Are You Making Good Choices?

A few years ago I was visiting my brother and his wife in another part of the state. It was Mother’s Day weekend, and we went to my sister-in-law’s parents’ house for lunch. Her brother, sister, and brother-in-law were there, as well as her sister’s two children.

“Are you going to make good choices today?” her sister said to her kids as they ran off to play. Her tone was sunny, but there was a shadow of consequences lurking behind.

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Taekwondo for the Voting Age Set Part 2


In a previous post I zeroed in on one adult who is braving the taekwondo waters. This time I’d like to share some of the most useful things I’ve learned along my martial arts journey and can hopefully provide some guidance to other adults tkd students.

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Sparring with Demons – a Response to the Death of Robin Williams and the Societal Stigma of Mental Illness


Amidst the outpouring of sadness and sympathy over the death of Robin Williams come the inevitable accusations of selfishness and cowardice. Early this morning I heard a woman at work snidely remark that she was surprised it had taken him this long. I had to walk away.

Mental illness is real and it is crippling. Suicide is not a decision that’s taken lightly. It is sought after as a (misguided) way to escape crushing pain and despair. The demon of depression and its many friends are very crafty and very powerful.

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Taekwondo for the Voting Age Set Part 1

ninja wine glass
Ninja glass! Your wine has vanished before your eyes!

My favorite student in the dojang is Thomas*, an orange-soon-to-be yellow belt. I haven’t had a chance to train with or coach him but I’ve been quietly watching his progress over the past few months. I’ve watched his eyes squint and his brows furrow in concentration as he performs blocks and strikes. Last night I smiled to myself when he breathed a sigh of determination before sparring with one of our black belt instructors.

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Priority or Passing Fancy?


“I played for five years, and I was pretty good at it. I just had to put it aside and focus on other things,” I said wistfully to my brother as I reflected on my 5-year stint of studying classical guitar.

“That often happens with people who aren’t full-time musicians,” he replied sympathetically.

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Style Guide for the Fashion-Forward Fighter

Femininity tends to go out the window when your main concern is avoiding kidney punches from your 16-year-old sparring partner who just discovered how to fight dirty. However, by incorporating a few simple changes and healthy practices into your martial arts lifestyle you can enjoy the fruits of your physical labor while not looking like a lumbering swamp beast.

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Intense and Intentional

“You’re intense and intentional about learning,” my boss said the other day, complimenting me on my tenacity to learn the ins and outs of a field I’ve only been in for about three years. I still think of myself as a goofball whose ideal day is a Netflix marathon with a side order of Doritos, but apparently to the rest of the world I am professional, accomplished, and probably a little Type A.

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Enough already, Yoda!

Maybe it’s my sarcastic nature, but I just can’t get into motivational quotes. A participant in a recent leadership development program suggested that we send them an inspiring word of the day. Instead I sent her a link to the fabulous site, which lampoons those awful motivational posters. I bought a wine simply because the label read “Pessimist.”

That brings me to a quote that has been popping up in people’s email signatures and Facebook feeds:
“Do or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

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