Sabrina geared up for Body Pump class.

Hi!

I’m Sabrina.  I’m a health and fitness enthusiast, martial artist, hobby animator/ arty person, educator, gamer, and the Founder of Beyond the Dojang.

Whilst I love all things health and fitness now, it hasn’t always been that way…

Back in 2007 at the age of 18, I was very unfit, unhealthy, and big.  As a result, doing anything slightly energetic was challenging.  In fact, the only time I ever did run was for the bus!  And even then, I struggled to catch my breath after.  My bus-catching success rate was pretty much 50/50. 

I’ve always struggled with weight.  I remember many times where I exercised for intense periods, only to find little to no change in the scales or my body.  These really demotivated me, together with being picked on at school.  Eventually, I gave up trying and closed myself from the world.  I rarely spoke to anyone, rarely left the house, and hid behind baggy clothes.  However, all the while, my weight continued to increase.

It was shortly after going up another dress size back in April 2007, that I hit a realisation.  For the first time in my life, it dawned on me that I was harming my own future.  By not doing anything, I was increasing the risk of illnesses and problems that I could have avoided.  I needed to change for my future.  I needed to start that journey now.

Before (L) and After (R)

Within a few days, I joined my local gym, determined to lose about a third of my body weight.  Many say that starting is the hardest thing to do…but I would say that staying dedicated and taking the time to really learn about health and fitness is the most challenging aspect. 

The journey had many dips and climbs.  Starting was uncomfortable.  I felt that I stood out as being the biggest one there.  My mum was very encouraging though, and reasoned: “these people are how you see because they go to the gym”.  The workouts were also exhausting and I’d feel achy for days.  What inspired me to keep coming back though was a great instructor called Pete, who was really supportive and didn’t judge me.  We’re now good friends.

As I began to believe in myself more, I was able to persevere and embrace the learning side to health and fitness for better results.  My confidence also started to build.  This helped me to make friends with some fellow fitness enthusiasts.  Being around them has taught me so much.

A few years into my fitness journey, I became a martial artist.  I was curious to use martial arts as a way where all the hard work from the gym could reveal itself.  This was so I could see what I was truly capable of doing.  Whilst the initial emphasis was on the physical, my mind evolved too.  Health and fitness became a lifestyle, and it was fun.

In 12 years, I had lost four stone in weight, built muscle mass, increased my flexibility, had my nutrition mostly sorted, and achieved my black belt in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan.  This new confidence in myself has led me to embrace more of a ‘what if’ mentality.  This was also the year where I rowed a boat for the first time yet I can’t swim!  It was amazing.

Sabrina in the moment of boat rowing. It’s not at all like the rowing machine at the gym! Taken in July 2020.

This isn’t a “quick fix” story.  I got so much wrong before I started to get a few things right.  And this cycle repeated itself many times over until I found my momentum to make it sustainable. 

The journey doesn’t stop.  It just evolves.  Health and fitness have enabled me to do more in life and to become so much more than the young woman who shut herself out from the world. 

Now I’m sharing what I’ve learnt over the years with you, and what I’m learning and training as it happens.  I really hope that this helps to enhance your health and fitness journey as it does mine. 

And this is where Beyond the Dojang comes in…

We are a community of Ninjas on the health and fitness journey.  Our unified aim is to improve our health and fitness and support each other in doing so, in order to make the most of what life has to offer.  I’ve found that having like-minded people around me has made the journey more fun.  It’s also great during times of self-doubt and demotivation.  People are also an excellent source of knowledge and learning.

Here you’ll find content to assist you on the health and fitness journey, whether you are a martial artist or not.  However, the values of martial arts underpin the philosophy behind Beyond the Dojang.  These are transferrable to other interests and contexts in life.  We hope that you’ll find the content here valuable.

To the journey!

Sabrina’s story has been featured here:

Sabrina’s weight loss journey

How I went from unfit to become a black belt