Dangerous Places

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Self-Defense,Tags:
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Australian Shooter Magazine had an interesting letter that I came across and I thought I would share it, I quote:

“If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers. The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 25 per cent more likely to be shot and killed in the US capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the US, than you are in Iraq .”

Conclusion: “The US should pull out of Washington .”

I am not posting this for political reasons, I am posting because it presents a great talking point about Self-Defense.  This little quote makes the point that you can be in greater danger on the streets then on the battlefield.  Of course the soldiers on the battlefield are well trained and prepared, are you?

Government Run…

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Fun Stuff, Politics,Tags: , , , , , ,
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The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. Our government had 236 years to get it right and it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935. Our government had 76 years to get it right and it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938. Our government had 73 years to get it right and it is broke.

The War on Poverty started in 1964. Our government had 47 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more.

Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. Our government had 46 years to get it right and they are broke.

Freddie Mac was established in 1970. Our government had 41 years to get it right and it is broke.

The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. Our government had 34 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

Our government has failed in almost every “government service” they have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.

How can so many Americans believe Obamacare will be successful…or our occupation in the Middle East…or meddling with capitalism and our economy?

Only an idiot would trust the federal government!

Thanks to Denney Crane for posting this on his blog, it was to good not to cross post.

Can’t

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
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Words spoken by others are powerless unless we give them power.  “Sticks & Stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you”.  I’ve spoken and written on that in the past.  That is not the topic today but it is an important backdrop.  While we should be thick skinned when people speak hurtfully or hatefully towards us, this is only half of the equation.

Words do have power.  Words can define our being and our existence.  The words we use, think and in some sense feel can affect us both mentally, physically and spiritually.  Can’t or Can Not is just such a word.  One of my students reminded me of this last night.  We were working on a new block drill which he was having a hard time with.  In trying to correct him he got frustrated and said “I Can’t”…and that was the end of it.  You see, “I Can’t” turned into he couldn’t because he believed it and more importantly he quit with that proclamation.  It didn’t matter that I knew he could.  It didn’t matter that he knew how to do the block already.  Through his proclamation, “I Can’t” he made the possible, impossible.  He changed the state of his mind from positive effort to negative reservation of defeat.  I spoke to him about this and having no affect had him sit out the rest of that drill to reflect.

Later in the class we were doing bag work, a standing side kick to be specific, and I corrected something he was doing wrong.  After a couple of corrections he began to say ” I c…” I was ready for him and abruptly cut him off and admonished him to not finish that statement.  I then helped him focus, reminded him of the correct technique, distracted his mind and within three attempts he was doing it correctly!  Unlike the first drill, I had stopped his negative statement before it became his truth and in doing so helped him succeed.

Hopefully all of my students learned from that event.  I commented on it to drive the point home.  The power of “I can’t” or “I don’t know” or negative statements like them are underestimated by most.  Often people use them as an excuse, for it is easier to say “I can’t” then to try and fail.  Some are so afraid of failure that they would rather never try then to admit they are lacking, in that way they can always fantasize that hey could have, would have or can ‘when they are ready’.  This is perfectly normal among children, it is part of growing up, dealing with fear and personal limitation, however left unchecked it can handicap the adult they will become, leading them to a life of mediocrity filled with missed chances.  ‘Should of, Could of, Would of’ is what they will see when they look back on their life.

Words are powerful.  But the power resides in ourselves, what power we give them, how they affect what we believe about ourselves.

The following quote isn’t in perfect alignment with my above thoughts, but it does speak to staying positive and always giving everything your best effort, regardless of how things seem or the opinions of others.  It may take you more attempts then others to accomplish something but I guarantee if you stay positive and keep trying you will accomplish more then most.

If successful people have one common trait, it’s an utter lack of cynicism. The world owes them nothing. They go out and find what they need without asking for permission; they’re driven, talented, and work through negatives by focusing on the positives.
– Mike Zimmerman

Is Your Jar Full?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , ,
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When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar……and the beer.

A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with an unanimous “Yes.”

The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand.  The students laughed.

“Now,” said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions – things that if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.  The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first”, he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your partner out to dinner.  Play another 18.  There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal.  Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.  Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

When he had finished, there was a profound silence.  Then one of the students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the beer represented.

The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

— I couldn’t have illustrated it better myself since the sad truth is most of us spend all our time dealing with the sand in our life.

Everyone Has a Story

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Fun Stuff, State of Mind,Tags: , ,
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Turns out it was true!

Like the title says, everyone has a story. I do. You do. Everyone does.  So what!

This isn’t meant to trivialize your story, but try to keep it in perspective.  We all have or will have health problems.  We all have our crosses to bear, if you don’t…you will.  What is important is how we deal with these crosses put upon us.  How do we deal with them… how do you deal with them?  Sometimes they turn into excuses.  The important thing is to stretch to your limits.  Like stretching a muscle you might just find that after a while you can stretch further then your could before.  Maybe that hill wasn’t as steep as you thought.  But most definitely you are not the only one who has climbed that hill or another just like it!

Life happens all of a sudden and not usually in the way we expect, the trick is accepting the blessings and curses as gifts.  Do this and you will find the value in the gift no matter how it changes the direction of your life.

Train hard, Stay Safe, Have Fun…but stop whining!! 😉

A New Hero

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, OffTopic, Politics, Video,Tags: , , , , , , ,
0

The following video is off topic but worth sharing for the clear and truthful picture given of our current relations with China and our economic picture.  I have a new hero because of how truthful, honest and unabashed the presentation is.

In this following video clip, Wolf Blitzer is called out for pandering, he isn’t none to happy, no more so then the Wizard was when the curtain was pulled back!  What is surprised me was who did it…The Donald!  No, not Donald Duck, Donald Trump!  I am posting this video because every word that Trump says in this video is pure GOLD.  The man didn’t pull any punches and he does it in a way we should all strive to do, truthfully and honestly without the mean spiritedness or sarcasm that is to often born out of ill motives and/or fear.

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Video-BreakingNewsTrump-tromps-Wolf.flv[/zdvideo]

Point and match…

That’s a Lot of Snow!

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Competition, For Kids, Fun Stuff,Tags:
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A few days late but still had to share.

Not to mention a little to much time on your hands!  That’s jealousy talking!!  The snowman is approximately 15 feet across at the base…Wow!

One of my Connecticut friends, friends posted this and it was to good not to share…

Cholesterol – The Unseen Enemy

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Diet, Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts,Tags: , , ,
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High Cholesterol runs in my family so I am always (read: try to) watching what I eat.  I also get tested every year or so, to see how I am doing.  The last test I had showed a 8 point increase over 2 years, still in the healthy range, however, near the top of where my levels should be for my age/gender.  Basically I take it seriously but not so seriously that I don’t enjoy what I eat.  I’ve been cut open enough times to understand that if it can be avoided it should!  If you don’t believe me, please take my word for it.  With that in mind you can imagine my surprise when my brother-in-law (visiting from out of state) announced that his Cholesterol level was around …700!  What can I say, it surprised me he had a pulse!!

That is when I decided to write this article, not as an expert (I am not), but from my practical experience.  I do not take medication and will resist taking any for as long as possible.  I am not adverse to medication but do believe less is better.  So I focus on natural ways to lower cholesterol, my doctor may not agree with me and wish he could get the commission from the prescription, but I have at the least maintained my levels through personal effort.  I also realize every one’s body chemistry if different and you should listen to your doctor and yourself, not me.  You need to understand the differences between the good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, I leave that up to you.  But if you find a few useful tips here, my effort is not wasted.

It is important to note that cholesterol is actually necessary for several very critical functions in the body.  However, excess cholesterol in the blood stream can be deposited in arteries and can cause plaque formation as well as harden arteries. Heart disease, heart attack and stroke may then result.

How do you reduce your Cholesterol naturally?  Basically you have to alter your lifestyle and diet.

Is it easy? Not always.

First of all, you need to maintain a healthy body weight.  While thin people can have unhealthy levels of cholesterol being overweight usually indicates an unhealthy lifestyle (to much food not enough activity).  Being overweight raises your LDL (bad) levels and lowers your HDL (good) levels.  That is why the first step to lowering your cholesterol is to loose weight.  Often this only requires a change in the foods you ingest.  The side benefit of this is you will feel better and have more energy!

There it is, Step One: Get to and Maintain a Healthy Weight.

Weight loss in general requires one thing, burning more calories then you consume.  The fastest way to lose weight is to reduce your calories and increase your level of exercise.  What is interesting about this process is the more you exercise the less hungry you will be…sound ridiculous but unless you are starving yourself it’s true!  Junk food can be quiet addictive (and bad for your cholesterol levels) so you may not feel this is true immediately, but stick with it and you will.

We need exercise for a lot of reasons, mostly we humans were not meant to be sedentary.  Like it or not you need to move around and get some exercise!  Exercise expends energy and pushes toxins out of your body, but it also forces your body to create more HDL (good) and convert/burn some of that bad cholesterol (LDL) into energy.  Imagine that.  As a Martial Artist, exercise also lubricates your joints, improves your flexibility and  heightens your awareness…sparring anyone?

