1. How long have you been training in the martial arts? Why did you start?
“I have been training in Tae Kwon Do since about 1999. I was 11, and my parents had me participate in an after-school program–we lived in Connecticut at the time. Their reasoning was that everyone should learn self-defense, especially women. After the program ended, I had to bug my parents for nearly a year before they took me into the local dojang! I kept at it because my success was visible; I loved earning that new belt or stripe and perfecting what I already knew.”
2. Have you ever used your martial arts outside of class?
“Until I lived overseas, the only “martial arts” I used outside of class was the mental stuff–the focus, the self-motivation, and the discipline, which I applied to my studies. I was a Stanwood High School Valedictorian in 2006, and graduated from the UW Magna Cum Laude in 2010, so the mental discipline I learned through martial arts definitely paid off.
Then when I lived in Morocco, I had a couple situations where men came up to me and got in my personal space, attempting to get me to go somewhere with them. All I had to use was a hard, loud tone of voice and strong eyes, and they very quickly decided it was better to leave me alone! Morocco is a great place full of great people, and my martial arts training kept those few bad apples from spoiling my barrel of fun.”
3. What was the biggest obstacle you have overcome since you began training?
“As a child, I was very impatient. I wanted immediate results and instant gratification for everything. Especially as I was learning to be an instructor, I had to learn to be patient not only with others, but also with myself and my own growth and effort towards long-term goals. Martial arts isn’t a skill that you can acquire overnight, and I continue to strive to perfect my techniques. I think martial arts will always have room for me to grow as a person and as a martial artist.”
Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree in Chung Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do and a 1st degree in ITF Tae Kwon Do. She has been training since the age of 11 and teaching since 12. She and her brother, Sempai Connor, have both been with NWSMA for over a decade.