Monday, December 6, 2010

When a flight is oversold...Work it!

I spent two years of my life working in the airline industry as a corporate customer service trainer. You know all those folks at the front counter that have the power to make your life amazing or miserable when you are stuck in the middle of a pile of travel %#*#? Yea, THOSE folks? Well, teaching them to be nice under pressure was my job. I have to admit - I loved it! Had it not been for the post 9/11 airline restructure, I would probably still be there.

Though my position was caught in the cutbacks, I kept a few skills that still come in very handy. Just consider this: I just returned home from a trip to Orlando in which I easily secured three full fare roundtrip tickets to ANY destination that Airtran flies to. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider they fly to the Bahama's....well, sounds like a spring break trip is on the Horizon. FREE! How? easy!




First, before I tell you how I got free flights, let me brag about Airtran Airlines. This was my first experience using their company for travel and, immediately, I made two quick observations about them. First, the crew, customer service AND ground folks were all amazing. They were pleasant and helpful...even when they were busy. Yea, I said it. They were ALL pleasant. Seriously, they make United and Delta employees look silly. Second, their equipment was amazing. They have the newest fleet of Boeing Jets in the industry. Every flight has internet and XM radio. I was happy, kids were happy. That makes one very happy family travelling through the skies!

In addition, after doing a little bit of research about Airtran, I learned that they were just purchased by Southwest. What a great marriage. That was like finding out that the two nicest people in the neighborhood just got engaged.

Enough bragging - time to get back to my story! When I went to check in for my return flight to Columbus, the (very friendly) agent at the counter couldn't assign me a seat. TIP: When they cannot assign you a seat, it means they don't HAVE one. So, I quickly hustled through security and straight to the gate area. TIP: Don't waste your time at the front counter. ONLY the gate agent controls the seats after a certain period. Regardless your whining, pleading or begging, front counter can't give you a seat that doesn't exist on their screen. At the gate, I inquired about whether the flight was oversold. Well, yes, it was. TIP: If you know that the flight is "close to" or "absolutely" oversold, and you have some flexibility, insist on having the customer service agent place your name ( and your entire party) on the volunteer list.


If you don't get pro-active at this point, you are either going to get a crappy seat on a full flight or get bumped off and then reimbursed via check in the mail, ( and of course re-routed). If you VOLUNTEER, you can control your destiny. After I asked to volunteer my family, an elated agent looked at me and said, "Really? You don't mind?" I did him a favor and he got his flight out much quicker. He never had to ask for volunteers, nobody knew the flight was overbooked and everyone was happy! It took me less than 7 minutes and a few questions to walk away with a great deal.

What DID the kids and I get? We were rebooked on a direct flight home the following AM, free dinner and breakfast at a nice restaurant, an excellent Hotel room for the night AND ( drum roll), 3 completely free roundtrip tickets to any of their destinations...including International. Basically, one simple question just paid for approximately $1,500 worth of tickets for spring break. :D Can anyone say..."Beach?"

So, the lessons of this blog are simple:

  • Airlines overbook flights all the time - especially during the Holiday season.
    If you are travelling during a busy time of the year, plan for an extra day or two of flexible travel.
  • Check in close to the 45 minute limit ( after others have all checked in before you and taken the seats).
  • If they cannot immediately offer you seating at the self check, inquire at the gate about volunteering to be bumped.
  • Make sure they give you vouchers for food and hotel. ( Yes, they are required to but sometimes they "forget".
  • Finally, when you get your voucher, immediately book your new ticket. If you lose your voucher confirmation number, you lose everything.

    Oh, and if you are travelling on strict deadlines, do everything exactly opposite of what I just suggested. Remember, just because you have a ticket does not mean you have a seat.

    That's it folks! Happy Holiday travelling! Time for me to book a flight for Spring Break. Based on the map below, hmmmm.....where DO I want to go?





    Yea Airtran! Yea Me! :D

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What? Deer Hunting and Vegan Eating?

I am amused at the folks who follow my facebook or my blog and are now confused about my stance on food and health. It really isn't that confusing...so, let me clear it up. First of all, it is important to understand that I view food as a science. I am always interested in how to get maximum results from nutrition. From the moment I read one of Jane Brody's nutrition books as a teenager, I was hooked on eating for performance.




I do not subscribe to a "diet" of any kind. I never have. My interest lies in nutritional habits and how they affect my life as an athlete and a woman. My typical day would normally include a large variety of nearly raw foods ( avocado, nuts, etc) and some lean protein. This fall I decided to see what would happen if I followed a Vegan lifestyle for a short period of time. I was just curious if it could be done, it if was appealing, and if I maintained athletic performance. What did I discover?




#1) I loved it and could live like that for the rest of my life.

#2) I experienced a large body fat loss. ( Not so great for me because I didn't have alot to lose)

#3) I never really felt tired. If anything, I felt invigorated.

#4) The ONLY negative that I experienced was a loss of muscle mass. In my world, I rely on my muscle for strength in every area, however, I am especially dependent on muscle mass to keep me from getting injured. Despite hemp protein, rice protein shakes and an impeccable menu, I could not seem to maintain the same level of muscular development that I was used to.

Overall, I thought the experience was great. I saw a huge benefit from giving up dairy. All said and done, I went over 60 days without animal protein. I will continue to leave dairy out of my menu. In addition, I will continue to focus on many raw foods for the base of my products. A few times per week, I will, however, add some lean animal protein sources back in.




So, the question of the deer? Well, considering that my Vegan Interest had absolutely nothing to do with animal rights activism, I have no problem consuming animal protein. I do, however, care very much about the source and the type of animal I eat. Organically ( preferably local) grown beef and chicken, ocean fish and/or lean wild game are at the top of my list. Obviously, deer is a great source of wild game lean protein. Many people are taken back by the concept of hunting and therefore decide they could never eat venison. My rebuttal to that would be that if they ever saw how the store bought meat was raised and butchered, they would be horrified. I encourage my friends to consider that meat doesn't start it's life in those neatly wrapped packages!


At the end of the day, my desire to eat vegan for a few months and my desire to hunt this year are all centered around the same concept: Finding the healthiest choices of food for both myself and my family.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back to Civilization!


Last Thanksgiving I was thrilled to spend some time with my Oklahoma family enjoying great food, bluegrass and some time at a hunting cabin up in the hills near the Arkansas and Oklahoma border. One of the greatest memories of the trip was the amazing peace I found "disconnecting" from technology for a few days. As much As I love the tech life (and trust me...I do!), it was therapeutic to turn it all off while I was there. With that in mind, this year when a friend of mine suggested that we celebrate the Holiday by taking a trip to the wilderness...I jumped at the opportunity.

The "wilderness" was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan..about 3 hours Northwest of anything considered a city. As we drove in before dawn, I knew we were in for an adventure as we made our way to the cabin (in our vehicle) and had to maneuver the truck in an effort to keep large snow covered tree branches from smacking the truck. We finally found a place to park, strapped on our backpacks and began to hike the rest of the way in.

We took propane, some food, some water, hunting items, a few layers of clothes, cooking utensils, whiskey, and a camera. Maybe a few other items I am forgetting...but, take my word for it....very few! Don't let the word cabin fool you either! It was, literally, shelter. There was no electricity all. The only water anywhere near us was at a Hand pump down the hill.



The bathroom was an outhouse past the firewood shed. The only heat that existed came from the wood burning stove in the cabin itself. I learned very quickly that knowing how to build a fire would be lifeskill...literally. Once the cabin warmed up, we were able to set up the cabin and get ready for a day of hunting.

I had a Michigan big game license so my ultimate goal was a deer. As it turned out, even after learning how to put up my own tree stand and wait very patiently, the deer were not interested in hunting games. I never even saw a track! I did, however, have a few attempts at a squirrel. No deal. Thankfully, my friend was an excellent hunter and despite my sorry attempt at providing some of the food, we still had amazing meals each day. He shot and then prepared a feast of squirrel on day one...pheasant on days two and three. It was incredible.


I was startled at how efficient you become very quickly. With limited daylight and much to do, I was up at sunrise and then called it a night at about 8 PM. I wish I could pull that off in my everyday life!



All in all, the lessons were many...but for those who may want to venture into the wilderness in the middle of a snow storm and survive with little more than a well pump, fire as warmth and a rifle...I have a few pointers I would like to pass on:



  • When washing dishes at a well in the snow, do NOT grab the metal handle with wet hands. You will get stuck.


  • Do NOT sit on the outhouse toilet seat with a bare butt. It is very similar to grabbing the well handle with wet hands.


  • When carrying a hunting tree stand on your back, pay attention to where you step. Hitting a sheet of ice with the metal stand strapped to your back has no good end result.


  • If your friend is much better at building a fire than you will ever be, it is acceptable to feign sleep until they have created enough warmth for the room to slip past the freezing mark. THEN you pretend to wake up.


  • Hot Onion soup in a thermos while sitting in a tree stand waiting for deer to show up is better than, well, anything I can think of presently.


  • Detaching from the outside world for a period of three days is the best Thanksgiving gift to give yourself....ever. I promise that the moment you step under a warm shower in a real bathroom you will be pretty darn thankful.


  • Finally, and, most importantly...I learned that when you pack your backpack to leave, do NOT put the "Doe Urine Wafers" in your backpack unless you wish to have everything you own smell like, well, Doe urine. Make sure to put that in someone else's!
Though I will admit that it felt wonderful to check into a hotel after our adventure, I am already looking forward to doing it again next Thanksgiving! Whether with my family in Oklahoma or with friends at a remote location, I do believe that one of the greatest ways to truly appreciate and be Thankful for what we have is to give it up completely for a few days!




Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is a SERIOUS hunting store!

They just provide the game right here!! :) Just kidding...but, really, this Cabela's is unreal! On the shopping list for today: tree stand, scent blocker (that is NOT a fancy name for deodorant hunting challenged friends), bright orange hat and an out of state license to hunt in the great state of Michigan!

Thanksgiving Craziness!

As I type this, I am sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle heading North. As far North as one can get in the Midwest without landing squarely in one of the Great Lakes. A friend and I have decided that the best adventure for a Thanksgiving weekend would be to hike into a remote area of a National Forest with nothing but our backpacks and some hunting gear. While we will be staying in a cabin for shelter, it has no electricity, running water or heat. We will have a wood burning stove and, supposedly, some firewood on the porch.

The best part of the trip is that our food source will be the small amount of food in our backpacks and, with some luck, a tasty deer or some squirrel. Yum yum. I may be dreaming of a warm shower and cranberry sauce by Friday night!

News update: It is supposed to snow all weekend and the high on Friday is a whopping 26 degrees. Woohoo!

I will update everyone when I am back in cell service on Sunday! I will have plenty of pictures...hopefully one with my first deer!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's like baseball practice without any games.....

From the day that I opened my current center, I stood firmly behind the belief that we would never be a competition "school". I was committed to teaching my students traditional martial arts. As I looked at the current competitive circuits, I was disappointed with the lack of uniformity and tradition, furthering my desire to avoid sport martial arts altogether...





About 4 months ago a young man helped me to realize that I needed to reconsider my position. He asked about competition and I told him that beyond our "inner school" tournament, we do not support karate for sport. He was was very disappointed. He began to walk away, then turned and said, "Ma'am, I feel like I keep coming to baseball practice but I never have a game". I will never forget that phrase. Out of the mouth of an 8 year old came the most articulate expression about why HE thought it would be fun to step in front of judges.


