braelene bridge

I started my training when I was 13 years old. My parents had found a coupon for two months free training for myself and a friend. I was hooked from my first class, I knew I had to commit. Three years later, I was set and on the verge of getting my black belt within the year, year and a half when I found out the news. We were moving. At 16, I had the option of staying in boarding school, or moving with my family away from Darwin and the life I knew.

I moved. For the next five years, I fell into a depressed heap. Didn’t care for life, school or friends. I went to university because I had made the pledge to myself to be the first in my family to go, not out of any desire to actually go. I couldn’t find work for the longest of times and that was even more of a hard blow to my already bad depression. Eventually, I found work as a waitress. Six months in, I decided it was time to get back into martial arts. WAIMA was close and easy for me to get to, and I fell in love with the place from the moment I stepped in, I didn’t even want the trials, I had already made my mind up.

Within a couple of months, my depression and state of mind had steadily improved, my attitude had completely changed and for the first time in five and a half years I was loving life.

Sensei Will eventually gave me the chance to learn how to be an instructor and 6 months later offered me a job. I haven’t looked back since and I have no regrets, even on the hardest of days.

I thank the team at WAIMA everyday for putting their all into me and giving me the opportunities I know that I never would have been able to have otherwise.