In the previous blog, we discussed how fear is a natural human emotion in someone facing imminent danger. There are two instinctive reactions to fear: flight or fight. In this second blog on fear, we will dive deeper into our response to fear. What is “flight adrenaline” and what does it do to us? Flight […]
Fear is a natural human emotion that causes
a person who’s facing imminent danger to have one of two completely opposite –
but mutually instinctive – reactions. You either run away from the danger to
totally avoid it, or you confront it head-on. This is the “Flight or Fight”
Fear is a subject of particular importance
to martial artists, yet one that has been inadequately addressed. No matter how
much martial arts you learn or how proficient you become at it, if the time
comes to face a genuine life-threatening situation, you will experience the
two-edged sword of fear – fight or flight – and will be forced to exercise one
or the other. When a person thinks they are being threatened, typically the
person’s heart pounds like a jackhammer, and one becomes short of breath,
sometimes almost to the point of hyperventilation. There is nausea, often
described as “butterflies,” in the stomach. Some individuals
experience an inability to control their bowels. The degree of emotional and
physical intensity varies with the person.
As undesirable as all these powerful
symptoms may sound, they are actually indicators that the body is ready to
perform at its highest level. World-class athletes and people who freeze from
terror under stress both experience the same series of physiological reactions.
What determines how successful the outcome will be is how rapidly the
individual is able to either retain or regain control. Fear is
There are people who manifest few, if any,
of the usual biochemical reactions, as cited above, to what are traditionally
considered life-threatening circumstances. They are considered
“fearless.” Yet what would be considered overwhelming stress varies
drastically from person to person. Although considered fearless by most of the
world, some Navy SEALs readily admit to being scared before every mission,
gunfight, firefight or battle.
So what exactly is fear? The dictionary
defines fear as “an emotion of alarm and agitation caused by the
expectation and realization of danger.” However, a topic as important as
fear requires a far more technical elaboration. This technical analysis is
essential to your full understanding.
A medical dictionary informs us that fear
is “a somatic (part of the body) disturbance or expression of anxiety
(stress), neurosis (nerves) or an anxious psychotic (mental disturbance), which
may stimulate hyperthyroidism, an excessive condition of glandular secretion by
the thyroid. This includes an injection into our system of a hyperadrenal,
another glandular secretion of hormones, chief among which, and this is
important, are norepinephrine and epinephrine – “flight” and
“fight” adrenaline, respectively. This common human condition is what
is known as the “Flight or Fight” reflex (or Flight or Fight
“Instinct” or “Response”).
In the upcoming series, we will explore the
many aspects of fear in a question-and-answer format and how to train to
To learn more about our martial arts
training in Chesapeake, call 757-558-9869 or contact us.
I think team sports are
great, but are they teaching leadership? Because there is no cultural emphasis
on or education on leadership, some aspiring leaders in these sports lack
foundation in their own character development. What is the use of seeking to be
the best team without the means to become better people?
Have you ever seen a bad
loser before? What about a bad winner? In our martial arts program, not only do
we teach the principles of being the best person you can be, but we also teach leadership education.
When you recommend our program to others and they say, “Johnny is
in baseball,” or “Susie is in volleyball,” ask them, “What
kind of leadership training are they getting?” How are they being the best
person they can be by playing these sports?
Most coaches of team sports focus on developing the particular skills
needed for the team to win. You need an education that not only teaches you a
skill but also teaches you to be someone who achieves greatness with honor and
humility, who naturally earns the respect of those whom he/she serves and
leads. That’s what we do. In fact, THAT’S ALL WE DO!
If you are interested in getting yourself or your child involved in a sport that builds leadership skills, give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us. We have martial arts classes for all ages and abilities in Chesapeake.
my first ship, USS FORRESTAL (CV-59), I worked in Weapons Department.