The rule of thumb is a minimum of moderate exercise of about 30 minutes three to five times per week.  This will improve not only your cholesterol levels but will improve your heart health.  So many benefits!

Here is a no-brainer, stop smoking.  Smoking is stupid so you should stop.  Smoking is bad for you, and stupid, so you should stop.  Smoking increases LDL (bad) cholesterol, and it is stupid, so you should stop.  If you are still smoking, you are stupid…and, why are your reading this?!?

You are now exercising (or thinking about it) so how should you change your diet?

Obviously our diet is important to any aspect of our health.  To coin an old programming saying: Garbage In, Garbage Out.  However that doesn’t accurately depict the human body, probably more accurate would be: Garbage In, Garbage Stays…  If we consume a lot of cholesterol then our bodies are going to retain a lot of cholesterol.  Therefore it is critical to couple diet management with exercise.

There are different dietary factors affecting your body’s cholesterol stores:

Soluble Fiber binds to cholesterol and removes it from your body, making it a great way to naturally lower your cholesterol.  Soluble fiber is found in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.  Basically eating natural foods is better…duh!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids can also lower cholesterol levels, these can be found in flax seeds and flax seed oil as well as cold fish such as tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel.  An interesting note about flax seed oil, it is one of the few oils that does not change it’s molecular make up when heated!  Many oils change when heated thereby reducing or eliminating their beneficial properties.  Olive Oil is another great oil which not only is thought to reduce cholesterol but has antioxidant properties as well.

In case you didn’t get the memo:  Saturated and trans fats are bad for you, as they can raise your total cholesterol.  You can determine if a product has trans fats by reading the label.  Most will identify trans fat in the percentage area, however, even if they say 0%, if they contain partially hydrogenated anything, they contain trans fat!  Basically most processed food contains trans fat, store bought cookies/cakes/etc.  Again natural and home made is better!  Saturated fats are found in meats and some oils, such as red meats, processed meats and poultry skin.

If you have a cholesterol problem you should also avoid dairy products, fried foods and surprising to most, some seafood, especially shell fish.

Well that pretty much seems to rule out most available foods that we tend to enjoy…!  Not true, unless you exist on Devil Dogs and Yoohoo!

Basically I go back to my earlier comment, eat (and cook with) more natural foods.  Don’t buy a box of cookies, make them from scratch.  I actually think it is cheaper to do that now given rising costs.  Cut the recipe’s sugar in half, don’t use margarine, substitute apple sauce for butter/margarine.  I am sure you can find many more tips via google.

To summarize the basics:

  • Get up and moving…exercise!
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid junk foods
  • Avoid/reduce dairy products
  • Avoid all trans fats
  • Eat more natural foods

Easy right?  It actually is, the hard part is the change in behavior and mind-set that it requires.  Like all change it takes some work and effort.  However, I have never heard of denial lowering any one’s cholesterol…

Some people will go to extremes and become vegetarians (not that there is anything wrong with that!) personally I like meat to much for that and it really isn’t necessary.  There are also some herbs (garlic, green tea, psyllium, red yeast rice) that can also help in lowering your cholesterol, but there is no magic potion or secret trick regardless of what you may read online.  Beware of snake oil salesmen/women .

Any gains you will make in lowering your cholesterol by changing your diet are normally made within 3-6 months.  Aside from that you need to listen to your doctor and if necessary take a prescription drug to aid in your fight to lower your cholesterol.  Regardless there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and it is never to late to change your ways and start living a healthy life style.

Good luck.

Sticks & Stones & …Words?!

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, For Kids, Politics, Questions, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
2

I got this notice in a Barnes & Noble advertisement (along with links to anti-bullying books).

OK, I know as a Martial Arts instructor and Self-Defense advocate I should be totally on board with the new Politically Correct drive to stop bullying, but this just goes to far.  I am very against this type of campaign.  I have never been afraid of words, haven’t met one yet that could do me any real physical damage.  Today our children are taught to treat words as dangerous tools, weapons capable of causing great personal injury (minus the bruising).  Though in fairness I should note that the term bully is being used interchangeably with bullying and picking on.

We are officially living the in Bizarro word of Seinfeld, Up is officially down, hot is now cold, sticks and stones won’t hurt you, and Men are the new Women.  Hmmm….  As a society we are failing our youth by …wimpifying them!  Some prefer the Pu..ification term but this is a family blog so will stick to Wimpification.  How far can we turn away from reality before we are forced to face that which we pretend can be solved with a slogan.  What is the point of this new campaign against bullies?  Bullies exist and will continue to exist forever…period.  Maybe tomorrow they will just speak in a nicer tone.  So what is the point?

