To most beginners, martial arts training represent a lot of things. It may just serve as another physical activity to some while others think of it as opportunity to learn self defense. Most people start martial arts as just an activity – something to keep them fit and occupied. But many of these people grow a deep connection with martial arts as they progress into their training. Aside from winning competitions and getting higher ranked belts, most martial arts practitioners come to consider martial arts as their way of life.
This is just what happened to 53 year old Abdul Aziz form Claremont Village, South Bronx. As a kid, he considered himself as someone who always gets into fighting. Although not a bully, he almost always ended up fighting with other kids because of the environment he grew up in.
At age 8, he started training in martial arts. with his brother Yahkie Allah Sensei as his first teacher. By 16 years old, Abdul started his very own dojo in a small place storage area in the neighborhood. But he recalls that it was Derrick Williams that took him for his very first tournament and his life was never the same again. Today, Abdul Aziz is a 6th degree belt holder in five different martial arts according to an article on NYTimes.com.
Abdul acknowledges that if it weren’t for his mentor’s love for the martial arts, he would have not developed his love for martial arts as well. Also, he understood that the turning point of his life was when he realized that martial arts were more than just a way of surviving. It’s more than just kicking and punching people and proving that you are the strongest. Abdul knows that martial arts teach character. As a mentor to many young people training in martial arts, he seeing these kids growing up to be good citizens is the most rewarding achievement he has accomplished in his entire career as a martial artist and teacher.