This is a guest post by Alexandra Merisoiu

Alexandra Merisoiu Karate Shotokan (2)I began practicing Karate at the age of 8. I was part of the Romanian National Squad. I loved, and still love the sport. In fact, Karate is not a sport for me. It’s not a passion, or even just a lifestyle. It is everything I am, and in everything I do. It’s the thing that makes me ….me.

Here are five lessons that Karate has taught me over the years…

Lesson 1: Childhood dreams can come true

Growing up I wanted to be a 1st Dan Black Belt in Karate and start teaching Karate.
I began teaching karate at around 13 years old, not as a job, but from time to time. At 14 I passed my first Black Belt in Karate Shotokan and, at the same age, I was ranked 2nd at the World Championships.

But then I wanted to get my 3rd Dan so I could be just like my Sensei, the person who raised me alongside my parents, on a different level of mental and physical development.

After a break in Karate I passed my 3rd Dan Black Belt in October 2014 in UK.

Lesson 2: Running or physical exercise do not necessarily cause the pain and injuries in your body. How you do them could be the cause.

When I was around 12, four years into my Karate training, although I trained like all my other peers, something went terribly wrong and I damaged my knees to the point where I could barely walk.

Back then I did electro therapy (not to be confused with electro shock therapy) and I got better. I could walk and run, with some pain but I could. The reason my knees still hurt after therapy was because no one educated me on what was the cause of my injury and how to avoid repeating it by using my body in a different way.

Over the years I practiced many sports and other Martial Arts. In 2014 I passed my 3rd Dan Black Belt in UK and was invited to join my club’s competition squad and now off we go to the World Championship in October 2015.

in 2007 I became a runner. And despite what many say about running, my knees didn’t get worse. But they didn’t get better either. And I was not running lightly, as I do now, with the technique elements I practice and teach. I was running very heavily and with a technique that put a lot of stress on my joints. It wasn’t until years later that I would come to understand how the techniques I used for moving my body were impacting my ongoing knee pain.

Lesson 3: If you are not happy, make a change

As an athlete I was introduced to biomechanics, pressure points, I was taught about joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. The basic, for a child. But these were the seeds of coaching, planted and nurtured over time. And I loved it all, I listened carefully to my coaches and learnt as much as I could, not knowing that one day all this would be part of my legacy.

Four years ago I began to pursue a professional career in the health and wellness industry. And so I studied and became a qualified Personal Trainer. I was on the path, I knew it, I felt it. I was happy.

I was happy working in a gym for 1 year and 8 months. That’s when I realised that my potential was far greater. That’s when I also realised that we, as humans, should not be locked in between four walls for 90% of the time. We belong outdoors, and that’s where I feel comfortable and focused. It’s my element, and this reflects in my coaching and the results I get with my clients.

After coaching hundreds of hours in the gym environment I realised that I wanted to give more but I simply couldn’t.

I wanted to do longer sessions because I wanted my clients to get higher quality sessions that didn’t feel rushed.

I wanted to do more than weight loss and toning and really change my clients’ lives, through lasting foundations.

I wanted to be known for something not everything.

I wanted to stop running around to get more clients and only work with a limited number of committed individuals and change their lives for good, not just for the summer holiday.

Lesson 4: Many aches, pains and even injuries come as a result of body misuse

Remember I had a knee injury? Well, that knee injury, on both knees, was actually grade 3 meniscus damage. Pretty severe and two doctors told me to get surgery. I refused. (I don’t advise this, but this was my choice.)

The thing is that I’ve experienced a different type of movement. Movement that protects the body. Looking back I reached the conclusion that my injuries were nothing more and nothing less than really bad body misuse.

Once I began tackling the root cause of my pain, and was coached for a while, things began to change. Today 95% of the time I am knee pain free.

I am an advocate of Alexander Principles and POSE method of running as well as QiGong Martial Arts. Now, my teaching and my own personal training brings in elements from these disciplines.

And so my journey began into understanding how to use the body in a more efficient way, how to listen to it, how to nurture it. And this is what I teach my clients using lasting foundations and transformational coaching.

So Urban Women Fitness and The Merisoiu Technique were born. Through my system I not only get my clients results in terms of fitness and nutrition health but also educate them on how to nurture their bodies day after day through posture awareness, breathing mastery, cultivating the art of attention and focus and focusing on quality over quantity.

One last thing…

Lesson 5: The way you use and carry your body will have a direct impact on your mental and emotional state

For example:

When you reduce your physical stress, you will also reduce your mental stress. Think about the difference that a brief stretch, or a five minute walk, can have on your mind and motivation.

Centre your body, by aligning the left and right sides and being aware of your posture, and you will also find that you centre your mind and become more focused.

A creative and balanced body allows for a creative and balanced mind.

About Alexandra

alexAlexandra Merisoiu is an an Outdoors Tranformational Health and Wellness Coach, founder of Urban Women Fitness and creator of The Merisoiu Technique.

Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works through using many different sporting techniques and through a wide variety of highly respected coaches. At 14 years old she was ranked 2nd in the World Karate Championships, 2 times National Champion, World Cup Champion and is now a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, still competing at an international level.

It is through these learnings that she created The Merisoiu Technique, and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with modern coaching methods.

Photo credit: Daria Chlodek / http://fotohive.portfoliolounge.com/about