Thursday, July 13, 2006

Off The Insulin Pump

Three weeks ago I made the decision to go off the 'ol insulin pump.

I did this for a number of reasons:
1. I was exercising in the heat and losing my infusion set when my skin became too sweaty.
2. If I swam for more than 20 minutes, my infusion set would come off as well.
3. My blood sugar numbers were a little off due to all the aforementioned craziness.
4. I needed a break from being 'tethered'.

When my oldest son and I attended his Junior Olympics - Tae Kwon Do training camp, at Lake Allatoona, I knew my infusion set wouldn't do well in 100+ degree heat. And, yes, I do use a skin poxy to enhance the tape stickiness. doesn't hold up to a sweaty body.

Before I went back on shots, I consulted with my doctor and she listened to my concerns. She then ordered an A1c and put me on Lantus (With the suggestion of my sister, who is an insulin dependant diabetic as well.). My A1c was a 6.7 and my doctor was fine with the new regimen.

I currently take 25 units of Lantus at night time and test my blood every 3 hours until bed. So far, so good. God is very good to me. I am currently averaging a 110 blood sugar. I'm exercising more since I don't have to worry about the infusion set.

There's an old expression that goes something like this:
When life gives you lemons, make sugar-free lemonade.

When you need to make changes to your diabetes, do it right, e.g. see your doctor, and have a positive attitude.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

U.S. Junior Olympics - Tae Kwon Do: Part 3

I’m going to attempt a not-too-harsh critique of what I observed at the U.S. Junior Olympics – Tae Kwon Do (TKD). If you were one of the many competitors, please take this post as a teaching tool and not one of shame.

Let me begin first by telling you how a young martial artist should behave at ALL times. They should be disciplined (honorable), respectful, self-controlled, show a positive attitude, and an indomitable spirit. Martial arts instructors refer these character traits as “tenets” of the martial arts.

The Apostle Paul made this remark in 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12:

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

I strongly believe your character wins you respect from others.

Being present at the JOs for five days, at the Georgia Dome, I witnessed the behavior of many competitors, coaches, and instructors. Overall, only a handful of those displayed the tenets as mentioned above. Even event security personnel unknowingly displayed many of the tenets. As I was respectful to security, they returned respect and they were very, very helpful.

Here are witnessed examples of how martial artists, young and old, should NOT act like:

1. Students, with their doboks and belts on, ran carelessly through the Georgia Dome with little care for anyone else. No, they weren’t going to their next event. They were goofing off.

2. Coaches and instructors had no respect for the volunteers on the floor. “Rude” is the word I often heard. A specific case happened to my oldest son, who had a run-in with a rude ‘master’. My son volunteered for 12 hours and was told by many volunteers, and his own Masters, how respectful and wonderful a job he did. I almost lost my cool with this so-called, ‘master’, who committed the offense. But, thankfully, my family and TKD families calmed me down. If you want to be rude and a jerk, do it to an adult, not a child!

3. In addition to the above, tournament leaders were disrespectful with volunteers and competitors.

4. Referees and judges were not respectful to one another.

I find the above examples very disturbing in light of a world who needs to see us for who we are: disciplined (honorable), respectful, self-controlled, with a positive attitude, and an indomitable spirit. We must continue to live through these tenets and always rise above mediocrity.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

U.S. Junior Olympics - Tae Kwon Do: Part 2

Today’s post will describe the positives of sport Tae Kwon Do and why it is needed in our culture.

Since the 70’s, thousands of commercial Karate and Tae Kwon Do dojos/dojangs/studios have opened in strip malls across America. Of these, many came with the promise of a “black belt” with your name on the dotted line and credit card number. Not a bad business idea in light of the continuous increase in violent crimes.

However, the number of young persons who are rapidly becoming obese is also on the rise. Sadly, many of these children begin to suffer from premature health problems: diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis to name just a few. In addition, many suffer from bullying as well.