Perhaps a better campaign would be ‘Sticks and Stones Will Break Your Bones and Names Will Never Hurt You‘.  Some moron forgot the Never and no one called him or her on it.  I know I am being harsh and probably ruffling a few feathers, to bad.  What we should be teaching our children is threefold; believe in yourself, stand up for yourself, and; keep things in perspective.  I know some are saying…Huh?  Let me explain.

Believe in yourself – Have some confidence in yourself.  You do this by knowing who you are.  Unfortunately many kids are brought up in such a void of morals and beliefs that they are encouraged to discover who they are, like they are lost?!  So what is a child to do who is given no direction or sense of self?  That’s right, listen to their peers.  If their peers tell them they are great, well then they must be.  If their peers tell them they are a loser, well they must be.  The PC (politically correct) crowd like the former but not the later situation.  The problem is not everyone can be great.  Perhaps it would be better to raise our children know who they are so that others will not have that much effect on them.  (Notice I said ‘that much’ as I understand it is impossible to completely unaffected).  But if the child (or adult) knows who they are and has a sense of their worth, they can knuckle down and get through this unpleasant chapter in their life (being bullied/picked on).

Stand up for yourself – But what if the person doesn’t back down?!  Good question.  We all win and lose some fights, the important thing is how we walk out of the room (chin up or head down).  I can speak from personal experience here; at a certain point it is much better to stand up for yourself.  I advocate defending yourself anytime someone touches you in a threatening way, no hesitations, you take control of the situation.  I am not advocating fighting over an insult or comment, take the source and ignore it.  That leads us to the final point…

Keep things in perspective – I always ask my students this question “do you value this persons opinion?” they invariably say No!  If you react to words then you must really value the opinion of the Bully’s opinion.  Though if you do not believe in yourself (see the first point) you might just hold anything anyone says about you as a possible truth. But if you stand up for yourself by not being affected by mean spirited words you can walk out with your head held high, chin up.  There are to many techniques to cover now on deflecting insults and such.

Bullying and ‘Picking-on’ each other is a normal part of growing up.  It is the ugly truth.  Should we step in and engage kids when we can, yes but not at the risk of making them a bunch of wimps.  There is an old movie, The Bells of St. Mary’s, that shows the differences of how things have changed.  In the movie Father O’Malley and Sister Benedict differ on how to handle the school wimp and the school bully.  The Sister adopts Father O’Malley’s approach, she helps the wimp stand up for himself.  If we simply correct the Bully, the wimp is still just a wimp without a bully.

Perhaps that is something you will think about when (if) you listen to what your children are being taught the school of political correctness.

And let’s not forget to place the blame where it really belongs for raising abusive bully’s…their parents…bully’s don’t just happen, they are raised.  Regardless we have to learn to deal with Bully’s…

ICU – Intensive Care Unit

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest,Tags:
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You never know when you will get a reminder that you are mortal. Mine came earlier this week. It was a regular day, I woke up, ate breakfast and went off to work, nothing out of the ordinary. Around 11:30 I suddenly got the shakes, it was weird, one minute I felt fine, then I was shaking all over and felt like I was on fire. It ended quickly leaving me feeling slightly odd, but I didn’t seem to have a fever or any other symptoms, so I carried on. Carrying on is one of the things I do best in life, regardless of the sense of it! The event was soon history as I continued with my work, until around 2:00, just as suddenly I was hit with the shakes and a fever. This time they did not dissipate but continued to get worse. By 2:30 I knew I was in trouble, I headed for home and bed. By 4:00 my fever was up to 103.4 and nothing was helping. The rest as they say is history, as my body crashed in the Emergency Room (or as most hospitals call them, Emergency Departments – guess that sounds more professional?) I was desperate for help. I spent the next two days in ICU as they stabilized me and tried to determine a cause. They were successful on the former but not so much the later.

You may wonder why I am sharing this personal story.  Because it has direct bearing on our training and actions as martial artists, personal limits.  When we are healthy and training we often forget we have limitations.  This is easy to do as we are always pushing past our limits to increase our abilities to punch harder, faster, be stronger, lift more, run longer and inevitably we usually succeed…for a time.  In our success at training to stretch our limits we often forget that limits do still exist.  This is often the reason for unnecessary injuries or over estimation of our abilities (a little ego mixed in!).  My most successful students see their limitations and respect them even while challenging them.

As we train it is important to train with situations which cannot be won.  Initially this will seem pointless and frustrating however with time these impossible situations, for example multiple attackers, will become less impossible.  With familiarity the loss will become less demoralizing as the student strives to succeed, at that time the student will begin to recognize the turning point in situation, when winning is less possible without assistance.

It may sound crazy but reflecting on my stay in the ER and ICU that is the wisdom I have to share!