Your Stories

Sophie's
Story

It’s so much fun, I’m stronger, fitter, I’m making friends and I’m working towards goals. I’m so thankful to Canton Martial Arts. It’s really been life changing.

I have had asthma since being a small child so exercise was always a bit of a struggle for me. However, when I got to secondary school things got even harder as I was picked on quite a lot by the sportier girls (I was the emo asthmatic – very low hanging fruit!) and I never found anything that I liked.

I was very good at swimming and loved being in the water but after a comment about my “broad swimmer’s shoulders” by a teacher, my already shaky self-confidence plummeted, and I tried every way possible to get out of PE each week.

“I joined gyms on and off after leaving school but due to some mental health issues and low self-confidence, I was convinced I would be stared at, laughed at, picked on”

Every insecurity I’d ever had was so loud, and I just found it so dull. I was exercising to be skinny, not for enjoyment or fun. Finding the motivation to exercise was incredibly hard and it was always too easy to not do it. I didn’t believe I could do it nor was I good enough or that it could even be enjoyed.

In lockdown last year, I was feeling sluggish and just miserable. I had tried the Couch to 5k but felt unsafe running on my own and again, it was boring! When the first restrictions lifted, I saw an advert on my Facebook for a Ladies Kickboxing Class which offered 4 weeks’ worth of classes for £20, some self- defence tips and a free pair of gloves thrown in.

“In a moment of madness, I registered my interest and paid my twenty quid”.

I was terrified and sat in the car talking myself in and out of going in for a good 15 minutes. I was knackered after that first class, but I was HOOKED. I liked that I was learning new skills, plus meeting new people was a big help. I moved down south a few years ago and while I have some friends, I still feel like I’m out on my own sometimes.

My 4 weeks finished, and I joined Canton Martial Arts academy full time. I’ve participated in grading events (I’m now a proud orange belt), quizzes and even joined in the Zoom classes during subsequent lockdowns. If you told my 13 year old self this, she would have laughed at you.

“Losing weight is obviously a great bonus but it’s not the forefront of my mind”.

It’s so much fun, I’m stronger, fitter, I’m making friends and I’m working towards goals. I’m so thankful to Canton Martial Arts. It’s really been life changing.

I attend classes 3 times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The classes start at 8pm so it’s easy to manage with other commitments as I don’t have children and work from 9-5 Monday – Friday. I’ve found that the classes are really helpful for helping me to manage my mental health, so I’ve worked them into my week as a necessary part of my self-care routine, rather than a hindrance or thing that needs to be juggled.