A man in Los Angeles, California, is proving that New Year’s resolutions can be achieved when one puts enough elbow grease into them — and then some.
Meet Paulo Pengson.
He’s been practicing various martial arts at MSW Martial Arts in LA for the past 18 months.
Coupled with physical training and a healthy diet, that helped him cut at least 115 pounds off the weighing scale.
But behind that whopping drop from 315 pounds in June 2016 to somewhere between 197 and 200 pounds in January 2018 is unceasing motivation.
Pengson’s interest in martial arts sprung from his childhood. Thanks to those cool fight scenes he saw on TV, he succeeds in making a big change today.
“I’ve always been into martial arts since I was young, watching movies, cartoons, anime, Power Rangers,” Pengson told NextShark. “I thought it was the coolest thing to be jumping around, doing cool fight choreography, and I’ve seen fighting before, but in martial arts, there was beauty in the collective motions and flow of the body.”
He shares about learning and practicing different styles:
“The style is actually very diverse, the school is from Korea, but the master who created the style developed it from Tang-Soo-Do, which is a mix of subak and northern Chinese Martial Arts. But after learning what he could from there, he went to other masters of Shaolin and Wushu to develop forms, and took what he liked from there to develop his own style.”
Pthaengson says he didn’t really notice changes until people started pointing them out to him. He claims he started to see “much progress” only after changing his diet and the intensity of his workout.
“The change happened at Thanksgiving 2016. I thought to myself, ‘If I can resist a lot of food on this day, I can do it ANY TIME.’”
“I used to train about one hour a day, two times a week. But then upped it to five times a week for four to five hours a day; two hours of light training and stretching, then two hours of intense conditioning and high cardio.”
Interestingly, he also didn’t notice his strength get better. But he swears by “incremental progress” as an effective means to improve, and “the best way to take your norm without having to change too much in your mentality.”
Eventually, Pengson withdrew from social media so that he could put more effort into becoming better. By the time he returned in January 2017, he was greeted with overwhelming positive feedback.
“Because of the change in lifestyle, I also decided to stop using social media so much so I could focus on getting better. It was around January 2017 when I put up my first post on Instagram, in a while.
“I received an overwhelmingly positive response and so much support from my friends and peers on my progress, that I decided to start posting more and more on the progress of my journey.”
From that point on, he saw social media as an excellent tool for motivation.
“I started using social media as a way of keeping track of my progress, and a good way to keep me accountable. I had to work harder now that I had people’s eyes on me. I had to make sure that what I’m going to post today was better than yesterday, I never thought that social media would be such a driving force in raising my progress.”
Much like in New Year’s resolutions, Pengson realizes that some people quit too soon after starting. He believes this happens because people get too caught up in making everything a “key moment” in their life.
“People want to be validated to make sure that what they’re doing makes a change in themselves or others. We all want to feel like we’re changing. For me, at least in the beginning, I wanted to make sure I was focused on making myself better and not on making sure people noticed I was getting better.”
He cites making changes in late November 2016 for a smooth transition to 2017.
“I wanted to make the change, so I made the change, I didn’t want to postpone what was good for me just because it would have been more convenient as a ‘key moment’ of the change.”
But change does not always come easily for many people. Pengson understands the difficulty of the process too well:
“We’re all different in terms of culture, upbringing, thoughts, wants, needs, everything, practically everything. I’m not saying it’s going to be the same for everyone else, but for me, I feel that change is never easy.
“It wasn’t easy, it’s still hard, but one of my main driving force is that change is inevitable, but how you want to change is up to you, and this is how I want to change and keep changing. I just want to make sure that whoever I am today, is better than who I was yesterday, even if just a little bit.”
For now, he urges people who are unsure about getting into martial arts to find something positive, what they love about it and enjoy.
“People may judge you, but that’s the great thing about being you. You’re not other people, just as long as what you love doesn’t infringe onto other people’s lives, it shouldn’t be any of their business. Moving through martial arts gives me a second chance to enjoy things I didn’t think were possible. Sometimes I know I look foolish, and that I know I’m going to fall and mess up. But I’m enjoying all of it.”
He leaves advice for those who need help “sticking with it”:
“When it gets hard, when it gets too much, come back to why you love something. People can change; people’s reasons for doing something can change too. It’s okay to feel discouraged, but when you’ve hit your lowest point, the best part of that situation is, ‘The only way to go is up.’”
Cheers to making changes, Pengson!