Everybody has a story, this is Aditi’s: Karate, advanced courses shape into life lesson to try new things
April 19, 2017
Like many high school students, Coppell freshman Aditi Mutagi divides her time to explore a few different hobbies.
When Mutagi moved to Texas two years ago from St. Louis Missouri, her parents encouraged her to join an activity that would allow her to socialize with different people in a group atmosphere. This activity is karate.
“Since I’m an only child, it takes a lot longer for me to get to know people,” Mutagi said. “My parents thought it would be a good place to make new friends and kill boredom.”
Her parents knew that Mutagi would have a very different impression on people once they got to know her well.
“At first, Aditi comes across as shy and reserved, but is quite fun to be around,” Mrs. Veena Mutagi said. “She is incredibly motivated to better herself. As a result of her dad and I moving frequently for our jobs, she has learned to adjust quickly to new schools and build lasting friendships. She couldn’t have picked up [karate] at a better time in her life.”
Although Mutagi did not immediately find a passion for karate, she is grateful that she did not quit and learned to embrace the sport over time.
“At first, I used to drag my feet and do anything in my power not to go,” Mutagi said. “But my parents told me to give it a shot since they’re always encouraging me to try something new.”
Aditi’s coach, Shihan Sen, noticed Mutagi’s initial talent and admires the dedication she puts into the program.
“Aditi is terrific,” Sen said. “When she joined, I could see the potential she had. She has been regular to the class, is working hard, training a lot, comes to all the extra sessions. That’s what makes her stand out.”
Her interest grew slowly as she realized it was a great chance to exercise and wind down after rough days at school.
“After a couple months, I really started liking it and now, it’s a part of my day that I look forward to,” Mutagi said. “I try to go even if I have a lot of homework because it makes me feel more active once I come back home. I plan my evenings around my training times even if I have tons of homework.”
For her parents, watching her push past comfort zones and successfully win tough competitions was the most rewarding part of this journey.
“It must have been at her first local karate tournament, where she surprised us and herself I think after winning a fight with a much [more] experienced athlete,” Mrs. Mutagi said. “I guess, she realized that she had it in her to go against a strong opponent. She has great enthusiasm and love for [karate], which has truly been a great influence on her personality.”
Sen emphasizes the long term lessons of karate that can be applied to any part of life.
“Basically karate teaches self defense and this transcends into conscience,” Sen said. “She can protect herself faster when there is a need to defend herself. It can also help make decisions in life, correct decisions and keep focus.”
Now, the time and effort Mutagi puts into karate extends well beyond a simple hobby to an intense training. She is looking forward to competing at an upcoming National competition in July at South Carolina.Previously, she has won bronze, silver and gold medals in these national competitions.
“I have great coaches who train me hard,” Mutagi said. “Sometimes it is almost two hours every day and three hours over the weekend. They keep me motivated to do my best.”
She has even decided that karate must be an integral part of her future.
“Karate has made me more aware about my physical fitness and maintaining a healthy diet,” Mutagi said. “I hope that it will keep being a way for me to relax, I hope I can still pursue it after I grow older.”
Beyond her interest in karate, Mutagi chooses to challenge herself academically with classes such as AP Physics I and PreAP precalculus, which are usually taken by students later in high school.
“Right now, I am still uncertain of what career I want to pursue,” Mutagi said. “I really like math and physics so I’m hoping to continue learning in those fields.”
Whether it be advanced math and science classes or intense, focused training for karate, all her experiences have taught Mutagi one valuable lesson.
“I hope to find something that will interest me in the future,” Mutagi said. “The important thing is, I have learned to give things a chance, even if I dislike them at first.”