The Dangers of Anger

A friend of mine – also a highly accomplished Martial Artist – posted a very thought-provoking video yesterday of a young man throwing a full-scale temper tantrum at his teacher. To feel frustration, disappointment, some upset is to be human – it will happen in life. But to get to a point of anger and rage is simply not okay. Ever. Even when there is no physical violence, the words and actions can still be as damaging as if there were.

He posed some very interesting points about why people react this way (because it isn’t a response, it’s a reaction), about avoiding the discussion because it’s too close to home, or because we have differences in opinions (which are nothing more than the lenses we’ve gained through our experiences)…

As a Martial Artist myself, and someone also studying a personal protective defense system, my priority is non-violence. My priority is to have enough wherewithal to exercise control of my person and my reactions / actions / words, even when pushed to the point of anger. I had coincidentally just posted a snapshot of an article I read on a plane this weekend speaking to the very idea of walking away, of non engagement. . .

This teen’s anger is horrifying on so many levels. Respect (in my own world) is of the utmost importance – the things that are said, and the actions taken, are testament to the complete lack of respect for another human being. . .and they can, as above, be as damaging as if the teacher was struck physically.

This also calls to mind the idea that help is desperately needed – but I wonder whether it would be sought, or if someone who knows him would every attempt to initiate that conversation. Sadly, I doubt it. I suspect he will go on to injure himself or others in some way…

It isn’t my training that has me thinking this way, though, but rather that I too am human and have never liked confrontation. Human beings are “flawed” by nature but we have the capacity to be empathic, compassionate, and loving – we have the ability to learn control of all aspects of ourselves and to do good in the world.

I commend the teacher for not reacting as I believe that is what might have kept him safe. The wiser man is the one who walks away from the “show” and doesn’t react to the anger with the same.

 

Martial Arts Tips – The 5 Rules Of Fighting

 This image crossed my path the other day and though there’s never an end to “tips,” especially in this arena, these are five solid goodies to start. They might apply to a professional fighter, but they also make sense in a self-defense scenario.

NEVER MOVE BACK IN A STRAIGHT LINE

When you get “offline” (for example, at a 45% angle), you are forcing your opponent to slow down. As he redirects to refocus his energy on you, his strikes become weaker, and a window of opportunity opens during which you can retreat to a safe direction, strike back if still under threat, etc.

Moving straight back can also have you backed into something (or on the ground!) pretty quick.  A stagger is a stronger base from which to work, keeping you on your feet….where you need to stay.

 

NEVER SET

Keep moving! A stationary target is a lot easier to catch and strike. Movement also makes it easier to catch your opponent by surprise – a strike from a stand-still telegraphs your intentions much faster than if you are dodging about.

 

REDIRECT

Along with number one… When the opponent has to shift his focus, he also has to shift his weight, balance, and strength, giving you the upper hand.

 

FIGHT YOUR OPPONENT AS HE FIGHTS YOU

You never know what a person’s background is, or necessarily their style of fighting. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to observe, but try to pick up on what he is…and isn’t…doing…as well as what he has in his arsenal. A knife fight when you aren’t armed means you’ve got a bold opponent fighting you (think: lunging slashes and stabs, unafraid of being cut in return.) If you happen to have a knife also, his movements are going to become a lot shorter, hesitant, and self-protective.

Stand your ground as much as you are able, maintaining that you are not a victim or someone to be pushed around.  The more calm a person can be (and it is a challenge, assuredly) the more nerve you will evoke in the other person. Chip away at the opponent’s self-confidence and he’s going to be a lot easier to get away from, or submit (obviously depending on the circumstance.)

 

PLACE YOUR OPPONENT WHERE YOU WANT HIM

If you are fighter by sport or profession, STUDY…and study hard. Observe what you can before hand.  If you have no ability to do so, test him to see which strikes he’s resorting to, or whether he wants to stay standing vs get you to the ground, whether he baits you, prefers kicks to punches, and which kinds…  When you understand what you are working with, you know where the weaknesses are.  

