Last Updated on January 14, 2014.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Paramus Teenager’s Story of Success Through Self Defense Training

Written by Paramus Mixed Martial Arts Student, 16

My Story

The year 2012 was the hardest year of my life, and without Tiger Schulmann’s I can honestly admit I would not have survived it.

After being attacked on the street and sexually assaulted I became introverted and terrified of the world around me. I told no one about what had happened and I didn’t get help until it was almost too late. After three suicide attempts in October 2012, I came out of a hospital thinking things needed to change before I got worse.

So, in search of stress relief and exercise, which I thought would help me to get my aggression out, I joined a gym. Not only did it cost a lot of money, but I rarely went. There was no personalized program, no kind of guidance. So I quit, which not only disappointed my parents but made me feel even worse about myself.

After a month of surmounting depression, and self harming on daily basis as well as starving myself to get skinny, I hit my second lowest point. I cut myself so badly I needed stitches in my leg and I passed out after losing a lot of blood. When I woke up the next morning I realized I needed to do something different because the gym wasn’t enough. In school the next day the nurse noticed me limping and I told her everything. She told me that I needed something with structure, something that I won’t give up on.
“Have you ever thought about kickboxing?”

I laughed nervously. That stuff is for people who have much more nerve than someone like me.

Paramus Kickboxing

I went home that night and told my mom, almost jokingly, what the school nurse had said to me about Kickboxing. To my surprise, she made a call the next day and told me we were going to check out a kickboxing class at a martial arts school in Paramus. It was the first week of January 2013 and Tiger Schulmann’s had entered my life.

The first week, I felt something I had really never felt before: at home. I remember my first class I was told to kick and I had to be convinced to lift up my leg! I was afraid to let my feet leave the ground. What if I fell? What if everyone looked and laughed?
But Joshu Murray was patient with me, another thing I had never really had before.
I felt amazing finally hitting back. I saw the face of my attacker, the bullies at school, the friends I had lost, myself at times. But now I could take it out somewhere else. I didn’t need self harm anymore. As long as I went there most days I was happy. Truly, without exceptions, happy.

photo (48)

Close Range Self Defense: Facing My Greatest Fear

As time went on, I began staying after class or coming in early to watch the Close Range Self Defense classes. Although it looked intriguing, it TERRIFIED me. This was exactly what I had been so scared of: being that close in contact to another human being ever again. I had a big problem with being touched but I decided I needed to change that too.

After a few months of Beginner Kickboxing I asked Joshu Murray if I could try out the Close Range Self Defense class. He was surprised but of course welcomed me into the class. I was afraid to do most of the exercises at first. But once again, this was handled with patience and time. The first time I rolled someone over onto their back, I apologized relentlessly. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but then I realized this is yin and yang. My classmates and I were there to help each other learn to defend ourselves and prevent each other from ever being hurt. Then, I became lost in the movement and much less worried about being so close to someone – instead I became more focused on the technique of the exercise. As I became more in tune with my body, I felt an attachment to it. And self harm along with self starvation was unfair to my body. How could I hurt something so willing to help me? Close range self defense brought in a new element of self discovery.

self defense grappling tsmma

The Difference

I began coming to class five times a week to either one or two classes a night once the Summer rolled around. I kick, I punch, I hit hard, and I don’t mind getting flipped on my back! I take the Intermediate/Advanced Kickboxing class now, too, and I love it. I’m not afraid to be attacked on the street again because quite frankly, I would hurt an attacker more than they could ever hurt me. For the first time in years, I have felt really truly safe. And it is because at Tiger Schulmann’s, this is not just a class. It is not just kicking and punching or grappling. It is self discipline, self defense, and honest caring of one another. It has completely changed me as a person.

photo (42)

Why Would I Recommend Paramus Mixed Martial Arts?

If there is anyone that feels like they have gone through it all, tried everything, and failed too many times to succeed- this is the right place for you. They don’t LET you give up. They call when you don’t show for class, they know when you’re having a rough time and ask how you are, they tell you what to work on and help you stay on track with your goals. These are the greatest people in my life and I recommend their program to everyone that needs to lose weight, gain confidence, relieve stress, learn self defense and so much more.

A year ago I never would have thought I’d be able to share my story, let alone write it and tell people “look how far I’ve come.”
I couldn’t have gotten here without Joshu’s Murray and Neilson at Tiger Schulmann’s in Paramus because they showed me I had that nerve all along.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *