How TaeKwonDo Saved My Daughter!

Signing up my nine-year-old Abbey for martial arts classes worked wonders for her self-esteem, her friendships and her confidence.

 Tae kwon do came into my daughter’s life around the same time as her diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Actually, her diagnosis came about because of tae kwon do.

After watching me take classes all summer, Abbey decided she wanted to try the sport. On the morning of her first lesson, she sat in the observation area waiting for me to finish my class.

Suddenly, two police officers showed up and stopped the class. “Did anyone here call about an emergency?” they asked. It didn’t take long to figure out that Abbey had snuck into a closed office, picked up a cordless phone, and dialed 911. Twice.

The policemen were kind and understanding. I was not. Abbey had once summoned the police to our home. In fact, Abbey’s aptitude for creative mischief at home and school had prompted her pediatrician to ask if we had ever had her evaluated for ADHD. My husband and I were in denial.

One look at my daughter’s face that morning, and it was clear that she didn’t understand why she had called the police. This incident led me to get Abbey evaluated.

Getting a Second Chance

Fortunately, the sympathetic tae kwon do master said that Abbey could take lessons, but she had to wait a week before starting training. Abbey adored Master Boles from day one — she got him and she got the sport, excelling at it. She felt successful at something, for the first time in her life.

Until then, she had quit every activity she tried: piano took too much patience; soccer’s fast pace was overwhelming; gymnastics had too much down time. Martial arts turned out to be just right for Abbey.

Getting an accurate diagnosis and the right ADHD medication made a big difference in her life. Abbey hit the ground running as she entered fourth grade, and never slowed down. She wanted to make up for the previous three tough years.

Instead of having daily meltdowns, she mostly rolled with the punches. Instead of pushing her older brothers’ buttons, she tried to enjoy their company, as they did hers. Instead of having no friends in school, she now had to turn down play dates. Instead of struggling at academics, she discovered she was a gifted reader and writer.

While much of the change could be attributed to medication, tae kwon do also contributed to the metamorphosis. She developed friendships away from school, away from classmates who occasionally called her “weird” because of her ADHD.

At tae kwon do class, no one remembered her as the third grader who hid under the teacher’s desk. Tae kwon do gave her goals, and recognition for each step she took toward those goals. Most of all, the sport gave her confidence.

This became clear after Abbey had been training for six months and was trying to earn her next belt. The other kids had completed their “exam” — breaking boards with a powerful leg kick.

When it was Abbey’s turn, Master Boles reached for an even bigger, thicker board. From the sidelines, I panicked. “That’ll be too hard!” I said to myself. Abbey said, “Cool,” kicked the board in two, and flashed me a grin.

I could hardly believe it. I was so happy for her and so relieved that she met the challenge. Before Abbey received a diagnosis of ADHD, she often called herself a loser and said she wanted to die. She wasn’t even 10 yet, and she had given up on herself.

Worse, she didn’t have any hope that things would change. When I took her back to the doctor, to determine why she was struggling in school, she said, “Whatever. It won’t help.” All of that changed.

New Kid on the Block

When Abbey asked if she could compete in a major tae kwon do tournament several months back — she had already won a small tournament in her school — I weighed the positive changes in Abbey against the inconvenience of getting to the tournament site. It was two hours away, and the timing wasn’t good for the family.

“It’ll mean more than four hours in the car,” I told her one night, as she got ready for bed. “Why do you want to go so badly?”

Abbey stopped brushing her teeth. “You know, mom, I’m remembering how good it felt to stand on the first-place podium,” she said. “I just want to feel that again.”

“Why this tournament? Our school will have another one next season.”

“I know what I can do there. I want to see what I can do here,” she explained.

“But what if we travel all that way, and you don’t get to stand on the winner’s podium?”

Without hesitating, she answered, “Well, then I’ll stand on the second-place podium!”

I knew then that I’d move heaven and earth to give her the chance to try. After she had come this far, how could I not agree to drive her a little further?

So we climbed into the van the day of the tournament and drove two hours. Did Abbey win? Did she get the chance to stand on the winner’s podium again? Did it make a difference?

To me, Abbey was a winner before we pulled out of the driveway. And, the best thing of all, she knew it.

How to Get Kids Interested in Martial Arts

Today, it is more important than ever before that parents find ways to motivate their kids to engage in fitness activities. The childhood obesity epidemic that we are facing today is terrifying. One of the best ways for you to avoid your child becoming an obesity statistic is to encourage them to take up martial arts. A martial art will give children plenty of exercise to keep them in shape, and it will also teach them the values of discipline, honor and respect. To help parents motivate their children to take up taekwondo, karate or another martial discipline, here are some tips they can use to encourage kids to get interested in martial arts.

