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5 things I learned when earning a Brown Belt in Kuk Sool Won martial arts

Is there something you always wanted to do but thought there was too much water under the bridge to take a chance? Of all the things I expected to do in my mid forties, earning a martial arts brown belt was a bit of a surprise.

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Photo: Master Saidi congratulating me on receiving my brown belt on Promotion Day at Kuk Sool Won of Dublin, California Photo Credit: Swathi Ravi

The journey to brown belt has been enlightening and the top 5 things I learnt are:

1. Listen to the Yeasayers and Not the Naysayers

Not everyone will be supportive or happy for you. Some will be indifferent and some will even be mocking and condescending. Naysayers helped me to focus on the reasons I chose to do martial arts and to pay more attention to those who were being supportive and encouraging. Seth Godin defines the Yeasayer as being the opposite of a Naysayer. Find your camp of Yeasayers and let them encourage you to reach your goals.

2. When the student is ready the teacher will appear

Instructors are crucial in getting you where you want to go. A credible instructor with a great track record who fosters an environment that motivates you is critical. My family and I are fortunate enough to have a remarkable instructor in Master Saidi who knows how to teach each one of us to reach our full potential. Find an instructor that matches your learning style.

3. Pain is part of the process

Fear of injury was a huge concern for me when starting out. In class one of the mature adult students often jokes about the ‘mileage” we have to take into consideration in our training. Warming up is important as well as pacing yourself in the challenges that are encountered. However carefully I approached the activities though – I still got hurt. I sprained a toe on a training mat, hurt my back over stretching in warm-up and have regular bruises after sparring class. I came to realize that when practicing martial arts, pain is part of the process no matter how cautious you are. I often think of my friends battling cancer and consider myself to be fortunate to have a healthy body that I can push to its limits. My body can heal and conditioning makes you stronger. Experiencing pain is also where many lessons are learned.

4. Teamwork makes the dream work

Although practicing martial arts is a personal journey and a lot of the training is done by yourself, team support is a huge benefit. Training partners give feedback that is invaluable. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a dojang family to raise a martial artist. Different training partners teach you various aspects of what needs to be learned. I am fortunate that my husband (blogger at Remarkable Runs) practices the same art and is also a fitness fundi so is able to give me great advice and support during my training. The journey to black belt is better with a team helping you reach your goals.

5. Time passes whether you make it count or not

The clock doesn’t wait for you is what I remind my children whenever they are taking too long to get ready. I have often wished I started out training when I was much younger and still had more pliable and malleable muscles. There are some people who have inspired me though who defied their ages and still achieved their goals. Often people will tell me that they would really like to try out a martial arts class but they will wait for various reasons like: till they have more time or had another child or found a job closer to the dojang. Time is passing anyway and its up to you to make it count.

My martial arts journey continues as I have ambitions of earning a black belt. If all goes according to plan that should take another 3 years of training. Three years will pass anyway – what will you do with yours?

 

 

 

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Budding and Blooming Bloggers

This week has been quite unusual at ours. My husband, Robin, and I have both participated in the #YourTurnChallenge to blog every day for a week, initiated by Winnie Kao, project lead for Seth Godin.

“Are you reading something Daddy wrote again? asked my son “You two have been doing a lot of writing this week!”

Indeed we have – we have been shipping with a group of like-minded individuals from across the globe – and it’s been awesome, frustrating, challenging and liberating.

Photo 1: Spring buds and blooms in the park this morning

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I have had my floral photography blog for four years and have steadily plodded along. I’ve blogged because I love to share what I experience and what I care about. I have a writing blog (needing a post) called Stories in #10Tweets  a Genetic Counselling News SA blog (in stasis) a motherhood blog called MumDay (discontinued) and my floral photography blog that just keeps going and now my martial arts blog Junbi.

When I first started blogging I was hooked on the stats. Was anyone reading it? Did it resonate with someone? Did people like what they saw?

When the stats remained dismal for the first year I was initially demotivated but then I changed my perspective. I realised that I was blogging because I enjoyed it, so I would just keep sharing things I felt passionate about.

I love it when people like my posts and send me comments. It’s a great way to connect and I usually comment on and follow their blogs too. Connecting is what makes social media social.

So my newest blog Junbi is steadily taking off. It has allowed me to connect with those I meet in other settings in a more in depth manner. I asked more questions in my Kuk Sool Won martial arts class so I had enough material to blog about.

I paid better attention to what Master Saidi said during my lessons so I could recall the key points he was conveying.

I asked more questions after Tai Chi class and discovered that Tim was also an author.

I had something different to talk about when I met another expat Mum in the park this morning and we chatted about blogging, martial arts and floral photography.

By being a brand advocate for Seth Godin I was also one for Kuk Sool Won, Tai Chi, Remarkable Runs, Fables and Flora, other challenge bloggers and myself! A very unique combination, generating chatter and making a ruckus.

Blogging this week has also allowed me to watch Robin unveil his writing skills and allowed me to peek into his mind during a run. Our kids got to see us committing to a challenge and shipping and they started writing their own thoughts too.

So we now have budding and blooming bloggers in one household! Congrats to all who joined the challenge this week and happy shipping on your journey forward!

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