Number 29 –
What are your hopes and dreams for your future? Why did you stop competing in martial arts & rock climbing?
The original questions was too similar to the “5, 10 , 15 year goals” one that I’ve decided to change it to a question that I get repeatedly, mostly from people who knew me while I competed in martial arts or who were my rock climbing buddies (belay partners, etc).
I’ll tackle the easier one first – rock climbing. I’ve been rock climbing forever, I love being on a slab of granite 80+ ft up. It’s a great workout, it’s challenging, and it takes place outside with fresh air and hopefully mountains. My love for rock climbing led me to jobs like being a Ropes Course Instructor, being part of a High Altitude Search & Rescue Team in CA and in CO, and teaching Wilderness Survival courses & rock climbing to other people. Needless to say, being in the woods is one of my most favorite things. I loved climbing so much that I quickly went from being a novice to climbing 5.12 rated routes with overhangs and the like. I truly love climbing, even when I was often at odds with my climbing buddies in the way we saw the world. You don’t meet too many climbers who are Christians, we’ll just say that. I never got into any arguments or anything, but I would not go to Burning Man, nor would I blame the world’s problems on global warming and human waste (I instead blame it on sin). My climbing circles ranged from newbies to world-renowned, hard-core climbers with high accomplishments.
By the time I met Paul, I was either rock climbing or bagging 14ers (summiting peaks over 14,000 ft in elevation) on a weekly basis. I was fit and enjoyed all the time I could get out of town to climb. Paul is afraid of heights, and while I would still climb occasionally after we met, that got less and less as we spent more and more time together. I’m not going to make him go climbing with me if he has a genuine fear of heights – that would be terrible. Shortly thereafter I found that I rarely climbed anymore, it was replaced by all our hiking together, camping & kayaking – things where we stayed on the ground so to speak. And the final nail in the climbing coffin was when we got engaged, then married and finally decided to move to NE. Having all this climbing gear that I barely used anymore and looking to move, I decided to sell it all. I mourned that loss greatly actually, I still miss my gear. But I love my husband and my marriage and I wouldn’t trade the decision to give up a hobby so I could pursue a relationship with such a great man of God. I’m still up for climbing whenever the opportunity presents itself but it is no longer a regular hobby by any means.
Secondly, martial arts. On average it takes 2.5 years to attain a black belt from beginning. There are also “degrees” (sometimes called “dans”) of black belts. I started karate when I was about 6 or 7, we have a few old photos of Katie & I doing katas somewhere. An old friend of mine named Sean Sandick, sadly he committed suicide in 2001, helped me get into it more. I received multiple levels of black belts while I participated and competed: 3rd dan black belt in Taekwondo, 3rd dan in Aikido, and 4th degree in Kenpo. Through college and in CA is when my interest peaked and I was competing somewhat regularly, I even went to South Korea for a competition in 2001 where I broke my ankle. That was my last competition though I still trained and practiced for several years after that.
Surprisingly, I was asked so many times by other Christians how I could participate in such a “violent” sport. I never saw a problem with doing martial arts and I still don’t because it is not “violent” and in no way does it “condone violence”. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Martial arts teaches that we need to be at peace with everyone. The Bible also teaches this (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). True, martial arts teaches self-defense skills in various forms, I’ll give you that. I don’t recall ever seeing bad sportsmanship while on the mat. Martial arts teaches discipline and respect for others – there was never a sparring incident where people were being violent toward each other. In fact, most often we helped each other up after receiving points and went out for dinners after the tournaments. Martial arts is not the problem. This, however, is not why I quit doing it. I quit martial arts because I realized that I needed to focus my pursuits. I was doing missions and other work, as well as hobbies and bible studies and other ministry that I may have been “good” at a lot of things, but I was not “great” at anything. I felt that I needed to narrow my focus and do things that helped me gain skills that I needed for mission work since that was what I most wanted to do. That’s it, super simple. I wanted to pursue other interests.
My hobbies have shifted greatly over the years. Instead of taking risks and getting scraped up, I’m now enjoying the search for greater culinary skills (cooking), learning to hone skills in apprehending memories (photography), and chasing two adorable & infuriating rascals (parenting). We do still like to go camping and hiking as a family whenever we can though.
Tomorrow is the last one, #30 – List 10 things you hope to be remembered for.
Would you like to participate in the “30 Things” series?
There is a link party on the index page of this series, you can add your link at any time this month. I would truly enjoy reading about you!