About your instructor
Hi! I'm Rick Martin and I’m excited to share the lessons I’ve learned about mental health and wellness with you. Growing up as an undiagnosed autistic, I was instead diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression from a young age. I was always searching for answers about why I was different than those around me- I absorbed books about anxiety constantly, and read anything my therapist pointed me at. That search provided me with a wealth of knowledge gained through self-reflection, research, and therapy. I hope I can share some of the things that have worked for me and maybe help you live a happier, more fulling life.
I’ve been teaching since I was 9 years old; I really enjoy it. I gave computer lessons during recess and after school to my elementary school teacher. I’ve taught computer applications, programming, and web design from youth to the collegiate level. I was a karate instructor as a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Shuri Ryu Karate.
Around two years ago I had a goal – feel better. I was suffering from debilitating anxiety, depression, and though I didn’t know it at the time – unmanaged autism. I couldn’t be the husband, father, coworker, or person I wanted to be because I was drowning.
I’d had ups and downs throughout my life, and I had noticed the ups usually correlated with an increase in physical activity. As a teenager, karate had a huge positive impact, but after my dojo closed down other pressures like college and work took over that self-care time. During the following years, a cycle of stress building with no healthy release would end in regular panic attacks- then the cycle would repeat. The hardest part was that I knew exercising and martial arts would help, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Anxiety and depression are powerful forces, and they do everything they can to keep you down.
Finally, things got so bad that I was determined to make a change: for myself and for my family. I joined a Brazilian jiu jitsu dojo. I was a handful of classes in when the Covid lockdown happened. The lockdown was a blessing and a curse for me. My anxiety surrounding the pandemic was overshadowed by a needed extended stay at home. I was able to spend this time calming my overstimulated nerves and adopting self-care tasks: I started journaling, practicing mediation, and other mindfullness techniques.
In addition to the mental self-care, I wanted to incorporate physical activity. I couldn’t grapple with anyone, so I turned to a combat sport I could learn in solitude: boxing. It was a struggle to learn even the basics. My cardio was terrible: I could barely do four 1-minute rounds on the heavy bag. I resembled a giraffe trying to jump rope.
But the mindfullness and encouragement allowed me to keep at it. To feel better, I needed the physical activity, but to handle the physical workout, I needed the leg up over the anxiety and depression. I worked out four days a week for a few months, and then six days a week. I kept up with my journal and mental health exercises. I framed it all to myself as lifesaving medicine – I couldn’t go to sleep unless I had taken my dose. It was hard, but I started to feel it…
I felt better.
It’s impossible to realize how bad of shape you are in, mentally and physically, until you get a glimpse of feeling better. I’d had what I’d thought were times of feeling better before, but this 'feeling better' was something else. I wasn’t treading water anymore- I was dashing ahead with a smile on my face! With my doctor's blessing, I was able to get off anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds for the first time since being put on them at the age of 11.
I’ve never felt better.
I know that I don’t have all of the answers. I still have ups and downs. I’m not an expert boxer and I don’t have a degree in psychology. But if I can help even one person go from feeling how I felt two years ago to how I feel now – I have to try. And if my way doesn’t help you, don’t give up. There’s a path to happiness for all of us. It’s taken me 21 years – and I learn more every day.
Thank you to my wonderful wife Maggie for keeping my head afloat while I was drowning. Thanks to Blind Wave and my fans for supporting me and allowing me to start Role with the Punches. And thank you for taking a chance on this to improve your life. No matter how bad or good things are, we can always learn and improve.
Now let’s get out there and
Role with the Punches!