Disclaimer: I am not a medical or health care provider of any kind. These articles are written from the perspective of a patient. Please follow the instructions of your health care provider.
So it happened to you. The infamous “knee blowout” they talk about in sports or dance movies but never show in detail. You felt the pop in your leg and were on the ground before you knew what happened.
You have a torn ACL. Now what?
Congratulations! You’ve now joined the elite club of ACL Warriors.
Ten years ago, on April 1, 2013, I started taking taekwondo lessons again after a 20+ year hiatus and began a journey that changed my life. I am a different (and hopefully better) person thanks to the triumphs, challenges, and lessons I’ve gained from taekwondo. It inspired me to start this blog nine years ago, publish a memoir in 2021, connect with the online martial arts community, and continue to grow as a human.
So let’s celebrate nine years of my blog with my favorite posts from the last year:
I had this really weird thought recently: “I could just quit taekwondo and not care about it at all.” I love taekwondo, and at that time I had that thought I was looking forward to going back to regular classes.
I’m positive it came from a place of placid laziness rather than a dislike for my martial art. I love being a homebody, and for a while thanks to the pandemic and my prolonged injury recovery, my partner and I had a nice routine of eating dinner and watching TV every night (sometimes with a Boggle or Scrabble game thrown in).
Our routine was safe, easy, and cozy, and all that TV and movie-watching did inspire us to start a movie/TV-themed podcast…so it’s productive time, right? I don’t have to put on shoes. I don’t have to drive. It’s wonderful. I could stay inside my house forever.
But damn if it isn’t the BEST feeling on the other side of a taekwondo class–I’m sweaty, tired, full of endorphins, and have gotten to spend time with people I like (but for a limited, doable time; prolonged time spent with people cramps my style). My partner goes to a black belt-level grappling class with me so I have a built in training buddy to work on techniques with. I’m really happy to be back after being out of the game for so long.
Funny how I procrastinate the two things I love to do and the two things I’m best at–taekwondo and writing. I will literally do anything to get out of creative writing–clean the toilets, fold laundry, work on a smaller writing deadline. But when I get on the other side of a writing spurt I feel amazing. I trick myself into working by setting a timer. So far that’s the only method I’ve found for making myself sit down and work.
I’m feeling happy at this point in my life. All is well. I guess it’s time to chip away at old habits and build new ones.
Unlike some of my other blog posts, I’m not offering a solution. I’m just sharing an observation.
April is Stress Awareness Month. Something we heard a lot during the pandemic was “jUsT bE reSIliENt” as if we could magically change how we felt overnight. Sometimes the sentiment came with support. Other times it came as threat from those who refused to budge. Either way, building resilience in a healthy way is possible.
After a year of private lessons I changed my training plan and started joining regular taekwondo classes at the beginning of March. I could have kept going with private lessons because of how deeply beneficial they’ve been (plus my coach and I get along great), but I knew I would become too dependent on them. It was time to cut the cord.
Martial arts training can offer a wide range of benefits, including improved physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-defense skills. When choosing a martial arts style to practice, many people are faced with the decision of whether to train in a traditional style or a modern hybrid style. While both types of training can provide benefits, there are some key differences that may influence a person’s decision.
Out of the vast hellscape of the pandemic came a cry for authenticity–in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our hearts. If you’re a practicing martial artist (or have any kind of hobby, passion, sport, etc.), the power might already be within you. In this month’s article for Martial Journal, I describe how practicing martial arts can help you find your authentic voice.
Part of my ongoing journey to authenticity and emotional growth involves reflection on lessons learned and observing where I was at a specific point in time.
About this time last year I was still in a deep depression, severely hating my job, and feeling irreparably stuck in life. When I found myself sobbing over Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg’s performance at the 2022 Super Bowl, I realized I had sunken into an odd mid-life crisis. Here were people who had pursued what they loved, and decades later, they were still going strong. I mourned the loss of my creativity and my supposed failure at resurrecting it through writing.