Being a Seaman Recruit, your duty watch is less than glamorous. For a
year I got to climb down vertical ladders and check the security of
the Weapons Magazines (places where we keep the ordnance). This is
very important because if somebody did gain access they could do some
serious damage to the ship if not sink it. You would complete your
rounds and then report back to Aviation Ordnance Control Station
(AOCS) to report your findings. “All Secure” was the
response 99.9% of the time.
time the AOCS First Class sent a guy down to one of the magazines to
put a note on it that just said, “Roving Security – Bring this
note back to AOCS.” I wasn’t on watch when this happened but
working for the Gun Boss, I heard about it the next day. The sailor
came back and reported “All Secure.” When asked if he was
sure that he checked all the magazines, the sailor
said, “Of course Petty Officer Ratliff.” At that time the
AO1 took the sailor
to the access trunk and they both climbed down two
decks (see the picture) and looked at the note posted on the WTD
(water tight door). Needless to say that sailor
was in BIG trouble.
had the COURAGE to tell the truth, he probably wouldn’t have gotten
into so much trouble. He learned a valuable lesson that day….and so
did I. Sometimes life throws you these circumstances to see if you
will use your INTEGRITY to tell the truth. This says a lot about your
character and HONOR, which is doing the right thing all the time,
even when no one
sometimes do this while in class. I know that someone
is talking and then I ask the question, “Jeremy, were you talking?”
and wait for the response. If they say, “Yes, sir,”
then I just ask them to be quiet or have them do five
pushups. If they say, “No, sir.”
Of course I have to ask again and if the response is the same then I
an example out of them by calling them out.
is a little embarrassing for the student to be caught in a lie in
front of their fellow students, but it serves as a warning to have
COURAGE and tell the truth,
even when you know you might get in trouble. This student is less
likely to lie to me in the future, and he has shown other students
what not to do. Wise is the man who learns from his mistakes. Wisest
is the man who learns from other’s mistakes.
At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we try to teach more than just martial arts. We also want to teach children (and adults) to be truthful people, full of integrity and honor. If you are interested in the classes we offer, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
When we were younger, doing grown up things looked so much better than the things we were doing. Grown-ups slept when they wanted, ate what they wanted and bought what they wanted. Who wouldn’t want that, right? Life was rough because we had a bed time (which was too early), we had to eat all of our food (which was gross because it wasn’t candy), and we only could buy what we could afford with our allowance (which came in the form of coins and cash instead of those awesome plastic cards adults had).
What we didn’t know was that parents paid for all those lessons with either skin, blood, time and/or money.
Sometimes doing what we want when we want could cost us more than we bargained. Deciding to go hiking on a trail we’ve never been on before might cost us. We might end up skinning our knee and losing a little blood thinking it might save some time when in fact it actually didn’t.
So what did we learn? Sometimes blazing a new trail may lead to set backs. Does that mean we don’t take risks in the future? No, but it means more time might be spent on calculating the risks before acting. That’s a life lesson.
Everyone has problems and we need to keep that in mind when it feels like our world comes crashing to a fiery end. We all have some sort of issue going on that we need to power through in order to become a stronger person. Whether it be that one heartbreak we all have gone through or that credit card company we say yes to, these problems are in our lives to make us stronger people. Personal, professional, mental and physical problems teach us just how strong we can be.
Our lives as an adult will consist of countless decisions we have to make and some of them (the majority of them) will have consequences. Choosing to go out with some friends to Happy Hour might leave us suffering a hangover the next morning. Buying an expensive item means that there won’t be any room in the budget at the end of the month. Overextending our credit will only lead to financial burden and lead to more loss of money and time worrying about it. Sometimes we think it was easier to make decisions when our parents just gave us two choices.
We all have that one friend that our parents warned us about or didn’t like and for good reason. We all have been let down or disappointed in someone we thought was a good friend. Unfortunately, it is possible that you will be left behind for something bigger or better. This is just how people are sometimes and these disappointments will always happen no matter how much you try to avoid them.
On the bright side, our adult friendships may be stronger than ever once we have experience picking out good friends and detecting warning signs before we get hurt. This way we won’t feel that we wasted our time with someone who seemed not to care.
