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.
Martial arts have been around for centuries, and while they were originally developed as a way to defend oneself or engage in combat, they have evolved over time to become a popular form of exercise and a means of improving physical fitness. In modern day society, martial arts can play a significant role in maintaining and improving physical health and overall well-being. Continue reading “Guest Writer: The Role of Martial Arts in Modern Day Fitness”→
I mean, some might argue that I still am, but I was worse.
After a refreshing yoga class last Saturday, I reflected that my pervasive perfectionism had at one time made its way into something I’ve done for the last twenty-five years. Before my injury and eating disorder recovery I had to look thin and fit in the mirror at all times. I had to be the most pliable person in the class. I had to do the poses perfectly. And blocks? Those are for people who aren’t as good as I am at yoga.
Give me a break. Now I never go to class without at least two blocks ready to shove under my legs when my right knee feels tight.
And don’t get me started on Body Combat. I’d wriggle my way up to the front row and throw in spin kicks, jump back kicks–I was a show-off. Thank God my ACL didn’t blow out there or I’d never be able to show my face at the gym again. These days when I occasionally take a class I’m happy doing a light jog when others are doing jumps, and I keep my kicks grounded.
That show-offy-ness? That purported gracefulness? All of that came from a place of deep insecurity and body hatred. I couldn’t even appreciate the healthy, strong body I had because I hated it and myself so much.
So when I was knocked off my feet with a serious injury I learned to be more patient with my body. It also helped me be less judgmental about other people’s bodies and abilities.
I also recovered from anorexia in 2021, and, due to not severely restricting food for years at a time, gained a certain amount of weight. While that might sound troubling at first in our diet/looks-obsessed culture (and I had my moments of doubt) I’m fine with it: (1) My body was finally being nourished properly and amazingly, my mental health improved (2) I had way too many clothes to begin with so it was nice to do a closet purge of items that no longer fit me and (3) I had the hard realization that I’d put way too much stock and value into my looks and the supposed value that gave me. I still very much enjoy putting together a fashionable outfit, but I just don’t care about how thin or perfect I should look. That’s incredibly freeing and much more respectful to my poor mind and body that I had abused for decades.
So yeah, I’m heavier, I’m slower…and I’m a lot happier.
Be careful, folks, it’s culty out there! Martial arts breeds loyalty, respect, and a sense of community. These are all great things, but when taken to the extreme people can be taken advantage of. In this month’s Martial Journal I share my martial arts cult experience and share some warning signs of when martial arts can go from good to bad.
There are a few things I do every day, and most of them pertain to keeping me alive and healthy: eat, bathe, drink water, take my prescribed medications, and sleep. Lately I’ve been enjoying journaling every morning while I drink my first cup of coffee. For the past two years I’ve done something, no matter how small, nearly every day to rehab my right knee.
Other than that, my daily activities vary, even my true passions and beloved hobbies.