Sweatin’ To The Facts…

Most people don’t like to sweat. And that makes sense, right? It’s uncomfortable from a dampness standpoint. Humans have an instinct to try and stay warm and dry, and being all wet from sweat tends to contravene that. And it’s considered somewhat taboo from a societal standpoint as well. It’s seen as gross, especially if you it’s seen on someone in a work or social setting. And last but not least, depending on one’s body chemistry and what cocktail of bacterial cultures may be living on you (depending on one’s personal hygiene), it can lend for some rather pungent odours.

From a fitness and physiological standpoint, sweating is not only important but also beneficial to the human body. there are a number benefits to heavy sweating, including the release of toxins, alcohol and other waste byproducts of the body, which helps with detoxifying the body. It also helps with the overall beneficial increase in blood circulation, which has a whole score of other benefits outside of the sweating aspect. But besides being gross and making people think something’s wrong with you, what are some other benefits of sweating?

According to an article posted by HealthLine.com, heavy sweating during exercise can help to potentially reduce the amounts of heavy metals in the body. This is important for the detoxifying process. This is also true for the elimination of certain chemicals that can be harmful on the body in the long term. The sweating process is said to be an excellent elimination route for these chemicals. Sweating also helps with the elimination and removal of certain bacteria from the body, which can be beneficial.

People usually view sweat as a nasty thing but it’s actually a natural and necessary function of the body. Sweating is the body’s primary way to cool down, which is why we tend to do it when we exercise. It also happens when we’re sick as a result of having a fever. When that fever breaks, sweat will appear. The idea is that when the warm sweat evaporates on your skin, it cools your body temperature. All the other potential benefits mentioned above are just icing on the cake. Although sweat contains traces of ammonia, urea and salt, it doesn’t smell bad, in and of itself. The odour typically comes from whatever your sweat mixes with.

As with all things in life, sweating requires a balance. If you sweat too much, it can be a sign of low blood sugars or certain nervous system and thyroid disorders. If you sweat too little, you can potentially face dangerous and life-threatening overheating of the body. This can also be a result of dehydration. If you don’t sweat normally and consistently when exercising, it should be addressed in order to prevent further issues.

If you see someone at the gym who’s completely drenched while working out, don’t judge and keep your comments to yourself. Either they’re pushing as hard as they SHOULD, since a workout isn’t a workout if you don’t sweat through it, or they have a condition that makes them sweat excessively, such as hyperhidrosis. If you find yourself sweating in awkward and inappropriate times, like in the office with huge pit stains on your dress shirt, there are several treatments and prevention methods you can talk to your doctor about, in order to stem the problem. The important thing to remember is not to sweat it (see what I did, there?). ☯️

Bringin’ On The Pain…

Over the regular course of the year, Tuesdays hold a particular place in my schedule, for a variety of reasons. It’s the only weeknight that I don’t have karate classes, with Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays being the norm. Fridays are a weekend night and usually reserved to hang out with my son Nathan and then the actual weekend hits. Because of this, Tuesdays offer a unique piece of time in my week that I can’t find elsewhere. I often use this time to do some reading, writing or take care of chores like laundry.

Since I don’t have karate classes on Tuesdays (at least for now), I try to do something outside the martial arts realm. It’s always a good idea to keep the body moving and I enjoy changing things up. Doing so can help with weight loss and keep one engaged in their personal fitness journey. Keeping yourself engaged and interested in your fitness can mean the difference between hammering forward in your fitness goals or getting lazy and taking too many breaks, which inevitably lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of going long periods without exercise.

A short start back to the cardio world.

As any of you would have read in light-knows how many posts last summer, I’m a big fan of cycling. I can comfortably manage about 20 kilometres or so in about a hour, which is a decent outing. But considering that I’m gone most evenings due to karate, I try to do things a bit different on Tuesdays. When the stars align and I actually remember to bring fitness apparel, I work through my lunch hour on Tuesday. I know, I know… bad habit! But I do eat, I just keep working through that hour. Moving on!

