By Dwight Trower
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To shine the spotlight on the amazing members of our martial arts community with Down syndrome, and those who know them training partners, students, family and friends, MAIA is proud to feature this guest article by Dwight Trower, Director of Instruction at St. Louis Family Martial Arts Academy.
In my many years as a martial artist and school owner, I have had the fortune of being able to instruct many students with Down Syndrome, as well as others on the autism spectrum and with various mental and physical disabilities. Given the inclusive nature of martial arts (no one sits on the bench!) I know that many of my fellow school owners have also had this experience. However, in 2010, thanks to Deidre Pujols and the Pujols Family Foundation, I was given the opportunity to do even more.
With help from the Foundation, I was able to create a stand-alone program and...
by Karen Eden
One of the hardest things for me to master during my time as a TV news reporter was learning to “hurry up and wait.” You have to hurry up and get to the scene so you don’t miss anything. But once you get there, you just stand around — sometimes for hours. You try to figure out what’s really going on, which information is relevant and which is superfluous, whom you can interview and how you can get them to talk.
That’s usually the way it is when it comes to covering any kind of breaking news. As I’m sure my directors would attest, it was never my favorite thing to do.
Seasoned reporters are the best at this. They can show up and wait from high noon until sunset — and still present the story with smiles on their faces. Why? Because they’ve done it a million times, and they don’t even entertain the thought of going back empty-handed. They’ll find a way to get people to talk and to get that story on...
Guest Blog by Michelle Hodnett
Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial art journey.
I stared down at my coffee, knowing I was going to be on another sixteen-hour shift. I worked as a corrections officer in the local jail, in the segregation unit. Here, the inmates who had been deemed too dangerous or violent for the general population lived while they served out their sentences.
Suddenly, the radio clicked in: “Code 82, Seg 4!” Setting my coffee down, I rushed out with the sergeant and three other officers. As we ran down the hall, the blood rushed to my ears. I could smell fried baloney, leftover from lunch,...
By Dave Kovar
I do not know if other martial arts instructors have experienced this, but in my world, there seems to be an assumption that because I teach martial arts for a living, I must have all the time in the world to train. It has been my experience the reverse is often true. We are so busy working to grow our businesses that we hardly have time for ourselves, let alone the extra time we might need to keep ourselves as healthy and fit as we would like. With that said, if we’re not careful, we can use this as an excuse to let ourselves go.
I’m often amazed at the disconnect many smart and talented school owners have with regard to how their personal health affects their level of success. It might be possible to achieve or maintain a high level of success temporarily without taking care of yourself. However, in the long run, that abuse will catch up to you. There is an ancient proverb that says, “Those who have their health have 1,000 goals. Those...
By Karen Eden
This column originally ran in the November 2015 issue of MASuccess and is being reprinted here because of its popularity.
Those who know me have learned to accept me with all my eccentricities. So I know that, as many years have gone by, surely they must be true friends. But for those who desire to know me better, I always air a disclaimer.
I’m a different breed of person. It used to bother me early in life, but now I am comfortable with that fact, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
I often think about how much time it would save if I could just hand out a resume to everyone who wants to know me better. That way, if I wasn’t their “cup of tea,” they could just never call me. I wouldn’t be offended!
I am a deeply religious person. I’m also a diehard traditional martial arts woman with a master’s rank in a Korean, military-based, hand-to-hand combat art.
If that isn’t scary enough to the average person,...
Peter Grootenhuis possesses one of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world, but his body is fighting a losing battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Teaching from his wheelchair, Grootenhuis is an inspiration to everyone at Pacific Martial Arts in San Diego. His message — “Quitting is not an option!” — is one of many legacies he will leave in his wake.
By Terry L. Wilson
“My World Is the Dojo”
Before moving to America, Grootenhuis began his lifelong journey in the martial arts in his native Netherlands, training in shotokan karate. The intricacies woven into those kata proved to be a perfect fit for a man who excels in unraveling the secrets of the universe.
“Strange as it may sound, martial arts gives me complete relaxation,” Grootenhuis says. “When I’m in the dojo, I think of nothing else. My world is the dojo. I am totally focused on what I...
Motivate Your Masses: Part 2
In my last column, Motivate Your Masses: Part 1, I went over some ways that you can inspire your “masses:” your students, their parents and your staff. However, much as you won’t have the energy to work out if you haven’t eaten, you won’t have the mental energy to motivate others if you’re not keeping up with your own welfare.
Part of being a great motivator is promoting a balanced lifestyle to those you care about. Home life, work commitments, online distractions and hobbies can pull you in a million directions. Internally, things can quickly become unbalanced, causing stress and unease.
Many will come to you for answers about how to create a successful, balanced life. Your words hold weight because of your position, so hand out wisdom with care. The answers you provide will be implemented, and those outcomes are a direct reflection of your ability to lead effectively. Realize that some will...
By Herb Borkland
Tenth-dan Texas “Blood-and-Guts” era phenomenon Phil Wilemon started training in 1964. He won Allen Steen’s United States Karate Championships as a blue belt. As a brown belt, he either won or was disqualified in every tournament he entered, causing his longtime instructor Larry Caster to say, “Two out of three aren’t bad.”
Wilemon won 13 consecutive tournaments as a middleweight black belt and fought on national championship teams. A founding officer for the Texas Amateur Contact Karate Association, he also served as a representative for the Professional Karate Association in the Southwest. Wilemon refereed or coordinated more than 100 full-contact karate matches and is still in demand as an instructor and seminar leader.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Phil Wilemon: I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to Arlington in third grade. My father came from a long line of bankers but ended...
By Karen Eden
Two days before school closed for summer break, it snowed in Denver, Colorado. It had been a long and grueling winter on the front range, and though springtime in the Rockies is notorious for bringing a wide range of weather surprises, few people had predicted this. Old Man Winter just didn’t want to go home.
“Will it ever end?” people asked themselves while defrosting their cars and shoveling the sidewalks. It’s a phenomenon that can really mess with your sense of time: watching it snow the week of Memorial Day celebrations.
As a former weather anchor in the Denver area, I know that TV ratings rise with the inches of snow. The more terrible the weather you forecast, the more the management will applaud, hoping the dire warnings will lead to increased viewership.
But I have news for everybody, and I say it every year. Our planet doesn’t stay still around the sun. It’s basic science. Seasons must change, and they always do.
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Well, friends, we've come to the end of our series on B.L.A.C.K. B.E.L.T. leadership! The last letter, “T,” stands for trust. This is arguably one of the most important concepts for effective leaders and teams.
The number of relationships that have been solidified or ruined by the degree of trust within is innumerable. We all have stories of being on the giving and receiving ends of both good and bad trust-related stories. But leaders and teams grow or fail based on how well trust is nurtured or withheld. Here’s a quick lesson on trust that I know you’ll find helpful.
I have an older cousin who worked for a big chemical plant in a rural town in southeast Texas. The workers there didn't have a union, so they were largely dependent on their supervisors to represent them and their...
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