Monday, June 26, 2006

Camping, the Martial Arts, and Lessons Learned

The last four days have been spent camping on Lake Allatoona with 20 Tae Kwon Do students and Mr. and Mrs. Master Lenix, along with their son, Master Mitt Lenix. This was a training session and team building event in the outdoors. We persevered through 103 degree heat and thunder storms. I was honored by being in their presence and serving them in any way possible. I had a wonderful time with them, the students, and my oldest son, who will one day be better than me.

I’m going to write this entry as a person who has been in the martial arts for over twenty years. Please understand my point of view and feel free to challenge/disagree with me.

Traditionally speaking, students of the martial arts have always helped their instructors with everything from cleaning the dojo/dojang to providing the instructor water. Whether class was taking place or not, the student provided assistance to the instructor. The student, in turn, developed a heart for service, discipline, trust, and loyalty.

Today’s young martial artists need to know that being a martial artist is more than just learning and practicing the art itself; it is much more. A true martial artist lives by their character and their heart. They practice discipline, patience, respect, loyalty, integrity, a positive attitude and much more. Their character is present not only in the dojo/dojang, but at home, school, church, and in public.

During the camp, I witnessed students as young as nine years–old display the characteristics of a true martial artist. They persevered through tough obstacles and kept a positive attitude despite light workouts in high heat. They NEVER complained. A few of the teenage students were the same way. They really enjoyed the camping experience, the stories, and fun we all had. To witness these students smile, after a ½ mile run in 90 degree heat, is wonderful. These are the students who are becoming martial artists and understand what it takes to be one. Lastly, they offered their services, to their instructors or fellow students, to aid them with tasks and still never complained.

Yet to the students who did show the character of a martial artist, there were those who did not. These students complained and their attitude was poor. They never once offered to help the instructors or fellow students. They couldn’t wait to go home and return to their comfortable settings. Many missed their fast food and sleeping until noon. Some were even unappreciative and disrespectful with the instructors.

We all make choices in life.

We choose to make a difference.

We choose our attitude.

We choose our character.

Finally, a little bit of humor.

One of the many wonderful gifts a martial arts instructor(s) can give to their students are stories of the good ‘ol days. For example, I loved to listen to Master William Lenix tell us his past experiences in the kickboxing ring and the fighters he’s met.

Lo and behold, the young students (9 – 14 year-olds) in our group didn’t recognize such names as Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Joe Lewis, Howard Jackson, Don Wilson, Bill Wallace, Jhoon Rhee, Gene LeBell, Wally Jay, or Ed Parker, just to name a few.

Master Lenix and I looked at each in astonishment. I don't know about Master Lenix, but I felt sooo old. ;-)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Once Again, A Great Father's Day

There's no other feeling in the world than being a blessed father. Especially if you have a wonderful wife and two great boys. I was honored yesterday afternoon by assisting with my oldest son's Junior Olympic-Tae Kwon Do training and mixing it up with the other students. If there's anything I am good at, it is building up the self-esteem of others. I'm not good at building up my own, but that's a different story. A big thank-you to Masters Terry Wassink, William, Candy, and Mitt Lenix. You are truly martial artists in every way.

I did receive a gift from my family.
Do you recognize this guy:

Yes, that's Chuck Norris as Walker Texas Ranger - The Final Season on DVD. Tonight, due to the excitement of my two boys, we're having a Walker-thon. There's nothing finer than some down home bad guy butt-kickin'! Of course it doesn't hurt that Norris and cast pray to our Lord as well. Life IS good.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Many a martial arts father will enjoy this story.

My youngest son began studying Tae Kwon Do this week at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. He is trying so hard to be like his older brother, who is a green belt/black stripe. He also constantly looks over to my wife and me for affirmation.

I'll be the first to tell you that I am one of those parents that cheer their children on in anything they do. I do this act respectfully as I certainly don't yell and scream like some fools do.

Well...last night was our youngest son's second class. He's already speaking a little Korean-terminology, being respectful, and learning his front kick, punch, and low/high blocks. As you can imagine, I was beaming. I was a father on cloud nine.

At the same time as the TKD class, JFBC was hosting a "Gang Task Force" presentation in the room across. The presentation included police officers from the county.

But, before they went into the presentation, they looked in on the class (TKD) and pointed at our youngest son. These fairly large fellows were very impressed with his discipline. They kept smiling while pointing to his stances, blocks, and kicks. Oh, and these guys weren't making fun of my son, oh no. They were impressed at how disciplined this very young boy could be. Police officers love respectful, disciplined persons no matter how young or old they may be.

Okay, enough bragging. I'll come down from my cloud now...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Grrr’s (With Apologies to Mike Straka) and Praises

1. Grrr - The Southern Baptist Convention’s resolution against alcohol. What about a resolution against gluttony? I guess they think it’s okay to be fat.

2. The mass media has already forgotten the death of that ruthless tyrant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and returned to their berating of Ann Coulter. Um, I'll take dead terrorists for a $1000, Alex.

3. Kudos to the Supreme Court for siding with law enforcement in their recent decision. The high court stated as long as law enforcement has the necessary warrant, they do not need to knock first before entering a suspect’s residence and arresting them. Justice Stephen ‘Shlep’ Breyer dissented. He believes the police will abuse this rule and thus could care less if a suspect flushed their drugs down the toilet or, God forbid, a suspect shot knocking police officers, possibly killing one of them. Yeah, who cares about the police, right Justice Breyer?

4. Seems to me that our wonderful new Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, doesn’t have the public’s general interest in mind. He claims to be closely watching interest rates and consumer pricing, all in hopes of preventing inflation. But, according to the last economic report out of Washington this week, inflation is here. But hey, if you already have tons of money, who cares?

5. Kudos to President Bush for visiting the U.S. troops and dignitaries in Iraq. Our troops needed to see him and be uplifted. Yes, it was unannounced. If I were in his shoes, I would’ve done the same thing.

And lastly…

A good friend of mine reminded me of how sensitive we Americans have become with respect to hurricanes. Heck, a class 1 hurricane now calls for an immediate mass media frenzy. Who cares about the ‘local’ weather! All we want is hurricane news. “The sky is falling!”

I remember not too long ago when a hurricane hit the Charleston, SC area. I was on the beach, on Kiawah Island, and gathering sea shells in 60 mph winds. The sand whipped my face, but it was fun! My wife wanted shells and, by golly, she got shells. It was the only time a police officer laughed at me. Ahhh, good times.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Little Humor For Today…

'It's every man's dream'

A finding by researchers at Oregon State University sounds too good to be true: An ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer.

The compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on various cancers.

Dr. Richard Atkins, chief executive officer of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, said the experiments are encouraging and "perhaps men could take it in pill form someday." He noted an ingredient in tomatoes, lycopene, has previously been linked to prostate cancer prevention.

"It's every man's dream to hear that beer and pizza can prevent cancer," he said. "However, the 17 beers and four large pizzas needed to get enough xanthohumol and lycopene to help prevent prostate cancer is unfortunately not advised."

Associated Press

And I just love pizza!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What I'm Up To...

Currently, my oldest son is training for the Junior Olympics in Tae Kwon Do. The competition is during the week of July 6th. Every day we are running, sprinting, jump roping, push-ups, sit-ups, and sparring. We do this for an hour or more and during the hottest part of the day.

I'm doing all these exercises as well since I'm taking some time off. The hardest part has been the diet: No chips, no sweets, and no diet soda. I'm dying! :-)

The martial arts are as much about physical fitness as it is discipline. My son has heard me tell stories of hard workouts and character building. Most importantly, he is learning to make wise choices that affect his life.

Lastly, he is also becoming a Chuck Norris fan. We've watched a few "Walker: Texas Ranger" episodes and he's noticed the choices between those who do good and those who don't. It helps that Chuck Norris is a Christian and he uses Jesus' name (to pray) in his shows.

Oh, and one more thing, congratulations to Rich Franklin on his UFC 58 win over David Loiseau. Rich fought four rounds with a broken hand. I first saw Rich in a UFC training show. I admire him for training hard and knowing Christ. This is Rich's website banner:

Psalm 144:1
Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.

I'll be back soon...