Why I Do Taekwondo – a Love Letter of Sorts

So, I practice taekwondo. You might have noticed that elsewhere on my blog. 

I also have a book coming out about it, and it’s funny what I worry about and what I don’t worry about.

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My Book Is About Taekwondo…and Mental Illness. There, I Finally Said It.

I mean, it’s right there in the title.

Spoiler alert: my upcoming memoir is about mental illness as much as it is about training for my black belt.

I mean, you probably got the gist from the title, but I thought I’d go ahead and spell it out.

This is the most difficult post I’ve ever written, and I know once it’s published and shared I will be questioning my choice. I’ve tried several times to write this under different themes and different titles for the last several years, and until now I’ve never had the courage to click the “publish” button.

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Jumping (Cautiously) Into 2021: Staying Focused on What Matters

On January 7, nearly six months to the day I tore my ACL, I practiced jumping. I still can’t fully extend my leg and still walk with a slight limp, but by God, I was jumping.

It. Was. Terrifying.
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Guest Writer: Sparring Isn’t Fighting? A Rebuttal

If you’re not smashing someone in the face with a pint of ale then you really haven’t demonstrated adequate striking skills.

Martial artists love to fight…and they also like to debate each other. My friend Steve at Geek Wing Chun recently heard the argument that sparring “isn’t fighting.” Well, it is and it isn’t. I could go down some existential rabbit holes with this, but I’ll let Steve offer his light-hearted and eloquent rebuttal to this concept. I especially like his tips near the end of the post for ways to make your sparring practice a more-realistic simulation of a “real world” fight.

More information about Steve and his site are at the bottom of this post.

Keep training, do whatever makes YOU happy with your martial arts practice, stay safe, and keep your sense of humor. We all need it right now.

If you would like to be a guest writer for Little Black Belt, please review the guest writer guidelines.
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#1 Recovery Tip From One ACL Warrior to Another

I’m a second degree black belt. I could have tested for third degree black belt at the end of this year.

BIG.DEAL.

I had to relearn how to walk after my July knee surgery. When you can’t walk very well or even stand up in the shower, all that fighting, jumping, and sprinting nonsense goes out the window for a while. It’s hard to feel like the athlete you were before your injury. It’s depressing to feel out of shape. It’s frustrating to go through so much pain as you heal and gain strength. 

Recovering from a major injury when you used to do a high-level sport can feel overwhelming and a bit daunting. 

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Taking Life One Step at a Time

“One step at a time, one day at a time, it will all work out.”

This is something a mentor…er, friend….er…you know what, I’ll just be honest–This is something my therapist, whom I saw for seven years, used to say to me. You’ll meet my therapist “Ramona” in my upcoming memoir, Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts. For now I’d like to reflect on her comforting words.
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Woodshedding: (Re)Perfecting Your Technique Like a Musician

Woodshed illustrations are either super cute or look like they’re from a horror movie.

I come from a family of creators who enjoy challenging hobbies. My dad is a painter who is especially skilled in oils and portraiture, and he was a competitive swimmer in high school and college. My mom likes doing difficult and complex knitting patterns. My brother is a professional musician.

I hit stuff.

Kidding aside, any martial artist knows they have to put in hours and years to hone their craft. It’s not a matter of mindlessly parroting or mimicking motions their Sensei or Sabumnim does. You have to develop both the mental and physical intelligence required to perform and improve upon your martial art. You have to understand why you do certain things.

You have to be a good mechanic.

The other day during a text exchange with my mom and brother, my brother said he was learning the classically-influenced 1970s pop song “MacArthur Park,” and was doing some “woodshedding.”

Woodshedding?

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Guest Writer: Under the Weather, But Not Overwhelmed – Why You Should Still Train Even When You’re Not At Your Best

As we move into the winter months, it can be tempting to snuggle up on the couch with a book or Netflix instead of doing our martial arts training. It’s extra tempting to skip a training session when we’re not feeling well, whether it’s physical or emotional. In this guest post, Steve Grogan, of Wing Chun Geek Inc., shares some tips for staying motivated when you want to stay home. If you would like to write a martial arts-related article for Little Black Belt, please review the submission guidelines for guest posts.

[Note: At the time of publication the United States is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, so please conduct your training with safety precautions in place, or in the privacy of your own home…and if you’re recovering from a major injury like me, check with your doctor or other healthcare providers before attempting your regular martial arts activities.]

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Find Your Sense of Normalcy

Ten months and twenty-three days into what has been the most bizarre year of my and probably everyone else’s lifetime, I finally felt a deep, comfortable, settling sense of normalcy, if only for a few minutes.

My moment came when I was doing “bungee walks.”

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