Case Study: Maria
I arrived at AMA as a complete novice in martial arts. I had been very curious about karate and the philosophies connected to different types of martial arts for as long as I can remember but had never been introduced to them personally by anyone. Martial arts can sometimes, unfortunately, seem too vast, complicated, and even intimidating to some people and perhaps that’s why some, although interested, may never step foot into a dojo. Well, from my first phone call to AMA, asking questions about classes and how I could possibly start learning about self defense and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to my first in-person meeting with Ken Akiyama, until now, I have been constantly, without fault, impressed by the warmth, cordiality, helpfulness, and atmosphere of respect, which I have experienced as a student and member.
My first class with Ken was relaxed and straightforward; he explained things to me in a very down-to earth-manner, patiently listening to my requests for information and answering my numerous questions. Trying new movements and the physical activity involved during my first few lessons was the complete opposite of being intimidating – Ken’s way of communicating and teaching is compassionate and kind, with the focus on learning correctly and at the student’s pace. It felt like my introduction to martial arts was tailored to me, and the careful attention I received then when I first started lessons, I still receive now, as a student very much dedicated to advancing my study of both KAPAP self defense and BJJ.
As a woman who had never stepped into a dojo, never played team sports, and never liked gyms, I immediately felt comfortable at AMA. Granted, I was a semi-professional classical ballerina for years, and always danced for fitness and pleasure, but as a woman coming from a more “feminine” practice of art form to martial arts, the transition has been made easily, mostly due to the approach to teaching and learning at AMA. It is a quiet, calming, and reverent center for learning, which contributes to the student feeling at ease, resulting in the best possible situation for student and instructor.
As with any activity which one is dedicated to or even just considers a hobby, there are challenging moments and the work can be hard. Practice is key, mindset is key, attitude and outlook are key. And the teacher and instruction are key, as well. If you are interested in trying martial arts for the first time, keep an open mind, ask the questions that come, and embrace a new art form. I can think of no better place than AMA to begin this journey. If you are experienced in martial arts, there is no better place to continue than here. The quality instruction, dedication to tradition and respect, responsible business practice, and friendliness of staff and members all make each occasion at the dojo, a memorable one.