I made the decision to put together a formal competitive team and search for real tournaments with a traditional and consistent atmosphere. After some research and networking, I was introduced to the WKF, USANKF, and the USAKF. Before I would ask my students to pay fees and compete, I wanted to experience it for myself. As the general competition season is almost over, I decided to compete at the last remaining tournament. Due to my eye surgeries, I cannot compete in Kumite any longer, so I chose to enter two kata divisions in the championship.


#1) Womens (Open) Korean Forms



#2) Womens Japanese Kata - 35 and over.



How did it go? Well, first of all...I was nervous. After all, I am 42 years old and have not competed in over 20 years! I wasn't even sure what to do. Though I haven't trained in Tae Kwon Do in over a decade, I chose to participate in Korean Forms because it was offered very early in the morning. I thought it would provide me with an opportunity to get the nerves worked out. I was right! I was nervous! So nervous, in fact, that I made a technical error on this very simple kata. The young lady I was competing against in the single elimination round wasn't more skilled, however, she didn't make any technical errors. I was not surprised at all when they gave the round to her...landing me in 3rd position.




My kids asked if I was disappointed? Absolutely not. I watched the video and saw my mistakes. I was determined to learn from them! My next attempt to win would take place later that afternoon. After watching my first form, I decided that I needed to breathe more, slow down and highlight each movement. Keeping that in mind, I stepped into the ring for the second round...more confident and comfortable. I performed with ease. The judges decision was unanimous...and I took home the Gold.


What did I leave that tournament with? Confidence? check. Pride? check. Gratitude? check. A desire to step into the ring again...and take another Gold? check. check.






I post this on my training blog because I want my 40+ friends to remember that competition is never out of our reach. With so many incredible opportunities to enter races, tournaments, competitions, team sports...we owe it to ourselves to do it. Many folks won't be couragous enough - either out of fear of losing, or fear of looking silly in front of those they love. Forget that! We inspire those we love WHEN we try...win or lose. My children, including my oldest son, will never forget watching me step in front of the judges. They will recall my courage to make the attempt more than they will ever recall my score.


Life is short folks..take the advice of the 8 year old who enlightened me:


"Don't just go to practice; jump into the game."




video

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A week in the Vegan Life...



I am amazed at the interest in my now "60 Day" journey into the Vegan life. At minimum once per day, sometimes more, I have someone approach me and tell me that my facebook posts have made them curious. What do you eat? How much weight have you lost? How do you feel?

So...


The food:


Today:
B-Fast: Banana with peanut butter and Ezekiel Bread. Coffee.
Snack: Trader Joes Soy Yogurt with granola
Lunch: 2 Huge Black Bean and Broccoli wraps with/ Red Pepper Hummus
Snack: Almond, raisins, and two fig bars
Dinner: Indian Food with a spinach wrap
Snack: Hemp Protein shake with strawberries and banana

How do I feel?

Though I was really trying to rule out the Vegan lifestyle as a silly option for folks, I have been amazed at the results. As much as I would love to have a huge hamburger, the trade wouldn't be worth it. I feel better than I have in 20 years. I train harder, fit into my clothes better..and rarely feel tired. There is no hamburger worth giving that up. :)

STATS:

Started at 134 pounds on approx September 1, 2010
Currently: 121 Pounds

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Week! I Won't Be Sitting Around Eating Candy.





Alright, so it's Halloween. I was telling my friend this morning that I felt stressed. It even sounded silly saying it...but for some reason Halloween week is stressful for our household. Is it the parties, the costumes, the increase in kids energy? The late night trick or treating...the dread of hyped up, super charged kids all weekend? I don't know exactly what it is - but it IS! So, time to get serious about planning so that I don't let the week consume me like some crazy, hungry Halloween creature. Figured some of you might be feeling the same way - so I crafted a plan for all the mom's out there who, like, me...are starting to unravel before the week has even begun!


