You Are Valuable – Confidence Building Through Martial Arts

You are Valuable

When I was 11 years old, Mr. Lee asked me to come to a school for special needs children and assist him in teaching their class once a week.  I was supposed to hold targets and help the kids who were having trouble.  I was so excited but once I got there, my naturally shy personality went into full gear and it was like my mouth was stuck in the closed position and my brain turned off all intellectual thought.  I had my first taste of stage fright!  It wasn’t the last time I experienced it either.  There have been many times throughout my early career where my nerves took over and I was too frozen to think or speak.  I know, I know.  Some of you are reading this and are saying to yourself, “Sure, we really believe you are shy and that there are times when your mouth won’t work.   Yeah, right.”  Well, it’s true 🙂  Obviously I have learned to overcome that, however, experience and support from others is what really built my confidence.  

One of the things that has built my confidence the most through the years is the belief that others had in me that, I could.  Mr. Lee was the first.  He took me aside after that first unsuccessful attempt at assisting him and guided me in the things I should say and do.  Different instructors over the years have done the same thing for me and I believe that is why I have confidence that I can pass that lesson forward.  I know what it is like to be ultra nervous, and I also know that if you really want something you can overcome that.  If you are one of those people who struggles a bit with nerves when you get up in front of a group, just know that the more you do it, the more confidence you will gain.  Just because you have a bit of stage fright does not mean you don’t have something valuable to offer and that others want to hear what you have to say.  You are valuable and you can overcome.

Master Character Lessons
Grand Master Amanda Illescas

Life Lessons to Compliment the Jr. Leadership Program Guide
A culmination of lessons learned as a Martial Artist and Instructor.
True stories of a life well lived, so far.
Grand Master Amanda Illescas

Amanda Olson-Illescas is an award-winning author and co-owner of Olson’s Martial Arts Academy in Johnson City, TN. She has over 40 years training and teaching in Martial Arts and has raised a team of instructors and leaders to continue her vision.  She teaches weekly in her studio and is passionate about equipping students of all ages to reach their full potential.

From the Olson Family

We would first like to say, “Welcome!”  It is our goal to provide the best martial arts training in a safe and encouraging environment.  As a family we have devoted our lives to not only training the physical aspects of martial arts to thousands of people but the mental and emotional aspects, as well.  Our goal is to help each student achieve Black Belt and Beyond.  The reason for this is that we know from over 40 years of experience teaching martial arts that when a student experiences the awarding of a Black Belt, they soar with confidence. 

What it Takes to become a Black Belt

It takes commitment, perseverance, goal setting and a strong work ethic to earn that belt.  Even at a young age people know that a black belt in martial arts means something important.  It shows you don’t quit, you don’t give up.  That you have what it takes!  Once you’ve done that, you know you can do anything you set your mind to; like getting into a great college, starting a career, making the team, anything you want.  We love to hear the success stories of our students after they have gone off to college and started lives and families of their own.  However, we are not surprised by their success.  We already know they have what it takes to live their dream. 

Character Development

Another goal we have as a family is to support families and help reinforce the qualities of character you desire for your child to have.  Our proven character development and leadership program includes lessons from making eye contact to handling conflict.  Also, speaking up and showing confidence ,as well as, standing strong for what you believe is right.  Our desire is to train black belts who are not only highly skilled in the art of self-defense but who are kind, compassionate, confident citizens of our communities.  People who have a strong work ethic and will show “Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Respect”, everywhere they go.

 Let us Partner with You!

Because of this, we want to partner with you, the parents and families, in helping give your child a strong foundation in values, to be able to stand up for themselves and others, to make good choices, and to live a healthy lifestyle.  Please don’t hesitate to speak with us if there is ever a point where we can help with question or concerns from motivation to troubles with bullying.  We are committed to helping each of our students live a happier, safer and more confident life.


Grand Master Amanda Olson-Illescas, Master Keith Olson, Ms. Katie McKinney

Copyright 2024 by Grand Master Amanda Illescas
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by
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or other- except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without
the permission of the publisher.

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