I work through my lunch hour and exit the office an hour earlier than scheduled and make my way down to the office tower’s gym. There, I’m able to take advantage of various cardio machines including elliptical, treadmills and a weird stepping machine that I haven’t figured out how to use yet. there’s also stationary bikes, but I peddle enough on the weekends, so I steer clear of those. I usually opt for the elliptical, since decades of martial arts have rendered the cartilage in my knees nonexistent.

If I look like death, it’s because I feel like it!

Last Tuesday was my first time making it back to the office gym in quite a while. It was a rough session and I only ran for 45 minutes as opposed to an hour but it felt good to break that intense sweat and burn those calories. I slept solidly that night, no question. As the summer progresses, especially with less karate classes for the next month, it should be easier for me to pull off these Tuesday workouts more often.

As most of your likely know, maintaining one’s proper health and fitness involves a variety of different exercises. Focusing solely on cardio or strength training will provide benefits but perhaps not the totality of what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s important to sprinkle in a bit of everything. Most martial artists avoid bulking up too significantly as large muscle mass will restrict one’s fluidity of movement. Doing only cardio can be significantly helpful with cardiac health and weight loss but muscle build will be minimal and won’t be focused on strength.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate all types of exercise and workouts. Don’t be afraid to get out there and try something. Hell, I once bought a Zumba game for my xBox 360 and the first time my wife and I tried to keep up with the game, it kicked my ass! One can find the most interesting workouts in the least likely of places. Ultimately, as long as you keep moving, you’ll be headed in the right direction. Stay sweaty, my friends! ☯️

It’s Not Me, It’s You…

It’s pretty easy to dismiss someone else’s situation when you’re not in it. I’ve dealt with a lot of that in my life and it continues to this day. ironically, even my own family maintains this practice, despite the fact that they should know better. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves and something that should never be done, especially to ANYONE with a condition that others may consider “invisible.”

For most of my life, I’ve had people commenting about how “it could be worse” or knowing someone who has some chronic disease or disorder in an apparent but perhaps unintentional attempt to one-up the situation I may be dealing with in regards to my own health journey. Although in some instances, the person in question isn’t intentionally trying to be harmful and may simply be trying to make one feel better by illustrating that it could, in fact, be worse.

Unlike being part of a support group or social club aimed at discussing such things, trying to trade “war stories” about whose illness is worse or what the worst sickness you’ve witnessed won’t help the person you’re talking to. In fact, besides making them feel as though you’re belittling or dismissing their illness, it’s likely to simply make them feel like shit. Unfortunately, this is something that I deal with several times a month whenever I speak to a certain, beloved family.

Not looking to create hard feelings on the off chance the family member in question may read this or be told about, I’ll simply say that this person has been there, from the moment I was diagnosed withy Type-1 Diabetes and for the entirety of my life. One would be inclined to think that this would make them enlightened to the struggles and difficulties I’ve suffered in my life. Not so. And that’s unfortunate.

Illness and disease isn’t something meant to be compared. Each person’s journey is unique to them and it serves no purpose trying to explain how someone else’s journey may be rougher or more difficult. How exactly, does that help the person you’re speaking with? It doesn’t, and that’s the lesson. It doesn’t take away from whatever struggle or difficulties that person may be experience, even if someone else has it harder.

This concept applies to all things in life, whether it’s exercise, dieting, managing pain or disease… It’s all the same. We can never truly know what someone may be going through and if they take the effort to share it with you, it’s not an invitation to try and make it seem like nothing. Just offer an open ear, a touch of compassion and caring. You’re not there to try and fix the problem. Just be a good fried, a good family member and acknowledge the person’s situation. Food for thought…☯️

Kickin’ Back (Literally)…

Last night wrapped up this year’s karate sessions, with my current dojo closing to their regularly scheduled classes for the summer in conjunction with the school calendar. This is nothing unusual and has actually been the norm with most dojos I’ve trained in. Monday night was the last kids’ class with last night being the last adult class. It was bittersweet, especially since I only joined Shotokan in January (or maybe February?) and missed nearly two months of training due to injury.

