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What's your motivation?


While still suffering from the aches and pains of my third dan blackbelt exam four days ago, but also still on a bit of a buzz, I thought I'd write this down so I can look back and remember this important stage in my personal development.


I did my second with my son and now my third with my daughter, having sworn never again. But we knuckled down and got on with it. And I'm so glad we saw it through. It is a meaningful connection I will always share with my kids.


This grading had additional requirements and I was warned I may have to give a motivational talk to the class. Being someone who has always hated speaking in front of an audience, I was quite relieved that moment never came. But seeing as I had got it relatively straight in my head what I wanted to say, I'm going to say it here now instead.


Over ten years ago, I had a nasty chest infection that meant I couldn't do any fitness at all. Even getting out of bed to look after my children was a struggle. It affected me mentally as well as physically, and I vowed then that when I was well enough I would work to make myself as strong mentally and physically as I could so I could deal with whatever life had in store for me.


So in a way it did me a favour, because it gave me the motivation to start kickboxing and a fresh perspective on life - how life is precious, how we often take things for granted and how we don't always do the things we want to because we aren't brave enough.

So I started thinking about what I wanted out of life and what was important to me, and I started being braver.


And in the same year I became a blackbelt, I launched my own company Tamsin Stuart Art. Five years later I am taking my third dan and I am a professional artist. People buy my art and pay me to paint. I am working hard to make my dreams a reality because life is too short not to.


In everything I do, I go for it. I have that sense of urgency that I want to get the most out of every day and make it count. I haven't got time for half measures. Partly because when my mental and physical health were under attack I went to a dark place and I am determined I don't want to go back there. But also because if something is worth doing, it's worth doing properly, with your maximum effort and with as much passion as you can muster.

So if there's something you love doing, keep doing it as much as possible at every opportunity with your maximum effort and see where it takes you. Make the most out of life while you can. Because a time may come when that choice is taken away.


The moral of my story of how I got started is train like you're fighting for your life, because ultimately you are. One day the worst may happen and you may need to defend yourself or a loved one. But principally, because every single time you train you are investing in your mental and physical strength, fitness and wellbeing. And that has got to be worth your maximum effort and a whole heap of passion.

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