I didn’t plan to learn a martial art. So, before you start thinking that I was a woman determined to take on the world, the truth is that I had no idea what I was getting in to.

It was my husband who suggested that we go to our first martial art class together a year after we were married. He had learned some martial arts as a child and still had an interest.

Looking back, I hated the first class. It was uncomfortable because I had no idea what to expect, or what I needed to do.

Plus, this martial methodology was about to break down everything I had ever learned about my role in society. It involved hitting, punching, kicking, yelling, breaking and throwing, basically everything I was ever taught not to do.

As you can guess, I managed through that first class and many after. Even though it was not my original idea to attend, and although I hated that first class, martial arts eventually became a personal endeavor and a great personal achievement.

I found focus, power, and grace all wrapped up together, and applied all of that to my daily life.

There is a definite mystery to it all, and each practitioner finds his or her own way, like edging through a corn maze. You know you are headed in the right direction, but there are a lot of paths, and a few wrong turns, before you ever reach your destination.

Life, too, is like a corn maze. Trying is the first key to success. If you don’t pay attention, and really try, it is difficult to make it through the corn maze without getting lost.

You might stop and ask yourself, “Where am I going?” This may be a recurring question in your life, too.

I frequently remind myself that if I had not tried martial arts, I would not be who I am today. Certainly, I would not have had the chance to write about positivity or personal empowerment. I made choices along the way that brought me to where I am.

Life is full of twists and turns, but if you travel a path that is purposeful, you will end up exactly where you belong.

If, however, you give up along the way, or you let your dreams and goals fade away, you will find yourself in the middle of a maze asking others how to find the way out. Your mission is aborted because you gave up, and you will never know if you would have been successful.

The direction of your life is up to you. Take responsibility not just for your actions, but your success.

A couple of years ago, I had a big goal of getting a poem published in a greeting card. I researched the type of card that would suit my poetry. Five days a week for a year and a half I sent in a few poems.

I knew the chances of publishing were slim, 4% of all submissions that they received. Every poem was eventually rejected. Finally, I put my poetry pen down for good and shifted gears to other writing projects.

I believe that things happen for a reason, and that we may never know the reason. Whether good or bad, everything comes full circle.

More than two years after submitting the poems and receiving rejections on each one, I unexpectedly received an e-mail from the greeting card company. They decided to buy two of my poems from all those years ago, for an upcoming card line. I was in shock and so excited!

I am so happy that I pursued my goal, even though I did not know what would happen. If I had not, I would never have two poems being published in greeting cards now, years after I had submitted them. My goal was met even after rejection!

Taking an action in life is how we get to where we want to go, or how we fulfill our goals. Even if you do not know how it will turn out, just follow your interests.

Push fear, rejection, and criticism aside.

Only you know what is in your heart. The action you take today will have a direct impact on your life tomorrow.

My initial martial arts classes literally scared me!

Finally, I realized that everyone begins at the same point, knowing nothing. I was not alone, and even better, I was surrounded by people who wanted me to succeed. I learned all the things that I thought were contrary to my societal upbringing, and when I did, I realized that in the right setting, those actions were as much a part of me as any other.

Try something, even if you do not know what will happen. At some time in your life it will either make sense, or you will make a change and give it up.

Either way, you will learn something new. Life is an intricate maze and a journey of experiences. Unlike the corn maze, however, success is not seasonal.

Don’t wait for it. Create it.



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Andrea Harkins, a/k/a “The Martial Arts Woman,” is an internationally recognized writer, published book author, blogger, motivator, and public speaker. She has been a martial artist for 28 years, and is also a martial art instructor. Today, along with teaching and training, Andrea's passion and goal is to make the world a better place through her mission of positivity through martial arts.