The Invisible Girl
Laura Allen didn’t have the greatest time growing up. While she was very pretty, with deep amber eyes and mousy brown hair that curled down to her waist, she was about as shy and quiet as was possible, and found it very hard to make friends. She was only ten years old when she became known as ‘the weird quiet girl’ in class, and whenever she was noticed, she was laughed at and called names.
She tried really hard to be unseen, but no matter what she did, she was always the target for the popular kids to pick on. They’d laugh if she was late for homework, call her teacher’s pet if she was on time, and they’d even throw food at her during lunch-break. Over time, she became entirely invisible, holding on to a small group of friends that, like her, were so unimportant that they were left alone. They were the very definition of unpopular: no attention, good or bad.
Although she was very smart, she made sure that she only got average grades, and while she was desperate to be vegetarian, she made sure she packed ham sandwiches in her lunchbox. She had been bullied before, she knew how easy it was to become the target. Absolutely anything ‘out of the ordinary’ was a recipe for disaster, and would be avoided at all costs.
It was one day when her father allowed her to stay up a little later before bed, when she saw a movie that perhaps she shouldn’t have been allowed to watch. The main actor was a guy called Bruce Lee, and you could tell just from looking at him that he was one hundred percent comfortable with himself. Nobody would pick on Bruce Lee, and if they tried, he wouldn’t care. This was a man that was at one with himself; totally and completely whole.
She watched as he fought back against ten people at once, defeating them easily. Where Laura was a mouse, Bruce was a lion. His confidence radiated from his eyes, his posture, his very core. She was entranced by his actions. Even though there were some bits in the movie that made her cringe, she could tell that what he had learned was not just about violence, but about confidence, about sheer oneness with himself.
She asked her father why he was so good at fighting, and he told her about martial arts, about the power of flexibility, power and skill. He told her that Bruce Lee made his own style of martial art, and that it had later become known as one of the most popular fighting styles in the world.
After that, Laura lived and breathed Bruce Lee. She convinced her parents to buy her all the movies, and she even read books about him. Night after night she’d sit in her bedroom, reenacting the moves she watched in the films. She started to practice stretching and yoga, and she had learned through her books that martial arts is as much about inwardness as it was about fighting.
She was fourteen when she finally took her first class in ‘Jeet Kune Do,’ the martial art perfected and taught by Bruce Lee himself. She was a natural. Her kicks were perfect, her punches were delivered with power and strength, and her flexibility was excellent. She learned to dodge and defend, and her speed increased greatly. Through friendly fights with others in the class, she learned to use the opponents strength and size against them, and that no matter what you do, you should do it with total confidence in the outcome.
That particular mindset carried over into her school life. She ensured that whatever she did, she did with the utmost respect for herself. It didn’t matter if she failed, or got it wrong, it only mattered that she gave her best effort and learned from the outcome. Her newfound confidence propelled her forward, and she found herself making new friends every day.
She stood up for the bullied kids, and never allowed herself to succumb to the pull of popularity. By the time she was in college, she had all an eighteen year old girl could want. She had acquired her black belt, a moment that made her family very proud, had as many friends from as many groups as anybody in school, and was regarded as one of the best athletes in her grade. Life was great, she realized, and it was martial arts that had helped her see it.
Through the simple actions of punching and kicking, she had changed her entire life. She didn’t learn violence. She didn’t learn to fight when something didn’t go her way. She learned that no matter what, belief in yourself is more powerful than any attack or defense. She learned about control, and compassion, and even larger lessons that even her parents didn’t understand.
She graduated college with her head held high, and went on to open a Jeet Kune Do center for children and young adults, where she taught others the same lessons that she had learned. Martial arts builds confidence. Martial arts builds a stronger mind; and, of course, a stronger body.
She focused on those quiet children that struggled to speak up and say what was on their mind, and she taught them the power of being at one with themselves. Of course, she always loved Bruce Lee, and held him partly responsible for her wonderful and happy life, but she knew deep down that it was her own decisions that had changed her life.
Nobody forced her into martial arts, and nobody forced her to stick to it and work hard when the going got tough. She had learned those lessons herself, through an undying passion for the sport and the willpower to achieve something great. As she looked back on her younger years, she couldn’t help but regret how quiet she had been. How do I stop getting picked on at school? How do I improve on all the things I struggle with? How can I make something of myself. The answer to all of those questions is confidence, and that was her motto: Martial arts builds confidence.
Maspeth Martial Arts – Kids Martial Arts class provides benefits for the body and mind in a variety of ways. Call Us At (718) 255-1993 Or Simply Register online at www.maspethmartialarts.com to try our program for as low as $19.99.