Guest Post: The Transformative Power of Jiu Jitsu

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Looking for something new? Check out Jiu Jitsu! The team at Ground Standard shares the many benefits of training in this martial art. For more information about Ground Standard, see the end of this post. If you would like to be a guest writer for Little Black Belt, check out the guidelines here.

Martial arts have long been heralded as realms of discipline and introspection, and within this vast arena, Jiu Jitsu gleams as a beacon of self-betterment and holistic growth. Beyond the superficial perception of combat techniques and physical prowess, Jiu Jitsu unfurls a tapestry of life lessons, mental fortitude, and deep-seated community values. For those standing at the precipice, contemplating whether to delve into this world, let’s uncover the multifaceted treasures that the journey of Jiu Jitsu has to offer.

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Guest Post: Live Better, Live Healthier: Everyday Tactics for Well-Being

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September is self-care and self-improvement month. To perform at our best, martial artists need to take care of themselves in body, mind, and spirit.
Emma Grace Brown, a frequent contributor to this site, shares small (but very important) things we can do to make sure our bodies and minds are healthy going into a busy fall and holiday season. If you would like to contribute to Little Black Belt, please review the contributor guidelines here.

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The Other Side of Knee Surgery (a Caregiver’s Tale)

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We now have two sets of crutches in the house.

I told you guys I was cursed.

In May 2023 I published my “comprehensive guide” to suffering an ACL tear and all the fun that ensues. My partner had torn his ACL a month prior playing basketball so I wanted to share the resources I had from a patient’s perspective. We thought it wouldn’t take long for him to get into surgery since it was a full tear.

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Do you Love to Win or Hate to Lose?

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“Do you love to win or hate to lose?”

A high level executive in my company posed this question to a group of leaders at an event several months ago. We work for a large healthcare organization in a metropolitan area. The market shifts so rapidly our heads spin, so it was apropos of her to liken our attitudes toward our work with an air of competitiveness.

Most of us agreed that the company itself operates from more of a “love to win” approach. I don’t mean that as a hippie love-is-in-the-air attitude. It just likes playing the long game. Sometimes too long, but it’s learning to respond more quickly to an unprecedented era in healthcare.

The executive posited that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you love to win, you probably have a good long-term strategy. If you hate to lose, you might be more keen to be innovative to get ahead. If you love to win, you might be too slow to make a move. If you hate to lose, you might be too reactive around competition and take costly risks.

At the time I (naively) thought, “I love to win more than I hate to lose.” These days I have a more optimistic outlook than I did a few years ago. I’ve made some needed changes and have witnessed growth in my personal and professional lives. And who doesn’t love to win?

And then I was pressure-tested. There was nothing huge or life-altering that happened. I just experienced the normal ups and downs of life while that question lingered on my mind.

Turns out I’m still more of a “hate to lose” person, to my detriment. I ruminate on when I make mistakes, when I’m corrected, or when I make the wrong choice. Those moments take over my thoughts in a more powerful way than when I’m showing appreciating or celebrating a win. This spans across my personal life, work, and even in the dojang. I think one can use the “hate to lose” attitude to their advantage,¬† but I haven’t figured that out.

I guess I’m still a perfectionist. Much less so than I was as a much younger woman and even a few years ago, but old habits die hard.

Losing isn’t so bad. I’ve learned lessons every time I’ve lost. If I can’t get away from hating to lose easily, perhaps I can shift to loving to win and learning to lose.

What about you? Do you love to win or hate to lose?

 

Guest Post: How Relaxation Improves Self-Defense

It’s summer! It’s time to chill and relaaaaaax. Relaxation is not only good for our minds, it’s good for our bodies as martial artists. Sifu Kyle Ritter and Sifu Ted Ritter (the Wing Chun Twins) share six reasons why relaxation is vital to practicing self-defense.

There are several reasons why relaxation plays a crucial role in self-defense:

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So You’ve Torn Your ACL. Now What? A Comprehensive Guide.

How to Avoid Knee Pain Caused by Running | JustRunLah!

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.

Continue reading “So You’ve Torn Your ACL. Now What? A Comprehensive Guide.”

Little Black Belt is NINE!

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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:

  1. Frustrated, Disappointed, and Burned Out – So I Changed My Outlook and Went to Taekwondo Class (May 2022) – After not getting a job I really wanted and feeling stuck in my current role, I did some soul searching along wth kicking and kiyahping to feel better.
  2. From Therapy Every Damn Day to Making It On My Own (June 2022) – This was when I was finally coming out of a depression that had haunted me for over a year.
  3. Taking My Own Advice on Feeling Unstuck (July 2022) – This short and sweet article was my most popular post of the year and one I revisit when I’m feeling down.
  4. I Don’t Practice Every Day. Here’s Why (August 2022) – If practicing your hobbies and interests is a form of self-care, so is not overdoing it. I have good reasons for not doing what I love every day.
  5. My Guest Post: Are You In a Martial Arts Cult? (October 2o22) – This has been my most popular and commented upon post for the website Martial Journal. Toxicity and cultish behavior in marital arts is an important topic we’re not talking about enough.
  6. I’m Glad I Got Injured and Gained Weight (October 2022) – No, really, I am.
  7. The Person Who Inspired Me to Persevere in 2022 (January 2023) – Have you heard of the rapper Prof? Click out of this post and go discover him right now. Hilarious, talented, clever, and soulful, this artist from Minneapolis put on the show of a lifetime and inspired me to follow my dreams.
  8. A Year of Private Lessons: My Personal TKD Comeback Tour (February 2023) – From injury to surgeries to rehab and now moving into recovery, my ACL reconstruction journey went to a whole new level when my coach and I committed to a year of individual lessons.
  9. My Guest Post: Seeking Authenticity? Look to Marital Arts (February 2023) – Another guest post for Martial Journal. Authenticity was alluding me for a long time. Turns out it was right under my feet.
  10. Back to School! (March 2023) – After a year of private lessons I rejoined the ranks.

Sometimes I Just Want to Quit

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No, this isn’t a belated April Fool’s Day joke.

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.

It’s kind of funny.