House of Ninjas…..KIA!

So yesterday was a huge day in our household! The Loyd boys both tested and earned new belts in Kajukenbo at Matthews Martial Arts! I am beyond PROUD of what these boys accomplished, and as an added bonus my instructors gave me the honor of tying both their belts on them at the end of their test, talk about a proud moment, sealing the deal for the hard work they showed! Preparing for this test was a little different this time around considering the quarantine, zoom classes, going back and forth to the ranch and trying to live a normal life during the “shut down”. But we made it work and these guys trained hard! They had a goal to level up and they hit that target right in the bullseye yesterday. They did their online classes, and as soon as those dojo doors opened, we were there. We LOVE our martial arts family and what they represent in the community of Midland, plus there’s something special about training with people you love to be around. They did overtime in the school, picked back up their lessons and Thunderdome with Sigung Monica, and it really showed! Y’all we have the BEST school and instructors! They don’t have to spend their time and energy on these students the way they do, the could easily half ass it as I’ve seen some do. They don’t just do it just for the “business” of martial arts, that’s a bonus! They do it for the LOVE of martial arts and their students. They have created a student body of dedicated, disciplined, character driven, respectful leaders of the community and will continue to with every new student that walks through those doors. It’s their passion, their life’s purpose, their heart, their values that go into this school and students. During quarantine, they didn’t have to work their asses off to still provide training for us, stress about what the business side of things would look like, come up with ways to make it accessible for everyone…..but they did! And the students that took advantage of that, including us, showed what hard work, love of the school, and love of the instructors and team does for you.

We started the testing day with Tripp’s test, he was testing for his blue belt, which being only 9 is a big deal, but that’s what happens when you start training at 2 and 1/2 years old. He worked so hard, stayed strong during the whole thing, didn’t freak out (which he’s had tendencies to do), sparred like the Squirrel he is and even helped in sparring during big brother’s test later that day! He was so proud of himself he didn’t want to take his belt off….lol! That says something for sure. We say it all the time in the school, that just about anyone can “memorize” drills and katas, but that’s not just what he did. He did show his drills that he memorized, but he showed how to do them with strength and power! He showed what they might look like on an actual “bad” guy! He showed what practice and overtime will do to those drills by making them the best he could. But even more than that…..He showed heart, dedication, endurance, determination, and PRIDE! And the pride I have for him is something I can’t put into words!

After a few adults tested, it was time for the ending test, the big show, the test lots of students either can’t wait to get to, or dread, or both! It’s the test that we refer to as the “right of passage” crossing the bridge from intermediate to ADVANCED! Now that’s intense! I’m not gonna lie, it’s a long, brutal test! Some will say even harder than the black belt test, and in some ways it is! How do I know? Because I’ve done it, both of them! But being on the other side, and watching your child go thru it is a completely different animal! I felt as if I was testing, and in some ways I was. As a Blackbelt, you are continuously being tested, but that’s what “Blackbelt and beyond” means in our school…..You never stop learning, and if you feel like you can’t learn anymore when you hit that mark, well than maybe “true” blackbelt isn’t you, and it’s simply a piece of fabric that keeps your gi tied on. It doesn’t stop when that belt turns black, in fact I would honestly say you learn SO MUCH MORE!!!

Back to Tuck now, and his test for 1st degree Brown Belt!! It was 2 hours of testing that included drills, 2 on 1 sparring, and the mind, body, spirit, and heart that most 12 year old kids have yet to experience or may never experience. He and his team of green machines (now brown machines) had an epic test! They worked thru frustrations, hardships, overwhelming emotions, pressure, adrenaline, and fighting 2 -3 people at a time. They had to dig deep to move on to this next level. He did it, and I never had a doubt that he could. His mindset the whole week leading up to it was he “was going to get that sweet victory!” He named it and claimed it, and I could not be more proud of him. The time and dedication it take to do this isn’t for the faint of heart, even for the adults that do it, but he stepped up to the plate and hit that homerun! If you ask him if it was hard, he’ll say yes, but if you also ask him if it was worth it, he will say absolutely! Proud of my young man.

So if you want to experience something truly amazing, I urge you to give marital arts a try….if you’re in Midland, TX, more specifically Matthews Martial Arts! You won’t be disappointed by all the things you learn, including some self defense 😉 I promise! AND NO, you’re NEVER too old to try something new, so just get that excuse out of your head, LOL!

Til next time…..continue to be your own wonder woman and live that badass life!


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