When we were younger, our parents seemed like the bad guys. They gave us curfews, they made us get jobs and they got upset every time our grades dropped. Part of growing up is realizing that parents are actually looking out for us and only want what is best for us.
In class the other night I asked how many student’s parents said they hope they have kids that grow up to be just like them. Over half of the class raised their hands. In order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower, and right now our parents are the leaders. Hopefully, you are one of the lucky ones that is able to establish a solid relationship with your parents and keep it through your adult life.
At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we try to teach more than just martial arts. We also want to teach children (and adults) how to be better people. If you are interested in the classes we offer, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but it can be a problem if you find it difficult to keep under control. “You can control your anger, and you have the responsibility to do so,” says clinical psychologist Isabel Clarke, a specialist in anger management.
I have realized that losing your temper is a sign of weakness. When I was a kid, if I lost my temper other kids were afraid. So with me losing my temper came extra power. As I got older (16 or so) I realized that this isn’t cool. It isn’t strength; it is really weakness.
It’s important to recognize your anger indicators; are you clinching your fists, raising your voice, breathing heavy, flaring your nostrils, shaking your head? Once you see those things, detach from them and look at it as a weakness.
In our Cubs class we tell the students, “Whenever I get angry I have to take 10 deep breathes and slowly count to 10.” If that is what it takes to detach from the moment to get yourself together, then do it. To get through that moment I like to nod my head in a slow and affirmative motion while I am thinking of how I can solve the problem.
Anger can cause many other problems in your life. My neighbor got into an argument with his fiancée in which she left. It was a way for her to detach; however, he continued his rage on the house. I must also add that alcohol and drugs are not great supporters in controlling anger. As his rage continued, she called the police as he made threats to end his life if she didn’t return.
Police investigated as he was trashing his house and busting out windows. The police left and he continued his assault on the house. He then decided to burn her clothing which set off the smoke detector which alerted her to call 911. Four fire trucks appeared on our street. The arson inspector was there along with the same officers from before.
This neighbor is also a member of our Armed Forces so not only is he in trouble with civil authorities, but he now has a problem with the military chain of command. I had tried to get him to pause and think about the situation twice, but again the drinking played a major factor.
I don’t see how anger can help in achieving what you want to get done. It clouds your mind’s ability to think clearly and come up with compromising solutions. Martial arts will help with the self-control aspect. Once you know how to control your mind, then the body will follow.
At Virginia TaeKwonDo in Chesapeake, we teach more than martial arts. We teach students how to handle themselves in various life situations. If you are interested in signing up for classes, give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
Let’s look at the quote again: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” What does this even mean? If you are out at sea and the water is calm and flat (it’s a beautiful sight from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier), you can really feel the peace, the vast ocean of life before you. The sun is out and shining, it’s tranquil and harmonious, and there’s no real need for great skill. You can just sail through and bask in all its glory.
There is nothing magical or spectacular about this quote and saying it in your head might not make anything happen or change anything, but in certain times of trials and tribulations it has a power behind it, that if you believe in yourself you will pull through.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” is one of my favorite quotes ever! Not because I spent 20+ years in the United States Navy but because of the profound meaning I have for it. This quote, so simple in nature, is also very deep and profound and I believe it should be kept in everyone’s little book of favorite quotes.
When the seas are calm and you are steaming right along, this can represent when everything in your life is going great. You are getting good grades, you are getting hours at work, you are spending time with family and friends, and life just seems grand. There isn’t much skill needed for when things are going great.
Now, let’s look at the other side of the scenario. You are out at sea and there is a storm coming, the wind is blowing making big waves, the water is splashing over the boat making it hard to see or move around on the boat. The sky is getting darker making it hard to see the obstacles ahead. Now comes the rain! Now it’s even harder to see or sense the right direction. Now you have lost your bearings and are being tossed about between the waves. If you are a new sailor you will be forced to learn the skills on hand that are needed to try to overcome the situation, and if you are a seasoned sailor then the skills and experience from past storms will come to help. We can look at this as a point in our lives where it is not going so well. Something or things are happening in our lives that are testing our skills and making us work harder.
