I began training so I could defend myself. My home situation was not safe and I needed to change that and fast before something permanent happened. The police had been called to my home four times in one week for domestic disturbances and that became unacceptable. It’s amazing what I considered normal and looking back on everything I consider myself lucky to find the strength and desire to want to change.


Basic defense was the primary focus on the first of several lessons. After the initial sessions, while I was learning basic defense, I realized I was also learning self confidence. Learning self confidence was an added and unexpected bonus. After several weeks not only did I have basic self defense techniques, I also have enough confidence in myself to change my living situation.

The more I trained, the better I felt about myself and the more confidence I had in my life and decisions made. I decided to move out and change everything I had grown a custom too that was toxic in my life. I became happier, healthier, and loved life again.

After a while I realized that not only did I learn basic defense and confidence, but I also gained new friends and a sense of family with those I trained with…friends that remain to this day. Not everyone in training had a story like mine and yet everyone was supportive, defiantly a desirable environment for training! I started going to class with a basic need to defend myself and even after that was accomplished I kept going because I wanted to be there and wanted to see the people I trained with. I am very grateful for the lessons I learned and for the people I met that gave me the courage to be a better person.


(Name withheld to protect the student’s privacy.)


Martial Arts With UMASDA and How It Has Influenced Me

By Ashley Harrison

First off, UMASDA stands for United Martial Arts Self Defense Academy, it is more than just a school name, it is a special way of doing and learning martial arts. This martial arts school is different from others, and I like that. We don’t just physically demonstrate things, we also talk about them and write about them…this is very helpful in fully understanding the whole picture.


At this point, I am the only female in my school, but I have to say that I do not feel intimidated by the males in my school nor do I feel embarrassed around them…they are all great guys. I know that some girls would feel out of place doing and learning martial arts in an academy with the majority members being male, but I have to say that even if you are not used to it like me, you will get used to it. For me it actually has been a very helpful experience because out in the world I am most likely to get potentially harassed or harmed by a male(s). So, working with males in a martial arts setting helps me learn how to potentially handle (defend against) offensive males. Not to say that I don’t want to work with other females in martial arts…ladies where are you!?  Since I have had/am having the experience of working in martial arts with males, it would be nice to work with females to get a different perspective.


I have to say that doing martial arts with UMASDA influences (has influenced) me in none other than a positive manner. It teaches me (has taught me) to defend myself and to understand how I am defending myself at the same time. Just as well, UMASDA teaches me the offenses that I have to defend against…how else could I defend myself properly without knowing and experiencing the offenses that “go along with” the defenses? Thanks to UMASDA, even at my lower rank (white belt/yellow stripe-second rank), I feel pretty confident that I could defend myself physically and even mentally if met with an altercation. On that note, I look forward to further teachings in the world of martial arts with UMASDA. Thank you occupants of the UMASDA domain!

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