Guest Writer: Top 8 Karate Myths That Will Make You Amazed!!

Hello Little Black Belt readers! I love writing about martial arts, and I love sharing the work of other martial artists/writers. This post is from Span Chen at The Karate Blog. There are a lot of myths about Span’s martial art of karate, and many of them show up in other martial arts too. (The silly things I’ve heard as a taekwondo practitioner, shaking my head…) This article made me think, made me smile, and made me appreciate the rich community of martial artists we have online. 

More information about The Karate Blog is at the end of this article. If you would like to contribute a martial arts-related article to the Little Black Belt blog, see the guest writer guidelines.

Are you excited to know about the top karate myths? If so, we’ve verified some myths and found the truth. Keep reading.

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How to Feel Unstuck When There’s No End In Sight

July 24, 2021, was the one year anniversary (or “ann-knee-versary” if you will allow me one pun) of my ACL reconstruction surgery. I had a fun day lined up to celebrate my progress and mobility: a morning yoga class, an afternoon swim, and dinner at my favorite neighborhood Italian bistro. I thought the day would run as smoothly as my repurposed quadriceps tendon.

My knee had other plans. 

When I rolled out my yoga mat and set up my trusty blocks (now a staple of my yoga practice) I knew my knee was not in a good mood. It ached and felt more tight than it had in days. God help me if I had to do a child’s pose. I inwardly rolled my eyes at my ornery joint and clumsily followed along with the instructor’s commands.

As I winced at the pain and tried to breathe more flexion into my leg I thought about my year long journey. I have lived with some kind of pain and discomfort every day for a year. Sometimes I feel frustrated and exhausted. Sometimes I long for a light at the end of the tunnel, a deus ex machina, a sudden whirlwind change that grants me perfect, pain-free full extension and flexion. Sometimes I feel stuck and don’t see an end in sight.

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Therapy Every Damn Day

The other day I was chatting with my dad about the new house he’s renovating. He suggested I go to a mattress store and pick out a brand I like that he can buy for “my” room that I stay in when I visit.

“Dad, that’s low on my priority list,” I told him. “I do some kind of therapy five days a week either for my knee or my head, I’m still working, and I’m still doing book stuff [podcasts, articles, interviews, etc.]. I don’t have time to look for a mattress. I’ll just trust your judgement.”

Up until very recently, I was rehabbing either my body or mind five days a week. It sounded like a lot when I said it out loud.

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Video Interview: How to Practice Your Martial Art at Home

Steve and Melanie talking technique

Are you a martial arts technique nerd like me who needs some motivation to practice at home?

Check out my video interview with Steve Grogan, creator of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and frequent contributor to Little Black Belt. Steve and I discuss his book The Lone Warrior: a Guide to Home-Based Wing Chun Training, which is a great resource for people who can’t always make it to the mat. I found a lot of applicability to my home taekwondo practice and commonalities that any martial artist can use. 

Click here to see the full video, including me rolling my eyes HARD at the :21 mark (watch to find out why). 

Click here to learn more about Steve’s book The Lone Warrior.

Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You: Marie Kondo, My Knee, and Me

Once again, as I did nearly a year ago, I find myself with my right leg wrapped in a bandage from thigh to foot and repeating an alternating series of exercising and icing. On Friday, June 18th, my trusty orthopedic surgeon carefully scraped scar tissue away from my shiny new ACL (well, my repurposed quadriceps tendon, but new in its job as ACL). 

Although I’ve been able to get back to many normal activities since last July’s ACL surgery, this scar tissue has impeded my knee from reaching full extension or flexion. It feels stiff whenever I walk downstairs. I still can’t do a full child’s pose in yoga. 

Continue reading “Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You: Marie Kondo, My Knee, and Me”

My Post-Pandemic Body Is Different. And That’s Okay.

The other day my coworkers and I were planning some lectures we are going to give as part of a leadership development series. For the first time in over a year, we will be presenting to a live audience in person, and we have to dress the part. My team, men in their fifties and sixties, joked about how they might need to get new clothes since the running gag is everyone has gained weight during the pandemic. I told them that was the advantage of wearing dresses–they’re a lot more forgiving.

My post-pandemic body is different than it was a year ago. It’s squishier and, according to some clothes that didn’t fit when I did a recent closet de-cluttering, a little larger.

I’m okay with that…for now anyway.

Hear me out…

Continue reading “My Post-Pandemic Body Is Different. And That’s Okay.”

Interview with Wing Chun Practitioner Steve Grogan: Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Steve Grogan of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and I get real.

Can we have a real, honest conversation about mental health? That’s what Steven Grogan and I do in this video. Steve is the founder of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and has been a guest writer on Little Black Belt several times. 

In this video (click here to watch), we talk about my new book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, how we handle mental illness, and how it intertwines with our martial arts practice. 

How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health

As the economy picks up, people get new jobs, or continue in their current roles, it seems like there’s the expectation to return to “business as usual.” Six months into 2021, and we’re not back to “business as usual.” We’re all still dealing with the fallout of the collective multiple traumas of 2020, and many people dealt with individual crises. Some people, like me, have been triggered back into active mental illness, while others are facing it for the first time.

This can affect the way we work, and we need to be able to have open, honest conversations about it with our bosses. Check out my article on Fast Company, How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health, for tips on what you can do to preserve your mental and emotional well-being.

Interview with Karate Practitioner and Writer Les Bubka

I’m pleased to share that fellow martial artist and author Les Bubka invited me as a guest on his podcast “Accidental Podcast…or Something Like That” which you can listen to by clicking here, or watch our interview on YouTube. We talk about martial arts, mental health, relationships, working with kids, and why he calls me a “Russian bride.” We had lots of fun recording, and I think you’ll have fun listening to and watching us.

Les has been practicing karate for over twenty years. He is the founder of the Karate for Mental Health Program and the author of a number of books about karate. For more information about Les’s work, click here.

My Guest Post: Five Tips For Writing About Your Mental Health Journey

I started my blog Little Black Belt in 2014 as a way to express the insights, feelings, and ideas I was having as I progressed in my taekwondo training.

What I haven’t been as open about is that I really started the blog to write about my mental health.

I’d already been in treatment for my mental illnesses before I started taekwondo, but my taekwondo training was the boost I needed to get from point A (miserable and not seeing much change) to point B (confident, relatively happy, able to productively deal with life’s stressors). It opened my mind to a new way of seeing life – hence, the blog.

Writing has been a great way to both cope with mental stress and tell the story of my mental health journey in an engaging way that resonates with other people. Writing builds habits of observation and reflection that can lead to positive change.

In this article for DIYMFA, I share five tips you can use to write about your mental health journey.

 

Visit DIYMFA.com for more great writing resources.