Everyone's Taekwondo journey is a little different. Our instructors all have different stories and motives for their reason for doing martial arts and why they love it.
Name: Ms. Gabby Rivera
Rank: 2nd Degree Black Belt
What age did you start martial arts? I started Taekwondo in May 2010. It was the end of my junior year of high school and the beginning of my senior year of high school, so I was 16 going on 17.
Why did you start martial arts? A friend invited me to try the class and I liked it, and I had fun. Then, later on, I stuck around because it was a good work out and I like the people in it. Plus I always wanted to it as a little kid.
What was your initial impression of Taekwondo? At first, I thought it was strange because I had never done any sport like this before so I thought it was really different. Like any student, once I got to the kicking targets and all of that fun stuff I thought to myself "Hmm this isn't so bad" Also having another girl, Heather, there that was my age made me feel more comfortable, and having Master Shane, my first instructor, be so supportive made me feel more at ease.
What was your turning point? When did Taekwondo become more than just a sport or hobby? After a rough patch in my personal life, I dove more into taekwondo. They let me start helping in classes which eventually led to me teaching my first Little Tigers class (ages 3-6). After that, I began my certified instructor training and here I am now!
What is your favorite part of Taekwondo as a student? I really really love forms. I like the performance aspect of it and the challenge of having something to memorize.
Why do you love taekwondo? As an instructor, I like it because I get to teach and interact with kids. I get to help them when they need it and be that positive person in their lives, especially when they don't have that. Personally, I love the family aspect of it. All of the staff and instructor became a second family to me.
Why do you love teaching? I get to teach life values to the kids in a fun way. I also love getting to meet new kids and bond with them. Getting to see kids change and grow up in Taekwondo and know that I got to be a part of that touches my heart.
Why should people enroll in martial arts? I think it's a positive sport. It's something that you can do on your own and with a group. The possibilities of learning are endless. It's also really fun and a great outlet. And the luckiest part is that you can make long-lasting bonds and friendships that turn into family.
Do you have any tips for beginners? Don't give up and give in to the feeling of awkwardness and fears of trying something new. In the end, it's worth it and there is definitely a place for you!
In the end, she just wished she could've started Taekwondo sooner, but there is no bad time to start! She has learned that taekwondo is for all ages and has loved every minute of it since she stepped onto the mats for the first time.