Instructor Christian's Story
How He "EVOLVED":
Ever since I can remember, I always loved anything that had to do with martial arts. I loved watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and idolized the Power Rangers, especially the green/white ranger. I first started taking Tae Kwon Do classes at U.S. Tae Kwon Do College when I was about 7 years old. I received my black belt at the age of 12 and took a break from martial arts to focus on baseball and school. When I turned 15, I went back to my old Tae Kwon Do school to continue martial arts again. That’s when I met most of the current EvolveAll staff. I saw a group of teens that were just as enthusiastic about martial arts as I was and an instructor that would later on become a huge role model and inspiration for me. I joined their special team called the Creative Form Crew and would spend countless hours training no matter the weather or if we had a roof over our heads. My favorite memory would be the time we didn’t have a set school to practice in and we had an outside training session on a soccer field at night in the winter. This would happen for several years and I loved training, shedding blood and sweating puddles because I knew I was becoming stronger mentally and physically. I was the first one to leave the group temporarily for college in North Carolina but continued to practice on my own. I decided to transfer to be closer to home and came back to my team. Since I was out of the loop for about 3 years because of school, Master Emerson took me under his wing once again and started instructing me on becoming the instructor I am today.
Where He's Going:
Currently I’m still working on becoming a better instructor for the students at EvolveAll. My goal as an instructor is to teach the students more than martial arts. I want them to learn the values that come along with it so they can become better people in the future. I used to have low confidence. I was the quiet and shy kid in the back of the classroom that had only a few best friends. Joining the CFC and training under Master Emerson made me finally break out of my shell my sophomore year of high school. I want to be an inspiration and an awesome role model to these kids so they too can find that confidence and strength within themselves as I did thanks to martial arts. I love being an instructor at EvolveAll because the kids here are all amazing and have strong hearts with so much hidden potential. They really try their best in class which inspires me to become a better instructor/role model for them. I am also currently going to school at NOVA, aiming to get a license in becoming a physical therapy assistant and a massage therapist. Once I get the licenses I would most definitely try to put them to use at EvolveAll helping those in need. I recently discovered that teaching the students martial arts and lifelong values and just being a positive role model is one of my passions and I see myself doing this for a long time.
** What element best describes you?
Water because some bodies of water are steady, calm and quiet. Very rarely do my emotions go out of control but if it does it's not for long and it goes back to being steady and calm.
Instructor Scarlet's Story
How She "EVOLVED":
I was never a huge fan of martial arts. My only references before starting were Jackie chan films. However, my dad had always wanted to sign me up for self defense classes. Unfortunately, when living in my home country of Chile, we could not afford to attend a martial arts school. A few years after moving to the United States, his dream finally materialized, and I was taken out of my beloved baton twirling lessons and put into a Tae Kwon Do school. For the first months or so I hated it and was upset because I had no voice in the matter. I had no interest in Tae Kwon Do, but I had to go to the classes. Thankfully, the instructors were fun and so little by little I started appreciating what my father had done for me. After obtaining a couple of belts, I found myself getting to class early right after school, and not leaving the studio until night time. As time passed, I made great friends. My then instructor, Master Emerson, had created an amazing class, CFC, and after some time Ms. Gaby, Ms. Carla and I were inducted into its greatness.
Training with the team was what I lived for. Although many obstacles entered our lives, we somehow managed to always be there for each other and even ended up working together! The plan I had in mind for myself did not include "martial arts instructor", but I sure am glad that life has put this rewarding job in my path. Through this career, my love for martial arts has sparked again, even more strongly than when I was a teenager. I am forever in debt of master and my team mates for deeming me a worthwhile addition to this community.
Where She's going:
I obtained my associates of liberal arts from Northern Virginia Community College this past summer. Though i enjoy attending school, I'm undecided as to what career to follow. My passions are all over the place and occupy a wide range of activities. Due to this, I live in a never ending struggle between practicality and vocation. I hope to continue my education soon, but for the time being, I am truly enjoying exactly where I am. It might seem like I am postponing a huge aspect of my life, but I believe that working and acquiring experience in many fields before picking a specialization will ultimately allow me to make a more informed decision. Regardless of what I end up doing, I know that martial arts will always be a sacred part of my life. I love this lifestyle!