This dojo has two aspects that set it aside from any other dojo I’ve trained. For one, they’re closing up the year with a group outing. yes, you read that right; tonight, during what would otherwise be a scheduled class, the instructors are taking all the students out bowling. Although it’s the first I’ve ever heard of this in a karate dojo, I think it’s a fantastic way to wish everyone well for the summer and acts as a nice team-building exercise.

The next thing they’re doing, is offering a limited summer package for the remainder of June and through July. This involves two classes a week aww opposed to three with a reduced tuition cost for the month. Don’t mind if I do! This will allow me to use part of the summer to maintain the new techniques and forms that I’ve started to learn in Shotokan through the summer as opposed to becoming stagnant during the summer months. I can have August as a break month, since my family and I will be travelling.

Last night’s class was solid and I can admit that I pushed and gave it all my effort, breaking a significant sweat and making a difference in my overall health. My years in Saskatchewan have been difficult for me, having trained in the martial arts alone for so long that becoming a permanent part of a dojo that aligns with my skills and particular style is nice. I’m looking forward to continuing to train through the month of July in combination with some fun summer activities, including cycling, playing ball with my son and swimming. Then, I can hit it hard when we go back in September. ☯️

When A Facepalm Isn’t Enough…

So a couple of days ago, I wrote a bit of a lengthy post surrounding my weight loss ambitions, some of the background behind how/why I’ve gained some weight and different times during the past ten years. I was a little taken aback by the number of people who reached out through my feedback function and I felt that I should take time today to address some of the comments and concerns that were sent my way.

First and foremost, I will once again reiterate (for the millionth time) that I am not a doctor or health/medical practitioner nor am I a nutritionist or dietitian. When I write posts in my blog, I do so based on what research I’ve personally done and what has worked or not for me. Anything anyone reads in my posts should be taken with grain of salt and your own research should be done. After all, how can you confirm anything I may have looked up myself? I do my best to cite my sources when they’re attached to a webpage that i can include.

For example, I’m not opposed to diets. That’s a feedback comment I’ve often gotten, regarding previous comments I’ve often made about how fad diets don’t work. Here’s the thing: they don’t work for ME! Every person is different. Every metabolism and level of health is different and as such, every fad diet will provide different results for different people. This doesn’t mean that they’re universally bad, they may simply not provide the results that EVERY person is looking for.

If someone decides to try and lose weight by cutting carbs, that’s fine. So long as you’ve consulted a professional and you acknowledge that carbohydrates are actually a primary source of fuel for the human body, there’s nothing wrong with cutting back on them. Trying to eliminate them altogether brings a certain host of problems but this is why you should consult a professional before making such a change.

Since every person is different, maybe going on a specific diet has helped you shed some weight but does absolutely nothing for someone else you know who has tried it. This doesn’t make it bad, especially if it worked for you. Just be cognizant that as with all “fad” diets, the weight will likely return unless you stick to it permanently or make significant lifestyle changes.

The next aspect I’d like to address, which seems to be thrown at me often, is self-image. One’s self-image is important because it helps to define you to YOU. It’s important to one’s overall sense of wellbeing to be okay with one’s body type, weight and overall image. If you are not, it’s incumbent on YOU to make the changes necessary for you to be happy, provided it doesn’t risk your health. And that’s the caveat; being overweight and/or obese is unhealthy. But positive body image and positive health are two different things. Is it a good thing if you love yourself regardless of your weight and have a positive self-image? Abso-fucking-lutely! However, do you need to acknowledge that your health may be impacted if you’re overweight? Also abso-fucking-lutely! I

t’s up to the individual to discern and recognize that difference. I’m not lending an opinion on what any one person’s body type SHOULD be, I’m simply pointing out that weight loss is good for the body. granted, that’s to an extent, as well. As with all things in life, there needs to be a balance. One can lose TOO much weight and that becomes dangerous, as well. Living a healthy life contains many moving parts that all require attention.