Get Them Amped with Videos

If children have never been exposed to videos featuring martial artists, they may have no idea what they are missing out on. Show them some clips of talented martial artists doing their thing, and you will be amazed at how quickly they get motivated to give it a try themselves. Don’t be surprised if they are doing some practice kicks and punches before the video is even over. Once you have shown them how cool the activity can be, they will be excited to attend their first class.

The More the Merrier

One of the biggest reasons that children decide to do anything is because their friends are doing it. Parents can use this fact to their advantage when it comes to encouraging their children to start a new martial art. First, ask your children if they have any friends who are already practicing taekwondo or karate. If they are, it will be easy for you to convince them to join their friends to have fun.If your child doesn’t already have friends working out in a dojo, talk to the parents of their friends. Organize a meeting to get together and talk about encouraging the entire group of friends to start training in a martial art. When children have friends to be with in an activity, they will encourage and support each other. This makes it much more likely that they will stick with the activity they are enjoying together.

Go to a Tournament

One of the best ways parents can get their kids excited about something is to take them to an organized event. There are frequents martial art tournaments held all over the country. With a little research, you can find one that will soon be in your area. Take your kid to see some exciting live karate or taekwondo action, and you will likely find that they are asking to try the fun for themselves before you even make it home from the tournament.

Make It a Family Affair

The fitness benefits of practicing a martial art are not just limited to children. Parents will also benefit hugely from the better fitness and mental discipline they develop by practicing it. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for parents to take a jujitsu or karate class with their children. When families share the fun of the activity, it makes it a bonding tool that will bring the family closer together. Children look up to and want to emulate their folks. Take advantage of this by joining in a martial art with them.As you can see, there are many options parents can use to encourage their children to take up a martial art. Sometimes, a combination of these tips will work best. The key is to keep trying until you find something that works. However, don’t press too hard or you risk pushing them away. Always let the child come to the decision to start without pressure.

Eat and Lose Weight: 10 Foods That Help Losing Weight

With so many quick weight loss programs and weight loss tips around it’s sometimes hard to know where to start when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight. A natural weight loss remedy that doesn’t require a person to follow a detailed plan or buy expensive prepackaged foods is usually the best. There are several basic foods that will not only help improve our overall health, but also help us lose weight at the same time. The following are 10 foods that people can eat to help lose weight more quickly.


Eating cabbage for rapid weight loss was made famous back when the cabbage soup diet was first being promoted. It’s not necessary, however, to mix cabbage with a lot of other items and make it into a soup to receive the benefits of eating this healthy vegetable. Cabbage is one of those foods that supposedly takes more energy to digest than the calories taken in. Whether that’s true or not, there are many great reasons to eat cabbage. It’s high in antioxidants, including vitamin C. It’s also high in fiber to keep you staying full for longer periods of time. Cabbage also contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

Cabbage can be prepared lots of different ways so you won’t get tired of eating it as quickly as some other foods. A half cup of cabbage is only 17 calories when it’s boiled. If that sounds too bland, cut it up and eat it in a vinegar cole slaw. Fried cabbage is delicious. Make sure to fry it in healthy, low fat oils and cooking sprays. Cabbage can also be eaten in a stir-fry or made into a roll with meat and rice.


Eating foods high in protein is a great way to burn fat, and especially those types of proteins found in eggs. Protein in egg yolks can stimulate the release of a hormone called glucagon. This hormone can help burn fat, in particular belly fat. Some studies have even found that people who eat eggs don’t have any higher cholesterol than those who ate bagels regularly.

Eggs can be prepared in so many ways that eating this super food is a fast way to lose weight. Whether scrambled, poached, or in an omelet filled with veggies, eggs can be cooked in a number of ways. Hard boiled eggs can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and then eaten as a healthy snack whenever cravings hit. The other great thing about eggs is that compared to most sources of protein they are relatively inexpensive.


Yogurt is full of probiotics, a particular type of bacteria that may help limit the amount of fat that your body absorbs. Make sure to choose a yogurt that says “live active cultures” on the container. Probiotics are good bacteria that helps get rid of the bad stuff in your intestinal tract. The amino acids in yogurt help burn fat while the calcium tells your fat cells to get rid of cortisol, which is a hormone that may cause belly fat to increase.

