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.


What’s More Motivating: a Trigger or a Goal?

A friend’s recent Facebook post stated that during the week of the devastating Texas winter storm she felt a strong compulsion to move. Nothing was wrong with her house; she just felt the need to move NOW. Fast forward less than three months later, and she and her husband are happily settled into their new house, sold their previous house, and are enjoying decorating their new place.

As we’re starting to come out of the collective trauma of the pandemic (and everything else that happened in 2020 and the beginning of this year), I wonder if it’s changed the way people are motivated and inspired into action.
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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:
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Jumping (Cautiously) Into 2021: Staying Focused on What Matters

On January 7, nearly six months to the day I tore my ACL, I practiced jumping. I still can’t fully extend my leg and still walk with a slight limp, but by God, I was jumping.

It. Was. Terrifying.
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#1 Recovery Tip From One ACL Warrior to Another

I’m a second degree black belt. I could have tested for third degree black belt at the end of this year.

BIG.DEAL.

I had to relearn how to walk after my July knee surgery. When you can’t walk very well or even stand up in the shower, all that fighting, jumping, and sprinting nonsense goes out the window for a while. It’s hard to feel like the athlete you were before your injury. It’s depressing to feel out of shape. It’s frustrating to go through so much pain as you heal and gain strength. 

Recovering from a major injury when you used to do a high-level sport can feel overwhelming and a bit daunting. 

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The Surprisingly Therapeutic Aspect of Watching the “Cobra Kai” Series

cobra kai

[Note: this post contains some vague-as-I-could-make-them spoilers]

Like many other martial arts enthusiasts and children of the 1980s, I was very excited to spend the final weekend of August bingeing both seasons of the breakout hit series “Cobra Kai” on Netflix. A friend, who is also a fellow taekwondo black belt, and I had watched the first season together when it debuted on YouTube Red in 2018. We loved it and marveled at how clever and heartfelt it was. 

Much has changed in two years, both on a national and global scale, and also for me personally. I knew I’d be entertained by watching the series, but I didn’t realize how deeply therapeutic it would be. 

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Celebrate Small Wins

small progress

I did something new in physical therapy this week: I rode a stationary bike.

I’m three weeks into ACL reconstruction surgery recovery. The sutures are out, leaving me with only a few small scars (thanks to arthroscopic surgery), and most of the time, I can walk around in my house with just my big leg brace, sometimes with one crutch if I’m tired. I still need a crutch to walk up and down my steep stairs, but I’m getting pretty good at that too. 

I was a little surprised when my physical therapist told me to start with the bike when I entered the clinic Monday morning. I figured he’d want me to do my regular warm-ups to ease the morning stiffness out of my leg. It’s still very difficult to bend my knee beyond ninety degrees. This was going to be interesting. 

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Slow to Go Fast

Illustration of race between rabbit and turtle.
Eventually I’ll get there.

According to my mother, I began walking shortly before my first birthday.

Yesterday, about a month after my forty-first birthday, I learned how to walk again. 

I had a 9:00 am physical therapy appointment with Cody, my long-time therapist and injury wizard. He was expecting another patient in thirty minutes, so he decided we would work on walking since I could now put more weight on my right leg (not my full weight, but more than fifty percent), and then I could do the exercises I already knew on my own. 

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