Now here is where I put two and two together.

Many of these children have turned to sport Karate or Tae Kwon Do, not only for self-defense reasons, but for health reasons as well. These students become very, very active and thus physically fit. As I witnessed from the U.S. Junior Olympics-TKD (JOs), many competitors were just as fit, or more so, than a kid who plays on a soccer league. Remember, the point of this post are the benefits of sport Tae Kwon and not a fanatical comparison between a soccer player and sport Karate competitor.

From an athlete’s viewpoint, sport Karate/Tae Kwon encourages students to work hard for competitive purposes. They train constantly for their sparring matches. Kicks are repetitive and generally only one or two styles, e.g. round-house or front-snap kicks. There is very little punching: Points are given more for the athlete’s ability to kick to the target area.

At JOs, there were several instances where a coach or instructor would warm-up their students a good hour before a match. They would do a series of kicking drills, then rest. The cycle would then repeat until the actual match took place.

Knowing that these kids are getting lots of exercise is wonderful. Many seemed to really enjoy the competition, especially the sparring. My hope is that these same kids are taught the character of the martial arts and why they should continue to live a healthy lifestyle.

Tomorrow’s post will focus on what I witnessed at the U.S. Junior Olympics-TKD and the reflection upon sport Karate/Tae Kwon competitors.

Monday, July 10, 2006

U.S. Junior Olympics – Tae Kwon Do: Part 1

For the past 5 days, my family and I have taken part in the 26th U.S. Junior Olympics – Tae Kwon Do (TKD) event at the Georgia Dome.

I will post a few quick thoughts first, then expound on a few thoughts later.

As many of you know, my oldest son has been training hard these past few months. He has followed a diet lacking in fried foods and diet soda. I got by with very little fried food, BUT failed with the diet soda. I did manage to go 6 days without diet soda and I didn’t suffer the least bit. Maybe I should take a hint.

My son trained physically – running a half mile everyday, swimming everyday, pushups, situps, sparring, and poomse (form). He lost 12 pounds around his waist and looks great. He says he feels great, too. He has trained under Master Terry Wassink, Masters William, Candy, and Mitt Lenix, all of whom are true martial artists. He survived three days at an outdoor TKD training camp.

Never once did he lose heart or his attitude.

My son IS a young warrior in my eyes purely for those reasons above. I know at nine years old, I could not have done what he did and have the same character. As you can tell, I am VERY proud of him. So no matter the outcome of the Junior Olympics, he is a champion to me.

Now, here are some quick thoughts from the perspective of being a parent and martial artist.

At first glance, I thought this event was going to be very similar to other tournaments we had participated in. It quickly became very clear to me that I was wrong. This was an athletic/sports affair rather than a competition between martial artists.

At second glance, the TKD ‘athletes’ were just that: athletes. I kept looking for someone who exuded those characteristics of a martial artist: discipline, respect, patience, self-control, and indomitable spirit. If these students were in hiding, during this event, I can understand. I probably would be, too.

Now please don’t get me wrong; athletes can show those same characteristics I mentioned. But at this particular event, they were hard to find. Funny, I received more respect from the security personnel than I did from many of the athletes.

I also became more aware of the differences between the martial art – Tae Kwon Do – and the sport. Not only in character but the physical differences as well. I was reminded that TKD is often referred to as, “tae kwon”, in the sport context.

Sparring is different in the sport, than the art. In the art, sparring allows the student to sharpen their skills in a “realistic” fight situation. Even in traditional TKD tournaments, sparring can be very aggressive. Sport sparring is simply who can kick the fastest and score the most points, while not necessarily using power against your opponent. For the purpose of these athletes, speed was all they needed to win.

From my writing, you could surmise I’m being a little sarcastic with the sport TKD. Yet as I mentioned before, I will expound on this later as both sport and art have their place and their students.

In tomorrow’s post, I will discuss my observations with sport TKD and the benefits it has with kids.