EASY PLAN!

#1) MENU
Make your menu's for the week NOW! It's no big deal. Just look in your freezer, plan ahead and you can make sure that you aren't scrounging around looking for food as the hectic Halloween week begins! Guaranteed that the WORST place to figure out you are hungry is either at a classroom Halloween party OR late at night when you are preparing costumes for our sleeping Ghouls.

#2) WORKOUT.
I don't care what it is. Commit yourself to being a warrior this week. Battle the overwhelming urge to say..well, next week I will work out. News flash: You won't. You know why? Holiday season is upon us and pretty soon you will find yourself saying..."At the first of the year..." So, get your shoes on and just go do it! 30 minute walk in the leaves, go to yoga, whatever...just MOVE.

#3: DON'T EAT THE CANDY.
Seriously. Just don't. Tell yourself right now that you will not eat any of the Halloween candy and then stick to it. Trust me...one piece leads to two...then three...

Alright - one day at a time my friends!

Now, Onto my TRI - Challenge:

After I went out publicly (like a moron) and said, "Hey, it's my birthday and I am going to set a crazy goal and then Blog abut it", I really thought I made a great choice. I chose the X-Terra triathlon because it looked FUN. Ok, what an idiot I am. First of all, apparently the X-Terra is this Kick Ass TRI that few people will do. It takes a crazy amount of commitment to train. I didn't know how HARD it was going to be. More than that, I find myself on this nutty learning curve. I am like the white belt who decided that I would jump into the Black Belt class and is now getting their ass kicked about every fifteen minutes.

Well, it's been over a month. To be honest, lots of convo's in my head about not doing this, quietly stopping the blog and then moving on in my life. But, how weak would that be? So - onward! Now, it is true that I haven't been blogging because, honestly, I didn't even know where to start. It seemed embarrassing to have to blog some guy saying to me..."and this is the brake on the bike." Honestly, it was THAT bad. I am basically learning to swim, learning how to run without causing myself damage..and the biking. OMgosh...let's not talk about the biking.







But, it is a new month and I am re-committing to blogging this X-Terra adventure. heaven help me. At least everyone will get a good laugh!!!

Ok guys...get off your butts. I am going to get off mine right now. Running time. 4 miles. wooohooo. Not.

Kel

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Still working on Last Year's Challenge

Last year was the year of improving my firearm skills. The goal was to go beyond the CCW qualification or the target shooting. I wanted to tackle defensive shooting. For me, the ultimate goal was to finish the year with an improved understanding of using a gun as a true means of self defense. I took a course offered by I.C.E. training last May. It was called Combat Focus Shooting. The instructor was well known for his unorthodox methods of teaching...and for the high level of expectation for his students. I may very well have been one of the more novice students he had, however, when you know very little...well, you can only go up from there!

I was able to complete the course, take with me as many lessons as I could retain..and then commit myself to training no less than once per month until the many concepts began to take hold. This is a small video from training last week. My goal was to focus on trigger control, reloading without looking at the weapon, work through any malfunctions I might encounter without pause.

After sending the video in for some instructor feedback from a member of the I.C.E. staff, I was told that arm extension and lateral movement is improving, shooting position is good, however, I am falling far short on the defensive approach of multiple shots and pulling the gun back to high compressed ready between targets. So...I keep training. :)


video

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Alright, so another birthday just passed me up! I love it! 42 is going to be a great year. As a matter of fact, why wouldn't I think so? After all, each year simply gets better and better. When I was diagnosed with iritis, glaucoma and advanced cataracts in 2000 (at only 32), I had no idea if I would ever get my sight back. After living a life focused on physical achievements, it was frightening and depressing. For the two year period that Doctors worked to help me, I had a true shift of perception. I decided that regardless what the outcome of my sight, I would never again let time go by without maximizing what I had. Even without vision, I had a voice, a mind, a body - and a kickass attitude. I might go blind, but I wouldn't go quietly!

