In this edition of TMA Role Models we meet Sam Fraquelli, who travels from Harpenden (about 40 minutes away) every weekend to train at TMA. Read on to find out why Sam continues to train and how it has helped him to be more disciplined at school and respectful to everyone he meets. 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 2010 when I was 11 years old, however I didn’t start at TMA until 2013. Before that, Shihan Chris would come to my school every Tuesday from 4 – 5 and teach us there. At the time, I didn’t have any experience with any types of martial arts and the idea of doing kickboxing got me interested straight away. I thought it would be fun and something a bit different to try but I had no idea I would be where I am now when I started. 2. How has martial arts training helped you at school (better concentration, grades, confidence etc)?. I would definitely say that one of the most important lessons kickboxing has taught me is to have discipline. It applies to all walks of life; not just at school or in the dojo. It doesn’t just mean listening to people when they are talking, it is a respect for others and well as a respect for yourself. I would also say that kickboxing has helped my confidence and pushed me to try new thing I would not have done before. 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? For me, I can only train on weekends at two classes every Saturday, so balancing homework with martial arts is often not that big of a problem however I would say that it is good to give yourself time to train and not worry about work. In regards to starting a new school, when I moved to secondary school I didn’t know anyone and it was quite a daunting experience. When I first when to TMA, I was in the same position but looking back on it now, I had nothing to worry about and there was no reason to be worried. 4. Did you ever feel like quitting training? I’ll admit at times I felt like quitting because I only train at the weekends and sometimes it can be difficult for me to get to training. Despite this, I am so glad that I persevered and continued to go. If there is a day that you don’t feel like going to training, go. Immediately after the class you will be glad you did and you will be in a better mood then you were before. 5. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about balancing home/school/work and martial arts what would it be? My advice to someone who is trying to balance school work and martial arts would be to just do it. If you love doing kickboxing then you will find a way to continue to train and not let work get in the way of it, especially if you have a lot of work or a difficult task. I find that if you are struggling with work it is best to have a break or do some exercise and come back to it afterwards when you feel refreshed. Training is a great way to take you mind off school. 6. If you have left school where are you now? I am currently in my last year of school before I (hopefully) go to university and I can definitely say that kickboxing is a skill for life. After one lesson your child is not going to transform into the perfect human but it takes time to learn these lessons and I definitely think that being taught these skills as they are growing up into young adults is vital for them to become better people. Kickboxing has introduced me to so many interesting people that I would not have met otherwise and I know I will continue to meet new people and make new friends in the future.