How I Got a Publishing Deal…a Story Told Backward

Publishing contract

Around this time a year ago I submitted draft pages for my memoir Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts to hybrid indie publisher She Writes Press. I was at the end of a two week “staycation” to celebrate turning forty. I cherished the time to work out, read, write, take care of my home, do a little shopping, eat, relax, and just enjoy all that time to myself.

At the end of those two weeks I came to two conclusions:
1. I am going to be a very busy retiree when that blessed day comes.
2. I was going to take my dream to publish my memoir in a different direction. More on that in a moment.

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Gordon Ramsay Is My Spiritual Writing Guide

Book_knife
This writer takes “kill your darlings” seriously.

After Americans united for the collective experience of watching “Tiger King,” we all  retreated to our own private means of surviving everything 2020 kept (and keeps) throwing at us.

My coping mechanism has been binge-watching “Kitchen Nightmares” and more recently “Hell’s Kitchen” with world-renowned chef and restauranteur Gordon Ramsay

I love Gordon Ramsay, and I am also terrified of him. For some strange reason, watching him scream at people over scallops, risotto, and raw chicken is so comforting and enjoyable in these dystopian times. 
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Are Your Beliefs Limiting You?

3d head and open door

I kind of have a crush on actor and martial artist Michael Jai White. Not in a romantic way, although he’s a handsome guy. It’s more of an admiration and respect for his technique. His side kicks and back kicks are such stuff as dreams are made on.

In the movie Never Back Down 2, White’s character tells his student, “An angry mind is a narrow mind.” Anger and frustration can cloud and distract a fighter’s thinking. Emotions take over their technique and logic, which can lead to a lot of costly mistakes.
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What Can You Do In Just Ten Minutes?

clock face

Although my dojang has officially opened, they’re still offering thirty minute virtual classes throughout the week. Saturday morning I did a virtual black belt class in my home. After some warm-ups and a few forms (although I had much less space, Keumgang felt better in bare feet than in those damn taekwondo shoes), my instructor said we were going to work on kicking. Okay cool.

Jump kicks.

Great, fine, I like jump kicks. I’ve done plenty of them.

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The Dojang Is Open!

open door

Like other states across the U.S., Texas is slowly re-opening in a phased approach. I work in healthcare, and after listening to the harsh experiences of my frontline caregiver colleagues, I’m in no hurry to go rushing back into all my great state has to offer because, despite some claims, this situation is still delicate and dangerous. As an introvert and a self-proclaimed misanthrope, I haven’t been missing much anyway.

That being said, I am very excited that my dojang is officially open!

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Little Black Belt is Six!

Birthday cupcakes in rainbow colors

In the midst of…well…everything, my little blog turns six years old today! Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and offered support. As usual on my blog’s birthday, I like to share my ten favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy, stay safe, and take care…

  1. Do You Speak Korean In Your Dojang?– I kick it old school.
  2. Someone Is Looking Up To You. Don’t Let Them Down. – A fortune cookie gives sage advice.
  3. Forty Lessons and Blessings Upon Turning Forty – I celebrate a milestone birthday with some reflections.
  4. I Want a Worn Out Black Belt – A black belt isn’t just a symbol of achievement. It’s the story of your journey.
  5. How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game– I love finding connections among different martial arts and training techniques. They all contribute to one black belt.
  6. When Being One Step Ahead Slows You Down – Surprise, surprise, I find out that rushing through everything isn’t always the best answer.
  7. You Guys! My Book Is Being Published!– My favorite post (and moment) from the last year!
  8. Taekwondo Is Who I Am– Taekwondo is what makes me feel most authentic, most secure, and most fulfilled.
  9. Fall Out of Your Comfort Zone (Literally) – Sometimes losing control is exactly what you need.
  10. When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still– I didn’t know how prophetic that last part would be. And here we are, all being still.
    “And the moments of stillness can help us rise above the chaos and stay focused on what is most important and meaningful to us.”

 

Stay tuned for my upcoming book – “Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts” published by She Writes Press. Coming to a bookseller near you April 20, 2021!

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Guest Writer: How to Get Better at Your Martial Art

Refining your martial arts skills takes dedication, determination, and commitment to long-term practice. Sometimes you need to shake up your training routine with something new and different. You can also learn a thing or two from a marital artist who trains in a different style or art than you. We’re all in this together.

Guest writer Nick Kovach from BJJmotivation.com shares some great tips for stepping up your game. Check out Nick’s site for more martial arts training tips and guides.

If you would like to be a guest contributor for Little Black Belt, please review the guest writer guidelines here.

Paris-Taekwondo-Poomsae

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When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still

leap year 2020

February has been so busy we just had to have another day! (Happy Leap Day!)

At one point during this barrel race of a month I remarked to a coworker that I felt like I was back in high school doing last-minute run-throughs for one-act play contest.

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Thinking Big? Start Small…

Scene from my Sunday afternoon

This morning my Master sent me a video breaking down the 540 kick, which I had set a goal to learn this year. No prompting, no explanation, just a video as a little nod to my practice. It was a step-by-step tutorial that built the kick one piece at a time. It didn’t explain the full kick all at once or contain a lengthy description. It was simply one step at a time. I watched the video and mentally filed it away for the next time I was in the dojang.

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2020 Taekwondo Goals

Happy New Year, my wonderful readers! If you don’t follow me on Instagram (please do @melaniegibsonauthor), you haven’t seen my taekwondo goals for 2020. I wrote these in my office one day in late December and have them posted above my desk.

These aspirations should keep me motivated when I’m getting too mired in conference calls or presentations (and inspire me to get off my ass and move around).

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