Ms. Gaby's Story
How She "EVOLVED":
Ever since I was young, I was highly influenced by martial arts movies and tv shows like Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and Dragonball Z. My two older brothers and me wanted to start martial arts for as long as I can remember but as I got older, I started losing interest in the sport. In 2005, my grandma and uncle decided to sign us up for Tae Kwon Do. I was reluctant to join but I soon discovered my passion for martial arts. At the time, my brothers were assistant instructors at our studio so I spent my whole summer there. I was surrounded my martial arts so it was easy for me to practice and grow as a martial artist.
My instructor, Emerson Doyle, saw potential in me, as well as Scarlet and Carla Astudillo, and asked us to join a special, invitation-only class that he only offered to dedicated students that he felt were ready to learn a new curriculum he made up himself. This class taught his own style of martial arts and a new acrobatic style called Martial Arts Tricking. This class was a small, intimate class consisting of other students who shared the same love for martial arts as I did. Some of these students included my two brothers, Carla Astudillo, Scarlet Astudillo, Christian Mejia, myself and a few others. We named it the Creative Form Class, which was the start of Creative Martial Arts.
We instantly became a family who trained and performed locally as a demonstration team. Through this class, my love for martial arts grew tremendously and I found myself training any chance I had. I found a specific interest in Martial Arts Tricking. We practiced this art as a team and I decided to pursue this sport and become as much as part of the community as possible. I travelled to as many events as I could to get my name out there and train with the best. Because of the limited amount of females in this sport, I was easily recognized as a notable figure. Today, I am still practicing Creative Martial Arts and Martial Arts Tricking.
Over time, our family eventually became coworkers. We've been through a lot as a team and now we're passing on our knowledge to the next generation of martial artists at Evolve All Training and Growth Center. I'm blessed to be part of this group of of amazing people. I'm proud of everyone in this group and to realize how far we've grown since our early days.
Where She's Going:
I would like to help with the growth of Evolve All. I feel so passionate about this school and would like to participate in helping it grow as a whole. I love surrounding myself with martial arts and want to keep training until my body doesn't allow me to anymore. I never would have thought I would be doing what I am today, everything in my life is a huge blessing. Through martial arts I found the greatest friends and team I could ever ask for.
Martial Arts Tricking is a beautiful worldwide sport that allows me to be able to travel the world and meet other trickers. I've made it a personal goal of mine to travel at least once a year to a new country and train with other trickers around the world.
I also want to continue to be an inspiration to girls in Martial Arts Tricking. Since Martial Arts Tricking is a male dominated sport, my friends and I made a website that is catered toward female trickers around the world. Our website and company is called Euphoria, named after the high feeling you get when landing a new trick or are surrounded by a community of people who share the same passion as you.
More from Gaby:
Mr. Dougie's Story
How He "EVOLVED":
I was first exposed to the world of Creative Martial Arts through Gabriela Macias my sophomore year of high school. I remember her looking up videos at our school’s media center of people doing flips and awesome kicks. I asked her what it was and she explained it was called TRICKING. One question led to an answer and an answer led to another question. The pattern continued for a while, which resulted in her inviting me to check out the space where she trained at. After setting up a thick wall of excuses to myself as to why it wouldn’t work, and then tearing that wall down, I managed to show up to the space where she trained. I met her Instructor and we went over the basic punches and kicks. At that moment, I wasn’t aware of the impact those few minutes of a private session with a stranger would have in my life.
I was exposed to things that I had not experienced so far in my life almost immediately after taking my first Creative Martial Arts class. I was never much of a sports person up to that point so working out and training were new concepts for me. Setting up short term goals and actually carrying them all the way through was also new to me. One of the hardest new experiences I went through wasn’t even physical, but more mental; getting out of my comfort level. Self confidence had always been a huge struggle, due to that I always stayed within my comfort level. Never trying anything new no matter how much I wanted to. I felt stuck but being around a group of supportive peers, which soon became close friends, helped me get unstuck.
