Guest Writer: First Strike – Introducing Exercise into Your Routine

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One of the many things the 2020 pandemic disrupted was our ability to exercise–gyms shut down, we were stuck at home, people faced financial hardships, and people dealt with anxiety and depression that inhibited their ability to keep up a regular exercise routine.

Here at Little Black Belt, we believe fitness should be a priority and, with the right methods, exercise can empower other areas of life. Using martial arts, yoga, and other physical activities, you can introduce fun workouts into your and your family’s routine.

Guest writer Emma Grace Brown, who wrote a post in 2020 about creating a martial arts studio at home, returns with suggestions on making exercise a fun and regular part of your routine.

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Developing Mental Agility as a Martial Artist

An orange sticky note has been sitting on my desk for the past few weeks. It reads: “Agility is best learned through challenging experiences.”

This quote was said in passing by a vendor with whom my day job team has been working on a leadership program for up-and-coming executives.

I wrote it down to share with the people I was coaching, but I also wrote it down for myself.
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Reducing Martial Arts-Related Stress

Stress in martial arts? No way! Relieving stress is why we started training!

…and yes, sometimes even the thing we love can bring some unexpected and unwanted stress. It happens to the best of us, and the best of the best of us, ha ha.

Check out my article in this month’s Martial Journal for ways to reduce martial arts-related stress: https://www.martialjournal.com/reducing-martial-arts-related-stress/

 

My Guest Post: The Weirdness and Joy of Returning to Training After an Injury

I may have mentioned a time or two that I’ve had a devastating knee injury and two surgeries (and am still not counting out a third). 🙂

An injury like that changed not only my physical focus, but my mental one as well. I realized how much I had both lost and gained when I started taekwondo training again in January of this year. A dormant part of my brain re-awakened, and it was both strange and wonderful. Whether you’re a martial artist or not, the takeaway is that if you’re in a rut, you may benefit from going back to something you enjoyed earlier in your life or learning something new that stimulates and challenges you.

My story of the weirdness and joy of re-awakening my black belt brain is in this month’s Martial Journal. Click here to read.

My Guest Post: Being a Good Partner in Life and in Martial Arts

Being a martial artist can often feel like a solo endeavor, but for many of us, working with partners is crucial to our development. There are some parallels between being a good martial arts partner and being a good partner in life. In honor of Valentine’s Day (no matter your relationship status), let’s show some appreciation to the other martial arts students who make our learning productive and fun.

Check out my article at Martial Journal: Being a Good Partner in Life and in Martial Arts.

My Guest Post: How to Train Leaders Before They Become Black Belts

I’ve worked in leadership development for ten years, but I’ve learned just as much or even more about leadership “on the mat” in my martial arts training. In martial arts, we don’t wait until someone is in the job of a leader (i.e., a black belt) to help them build their leadership skills.

In this month’s Martial Journal article, “How to Train Leaders Before They Become Black Belts,” my former taekwondo master (Sabumnim) and I share tips on developing leaders before they even get close to testing for black belt.

This post is a nice story about one of my last training sessions with my Sabumnim.

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.

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Guest Writer: Top 8 Karate Myths That Will Make You Amazed!!

Hello Little Black Belt readers! I love writing about martial arts, and I love sharing the work of other martial artists/writers. This post is from Span Chen at The Karate Blog. There are a lot of myths about Span’s martial art of karate, and many of them show up in other martial arts too. (The silly things I’ve heard as a taekwondo practitioner, shaking my head…) This article made me think, made me smile, and made me appreciate the rich community of martial artists we have online. 

More information about The Karate Blog is at the end of this article. If you would like to contribute a martial arts-related article to the Little Black Belt blog, see the guest writer guidelines.

Are you excited to know about the top karate myths? If so, we’ve verified some myths and found the truth. Keep reading.

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Video Interview: How to Practice Your Martial Art at Home

Steve and Melanie talking technique

Are you a martial arts technique nerd like me who needs some motivation to practice at home?

Check out my video interview with Steve Grogan, creator of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and frequent contributor to Little Black Belt. Steve and I discuss his book The Lone Warrior: a Guide to Home-Based Wing Chun Training, which is a great resource for people who can’t always make it to the mat. I found a lot of applicability to my home taekwondo practice and commonalities that any martial artist can use. 

Click here to see the full video, including me rolling my eyes HARD at the :21 mark (watch to find out why). 

Click here to learn more about Steve’s book The Lone Warrior.

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.