With so many different types of yogurts on the market to choose from it’s important to know what you’re getting. Some yogurts, especially flavored ones, are loaded with sugar. Make sure to pick a plain yogurt that doesn’t have any added sweeteners or sugars. Greek yogurts are usually a good choice as well.


Salsa is technically several foods mixed together but it can aid in weight loss in so many ways that it’s worth mentioning. The primary ingredients in most salsas include tomatoes, onions, and some type of peppers. Each of these veggies is loaded with a variety of nutrients and are great for losing weight. Salsa is also water based, which is healthy and keeps you full.

The important thing about eating salsa is to make sure and dump the greasy chips and pair this healthy snack with other great options. Use salsa on salads and veggies instead of high calorie dressing. Salsa is also a great topper on most types of meat, especially chicken. Salsa is relatively easy to prepare, can be stored in the fridge for several days, and goes with a variety of foods.


Apples are truly a super food. They provide the body with fiber that will help you feel fuller longer and will therefore fight cravings and help with weight loss. Make sure to eat the apple and not applesauce or juices. Chewing crunchy foods is always better for losing weight. Chewing will send a signal to your brain that you’re actually eating something solid. This helps your body to feel full faster.

Some studies have shown that while all apples are healthy, eating the Granny Smith apples can give specific benefits when it comes to losing weight. These types of apples seem to contribute to an increase in the kinds of bacteria in the intestinal tract that help people stay lean.

Black Beans

Black beans are full of protein and fiber, keeping you from getting hungry too soon after eating. They will also help keep your digestive system healthy and working efficiently while achieving weight loss. Because of the dark color, black beans contain what is called flavonoids. Some research suggests that flavonoids help reduce stomach fat.

Some people may fear eating beans because of gas. But the more you eat beans the more your body becomes accustomed to this type of food and gas may become less of a problem. If eating plain black beans doesn’t sound appetizing, there are plenty of ways to incorporate them into your diet. They can be put in soups, dips, and made into healthy black bean burgers. Overall, black beans are great for losing weight, your health, and they’re easy on your wallet.


Eating grapefruit is not a new concept. Many of the “lose weight programs” through the years have contained grapefruit as one of the prime foods to be eaten. But the reason why is that it works! Grapefruit is almost 90 percent water, meaning it helps you feel full quicker. Grapefruit can also help lower insulin, which increases fat storage in our bodies.

A great way to incorporate grapefruit into your daily diet is to cut one in half every morning and eat each half before a meal. The red and pink grapefruits also have beta carotene which is good at fighting off disease. A half a grapefruit is only about 52 calories and it doesn’t contain any cholesterol. If you find simply eating a grapefruit by itself too tart, there are lots of ways to eat this nutritious and low calorie food. Grapefruit can be mixed with other fruits in a fruit salad, made into a smoothie, and even be part of salsa.


Lettuce has gotten a bad rap in recent years with some claiming that there aren’t many nutrients in lettuce. But that all depends on what type of lettuce you choose. There are several different types of lettuce that can be used in a variety of ways. Romaine lettuce provides vitamin B, Manganese, and folic acid. Generally, dark green and purple lettuce will provide the highest level of nutrients.

Lettuce is one of the lowest calorie foods that you can eat. This means you can eat a lot of lettuce, stock up on a lot of nutrients and still not gain weight. Lettuce is also the type of food that goes well with a lot of other foods. Not only great as a salad, lettuce goes with fruit, cottage cheese, chicken, beef, and even peanut butter.


Several years ago many people hadn’t even heard of quinoa, now it’s a great way to lose weight easy. Quinoa is low calorie and full of nutrients. One serving of cooked quinoa is around 180 calories. It has a low glycemic index which means it won’t spike blood sugar. Quinoa is full of protein, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

This gluten free grain can be eaten with a variety of other foods including vegetables, salads, and even fruit. Quinoa can also be made into protein and energy bars that are not only healthy but delicious to eat. Almond bars, cooked into lentil burgers, and made into smoothies are just a few of the ways to enjoy quinoa and lose weight.

Dark Chocolate

When asking, “How can I lose weight?” don’t forget to include dark chocolate. The secret to indulging in dark chocolate while receiving all the good benefits is to make sure not to overindulge. Taking a few bites of this delicious treat every now and then can help slow the digestive process and keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.

Dark chocolate contains less added sugar than other types of chocolate and has healthy fats that can help keep metabolism up. It can also help curb cravings for other sweets that may not be as healthy. Some Swiss scientists have even found that dark chocolate can limit the metabolic effects of being stressed.

This great site I got the information from:

Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts

I read this article and feel strong about the points that are highlighted.

