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Practitioners' experiences: Micaela

Micaela has practiced kung-fu for two years. Here she talks about her experience of practice and the association.

Micaela, 17 years old, has practiced kung-fu for almost two years. She saw the association's ad about beginners' courses on her school's notice board and was instantly interested.

-I had been looking for some sort of practice to attend, but I wanted something different, nothing like floorball and such, she smilingly recalls. And I immediately knew that I wanted to try this! It also helped that practice was held in a gym near my school, so I knew where the place was.

 

She brought along a friend who practiced another form of martial arts. Micaela, who reluctantly confesses to not being particularly good at Finnish, immediately felt welcome when she entered the gym. The teacher spoke Swedish and was pleasant, friendly and positive.

-That's one of the many good things about practicing in this group, she reckons. You can talk to everyone even though you don't speak each other's language so well, everyone is friendly and gets along well. You feel safe with them.

-I have more energy than before, I'm stronger and definitely more agile! she eagerly confides. When I first started out, I was in really bad shape, but it was still fun and I absolutely wanted to continue!

Micaela proudly recounts how she improved her results in the running test at school since she started doing kung-fu. She is more motivated to exercise in her spare time and notices that she doesn't care about sitting at the computer for as many hours as before. This had never been without practice, she says.

-I just don't want to sit all the time, she laughs. And I've noticed that I don't just rise from a chair any longer, it's more of a jump. I don't get neck pains as often as before either, so kung-fu practice has definitely had a positive impact on my life.

Micaela started practice in the Mustasaari group, but when it was merged with the group in Vaasa, she came to practice there instead. She confesses freely to having been very shy and self-conscious in the much bigger group, but the will to continue with kung-fu was stronger.

-I had a pretty bad self-confidence, she admits. It felt embarrassing standing in a room with a bunch of other people, doing different movements, stretching and so on. But I soon noticed that everybody was doing their thing, everyone was there to practice and not to watch if other people happened to mess up.

 

 

-If you do wrong, you do it again until you do it right. I'm not as worried about that anymore. I've also learned patience! The body takes the time it needs to learn something. If you try to force it, you'll only get hurt.

Her mental well-being has grown stronger along with her physical shape:
-At practice, you can switch off everything, Micaela explains. If you've had a stressful day, it all goes away when you're practicing your kicks, or whatever it is you're doing. You let go of everything else and just think about what you're doing in the moment.

Micaela is a little concerned about the future, when she's planning to study in Turku after getting her A-levels. Kung-fu might be available in Turku as well, but not this particular group.

-We do other things as well, you know, we have Christmas parties and Halloween parties and the like. Metting outside of practice is a lot of fun, talking and getting to know each other. We have so much fun together, she finished happily.