Thanks to the doctors, most of my sight was salvaged. It was like having your life handed back to you after you thought it was going to be taken away! With the gift of restored sight, it became even more important to me to live life fearlessly, passionately, without apology, concern or hesitation. And, so - I began setting annual birthday goals. I am amazed when people dread their birthday - or even try to pretend that it isn't taking place. Are you kidding me? I am like "woohoo - another year to live!" Every year IS a gift.

I look forward to setting my birthday goals. A few examples of goals from previous years have been: Going to college (Did it!), opening a business ( Can anyone say DOJO?) , becoming more proficient with firearms (check out update below), learning a second language ( uhhhh....). Most of those goals exceeded my wildest expectations, altered my career path and introduced me to friends that I will have for a lifetime. A few went nowhere (ex: My one year of Arabic lessons. I still can't even say hello) Regardless, each birthday challenge added immense value to my life.


For those of you around last year, my big goal for my 41st birthday was to improve my skill level with firearms. That was a great goal - and I grew considerably over the 12 month time frame. Dspite the fact that I had some experience in firearms, I wanted to be much better. So, during the past 12 months, I took a three day Combat Focus Shooting Class, I had some private coaching, I learned how to properly handle a handgun, shotgun and rifle. Heck, I even competed! I have a long way to go and have committed myself to training consistently to improve my skills, however, overall - mission completed. I am far more confident than I was 12 months ago.

So, as it happens every 12 month...it is time to find a new goal. I thought about the things that are still on my "bucket list". And...the one that I have run from for years - mostly because of the time required to do it - was to compete in a race called the "X-Terra" (Yes, the Nissan Truck is named after the race!) Beyond the fact that it just looks like this incredible amount of fun - I knew nothing about it! SO, it is, again, time to ask questions, do research...and then GET BRAVE!

So - join me on this journey as I go from knowing nothing about X-Terra to competing in it. This is the biggest annual challenge I have ever set for myself. It ought to be a hoot. In the meantime, if you aren't going after something that you have always wanted to do - why not? I would love to hear what your goal is. THEN, I would love to hear you tell me why you haven't gone for it yet. I'll help you turn THAT around!

Let's Live!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Competition

Challenge #1: FIREARMS


OK, so some of you may be thinking - Pleeeease. Firearms? Like that is a big stretch, right? I love Martial Arts, weapons, hunting, etc. Yes, true. But, let me tell you the story...

Women tend to be "taught" firearm skills from folks in their environment. It is painful to even type, however, the truth is that most girls or women learn this skill from a male in their environment. (Not all - so don't get all fired up if that isn't you) Now, there is nothing wrong with that. My daddy taught me about guns when I was little. I shot through the years, I even went through a few training courses...sort of. ( Very casual "let's go to the range" kind of things)

In 2007, I applied for my CCW here in Ohio. (Sidenote: Everyone should!!) I passed the course, completing my 'Qualifying" shots at close range to demonstrate that I could hit something directly in front of me that isn't moving, thinking of moving, or will ever move. None the less, I was handed my wonderful CCW permit and off I went - completely ignorant of the fact that I had no ability to utilize the weapon I owned while under any type of real "stress". Actually, maybe I did know that. After all, I hadn't shot in years (like 25), yet, now I was fully certified to carry this weapon "legally". They wouldn't have given me the certificate if I wasn't qualified, right? So, for two years I carried that gun with me everywhere that it was legal to do so. I was confident and prepared. So I thought.