“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”

- Bruce Lee

Recently on a visit back home, I met my one of my close friends at his son’s martial arts studio so I could drop in and see what young Ethan was up to. Ethan was one step away from getting his white sash in Poekoelan, an Indonesian martial art. He beamed with pride as we watched him do various forms and drills. Shortly after I left town, Ethan earned his white sash, upon which he got to join the big kids in the adjacent room. There the big kids practice more advanced forms, techniques, and even some sparring. He was thrilled.

Ethan’s always been a good kid, but from what I observed the martial arts gave him quite a healthy dose of self-esteem and self-respect - two of the many benefits one gains with participation in them. Whether your kid is too bossy, too shy, or perhaps just a little hyper, the martial arts can help your child learn many important life lessons. (And, of course, those same lessons apply for all of us, not just kids.)

Why Your Child Should Practice Martial Arts

Reason #1: They (and You) Will Get More Active

This is the obvious reason kids should do martial arts in this day and age - to get active and moving. In case you haven’t noticed, we have an epidemic when it comes to our nation’s obesity problem. We’re also increasingly unfit in addition to being overweight. The problem is particularly alarming as it relates to our kids. Youth sports and physical education programs are great, but not every kid is an athlete and many schools no longer offer PE. The martial arts offer many benefits, but when it comes to fitness, becoming a true martial artist means becoming a supremely fit person. When I was practicing boxing or muay Thai kickboxing on a daily basis, I was in the best shape of my life by a long shot. Martial arts can help your child get fit and healthy.


Reason #2: They’ll Learn to Find Focus and Stillness

Of the many challenges that parents face today, one is that we are constantly plugged in. While there are a great many benefits to the Internet, there are many more benefits in stillness and silence. Unfortunately stillness and silence seem to be rare to find. At some juncture in life, every one of us comes to learn that the greatest obstacle we face in this lifetime is ourselves. That battle is fought in the stillness of our hearts and the willingness to confront ourselves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, behind the punches, kicks, and knees, a true martial artist learns to sit with himself and see where his weaknesses are. In years of martial arts classes, I remember many challenges, breakthroughs, and setbacks. What I do not remember are distractions or gimmicks like you often see at your local health club. At the martial arts studios and boxing gyms where I trained, there was no loud music or flat screen TVs, just hard work and sweat equity. As a martial artist, your child will learn what it is to be still, challenged, and focused.


Reason #3: They’ll Learn to Take Hits

In the martial arts, your child will learn what it is to take a hit, whether that hit is a literal blow or a disappointment like failing a test.

Part of life is learning that we all take hits. The key is in learning how best to take that hit and get back up. Unfortunately, this lesson seems to be lost on many in our every-kid-gets-a-trophy culture. In the martial arts, your kid will learn to fail - a lot. Half of martial arts is hitting, but half is also getting hit.

When people hire me to teach them boxing, they can’t wait to lace up the gloves and start hitting things. Seldom does someone mention how enjoyable it is when I tap him or her upside the head with a focus mitt for dropping their hands.

The first time I got struck in the head sparring in kung fu, I immediately rushed to the mirror to see if there was a mark on my face. The students in class laughed about it for months. While I didn’t find it too funny at the time, I came to learn that accepting I would get hit enabled me to relax and better protect myself. That acceptance led me to be able to better respond, maneuver, and anticipate. Ironically, learning how to take a hit is perhaps the best way for your kid to learn how to avoid it.


Reason #4: They’ll Gain Self Confidence and Self Respect

As noted in talking about my friend’s son Ethan, I was able to witness firsthand the confidence he gained by participating in the martial arts. Being able to advance and play with the big kids gave Ethan a tremendous amount of confidence.

Of course, playing with the big kids also gives all of us a little reminder of humility - someone is always bigger and stronger. I remember Sifu gently threatening the two young boys in our kung fu class that if they ever used their kung fu training in the wrong way or to show off he would have their hide.

The right martial arts school will teach your child that there are no tough guys. Every martial artist ultimately learns this sense of respect and true confidence. Your child will learn that confidence and respect for others comes from a deep sense of self-knowledge.


Reason #5: They’ll Connect Their Mind and Body

What they don’t teach you at your local health club is how to really listen to your body. To listen to your body is to also see your thoughts and have heightened awareness of your emotional construct.

A martial artist is taught to see, feel, and listen - both internally and externally. Tapping into intuition, fear, and courage are examples of being able to put the physical together with the mental. How often have we heard the phrase “being paralyzed with fear”? Being able to combat such a thing is what you learn in the martial arts.