I have a greater appreciation for my Search and Rescue Instructors in making final practicals as hard as humanly possible. There are sides in a pool and even a bottom you can touch. Out to sea, there are neither within your grasp and you better put some of those skills to work or you may not make it back to the ship. Having to conduct a rescue at 2 a.m. in seas in which a 90,000 ton ship is being moved about can be very devastating in a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) if you don’t know what you are doing.
I also love this quote because I believe God places a balance of smooth seas and rough seas in our lives to keep close to Him and to be able to help others in need. When the seas are calm we praise God for the blessing and we share the glory with others. When the storms are rough we are forced to put our faith in God and use the skills acquired over the years to help pull us through.
We grow in times of trouble, we grow in our faith (sometimes we lose it), we grow in experience, we grow in maturity and we grow in the relationship with others. All these things help mold us into the people we were meant to be. I truly believe we get tested and put in situations so that when we meet someone or when God places us in someone’s life who is going through the same or similar situation we will be able to help them.
Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” All in all we must embrace the days the seas are smooth and embrace the days where the seas are rough to become a well rounded sailor.
At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we strive to help our students know how to handle the tough times in life. With adequate training and experience, they can handle any storm that comes their way. If you would like to work on your survival and leadership skills, sign up for classes at our academy. Give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
On base you see people walking on the sidewalk instead of the grass. The reason isn’t because it harms the grass. It’s symbolic. It’s about not taking literal shortcuts. The idea is that if one person takes a shortcut once, they’ll see no problem cutting corners the next time. And if done enough times, there is no need for a sidewalk.
How would you feel if the mechanic took shortcuts on maintaining the plane you will be traveling on? Or an elevator? Or the brakes on your vehicle? Having the integrity and discipline to not cheat even a little takes mental strength. Do you have that?
At Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy we don’t take shortcuts on the path to a black belt. Earning a black belt takes years of training, practice, perseverance and hard work. It doesn’t come by taking shortcuts. Most other worthwhile things in life don’t come by taking shortcuts either. So, put in the work and you will have an even greater sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal.
If you would like more information about the martial arts classes we teach at Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
Parents, did you know that 165,000 kids miss school every day because of the fear of bullies? Did you also know that bullying causes depression and low self-esteem? Martial Arts training helps to protect your child from bullies.
Schools have a “zero-tolerance” for fighting. Who does this favor? The bully or the victim? While this policy does reduce the amount of physical fights that the school may encounter, what about the verbal bullying? Verbal harassment is more damaging and lasting than physical harassment. In our Jiu-Jitsu class we teach the three T-Steps:
Talk: Talk with the bully and ask them to stop. Asking uses our Tenet of Courtesy and is more likely to work than demanding the bully stop. Use a three part sentence (1) what the bully is saying (2) how it makes you feel (3) what is the desired outcome. Like this: “When you call me stupid it makes me feel bad and I wish that you would stop.” It is possible that the person who was verbally harassing was not aware of it and by using our Talk we can defuse the situation. If the bully ignores this request, we must continue to ask them for three days. It seems like a lot, but a solution is coming.
Tell: Make your parents and teacher aware of the situation after three days. Why wait the three days you might ask? It is possible, through another of our tenets of Perseverance, that the bully may stop and there was no need to trouble anyone about it. Should you have to tell the teacher, he or she will appreciate that you tried to handle it yourself. “Mrs. Hunt, I asked Bobby three days in a row to stop calling me names.” You might want to tell your parents right away to keep them informed. Some people might say you are a tattle-tail. Are you a tattle-tail if you call the fire department if you see a house burning or the police if you see someone breaking into your home? Telling is the only way to inform the right people of the situation.
Tackle: While your first thought is the physical act, it is not the first part of the T-Steps. Tackling mentally may solve the situation. Remember a bully feeds on fear of the victim. Once you tell them you are not afraid, they may leave you alone. Ask the bully, “Are you challenging me to a fight, because I am not afraid of you.” If the bully says no then a simple response like, “Then stop calling me stupid and wasting my time.” If the bully decides to get physical, then we can use our Jiu-Jitsu skills.
