Welcome to another edition of TMA Role Models, this time we interview Alexandra (Lexi) Frost and find out why she continued to train in martial arts throughout university and the benefits she gained from it 1. How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts? I was 16 when I started training, so I was just at that age when PE stops being compulsory at school. I wanted to keep fit, but I’d never been very good at PE and the idea of most group classes intimidated me. I chose martial arts because I wanted to do something for myself and to surprise myself with what I could achieve. 2. How has martial arts training helped you at school (better concentration, grades, confidence etc)? Martial arts gave me physical self-confidence and discipline. I found a sport that I could excel at without feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious, meeting my own targets independently of school. This helped me to have a more positive and grown-up attitude to school work as well, because I realised that I wasn’t just doing it for the teachers, but ultimately for myself and to make myself proud. 3. How do you balance homework against your training, has training helped you be more organised or helped you cope with the stress of moving up to a new school? A commitment to kickboxing helped me to balance my homework, setting personal deadlines to make sure that I had time for training too. Sometimes it gave me a well-earned break from study so that I could come back to it refreshed and energised. It’s important to work hard at school, but being part of TMA meant that I had a group of peers outside of school to look up to as well. 4. Did you ever feel like quitting training? Everyone feels like quitting sometimes, especially after a tiring day at school – but it’s all worth it when you finish grading and realise that you’ve done things you never thought you could. If you keep the motivation and self-discipline up then you quickly realise that the lasting pleasure of learning and succeeding outbalances moments of doubt. 5. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about balancing home/school/work and martial arts what would it be? I think it’s really important at school – especially during busy and stressful exam periods – to make sure that you look after yourself. Martial arts are a great way of keeping physically fit, but TMA is also an excellent place to interact socially with others outside of school. When I came back home to work I always found I worked more quickly and efficiently because of the break and the fun that I had during classes. 6. If you have left school where are you now? Since I first started at TMA I have studied away from home in London and Norwich. It was hard to keep training because I couldn’t always make it to regular sessions except in the holidays. I often had to attend other clubs and classes during term time, but even though this enriched my knowledge, I really enjoyed coming back to TMA to share what I had learned, and keep up with the club’s initiatives. I’m really pleased that I kept grading at TMA throughout university because it has been such an enjoyable and consistent part of my life. Now I live back in Buckinghamshire and continue to practice with TMA.