Fast Forward 2009: I was at a training course for executive protection. One of the trainers asked me if I was qualified to carry a weapon. I said yes. I did have that certificate, right? It was an honest answer. Well, apparently honesty wasn't enough. Apparently my skills weren't enough. HIS brutal honesty was painful. In his words, "I had no idea how to handle a gun, I shouldn't be in the class, I was going to get someone killed...and on and on." It stung. Now, granted, his approach could have been better. In a moment like that, however, it was important for me to take responsibility. The problem was...I didn't know what I didn't know. I didn't consciously make an attempt to portray myself as something more than I was. I simply didn't know. So, After feeling humiliated, I decided that I would never be in that position again. If I was going to carry a weapon, I would take as long as needed to learn how to handle it properly, effectively and efficiently.

I began to ask those "in the know" about classes. I didn't want to end up at the range with someone showing me a "few things". I already did that, and, ahhh, it didn't work. I wanted to TRAIN in a formal class. A name of a popular course continued to come up in conversations with foks that I trusted. The course was long (3 complete days), expensive (well, compared to the "free" advice I had been receiving) and it seemed intimidating. It was only taught locally about once per year and was taught by a renowned instructor who had a reputation for being a hard on his students. Perfect. After registering for it, I had flashbacks to being humiliated. I even tried to back out of the course ( which took me a year to get into) because I was so nervous that I would look ridiculous in front of the experienced shooters.

Finally, I took a dual course with the Company, "ICE Training". The first day was "Advanced Pistol Handling" (APH) and the second/third day was 'Combat Focus Shooting" (CFS). The class was hard, long, and exhausting. AND it was the BEST thing I could have ever done. The amount of information was staggering. The instructor didn't cut anyone a break; expected everyone to be focused; and ordered pepople to stay on task. His approach was one of "do it". We didn't spend an enormous amount of time "discussing" anything...it was a hands on class. Drills, more drills, explaining drills, running drills. At the end of the course, though, I didn't need to go ask one of my "buddies" anything about my gun, my shooting ability, or the range. I knew. That was an amazing feeling. That was a true feeling of empowerment.

Now, am I this highly qualified shooter now? Ahhhh, NO! Not even close. I am what I would call a 'Serious Beginner" . I understand the basics, I understand the theory, however, I need far more time on the trigger to turn those concepts into habits. Given a second of stress, I tend to fall back to my original bad habits. I am working on that.

So, why share all of this?

Well, I am going to post pictures and video of my progress...good, bad, and ugly. If nothing else, I want other women to see that while it is hard work, it is FUN and rewarding! I have only had one formal class, and a few coaching lessons thereafter so my progress is slow. I want to keep it real though. Beyond the skill of being able to run a weapon, there is the added bonus of taking action to keep myself, and my family, safe.

Enjoy the posts! Please feel free to comment. Well, unless you are going to tell me that I suck. In that case, keep your comments to yourself.

What are you Learning?

I have always been a huge believer in progression. Even as a child, I would spend enormous amounts of time trying to get "better" at a skill. It seemed like the natural thing to do. My seven year old brain could not understand why anyone would settle for just being "OK" at something when the option was there to be great? So, I set off on my life goal of being "great" at a skill. Martial Arts became my calling. 32 years later, I would like to think that I have utilized my time properly and have achieved, to a large degree, a fair level of high quality Martial Art skill.

The most important aspect of training that I have learned over the past 32 years is that of consistent improvement. Martial Art training is a given. I have dedicated my life to it. If I am not training in THAT arena of my life, I should consider a career change (lazy martial artists, please take that last comment to heart. Seriously) What about other areas? Other interests? Endeavors? What about becoming a "white belt" in other areas of your life? That is what this blog is about.

I will share my experiences with everyone as I take on new challenges. The challenge of the beginner. The challenge of looking ridiculous. The challenge of doing things wrong in an effort to learn to do them right. The challenge of being brave.

MY challenge to ANYONE who reads this blog is simple: Find something that you know nothing about...and throw yourself into acquiring the knowledge.

If Martial Arts teaches us nothing else (which it does - but work with me here), it teaches that taking the first step, that of a beginner, is the most important step of all. The world is filled with folks who sit on their heels. I am not one of those folks. Join me.....