In this edition of TMA Role Models we meet Daniel Simmons, and interview him about how martial arts has given him the confidence to interact socially with his peers, excel in school and be able to help himself and his friends stay out of trouble. At this time of year it is easy to consider quitting martial arts because you are worried about moving to a new school and the legendary amounts of extra home-work that you’ll be getting, but really this couldn’t be further from the truth. So take a moment to meet our TMA Role Models. These students all continued to train in the martial arts throughout their school life and have achieved amazing things. 1. How old were you when you started training and why did you choose martial arts? I started training in 2006/07 as I had just moved to Tring and I am 15 now so I’ve been training for 9 years. I chose martial arts because I cannot stand most team based sports such as football. 2. How has martial arts training helped you at school (better concentration, grades, confidence etc)? In a lot of ways! For one thing I have not been in a proper fight (outside of controlled sparing) for my whole life! People know that I am a Black Belt and I find that this gives me the most amazing confidence that I can defend myself if I need too. Martial Arts has helped me to be more focused in class. Also it has massively improved my confidence. My ability to communicate with others at school has also really improved and now I feel at ease speaking with people of all ages both in conversation and in front of a room full of people. 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? I have found that through the training I receive at TMA I have learnt to be much more organised and aware of time, although my room is a mess, but that’s just a typical teenager, I guess. I would recommend that you set aside time for home-work and then your activities, and home-work amounts really aren’t as bad as everyone makes out, just get it done asap and then go and enjoy yourself. 4. Did you ever feel like quitting training? I remember that as a white belt I was quite childish and Chris told me I needed to take training more seriously otherwise I would be expelled from the academy. It really snapped me into shape and now I take training, school and life very seriously indeed. I have learnt a great deal in 9 years at TMA, but the biggest lesson I have learned is that we can always learn new things and continually improve. 5. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about balancing home/school/work and martial arts what would it be? Try your best. Be the best that you can be because at the end of the day that was the best you could of done. Its a tough world you just got to learn to dodge certain bullets and shoot a few to get to where you want to go. As the saying goes… Be the best that you can be. 6. If you have left school where are you now? I am currently studying GCSE’s at Tring School.