Last but not least, it’s not just about the food. If you’re committing to eliminating certain “bad” foods and eating healthier, good for you. Just be sure that you recognize that you exercise regularly as well, as part of your fitness and health journey. Lack of exercise will render all other efforts moot. Diets help but you need to burn some of those calories in order to lose weight. Fat won’t necessarily burn away JUST from eating better. But don’t take my word for it, I’m struggling to slim down.

My blog is a platform for me to describe and share the experiences, knowledge and information I’ve accumulated during more than three decades of studying martial arts and four decades of living (reasonably successfully) with Type-1 Diabetes. And flex my writing muscles but that’s neither here nor there. As with all things in life, if one does not agree with content I write, I’m always open for constructive discussion, so long as the respect due to the person whom you’re addressing is observed. Otherwise, to those sending snarky or rude comments, this is why I won’t reply or engage. I don’t intentionally allow others to bring suffering into my life. Have a great weekend, everyone! ☯️

But Weight, There’s More…

As if the pandemic weren’t bad enough, with being sent home from my job and losing access to a world-class gym on a daily basis, I was suddenly found gaining more weight in one sitting than I chose to think about. Over the course of the 2020 year, I pudged up to the point where some of my favourite pieces of clothing weren’t fitting me anymore (probably didn’t help that sitting at home gave me time to sit in my garage on my ass, sipping beer and eating snacks).

Everything seemed to align in just the perfect circumstances to promote this phenomenon, with karate classes closes due to the pandemic as well. I was left to my own devices, which as much as I would like to say that my sheer strength of will would be enough, it wasn’t. Don’t judge, I’m sure most of you would be the same. Although January of this year saw me take some positive steps in the right direction, joining a new karate club and performing specific workouts throughout the week, an injury that took me off my feet in early April saw me sitting still for almost two months while I recovered.

The worst part is this time, I had no choice. The end result has seen my weight fluctuate by only a few pounds; the issue is that I’ve lost a fair bit of muscle mass and gained a fair bit of fat. now that I’ve returned to the dojo, I find myself in a quandary over how to shed these pounds in a healthy, reasonable way. And that brings us to the topic of today’s post, which was supposed to actually be a video but the amount of time it takes to successfully take a video without mumbling over my words and looking like an idiot, edit and prepare the video, upload it to my YouTube channel and then link all my pertinent platforms so they receive the video for those who aren’t subscribed to my channel (GET TO YOUTUBE AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHANNEL!), it’s far more time-efficient to write it out. But I digress…

Diabetes and weight gain have something of an inappropriate relationship, feeding off one another like a couple of co-dependent leeches that can’t seem to cut me a break. On the one side, fluctuating blood sugars, poor management habits and gorging on sugared goods when hitting a low definitely don’t help. The other side of the Diabetes equation is that insulin is technically a growth hormone and will promote weight gain in the least wanted of places; namely, the gut and overall abdomen.

Although I’ve always been a bit on the heavier side, I’ve also remained intensely active, which has played a huge role in keeping the tide of weight gain at bay. Genetics also plays something of a role, with my father being a significant hefty man, sitting at over 300 pounds of raw, red-headed aggression. But my decades of constant exercise, karate and trying to mind what’s on my plate has played well in my favour. And then, 2009 happened…

In 2009, I travelled to Regina, Saskatchewan to undergo the Cadet Training Program at the RCMP Training Academy at “Depot.” I was subjected to a gruelling 24 weeks of intense physical and educational training, and the learning curve was steep. On a good day, I’d be out of bed between 4 and 5 am. I’d make my bed, shower up and dress in the uniform of the day. I’d attend morning parade, grab a brief, 10-minute breakfast before starting my day, which often consisted of several workouts of varying kinds and trying to stay awake through classes where we covered off the various subjects required by a police officer in the course of their duties. The evening would involve heavy amounts of study, followed by more workouts on our down time.

