand this concept more fully.

When I was 11 years old, I found a love for musical theatre. Ironically, I probably wouldn’t have found that love without the help of Kenpo. I remember going down to Melbourne for a Kenpo Tournament and we had a night to spare. That night my life changed.  After being bullied severely throughout most of my schooling life, seeing the musical Wicked changed me in many, many ways.

I stopped just singing for fun and I found a purpose to it. I now sing because it is my life, I took up dancing lessons and acting lessons and I am a proud member of Harvest Rain, which is Queensland’s premier Musical Theatre Company. I dream of performing on Broadway, before I reach the golden ages.

Since that night, I have seen Wicked 4 times. I have seen every musical I could get my hands on, it is a hunger and a thirst that I have to fulfil, a true addiction. Here was my very first life lesson – to be truly successful in life you first much know what you want and then you have to devise a plan. My dad always told us that a dream without a plan is just a wish.

I found my passion right when I needed something to dream about, so I advise people that are thinking of being a part of our Kenpo family to stick to what you love. If you don’t “feel” Kenpo, then it is okay to search for your dreams elsewhere. I will say that it has really helped with my confidence, so if you’re struggling with social situations then definitely join up. As a performer, Kenpo has really helped with my co-ordination and commitment. I tell myself every time I fall behind in a dance class, “you did Kenpo, you’ve got this.”

Kenpo has provided me with opportunities to travel the world and experience different, cultures and customs. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to Disneyland – twice - once to compete as a brown belt where I won 1st place for forms and 2nd place for both self defense techniques and sets. The second time I was a junior black belt official and role model where I helped our new, first-time competitors feel relaxed and confident.

Whilst in the USA I was able to visit Las Vegas, New York and Hawaii. I’ve been to New Zealand to attend a training camp, and of course I have competed at home in Australia many times in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.  The values of positive attitude and commitment, respect and consideration I learned from my ten years of Kenpo training was also instrumental in helping me gain my first part-time job.

Kenpo has also made me feel safe; I know that I am capable of defending myself if I ever need to.

Some things I may have forgotten, but muscle memory is an excellent tool to have. To date, earning my black belt has been the biggest accomplishment of my short life but I know that Kenpo has given me a foundation for great success in the future.

I am currently working hard to satisfactorily complete my Year 12 studies (2013) to gain admission into the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts so that I can fulfil my dream of a career in Musical Theatre. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you on Broadway one day. 

I will leave you with this; live through your passion, and if Kenpo can help you succeed then go for it. Just remember to be who you are, and people will love you regardless.