Reason #6: They’ll Learn Conflict Resolution

People often ask me whether I have ever used my martial arts and boxing training in a fight. Indeed I have used the skills learned from martial arts many times to resolve conflict, but thankfully, never in a physical altercation outside the ring.

One of the first lessons Sifu (Master) taught us in kung fu was that words were never grounds for a fight. That advice right there has saved me many times. In the martial arts, you learn that there is no such thing as “fighting” words. Instead, you learn to respond without reacting in the martial arts.


Reason #7: They’ll Learn to Breathe

Of the many things I have learned in the martial arts and boxing, breathing is near the top. Back in my kung fu days, Sifu told me that he could tell how someone fights just by observing how he or she breathes.

Indeed, nothing is more essential to the success of how we move our body than tapping into the life force of our essence - our breath. Ask a professional athlete, or an actor, dancer, or signer, and they will tell you that to succeed in any physical craft is to access your breath correctly.

I am shocked at times working with adults who never learned to breathe properly when under physical exertion. This skill can literally save your life. In the martial arts your kid will learn the essence of how to breathe and even relax under pressure.


The Take Home - How to Proceed

The bottom line is that almost any child can and will benefit from participation in the martial arts. As to what martial art, it’s honestly not very important. For a typical six or eight year old the point is to just get them moving and focused. The key in choosing a teacher or school is to do your due diligence when it comes to evaluating the integrity of the program. As a starting place, I would choose a prospective instructor or coach who talks more about the needs of your child than his or her program.


5 amazing benefits of kickboxing for women (1/5)

With women's boxing now a sport in the Summer Olympics, more and more women are getting into the ring. Find out what makes kickboxing such an amazing workout for women

By Melissa Greer

1. Melt fat, fast

Combining martial arts techniques and heart-pumping cardio, kickboxing is a high-energy workout that is guaranteed to burn calories and fat.

“It’s an incredibly efficient workout. Kickboxing alone burns about 750 calories in an hour,” says Sammie Kennedy, CEO and creator of Femme Fitale, Ontario’s newest women’s-only kickboxing and mixed martial arts program (MMA). “Add in jump rope and conditioning drills, and you could burn anywhere from 750 to 900 calories in an hour.”

The cardio-conditioning element of kickboxing is one of the most effective ways to burn fat—especially that stubborn belly fat that’s associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology found aerobic exercise to be better at reducing belly fat than resistance training, by burning an average of 67 percent more calories.

2. Tone your entire body

A typical Femme Fitale class combines kickboxing and MMA drills with jump rope, circuit training and core strengthening exercises.

“There’s a large toning component to kickboxing because it forces you to engage all the muscle groups in your body,” says Kennedy.

By using kickboxing pads, as opposed to simply air boxing, you’ll burn even more calories. “You’ll also work your back and trim your waist because each move requires a lot of core power behind it,” she says.

Engaging your core will also ultimately improve co-ordination, while the constant movement in kickboxing improves flexibility and reflexes.

3. Learn valuable self-defense moves

While the majority of women are turning to kickboxing for the physical workout, the self-defense aspect is a perk for many people, says Kennedy. “We teach it with an emphasis on ‘this is why you’re learning this,’ ‘this is what you would use this for.’ It’s important for people to know why they’re doing certain moves and engaging certain parts of their body,” she says.

Having the ability to protect yourself is a valuable asset and it’s empowering to know that if you were in a dangerous situation, you have the knowledge to help get yourself out of it safely

4. Take out stress and aggression

Sometimes the best way to release stress after a hard day at work is not a cold beer, but some intense physical activity. Kickboxing offers a healthy way to get out some of the day’s frustrations out of your system, which will also help you get a better night’s sleep and improve mental clarity.

“It’s an excellent release to be able to beat up your boss on the pads,” says Kennedy. “Boxing also increases the release of endorphins, which can diminish with stress.”

The group atmosphere of kickboxing is even more effective in releasing endorphins. While any type of vigorous activity will release these feel-good chemicals, group exercise enhances their impact, according to researchers from the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology in Oxford, England.

5. Feel sexy and confident

There’s nothing sexier than being able to kick some butt, and look great doing it. The intensity of kickboxing means you’ll see improvements and results quickly. Femme Fitale’s sessions run for eight-weeks with twice weekly classes.

“When you’re putting yourself through a program that does really challenge you and you finish it—that alone boosts confidence dramatically because you’ve accomplished something and that’s something to be proud of,” says Kennedy.

I found this great article from Best Health website: