Bonus Book Chapter: I Am Enough

Dear Reader: For the remainder of 2021, to continue celebrating the release of my first book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, I will be posting a monthly bonus chapter. While these stories didn’t make the final cut, they were still important moments in my life and in my black belt journey. Enjoy!

[Note: This event would have occurred between chapters 29 “Sucker Punched” and 30 “Aftermath,” late April 2015.]

Continue reading “Bonus Book Chapter: I Am Enough”

My Top Ten Pieces of Advice for New Authors

In April 2021, I became a published author. My book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts entered the world after years of writing, editing, pitching, fielding rejections, more editing, more pitching, and finally publishing. I’ve learned a lot during the publishing process and am at a point where I can begin paying it back (and forward) by helping other authors.

Here are my top ten pieces of advice I’ve learned over the years it took to deliver my book to readers’ hands:

Continue reading “My Top Ten Pieces of Advice for New Authors”

Bonus Book Chapter: Black Belt Training Begins

Dear Reader: For the remainder of 2021, to continue celebrating the release of my first book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, I will be posting a monthly bonus chapter. While these stories didn’t make the final cut, they were still important moments in my life and in my black belt journey. Enjoy!

[Note: This would have occurred between chapters 28 “Black Belt Candidate” and 29 “Sucker Punched”]

“Up-downs,” Chief Instructor Alex said calmly, widening his blue eyes and smiling wickedly. It was the first Monday in April, the first class day after my bo dan test, and our Sabumnim must have decided he was going to whip us into shape, black belt style. We had two new bo dans (myself and a younger female student), a teenage bo dan who recently tested for black belt and would likely be awarded his new belt in a few days, and Eric, a teenage black belt who would be testing for second degree in the fall. You would think a class of only high-ranking students would be deadly-serious, mature, and determined. I had apparently forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager.

Continue reading “Bonus Book Chapter: Black Belt Training Begins”

Bonus Book Chapter: Post-Plateau Yoga Surrender

Dear Reader: For the remainder of 2021, to continue celebrating the release of my first book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, I will be posting a monthly bonus chapter. While these stories didn’t make the final cut, they were still important moments in my life and in my black belt journey. Enjoy!

[Note: This would have occurred between chapters 27 “Vices” and 28 “Black Belt Candidate”]

“To surrender,” Scott the Yoga Teacher said as he looked around the dark room at our upturned faces during Saturday yoga class, “you sometimes first have to build heat.” It was my first yoga class in about a month thanks to my icy weather depression. When asked about my long absence I gave my typical answer of “I had things going on” with a Robert De Niro-esque shrug.

Continue reading “Bonus Book Chapter: Post-Plateau Yoga Surrender”

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. 

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.


Listen to My Story: Two Martial Arts Podcasts!

My martial arts friends in person and online have really come through for me as my first book was released into the world. Their support doesn’t surprise me, though, because martial arts people look out for their own. We like to help each other spread the positivity of what we love so much.

I’m honored to have been featured on two prominent martial arts podcasts by multi-media veterans Andrea Harkins of The Martial Arts Woman and Jeremy Lesniak of Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

To Listen:
Click here to listen to my interview with Andrea on The Martial Arts Woman podcast.

Click here to listen to my interview with Jeremy on Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

You’ll learn about my first career, my favorite martial arts action stars, how I got into martial arts, and the powerful healing qualities martial arts has given me for my mental health. You’ll also hear my “light Texas drawl” that I mention in Chapter 29 of my memoir.

 

 

 

Book Review from a Fellow Martial Artist

It’s one thing to be a newly published author.

It’s an even better thing to be embraced and supported by friends in the martial arts community.

Please check out this video for Steve Grogan’s honest and thoughtful review of my book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts

Steve is no stranger to this blog. He has contributed several articles to Little Black Belt on training techniques and martial arts in general. To read Steve’s guest posts on this blog, select from the categories Guest Writers. Be sure to visit Steve’s site Geek Wing Chun for more of Steve’s training tips and other work.

Later this month I will be posting a review of Steve’s book The Lone Warrior, which is available at Geek Wing Chun.

Little Black Belt is SEVEN!

I’ve been so busy lately I almost forgot to do my yearly blog post. Today, April 15, my blog celebrates its SEVENTH birthday!

What started as a few rambling thoughts that had been haunting me since my color belt days has evolved into so much more. Thank you all for your readership and support.

As I always do on my yearly bloggiversary, I present my ten favorite posts of the past year:
Continue reading “Little Black Belt is SEVEN!”