After 24 weeks of that bullshit, all I wanted to do was sleep. To put that into perspective, the basic training program for the Canadian military is anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks. All of that complaining notwithstanding, I arrived at Depot weighing a reasonable 185 pounds. I had just reached my 30’s and I still had that youthful energy that I sorely miss, these days. By the time I completed basic training, I had dropped to 165 pounds. I was the slimmest and felt the lightest and fastest that I ever had. Granted, this came at the cost of working out beyond what was healthy, functioning on minimal calories and severe lack of sleep. Some nights, my head wouldn’t hit the pillow until 1 am and I’d be up again at 5 am.

It didn’t take long for me to balloon up beyond the 220-pound mark, what with shift work, poor eating habits and the lack of consistent exercise. It wasn’t until 2016, when I returned to Regina to take a teaching position at the academy, that I was able to see some stability and start shaving down the weight I had gained. I had full access to the academy’s training facilities, I joined a local karate school and I broke out the bicycle and started making it a staple of my fitness regime. Without delving into some of the more unhealthy habits from my academy days, I was able to hover at the 200-pound mark for the longest time.

As of writing this post, I’m sitting at 208 pounds. Certainly not the heaviest I’ve ever been but I recognize that my muscle to fat ratio isn’t what I would like to see it at. To be clear, I don’t consider myself fat or even unhealthy; I simply recognize that recent events have put me in a position where I need to make a concerted effort to slim down in order to be healthier, whether I regain muscle mass or not. The burning of excess fat is important for overall blood sugar and Diabetic control, as well as cardiac and overall health.

Diabetes and weight loss will continue to be a challenge and the only thing that can really help is rolling up one’s sleeves and finding the inner strength to do what must be done in order to promote one’s health and overall fitness. And as much fun as it is to have others encouraging you and motivating you, never forget that the encouragement and motivation has to come from you. It’s you against you; the paradox that drives us all. ☯️

Unseen Enemies

There can be a lot of obstacles and unseen enemies when one is trying to accomplish any fitness, health or martial arts goals. Some of these that include things like lack of motivation, discouragement, wanting what others have (seeing more advanced students or their progress) and even seeing others discouraging or making fun of people who are trying to better themselves. That last one is particularly bad but as anyone who’s rocked out to the soundtrack of Rocky IV, “it’s you against you; the paradox that drives us all.”

We are our own worst enemy. Sometimes, this is a results of how we’re biologically programmed. As living things, our bodies are designed to preserve energy and be at rest as much as possible. This can often make it difficult to push through, when we need to attend karate classes, do workouts at home or try and find the energy to play with one’s kids. This is aggravated when one has a condition that causes apathy due to blood sugars. I’m not complaining (anymore than usual), jus’ sayin’… But there’s a reason why people always shit like, why put off ’til tomorrow what you could be doing today.

Most people always believe that they have more time and that it doesn’t matter. “Meinh, I’ll get to it tomorrow” or “I’ll start AFTER this weekend…” People rarely stop to consider the damage that’s done while waiting for that better time or the time they lose BECAUSE they wait. We are our own worst enemy, and there are consequences to putting off until later what we can start on, today. A perfect example of this was made clear to me last Saturday; not so much from a fitness standpoint but on a personal level.

A few weeks ago, I made my peace with the fact that I had to start mowing my lawn. Although I enjoy the perks of owning my own home as opposed to renting, I absolutely abhor yard work.That means that things like lawn-mowing, weed removal and all those different things that one needs to get done for the outside of their home, I despise. I rather be writing, doing karate or playing with my kids. Adulthood, am I right? The point is, I had dandelions sprouting and my front lawn looked like shit so I popped in my earbuds, grabbed my lawn mower and got to work.

