When Being One Step Ahead Slows You Down

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As I’ve mentioned in a few blog posts, I’ve been working on the third Dan taekwondo form Pyongwon. It’s a short form, but it’s powerful and grabs your attention, plus it’s really fun to do.

Recently my Master told me I was rushing the snap kick/back kick combination a bit. I was moving so quickly that it looked more like a sparring combination than poomsae. This is the only kicking combination in the form and punctuates the beginning and end phrases, therefore it draws a lot of attention if done incorrectly.

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How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game

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In the martial arts world we often tout the practice of forms (poomsae, kata, etc) as a means to hone techniques for self-defense and fighting. But have we ever thought about reversing the practice? How can we use our striking, kicking, and sparring practice to power up our poomsae game?

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Giving More By Taking Back

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“I’m very cautious about who has access to me lately. And it’s not out of arrogance. It’s out of the need to protect my space and energy as I continue to do the work to elevate myself. This chapter requires me to be a little less accessible.”

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Keeping It Fresh…Or, How To Be An Engaging Public Speaker

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Last Friday I was helping a coworker set up for a class he was teaching. It was one we had both taught at least ten times in the past and would teach many more times in the future. Before the class started he was jokingly saying to me and my manager that he was nervous.

You have to understand my coworker–he is larger than life, an incredible presenter, a talented singer, and a Toastmasters competitor. Public speaking is not something new or foreign to him.

“Is it stage fright?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “It’s a good kind of nervous. I always get this way before a class because I don’t want it to be stale. I want it to feel like the first time I’m teaching it for this audience.”
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You’re Exactly Where You Need To Be (For Now Anyway)

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I really, REALLY didn’t want to go to taekwondo on Tuesday.

I was two days into a busy week and just wanted to zone out at home, drink some wine, read a book, and not participate in life. That week I was both covering for a coworker at my day job who was on vacation and two taekwondo coaches who were also on vacation. I had taken two weeks off of work at the beginning of the month, so I was very willing to help out a coworker who’d had my back during that time, and the taekwondo coaches in question work very hard for the dojang and very much deserved a break…but damn if it isn’t tiring to be “on” for about 12 hours for an entire work week (including having to teach a workshop to 40 people on one of said days).

So forgive me if I wasn’t in the jolliest of moods when I showed up to the dojang Tuesday evening.

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A New Lease on Life — a Case for “Leasing” vs. “Owning”

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A few months ago my Body Combat teacher yelled at us to work like we were “owning” our lives rather than “borrowing” it. That can be a motivating sentiment. As a homeowner for the last eight years, I’m much more invested not only financially in keeping up and personalizing my home than I was as a renter, but emotionally as well. I love my home. There’s a deeper attachment than just fulfilling the physical need of shelter. Owning it means something special.

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When To Stop Competing Against Yourself

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In a previous post I announced that I was going to take up classical guitar again with the intention of approaching it as a white belt. I had a restless, nagging urge to do something new and approach it completely unencumbered with the expectation or even hope of competence.

Apparently what I was really searching for was something to help me break a cycle of lifelong perfectionism and self-imposed pressure to perform.

It all started with a lesson in re-stringing a guitar.

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I Want a Worn Out Black Belt

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At the beginning of June my Master decreed blessedly, thankfully, that we could wear t-shirts with our dobok pants for training…as long as they were school-branded shirts of course. Her reason–it’s so damn hot in the Texas summer that we were absolutely roasting in our dobok tops.

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Learn or Re-Learn Something New…So I’m Taking Up Classical Guitar Again

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The dress, ring, and guitar live on, but I have graduated from the futon.

“I wouldn’t mind starting over as a white belt in another martial art.”

I’d half blurted, half muttered that comment to a friend I’d trained with at my old taekwondo school. We were talking about other martial arts that interested us. Having dabbled in hapkido self-defense training, I would like more formal training at that. Hapkido or judo–because throwing people on the floor is almost as fun as kicking them.
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What Commitment Are You Making to Yourself?

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I have a distinct memory of a decision I made on my fourth birthday.

I figured that since I was four it was about darn time I jumped off the high diving board at the community college pool where my dad taught swimming lessons in the summer. The earliest photo I have of being in that pool was dated when I was nine months old, so I was no stranger to the water. I don’t remember the climb up the 15-foot ladder, but I do remember plunging with glee like a little bullet into the pool.

That leap was a change. That leap was a commitment. That leap was a risk.

So what change, commitment, or leap can I take now that I’ve turned forty?
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