Easter Bun-San

If I was recruited to fill in for the Easter Bunny, I’d basically be dressed just like this…

I’d be hippity-hoppity, and happily chopity, looking for some delicious eggs to eat!

Think Like A Warrior

This think-like-a-champion mindset is the kind of approach that always works. You may not always have the answers, nor the most skill.  You may not have the most experience, nor be (even remotely) the most brave. . . But when you adopt a “I’m not going to lose” attitude,  you will come out on top no matter what.

In Ninpo, we teach the children to “love to lose” – when we ask them WHY they love to lose, they say “WE LEARN!!!” And that’s 1,000% true.  

When I read “I don’t know how I’m going to win, but just know I’m not going to lose” I see words that express…“I may not win, but that doesn’t mean failure.”  To me it isn’t as much about dominating the battle and coming out on top – it’s more that, in this semantic case, the “lose” part isn’t an end-all-be-all defeat.  There will be something gained from the experience and in that way, the warrior wins no matter the physical outcome.  

For us in Ninpo, we want to tie the word “lose” specifically to “learn” for the kids – that association, the notion that losing is not a negative, needs to be strong and firm in their minds. 

But another layer to this – and what I also read in the quotation – is  the idea of “walking on the floor like a champion.” It is the way I took the ice as a figure skater, the way I walked to the center of the mat when testing in Martial Arts, and the way I took the ballroom floor in dancing competition – you have to OWN it. You have to own yourself, and what you have to offer – even if you don’t have as much as the other competitors (PS: THEY don’t know that, only you do!) you need to act like you are on top.  

If you walk out there with any self-doubt, it’s going to show, and it will leave room for someone else to sneak in.  If, however, you raise that head high and own what you have got to give. . .you will astound yourself with how much you can achieve.  Trust me, you can do that without the ego too – it’s about knowing you have what it takes and acting in accordance with the idea that you have already won.

Feline Humor – The Samurai And The Dot

Do you suppose they dress up in all this Samurai garb just to fight the seen – and sworn – enemy that is the “red dot”. . .? 

Wouldn’t it be easier to just lunge after it, minus the ceremonial paraphernalia?  (Or is the seek-and-destruction of said dot elevated to whole other level of badassery when they WEAR the armor?)

I feel like if my two could talk – Musashi in particular – I’d be at the receiving end of an angry stare and an “IDIOT HUMAN! You know NOTHING!” 

 

(A Few Of) Life’s Helpful Hints

 

  1. Failure is NEVER the end.  In fact, without failure, we might very well miss out on what we are meant to do and meant to learn.  Embrace mistakes and endings, and recognize them as the begging of something great.
  2. Things don’t change just because you want them to / say they will.  If you want change, you must take action – life isn’t going to drop what we need at our feet most of the time.  We have to work hard, set intentions, and put actions into play.  Period
  3. ALWAYS go above and beyond. Promise what you will, and over deliver on those promises.  Your name is on your work, so give a shit and make it count.
  4. Teach others (without being condescending.)  Your knowledge and experiences are valuable, not only to you, but to others who will come after.  Sharing the wealth in this way benefits everyone.
  5. Question before jumping to conclusions.  As human beings, we all often fall into the ass-of-you-and-me trap.  It’s important to step back and recognize that what we *think* may be the case, may be the farthest thing from.  What someone SAYS is gospel, may be in fact be a figment of another’s imagination (or poor googling!) 
  6. Make peace with your past. Tough one, for sure!  Do what you can to make peace with your past, and those in it – this might mean ongoing help to overcome the habits the past has instilled within you, and that’s okay.  Just make sure you work on it – no one deserves to be confined to past challenges.  There is hope, and there’s always room to break free!
  7. Turn. Your. Brain. OFF! Some of us overthink (which can be disastrous –> irrational brain on overdrive!) and some of us conceptualize (read: think about ways to do this or that, but never take the plunge and ACT. As with #2, you have to DO in order to initiate change – things aren’t going to materialize for you while you sit and ponder!)
  8. NEVER, EVER compare yourself to others. PERIOD. If you can’t help yourself, compare you to you yesterday – that is the only person you need to concern yourself with.  You may see good, bad, or ugly in others…and you can rest assured that the flip side of any of those also exists (you just aren’t privy.)  The point being, you have no idea what another’s true reality is, so don’t’ make yourself crazy trying to pit yourself and your circumstances against it.  

Martial Arts Humor – Preparation (And The Benefit Of Martial Arts in Life)

I have to say, Mr. Rogers, you let me down! 

The streets here are not exactly tame, depending on the block – happy-go-lucky mindlessness and handing out “hi, neighbor!”s is a surefire way to get in (possibly serious) trouble.

When I began Martial Arts, it wasn’t because I wanted to be “badass” or that I thought I’d need to fend of a gaggle of muggers, necessarily.  I was a lifetime athlete – primarily a performing one (ballroom dancing, figure skating, ballet, and the like) – and I wanted to up the ante.  I wanted more power, newness, and something that combined athleticism with artistry (which figure skating, for one, manages by default.)

That said, I was enamored of Martial Arts in general from an incredibly young age.  It had nothing to do with being a female, by the way – I’ve never felt that I couldn’t achieve the same thing the “boys” did, and in sports the men were more my idols than the women.  The grace and fluidity were something my body already knew how to create inherently, but the power and strength of male athletes inspired me on a whole other level.  

Martial Arts movies were common enough in our household – older brother = badassery.  And watching them, in and of themselves, made me feel empowered – imagine being able to do those things, and hold my own, for myself?!

I didn’t start (Taekwondo, Hapkido, dabble of Kumdo) until the third decade of Life, but I still don’t think that was “too late.” My current Arts are Ninjutsu / Ninpo, and Brazilian Gracie Jui-Jitsu. I feel that the combination of the former, and being in a new, and much tougher city than those I’ve lived in before, has prompted me to develop and even stronger situational awareness.  I notice my surroundings, but also am more attuned to the details – how someone is walking, if they are carrying something, if they look in shape and strong, or less able. . . It’s sort of just “there” and it makes me feel even more thankful for my training.

I can’t say whether or not my muscle memories would kick in – I certainly hope so – but I definitely know I am far more prepared than the average person, and have some chance of submitting, escaping, keeping my life. I’m also more aware in general, a direct result training with people, so I can possibly be more proactive.

It may not always be a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” much that my happy-empath spirit would like it to be. Mr. Rogers let a little me down but I picked up the slack and have trained my ass off in the last ten years just in case a “hi, neighbor” leans a little too hostile for my taste!

 

When Nothing Goes Right…

I love what the “…go left” in the original version of this quotation stands for. . .but I *also* love the gym-rat-edited “…go LIFT” one, and not because it’s gym-leaning.

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Exercise is, 1,000%, a proven de-stressor (that happens to have added health benefits, vs. other known de-stressors, like comfort foods, binge eating, alcohol consumption, body-harming vices of whatever design…)

I think a lot of folks who haven’t had the opportunity to be (or exposure to being) active don’t know what they are missing. Whether it is lifting iron in a gym, taking a jog, or just dancing like no one is watching as fiercely as you can, physical movement and engagement can turn a very BAD day (or series of events!) into a much more positive one.  It’s not only for your heart and body, but your mind and emotional state too too… 

When nothing goes right, give your body a chance to work out the aggression, frustration, disappointment, whatever. . . It really doesn’t matter if it’s jumping jacks during commercials, going to a barre class, or playing in a soccer league.  ANY movement helps.

By changing your direction and focus, and letting your body do what it was designed to do – move – you can alter not only the tone of the day, but your mood with it.

Win, win.