For those of you that know me, you are aware that I speak about martial arts probably more often then I speak about doing a PhD. I discovered martial arts during my masters at UBC when I took Karate at the GSS. When I moved back to Calgary, I thought it would be fun to take Kung Fu. At the time I did not realize it would become a life passion.
There is just something so graceful and lyrical about it all. I watched my senior classmates move in Wushu and I just went, “wow!” For someone, who walked into walls for most of her life (yes, I walked into walls prior to starting martial arts) it was just neat to watch people move so easily and gracefully across the room. I just love how it all flows. It is like this impossible dance to me. This dance does not allow me to do anything but focus on the movements. I have joked to my friends that Wushu saved me; uncoordinated Melanie can walk without walking into walls. I will never be a pro but I just love how free it all feels when I am doing it.
I recently started doing Chen style Tai Chi. People have this misconception that Tai Chi is slow and for old people (ha, I had that impression too before). However, I have learned that it takes extreme focus and control to do it right; I get such a workout from it. It works every single muscle in your body if you do it correctly. I come out of every single class stronger. Martial arts has kept me sane during this PhD. It has helped me to take that mental break that I normally do not get.