Student Xochitl Aguilar

PowerUP Makes Positive Impacts on and off the Mat

Xochitl Aguilar has practiced self-defense at PowerUP with Sensei Richard for nearly four years. We spoke with Xochitl and her mom Teresa recently about Xochitl’s PowerUP experience.

Xochitl enrolled in karate because she wanted to learn self-defense, although she’s learned more than that. Karate has helped her develop a routine on, as well as off the mat. Plus, she can show her friends all of the cool moves she’s learned – like tornado kicks.

Her mom appreciates that karate teaches Xochitl to push herself. “When the teacher comes over and says, oh no, even if you feel like you can do it, you, you should do better…I love that part because yeah, sometimes you are good at one thing, but if they don’t push you, you never recognize that you can do it. Or, go even further.”

In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop Xochitl or PowerUP. Instead, Xochitl practiced at home and participated in class over Zoom with her sister, Jade. Although sometimes Xochitl felt stuck, keeping up with karate paid off. Her mom encouraged her. “She’s doing the same thing and repeating it. And I told her, ‘okay, but this is one good thing. You’re gonna perfect every single exercise or every single technique the teacher told you. So don’t feel like you are not learning. You are repeating’…They continued. They keep continuing and it’s good. I feel good and very proud of her.”

As Xochitl moves on to middle school, she hopes to continue karate for another year. The lessons that PowerUP has taught her – resilience, self-control, and others – will stick with her, even after she’s finished classes.

“Even if you like, don’t wanna do it, you at least try it before you say that,” Xochitl advises other students. “Like absolutely. No, I’m not gonna do it because at first I didn’t really wanna do it, but now I really like it to be honest.”

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