I only planned to finish the front lawn and call it a day. By the time I finished the front, I decided to start tackling the rear. I managed to get half of the back lawn done before my upper back and shoulder started reminding me of my age. This sucks on many different levels, because I couldn’t plan on when I would get to the second half and my OCD was really going to LOVE seeing half the grass at a different growth level. The following couple of days, one thing after another came up that gave me excuses not to get to it.

The following weekend, we were out as a family, doing our weekly family activity and I planned on getting the lawn done once we got back. But my neighbours were staining our side of a piece of fence they were using as a windbreak for their sitting area. Didn’t seem polite to start mowing some lawn right by their ankles or potentially throwing up grass clipping against freshly stained wood. I opted to wait until later so that the fence’s staining could dry. Are we seeing a pattern of behaviour here? Putting off a needed chore?

That was over a week ago and last weekend I decided it needed to get completed as the back half of the rear lawn was starting to look like a small jungle. The result of my laziness was no small task. As a result of my putting off this chore, my weak-ass electric lawnmower had no chance of cutting through that tall grass. I had to spend over an hour with a whipper-snipper, cutting through it all manually. Then I had to rake and collect all the clipped grass by hand before finally running the mower over the clipped grass to bring everything back into balance.

Several hours work for what would have only been about an hour of lawn-mowing, had I been smart enough to get off my ass and get it done when i should have. My apathy and unwillingness to push through my urge to stay comfortable actually caused me a greater effort once i had no choice. And yes, I’m writing about clipping grass, which isn’t exactly a life-altering thing. But the lesson applies to all things in life. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can jump on today. Start those fitness goals. Start eating cleaner. Build some goals and start working towards them. Everyone thinks there’ll always be more time; until there isn’t. Food for thought… ☯️

Back On The Old Warhorse…

Well, my first week back to karate after recovering from my rib injury was a great success. And what’s more, I managed to make all three classes without missing a single minute. This is a catch-22, since I feel ridiculously exhausted but satisfied that I attended the full week. I can admit that my ribs and muscles ache but this is to be expected. Mix this with a couple of days’ rain in the Regina area to add some pain in my old joints and it made for a Friday night chock full of relaxation to prepare myself for the week to come.

It was good to be back and the increased temperatures accompanying the coming summer also made the workouts particularly rough. There doesn’t appear to be any A/C in the dojo… (did I SERIOUSLY just type that???) Talk about first-world problems. But I did recognize that two months of basically sitting still and doing nothing seems to have contributed to my overall weight. I could definitely feel the difference. I’ll have some significant work to do over the summer to get myself back into shape. The good news is I found out that our dojo only closes for the month of August, which means I’ll have in-person training all summer.

Short but sweet post today but what can I say? I can’t ramble on for pages and pages every day. ☯️

Back In The Saddle…

I walk out of the office, exhausted and committed to getting home, pouring drink and binge-watching Sons of Anarchy while my son plays at my feet and I write some posts based on whatever thoughts drift through my head. I get home and my children are blessedly quiet and occupied as I greet my wife. She has supper started and I discover my oldest has a batch of homework that needs doing, especially since he was home sick on Friday. No worries, I think… I can hammer this out with him before I eat then have the evening to relax. “The hell, you will…” says my wife. “You’re going back to karate tonight.” Guess my plans have changed…

I pack my gym bag after having it empty for over eight weeks. I had washed my gi a few weeks prior. I feel a near-paralyzing sense of anxiety at the thought of putting myself in a room with punches and kicks coming at me. I reached above my head and stretched the left side of my rib cage, aware of the tightness and aching that remains. My wife comes and checks on me, aware that I’m trying to cram as many of my chores in as I can before leaving. I manage to get my son’s homework done well in advance. I no longer have ANY excuse… It’s time to go back.

I leave my house thirty minutes before our 8 pm class is slated to start. The stairs to the third floor feel higher than usual and I wonder at the reception my absence will have elicited. I walk in to see one of the youth classes nearing its end. Sensei Mike is leading it, and we make eye contact for a brief moment before he continues on. I walk into the locker room and change into my gi, my arms feeling leaden as I dwell on the first class I’ll attend since early April. I walk out onto the main dojo floor in time to see the youth class finish up and bow out.

