Guest Writer: Your Guide to Creating Martial Arts Studio at Home

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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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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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When Do You Feel Like an Athlete Again?

Five weeks post-op

A month and two days following my ACL reconstruction surgery, I had a follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. Two weeks earlier I’d seen one of his assistants to have my sutures and bandages removed and to get a play-by-play, complete with three pages of color photos, of the surgery.

I was hoping for some good news after a month of hard work at home and in physical therapy. I’d been cranky and depressed for the past week because a nasty case of topical dermatitis flared up around my incisions. The incisions themselves are fine, but the skin around it was red, itchy, and full of little bumps that give my skin the appearance and feel of a very tightly inflated (i.e., one Tom Brady might allegedly avoid) football.

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Using Martial Arts Basics To Recover From an Injury

white belt uniform

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know how I feel about forms. I’ve written over two dozen blog posts about the mental and physical benefits (and inevitable life lessons) of practicing poomsae.

To my surprise, my physical therapist casually mentioned that I should start doing slow-motion forms to work on balance and transferring weight back and forth on my legs. I’m nearly three weeks post-op from ACL reconstruction surgery, and, if I’m careful, I can move around the house with just my leg brace. I was excited about the prospect.

I’ve done forms as mental therapy. I’ve never done them as physical therapy, so this will be a new recovery/martial arts adventure for me.

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The Hard Truth of Getting Back Into Shape – Before and After

therapy clinic
My dojang for the next six months

According to WordPress, I started this draft at 12:16 PM on July 9, 2020. My original plan for this post was to recount how I was several weeks into longer, more intense taekwondo training back at the dojang after doing thirty-minute home workouts for two months in quarantine, the differences among the two types of training, and what it revealed to me about my stamina, strength, and skill. 

My original plan also included describing in detail the invigorating, intense, difficult class I took on my forty-first birthday. I was going to talk about how strong I felt and yet how far I had to go. I was going to say I wished I had the bikini body and sparring stamina I had in February and how I’d have to spend months getting it backHere’s a little excerpt:
“I was kicking so hard I swear my BLADDER hurt. I sucked in shaky, audible gasps. I was nearly in tears from the tax on my body, and I don’t cry in taekwondo.”

But this is 2020, and nothing this year is as it seems. The night of July 9, I tore my ACL.

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Knee Surgery: Pre-Op Jokes and Dr. Pepper

syringe
God bless anesthesiologists.

As martial artists, we’ve heard those familiar mantras before: “Fall down seven times, get up eight”; “A black belt is a white belt who refused to give up“; perseverance, indomitable spirt, blah blah blah.

It turns out that martial arts spirit of perseverance and jocky stubbornness to give up has quite come in handy over the last few days. I am four days into recovery from ACL surgery, and recovery has been a full-time job. Let’s go back a few days…

In my last post, I described my worst taekwondo injury to date and following tests and decisions I made with my doctor. We agreed on an ACL repair slated for July 22 at 7 am.

…things didn’t quite go as planned.
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What Can You Do In Just Ten Minutes?

clock face

Although my dojang has officially opened, they’re still offering thirty minute virtual classes throughout the week. Saturday morning I did a virtual black belt class in my home. After some warm-ups and a few forms (although I had much less space, Keumgang felt better in bare feet than in those damn taekwondo shoes), my instructor said we were going to work on kicking. Okay cool.

Jump kicks.

Great, fine, I like jump kicks. I’ve done plenty of them.

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Finding Balance and Looking Forward

balancing rocks

First of all…hi. It’s been a month since I published anything here so welcome back and thank you for reading. For the past two months I’ve mostly been focused on getting through each day, just like everyone else has in the COVID-19 crisis. I’ve had ups, downs, and am finally starting to feel more leveled out and balanced.

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Little Black Belt is Six!

Birthday cupcakes in rainbow colors

In the midst of…well…everything, my little blog turns six years old today! Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and offered support. As usual on my blog’s birthday, I like to share my ten favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy, stay safe, and take care…

  1. Do You Speak Korean In Your Dojang?– I kick it old school.
  2. Someone Is Looking Up To You. Don’t Let Them Down. – A fortune cookie gives sage advice.
  3. Forty Lessons and Blessings Upon Turning Forty – I celebrate a milestone birthday with some reflections.
  4. I Want a Worn Out Black Belt – A black belt isn’t just a symbol of achievement. It’s the story of your journey.
  5. How Kickboxing Upped My Poomsae (Forms) Game– I love finding connections among different martial arts and training techniques. They all contribute to one black belt.
  6. When Being One Step Ahead Slows You Down – Surprise, surprise, I find out that rushing through everything isn’t always the best answer.
  7. You Guys! My Book Is Being Published!– My favorite post (and moment) from the last year!
  8. Taekwondo Is Who I Am– Taekwondo is what makes me feel most authentic, most secure, and most fulfilled.
  9. Fall Out of Your Comfort Zone (Literally) – Sometimes losing control is exactly what you need.
  10. When It’s Crunch Time, Be Agile, Be Ready…and Be Still– I didn’t know how prophetic that last part would be. And here we are, all being still.
    “And the moments of stillness can help us rise above the chaos and stay focused on what is most important and meaningful to us.”

 

Stay tuned for my upcoming book – “Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts” published by She Writes Press. Coming to a bookseller near you April 20, 2021!

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