If in a self-defense scenario, you aren’t going to have time on your side. Do your best to note the person’s movement, as it is guaranteed to be either: their natural movement (and going to occur again), or their preferred movement (and going to occur again.) Being aware of the other person’s overall body movement can also keep us focused, giving us less time to panic.

 

Obviously, there are a slew of techniques and tips and methodologies out there…but these are good tidbits to keep in mind.

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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!

 

One Of Many Resolutions

I’ve got a bunch of things that I’m working on – the New Year isn’t necessarily the starting point, I feel like “working on” is a lifetime pursuit of sorts.  But one of the things that I’m particularly (read: habitually) bad about is taking care of myself.  It sounds a little ridiculous, I know, but I have struggled with it my whole life.

In the past, my parents not only implored, but essentially had to fight me to go to the physical therapist when I had an injury (second ACL tear, meanwhile.)  They had to fight to get me to go to the chiropractor (which I nearly didn’t do, save that I actually couldn’t lie down without severe pain.)  They’ve fought me to go to the ER when I thought I could glue my own finger. They’ve had to tell me to take it easy when I don’t feel as up to my routine because I somehow tell myself I *should* still proceed ahead despite that I have a collapsed lung.

DUMB.

Yes, I know that our conversation with the Universe has a massive impact on our lives (I’ve seen it time and time again – good, bad, and ugly.) But I also feel it’s important to admit mistakes when necessary, as well as shortcomings.  And frankly. . .

I’m not smart sometimes!  

I push too hard, and I refuse – never for a great reason – to do the right thing for myself.

Take Jiu-Jitsu for example… Master Cycle is not just one jump up from Combatives.  It’s SEVERAL.  You learn more techniques, and build on the knowledge that got you to Blue Belt, but you also roll a lot more – free sparring means the injury level goes up.  Generally Blue Belts have learned some control, but it takes YEARS to become proficient enough to be smooth.  Injuries are going to happen at a high level too, but less so from lack of body control… Either way, you have to protect yourself – the element of possibility is always present.

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In the last few months I’ve had my nose fractured twice.  I’m blessed (and thankful!) that it wasn’t worse than it was…but it definitely makes you pause.  I wasn’t wearing a mouth guard and it would have been only an inch difference to have possibly lost teeth.  My husband has urged me to wear my mouthguard from the get go. “It’s uncomfortable,” I said.  “It’s harder to breathe.” 

“Would you rather lose teeth?!”

Of course I thought “NooOoo!” But. . .I still didn’t wear it.

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So I’ve decided that my obstinacy and bullshit stops six days ago.  It’s a perfect time for me to pull it together, and do the right thing to take care of myself.  Loved ones shouldn’t have to fight me over my self-care, for crying out loud – and they aren’t pushing me for any reason beyond that they want me healthy, happy, and able to do what I love.

My parents put up with it for nearly 40 years.  At almost 40, it’s fair (though possibly unfortunate) to say I’m pretty set in my ways.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t learn, that I don’t care, or that I won’t make an effort to be a better person.  We all have room to grow, and I do not consider myself unusually immutable.

For me, being a better person is a top priority – I feel distressed when I fall short of being anything but a positive influence on anyone in any regard (especially my family!)  Of course I will fall short – I forgive myself in advance, knowing I’m human.  But I do try – even if a little later in the game.

Better late than never, so they say, right? 

Or, better before I lose some teeth.

Intuition

Trust it.

Without hesitation.

Don’t make excuses.  Don’t justify, internalize, or minimize. That “feeling” you have – great, bad, or otherwise?  It’s dead on.  

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That elusive, evolutionary mechanism residing within your center – brimming over with feeling, and yet altogether “emotionless”. . . That space JUST KNOWS. Humans may indeed be flawed and fragile, but we have been designed – by whomsoever you chose – to survive against the odds.  Our “gut” tells us when things may be tipping in our favor, and when they might go awry (there actually IS a sabretooth hovering in that bush behind you.  RUN.)

Modern life has someone drowned to reflex, but it hasn’t gone anywhere.  No, it’s still there, jumping up and down with red flags a-flying trying to tell you that guy isn’t good for you on any level…that the job relocation actually IS what you need…or that maybe you need to rest today instead of pushing yourself to the point of immune shutdown.

These days life is fast-paced and all-consuming – here I am typing these words, with a cell phone plugged in next to me, texts coming through…and three other windows open, one of which is e-mail.  What happened to the “down time” of old?  What happened to actually FEELING and be aware of our own physiologic sensations?  Technology?  Maybe… It’s certainly sped up the planet to a spin that’s hard to keep up with – forget about time for a coffee, let alone having a moment to catch your breath and re-calibrate with your gut. Meditation?  What’s that?

Still…despite the onslaught of time-robbing “stuff,” the intuition is ever at the ready to guide you.  That split second flutter you feel is trying to tell you something.  So even if life has gone on warp speed…take a moment to LISTEN.  As best you can.  You don’t have to take a five-minute time out…just take a breath and listen to what your body, gut, and intuition is saying.  It’s got your back 1,000% – think of it as your personal, built-in radar, programmed to keep you alive and well.

And if you are one of those people who ARE aware but choose to ignore it?  Do a little test and listen next time… Making excuses or turning our cheek the other way?  It only hurts us in the end.

I do believe that things happen for reasons – many of the lessons I had to learn stemmed from deliberately overriding my gut (consciously and unconsciously.)  Neither, I suppose, is the better teacher – one just happens to be a lot less painful.  Especially after the fact when that flutter says – in the deep recesses of silence at night – “I told you so.”

Yeah…  You did.

 

La Roche-Posay Wearable UV Patch

High tech is hitting skincare in yet another innovative way.  My UV Patch – a sticker with a thickness of half a strand of hair – is designed to become a “second skin” the moment you apply it.  

Christian Kettiger / La Roche-Posay

Christian Kettiger / La Roche-Posay

Now the patch isn’t used in PLACE of sunscreen...its purpose lies in measuring the amount of UV you are being exposed to.  There are a number of products being marketed which do the same thing, but they differ in that they are more like technologically-advanced jewelry – a bracelet or band, as an example (not so unlike fitness monitors.  not necessarily bulky, but still an obvious wearable with weight.)

These slim stickers also have the advantage of being able to work with product – you can apply your sun protection over it without any issue.  Wearers can get their UV reading in 1, 2, 3!  The sticker will change color, indicating your level of exposure.  All you need to do is snap a photo of it and upload to get your stats (so yes, you will need an App for this.)

The idea behind My UV Patch is to give you a better sense of what you are being exposed to on a regular basis, presumably encouraging you to take appropriate preventative measures going forward.

It is still in Beta, but I’m curious to hear more about it.  I do hope they accept some feedback in the meantime – I don’t think most men want to traipse around wearing a heart sticker, frankly.  And to be honest, neither do I.  Maybe they’ll make skull-shaped ones?!  

Sun “Safety Kit”

Along with my last post…I just spotted this adorable little collection!  What a perfect way to give a few sun products a whirl if you aren’t sure!  

(PS, I don’t work for Sephora, nor have I ever. They also most definitely have not asked me to work with them – wouldn’t that be nice!? – so rest assured, I am only sharing because I want to! 🙂 ) 

sephora.com photo

sephora.com photo

Here’s what you will get…!

sephora.com photo

sephora.com photo

That’s not a steep price for so many goodies (from, by the way, some really lovely brands!) – sample sizes, granted, but knowing that skin can have its own mood swings, it IS nice to have the option of trying them out prior to shelling out money for the full size!