Archives for LizSensei

Empathy

Put yourself in my shoes. We are often invited to take a mile-long walk in shoes that aren’t our own — maybe during an argument, maybe in the midst of a discussion or explanation, but always during matters of perspective. And that is the key. Perspective. Everyone’s is different, and, so is the invitation to test the other side out. But, how often do we actually do it? How often are we able to really put ourselves in that person’s place? The invitation itself is a difficult one to RSVP to. First of all, we must take into consideration the
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Language

By their very nature, words are specific. Some may have several meanings, different connotations, and minor shifts in feel depending on the context of their use, but, for the most part, “Table” never means “Chair” or vice versa. However, these are only words. If I live in a house occupied by only a table, I might learn to use it as a chair, or, perhaps, if I only have chairs, I may learn to use them as beds, shelves, and even company. This, though, is us. Even in these circumstances, the chair remains a chair. The nature and essence of
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Training Through Injury or Why an Injury Is Not Excuse to Stop Training

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “I was training two to three times per week, but then I got injured and I had to take some time off. Now, I just can’t find the time to start up again.” I think it is fair to say that, if we have never spoken these words ourselves, we know at least one person that has. Let’s face it injury equals pain, and pain is scary. Whether it is the pain of damage or the pain of recovery is independent of the fear factor; most people do not like to feel or risk pain.
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Self-Defense Programs in Martial Arts Schools Have to Change

Redefining Crime: Why We Are Failing Our Self Defense and Martial Arts Students By Lissette Fitzgerald “Crime is on the rise.” While this statement may help sell a new student on a Martial Arts program, it is not a statement we hear our political leaders utter often; unless, that is, it comes during elections from a challenger to the incumbent. We are barraged with conflicting messages and information. On the one hand, we hear that crime is on the decline, prison populations are being reformed and rehabilitated, leading to productive members of society, and that programs currently in place are
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Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Martial Arts School

Years ago, when my oldest was barely 6 years old, I decided that he needed an extra-curricular activity, and, having seen what martial arts had done for my Godchild, I figured this would be the perfect option. At the time, I was living near city center in Miami, in a beautiful, affluent neighborhood with very little in the way of nearby commerce. But, I was able to find a Karate Dojo (school) that had just opened 3 blocks away. Not knowing ANYTHING about the difference between one dojo and the next, I went in, watched a class and spoke to
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Aikido: Compassion and Assertiveness

I read something interesting recently. To quote, it said, Compassion is understanding, it does not include sacrifice. Compassion is not martyrdom, it is not sacrifice, it is pure mastery, even of the emotions of pity. This ties closely in with a discussion I was having with my life partner recently about Aikido, its teachings and philosophy, assertiveness and reconciling the taking of a life. In Aikido, as it has been explained to me, the objective is to return harmony and balance to a conflictive situation. But, not necessarily having your will bent in order to to it. The key is to
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Flight

Today, I flew. Less as a passenger and more as a little child, full of wonder and marvel at the passing clouds, the tiny life scurrying about beneath my feet, and at the feel of the yoke in my hands as I worked to steady the small cabin that held us a thousand feet in the sky. It was my first flying lesson. Since childhood, maybe 5 or 6, I had a handful of goals: Become an Archeologist or an Astronomer — or both, own a motorcycle — more specifically a chopper, become a Pilot of small planes — as
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Making Martial Arts History

For the most part, I believe that we are all inclined to try to blaze a new trail for others to follow. We are driven to leave our mark in the world somehow, whether through action, the written word, legend, or at least in the memories of those whose lives we touch. Of those who seek to find the new, only a handful is able to create something so meaningful that it simply cannot be ignored, categorized or forgotten. These are the luminaries of the time. The World of Martial Arts is no different in this respect. In this realm,
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Keumgang

The birth of the mountain is a violent thing. Whether it is born of flowing lava or rushing tectonics, mountains are forged under fire, pressure, and explosion. From our perspective, we see stability, peace, stalwartness, and continuity. As we stand at either foot or peak, we see stillness. We rarely sense the constant evolution, mutation, and change taking place beneath our feet. But our perspective is barely even the blink of an eye in the scheme of all things. In geological or universal terms, we have not even merited mention in our existence as a race, let alone as an
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