I took a break from attending classes and being so involved with Creative Martial Arts but came back as an employee for the school our Instructor had opened up. I was no longer a confused teenager trying to figure himself out but a young adult, so the experiences I went through were different this time. It may sound cliché but martial arts saved me. It picked up a lost and confused little Douglas and gave him the weapons necessary to defeat most of the monsters he created. I don’t care if it is cliché. That is my journey and I’m proud of it.
Where He's Going:
The future is still unclear for me, but I no longer feel fear when I think about it. Almost nothing feels impossible now because I have a stronger mentality, that of a martial artist. Martial Arts has pretty much been the only consistent thing in my life, even when it wasn’t physically there. So whatever it is that I end up doing with my life I know I’ll be ok because I’ll have a loyal friend to guide me through it.
How She "EVOLVED":
I grew up in rural Connecticut, but the lure of the Smithsonian brought me to DC for school. After graduating with a degree in Archaeology, Fine Arts and Classics, I got sidetracked into working in an architecture firm for six years. I did a million different things, learned a ton and enjoyed my time, but my first love of archaeology was still calling me. After a sabbatical to do archaeological work in Belize, I left the architecture firm to join the archaeology staff at Historic Mount Vernon. (I didn’t leave architecture empty-handed though; I found Frank and eventually convinced him he couldn’t live without me.) At Mount Vernon, I loved the variety of experience from geeky academic research and lab work to physically demanding excavation and painstaking detail oriented analysis. I rose as far as I could at Mount Vernon and then decided to apply to grad school to continue my journey.
As fate would have it, the day I received my acceptance into a Masters program, I found out that Frank and I were expecting our first child. I know many families do it, but I could not foresee how to go back to school with a newborn and do both endeavors justice. So I stayed on at Mount Vernon until the week before I had Leo (you should have seen me trying to excavate a deep trench while 7 months pregnant), but then decided to stay home with him in his early years. Three years later, Sylvia was born and I decided to continue focusing on our new family at home until she was enrolled in kindergarten. While I was home, I kept my hand in archaeology by continuing to work with the Council of Virginia Archaeologists as their newsletter editor and website designer. I also got very involved in our preschool and eventually joined their Board of Directors.
As we were preparing to send Sylvia to kindergarten, I was searching for new direction in my work life. I needed to find something that I was passionate about and would sustain me, but would continue to support my decision to be home when the kids were. It was through my son, Leo, that I was introduced to Creative Martial Arts in 2011. The positive influence of the team members and the program on every member of our family and every aspect of our life has been and continues to be monumental. It was with this realization that I approached Master Emerson in 2012 with a proposal to work with him in support of the expanding studio. For some generous and unknown reason he accepted it! I am grateful and excited to come to work every day to support this amazing studio, the entire Evolve All team, and all of the studio’s members and families.
Where She's Going:
One thing I strive for in life is to be fully present in the moment. Like many, I tend to get bogged down in planning and worrying and calculating for the future. It is particularly challenging for me to let go and just be open to where I am now. The successful practice of martial arts brings with it a need to be fully present and aware. I have always been drawn to martial arts for this reason. I also appreciate their elegance, responsiveness, and discipline. Though I have never formally trained in martial arts, I enjoy working hard and accomplishing unexpected things. Through my involvement with EvolveAll, I hope to bring the qualities of martial arts into all aspects of my life and, in return, share them with others.
Ms. Floria's Fancy Facts
** Do you need a ride home?
** Ramen or ramen?
Ramen of course!… with some ramen on the side.
** What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween because I like scary things. But I don't like scary movies. But I do like scary stories.
** If you could live in the sky or under water, what would you choose and why?
I would choose both. *Giggles.* Because I want to be like a dolphin and live under water and then live on land.
** Random fact:
I have a lot of scars… literally.