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.

 

 

 

First Post-Surgery Jump Kicks

Just over eight months into recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery, I did jumping front snap kicks.

You may be wondering how I ended up in this predicament in the first place. Take a look at this post (“POP! Goes My ACL”) for the detailed story of how I injured myself and what followed in the immediate aftermath.

The short version is I tore my ACL doing a jump kick, and not even a good one at that.

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Guest Writer: Sparring Isn’t Fighting? A Rebuttal

If you’re not smashing someone in the face with a pint of ale then you really haven’t demonstrated adequate striking skills.

Martial artists love to fight…and they also like to debate each other. My friend Steve at Geek Wing Chun recently heard the argument that sparring “isn’t fighting.” Well, it is and it isn’t. I could go down some existential rabbit holes with this, but I’ll let Steve offer his light-hearted and eloquent rebuttal to this concept. I especially like his tips near the end of the post for ways to make your sparring practice a more-realistic simulation of a “real world” fight.

More information about Steve and his site are at the bottom of this post.

Keep training, do whatever makes YOU happy with your martial arts practice, stay safe, and keep your sense of humor. We all need it right now.

If you would like to be a guest writer for Little Black Belt, please review the guest writer guidelines.
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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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Guest Writer: Your Guide to Creating Martial Arts Studio at Home

Photo via Pexels.com

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all had to adapt how we practice martial arts. Whether you are attending online classes or training on your own, you’ll benefit from a space that has what you need to practice, perform, and most of all, enjoy your chosen marital art. Setting up the right studio at home is something you can benefit from for years to come.

Guest writer Emma Grace Brown shares some great resources for setting up your optimal home martial arts studio. Emma writes about life, work, health, and beauty on her site emmagracebrown.com. Check out her site for tips to improve both your physical and emotional health.

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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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