Sensei Mike greets me warmly and asks where I’ve been for the past while. That first minute tells me that he doesn’t know about the injury I sustained during our workshop. I explain my absence and the injury and I see Mike’s face change behind the masks we’re still required to wear. On the one side, I’m glad he didn’t know about the injury as he likely would have dwelled on it during my absence. We discussed the various lessons that he and I should be associating to what happened and how we could share it with the student body.

Monday night was my first class back. I practiced, I trained and I broke a sweat. It was a good burn and a good feeling. Tonight will be my second class back. And that’s the way of it; like walking a long journey requires one step at a time, my return to peak condition will be the same. One class at a time. Yesterday was my cardio day. My legs are killing me, today. Small price to pay. Combining karate training with cardio will lead to weight loss, increased speed and reflexes and hopefully regaining a little something of what I’ve lost in recent years. Let’s go take that next step… ☯️

The Funny Thing About Fear, Is Everyone Is Afraid Of It…

Fear is a natural thing. People don’t usually think it is but it is. Fear is a natural reaction to something that could bring harm or is considered dangerous against oneself or others. Most people spend the majority of their lives trying to avoid fear, as though it expresses some level of weakness to be afraid. It starts quite early in life, with parents trying to convince children not to be afraid of the dark, what may be under the bed or in the closet. As adults, we acknowledge that these fears are pointless because we’ve grown and come to learn that there’s nothing to fear. Children haven’t had this benefit at so early an age.

None of this stops us from trying to rationalize and dismiss one’s fears, children or otherwise. And while it may seem normal to get frustrated with a child who may be afraid of the dark, what happens when some fears penetrate into adulthood? Worse yet, what happens when an adult develops a new fear based on experience? Should it still be rationalized and dismissed? What if it disrupts or damages something within your adult life? Sometimes it can be easier to ignore a problem than to deal with it. But as adults, we need to use that logic to figure out an intelligent solution to our fears, as opposed to ignoring them.

As some of you may have recently read, I suffered an injury back in early April. This injury included damage to my rib cage as well as the muscle wall covering said ribs. It happened in karate class while training through a weekend seminar and as much as I’d like to say that I should recognize that it isn’t a fuckin’ knitting circle, it’s a combat art, I have to admit that getting hurt IN karate is something that I’ve not only never experienced before, it’s caused me some apprehension in going back.

I really didn’t think it would, at first. I spent weeks on muscle relaxants and pain killers, trying to heal and get over the injury. I lost several nights’ sleep and spent most of those nights curled up in a cold sweat, crying out the pain. Despite having trained for several decades, I have NEVER been injured to this extent while training in karate. Oh, I’ve been injured and required recovery but never anything like this. And never as a result of a karate class.

As the weeks have trickled past, I’ve recovered slowly, able to move easier, breathe easier and finally able to get some sleep without crying. I made a point of acting tough at work but it had a profound effect. I kept telling myself that I would soon be ready to return. But recently, I came to realize that despite being completely healed, I felt an intense level of anxiety and stress at the thought of returning to class. It’s been debilitating and has had me finding every excuse in the book NOT to go to class. I have no fear of facing the other black belts; we understand the risks and potential injuries that come with training. This is all me. This is all in my head.

Considering I was badly injured and needed almost two months to recover, my fear is not irrational. I know that. But my anxiety over reintroducing myself into the dojo is. And eventually, I’ll run out of excuses. When that time comes, I’ll need to decide whether I hang up my belt and move on to a different chapter of life or if I stick to my plan of continuing my martial arts journey and continue to learn. As a family man, I have an obligation, now more than ever, to maintain the ability to defend myself and my family. I also need to continue working towards maintaining my health, especially if I expect to live long enough to see my grandchildren. Food for self-thought… ☯️