Idaho Falls resident Natalie Schultz is just a couple of weeks away from the ATA Martial Arts World Championships in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“Going to world’s, it’s just, it’s amazing,” Schultz said. “It’s a great feeling. I didn’t really ever think I would get there, to be honest.”
Schultz will be competing in four different events. She recently placed second in two events at nationals and was the district champion in two other events. She joined the sport 10 years ago, never believing she would make it this far.
“As an adult, it’s fun to have something to aspire to, like some physical goals to keep you going and to keep in shape,” she said. “And I really do love the art.”
Her success hasn’t come without struggle. She was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, which put her on the sidelines.
“It was really hard to sit there and watch people I used to train with go on and compete and level up and do all these things…that I’d always wanted to do but couldn’t,” she said. “Because that was actually the first year I was going to try to go to districts when I found out I had breast cancer and so that just put a huge hold on my training.”
Now, after two years in remission, Schultz says she feels even better than before. She says she’s not slowing down or putting things off because you never know what tomorrow could bring.
“I keep telling myself, if you want things, now is the time to go get it,” she said. “Don’t just sit and say, ‘Oh, I’ll work up to it and do it next time,’ because there could not be a next time. Getting sick and having cancer, it hit me with that. It showed me you can’t put things off. You have to do things now and go for what you want. Go out of your comfort zone or who knows if you’ll ever get to do it.”
The competition is July 8-14. We’ll have an update on how Schultz and other local competitors do.