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. 

Continue reading “Celebrate Small Wins”

How Has the Coronavirus Impacted Martial Arts?

face maks
Might not totally stop the coronavirus, but at least your teeth won’t get kicked in.

View at Medium.com

Please take time to read my friend Agam Shah’s article about the COVID-19 outbreak’s global impact on martial arts here. Agam Shah is a writer for the Wall Street Journal and also writes about martial arts. Share in the comments how your school or club is adapting to this new reality.

In my state local dojangs and dojos are temporarily closing or limiting access, and the Texas State tournament has been postponed (wouldn’t be surprised if it’s cancelled). My dojang will be releasing online workouts and tips for continuing training at home.

Stay tuned to my blog for posts on how to keep up your martial arts practice at home.

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.

Continue reading “Thinking Big? Start Small…”

Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

perfectionism2

“You can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

I was attending a three-day change management training with about 15 other people from various industries. We had been working on in-class projects and presentations, and one man from a well-known tech company casually said to a classmate as he plugged away at his project, “You can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

Continue reading “Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good”

How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game

class-bodycombat.jpg

In the martial arts world we often tout the practice of forms (poomsae, kata, etc) as a means to hone techniques for self-defense and fighting. But have we ever thought about reversing the practice? How can we use our striking, kicking, and sparring practice to power up our poomsae game?

Continue reading “How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game”

A New Lease on Life — a Case for “Leasing” vs. “Owning”

keys.jpg

A few months ago my Body Combat teacher yelled at us to work like we were “owning” our lives rather than “borrowing” it. That can be a motivating sentiment. As a homeowner for the last eight years, I’m much more invested not only financially in keeping up and personalizing my home than I was as a renter, but emotionally as well. I love my home. There’s a deeper attachment than just fulfilling the physical need of shelter. Owning it means something special.

Continue reading “A New Lease on Life — a Case for “Leasing” vs. “Owning””

Playing the Long Game in Pool, Taekwondo, and in Life

“I’m playing the long game.”

My billiards partner glanced up at me as he said this and then narrowed his eyes at the pool table as he adjusted his stance. I had suggested he take an easier and more straight shot, but he was focused on long-term strategy. He wanted to set himself up to get multiple shots in one play. This involved taking a more difficult shot first so the cue ball would end up where he wanted it. Continue reading “Playing the Long Game in Pool, Taekwondo, and in Life”

It’s Not Failure. It’s PRACTICE!

practice-learn-improve-e1555690539181.jpg

I belong to a fitness Facebook group. The other day someone wrote about his mindset regarding failure. He decided to regard failure not as a loss or as something negative, but as practice and a learning experience. Didn’t quite hit the mark on a deadlift? Practice–maybe there’s something off with your technique. Gave into temptation and had the donuts in the office break room? Practice–now you know to bring a healthy snack to fight the mid-morning munchies.
Continue reading “It’s Not Failure. It’s PRACTICE!”

Guest Writer: Why Seniors Should Give Yoga a Try and How to Get Started on Your Journey

Yoga is an ancient spiritual and physical practice that can be very beneficial to not only martial artists but also people of any age or physical ability. Guest writer Harry Cline shares his thoughts on how yoga can benefit seniors. If you want to check out more of Harry’s work please visit newcaregiver.org: The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource: Advice, Tips, and Solutions from Around the Web.

If you would like to be a guest writer on Little Black Belt, please check out the guidelines here.yoga black and white.png

For decades, people of all ages have turned to yoga to give a boost to their mind, body, and spirit. A truly special form of meditative exercise, yoga is beloved by everyone from the casual to the hardcore athlete. Seniors can see great benefits from yoga, as it is a low-impact activity that strengthens muscles, bones, and tendons without risking the joint degradation seen in those who are involved in high-impact exercises. Not only that, but yoga can help seniors in a few other surprising ways. Keep reading to learn more.
Continue reading “Guest Writer: Why Seniors Should Give Yoga a Try and How to Get Started on Your Journey”

Taeguk 6 – Can We Pause For a Change Revisited (The Poomsae Series Part 15)

Girl with a choice near the forked road

The Poomsae Series is back! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write individual posts for the Taeguk forms I’ve been learning (I was trained in Palgwe at my old dojang), but they’ve grown on me in the past few weeks. I’ve started to appreciate the individual experiences of learning and practicing the forms rather than just memorizing movements as part of a set. Now that I’ve gotten to know the forms better I can experience them and express them on a deeper level.

This past week I learned my final form of the Taeguk collection (gotta catch em all!) and the thirtieth in my overall repertoire. On Tuesday one of my instructors walked me and another much younger black belt through Taeguk Yuk Jang (6), and to be honest, we were all a little turned around. This form amps up the challenge to anyone trying to learn or re-learn it, even for those familiar with the Taeguk patterns.
Continue reading “Taeguk 6 – Can We Pause For a Change Revisited (The Poomsae Series Part 15)”