Regardless of how the fight starts, it is likely both parties will end up in the principal’s office. By following the three T-Steps it will be easier to explain what happened when the bully went from verbal to physical attacks. Explain how you tried to resolve the situation by “asking” the bully to stop. Explain how you informed the teacher of the situation. It is very possible that the teacher did talk with the bully. It might have reduced the amount or just made sure it wasn’t done in the classroom where the teacher can observe. Explain that you asked the bully if their intentions where to fight and that you had no intentions of injuring the bully but using your Jiu-Jitsu to protect yourself. If you followed the rules, you should not have any fear from your parents. You may be suspended from school due to the “zero-tolerance” rule on fighting, but let’s examine the end result. Do you think the bully will be more likely to verbally harass you in the future? Do you think that word got out and is around the school that you are not going to stand for this kind of behavior?
I had a junior TaeKwonDo Black Belt who was physically harassed in school. His dad was a Marine Corps Colonel. This Black Belt student was more afraid of what his dad would do to him for fighting in school than what the bully could do to him. He endured a lot of harassment and one day was pushed down and hit his head on the ground. His injury was a concussion and a night in the hospital. He never told his dad what was going on at school. His dad said he would have supported him using his TaeKwonDo if he had known.
Of course the school does not want a physical fight; however, if the parent says one thing and the school says another….who do you listen to? You listen to the parent. You go to school to get an education and not to be physically or mentally harassed. Most kids do not stand up for themselves because they lack the self-confidence to protect themselves. Our students are not aggressive but more assertive through their training. They do not just defend themselves but stand up for those who are being harassed physically and mentally. If your child is not training in a Martial Art, get them into one. It is just as much a part of their education as the school you send them to during the day. Physical scars will heal but the emotional ones will last a lifetime.
If you would like more information about the martial arts classes we teach at Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.
I am convinced that society needs the benefits of martial arts training now more than ever. Just turn on the news for 10 minutes and, if a you can last that long, you will see what I mean. Adults are stressed to the max, children are obese, and violent crimes seem to be getting more and more violent by the day. That’s the tip of the iceberg of what I stumbled across last night as I quickly flipped through the channels.
Even worse are the awful school shootings that are making headlines. All of these incidents are so tragic and heart breaking. Could they have been prevented? Maybe. I know that students who train in martial arts have more training in self-protection than 90 percent of the people who are actually in charge.
I asked students the other day what they do during a school shooting drill. This is what they told me: “They cover the window and lock the door then we all just sit in a corner and keep quiet.” This is the plan? Why not fight for your life? A Navy SEAL told me once that as trained as he was in combat that 3-5 guys rushing him at once would defeat his training. He would get one or two, but the other three would overtake him. How about 20 kids in a classroom versus one shooter? There are no guarantees that no one will be hurt, but fighting is better than just huddling in a corner waiting to be shot, in my opinion.
Think of the people on United Airlines Flight 93. Once they found out what was happening on other planes, they decided to fight back. What is the school doing to protect your most precious gift, your child? This is the fifth year we have offered FREE tuition classes for all public and private school teachers.
I’ll never know it and neither will those that I save, but I believe that what I teach has such an incredible effect on others and their future. It is no coincidence that martial arts training has reached a historical point at the same time society, and especially our children, need it so desperately. As someone once said, “The future is for those who prepare for it today.” We want our children to be prepared. We, as parents, struggle and sacrifice for it.
This education and development in martial arts will last a lifetime. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the greatest weapon, which we can use to change the world.” If your child is taking martial arts, then you are an awesome parent who cares very much for the safety and development of your child. If you know a friend who has a child not involved in martial arts, share with them the success stories of your child and suggest they start their training. Sometimes the smallest gift has the biggest impact.
If you would like to learn more about martial arts or sign up for classes, please give Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us. Teachers, you can sign up for free classes, so please take advantage of this opportunity to better defend yourself and your students.