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...
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.
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 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...
By Dave Kovar
Every now and then, you meet someone who immediately grabs your attention. Joe Hammel was one of those people. I’ll never forget the day in the early 1990s when he walked into my school. He was 53 at the time, and I remember thinking how old he was. He told me that he had wanted to do martial arts since he was a teenager but never had the courage to get started.
I told him that it was never too late to start! Now was just as good a time as any! I didn’t really believe it, but I didn’t tell him that part.
Joe was no dummy. He was an English professor by day and a concert pianist by night. Smart he certainly was, but coordinated he certainly was not. During his first lesson, I remember thinking that he was the most ungraceful person I’d ever worked with. I asked him about prior athletic endeavors. He said he’d never done anything remotely like a sport in his whole life. It showed.
At first glance, the lack of previous physical...
By Terry L. Wilson
A Low Kick
People often say of a martial artist, “He was training as soon as he could walk.” In Joao Gabriel Rocha’s case, this was almost literally true. His introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu came from a summer camp for toddlers. At a mere two years, eight months, Joao had embarked on the journey of a lifetime. But this path would not be without struggle.
Joao worked hard and saw payoffs, in the form of a series of impressive victories as a junior (not yet black) belt. In 2013, Joao was promoted to black belt, earning him a spot to compete in the elite Submission Wrestling World Championships.
This grappling competition involves professional athletes of the highest level, from a variety of grappling styles, including jiu-jitsu. Joao worked his way to the finals in the 99 kg division but lost to Marcus “Buchecha” Almelda in the finals.
Despite the loss, Joao was skyrocketing to the top of his profession....
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address the second “L” in black belt leadership, which stands for Learning. Let’s start with one of my favorite Zen parables.
Empty Your Cup
A philosophy professor once met with a Zen master to learn more about Zen teachings. They met at the master’s home and spent the afternoon talking. It became apparent that the professor was not interested in learning. He wanted to show that his beliefs and philosophy were superior to the Zen master’s teachings.
After some time, the wise Zen master paused to make some tea. She brought over two cups and began to pour tea for the professor. As the professor proudly continued to chatter on, he noticed that the Zen master was pouring so much tea into his cup that it overflowed and spilled.
The professor exclaimed rather...
By Karen Eden
One of the biggest lessons I learned in my broadcasting career didn’t come from me, but from my co-anchor, the renowned wrestler Kurt Angle.
You see, Kurt was homegrown from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and had just won Olympic gold for wrestling when I was getting my first major-market TV break alongside him.
I had worked a good 10 years in the business before finally making it in the “big leagues” of broadcast news. Kurt, on the other hand, was brought in as a promotional coup. The management was hoping that Pittsburghers would tune into our brand-new news program to see their history-making golden boy do sports.
I’m not telling you anything that Kurt wouldn’t tell you himself. It was a disaster in the making! As I sat with him night after night, I watched someone who had never anchored before try to pull off...
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