Tag: Martial Arts

How to Survive A Mass Shooting!

How to Survive A Mass Shooting!

How to Survive A Mass Shooting! From Dr. Ted Gambordella, a 10th degree black belt I am friends with. He wrote this and I feel like it could save lives. He posted this on Facebook.

1. Be aware immediately that something terrible is happening. When you hear the first shots don’t just stand there, immediately realize that something terrible is happening and begin to act and think about how and what you can do to survive. Don’t panic, be calm (as hard and as impossible this may seem). Your not panicking and trying to remain as calm as possible is your best chance of surviving. Your heart will be exploding and your breath will be short and fast, but you can, you can regain your composer and you can increase your chances of survival by being aware of something terrible happening and beginning your safety program.
2. Pick up something for protection and defense. A heavy book (a lot of murders have unfortunately happened at a school), or several heavy books. A book of 200 to 400 pages (like most college text books) will stop most small caliber weapons and certainly offer some form of protection. Put the book in front of your head and look to the sides quickly for room location and to locate the shooter. A pen, pencil, an umbrella, a bottle, a glass, a heavy object you can throw. These are all things that can be used. I am not saying they will save your life, but I am saying that having something in your hand for protection or attack is better than having nothing.
3. Look for an escape. This would obviously have been a better choice if done before the attack, but most people are simply afraid at most places they go and so they never take the time to look for an escape route before something happens. It would be a good idea to get into the habit of looking for an escape route when you enter any room, or building. When you are on an airplane they always tell you escape routes, and in schools they always practice fire drills and show escape routes, and all buildings have signed posted with escape routes. You can break out a window and jump, even from a 2nd or 3rd floor, you will get hurt from the jump, but your chances of survival are better from the jump and landing than taking a bullet in the head.
4. Look for cover if there is no escape. Hide under a desk, behind a door, in a closet and be prepared to move if the shooter gets closer. You can pile up chairs in front of you to give you some space and hopefully some ducking room. If you hide under a desk, you have to be prepared to attack his legs if he comes to the desk. If you hide in a closet, you need to be prepared to attack then he opens the door. You want to be beside the door and low, ready to spring into action, not cowering in the corner of the closet.
5. Attack the shooter. If you have time to get several people who also want to defend themselves you can quickly discuss your attack plan. You can form a circle and all attack at once. You can form a single line and rush at him that means the first person in the line will be the first shot, but that also means the others can do something, perhaps stop him, or escape. If you have a weapon, even a pen, or pencil attack his eyes and throat. Kick his groin and attack the back of his neck. I know your chances of beating a man with a gun and you have only got a pen are very poor, but trying is all you can do, and if enough of you try at the same time you will definitely stop the attack. A pistol can only have 9 to 15 bullets and that means that he can only shoot 9 to 15 times before reloading and that means if there are 25 or 35 or even more people who all attack at once, he will simply not be able to shoot them all without getting some harm done to him, and hopefully being stopped.
6. Have a plan. Reading this article will give you some ideas about what you can do in this situation. Going to a martial arts school or a self defense class will give you some training. Thinking in your mind about what you would do and how you could do it is making a plan. The point here is to at least have some idea about what you would do and what you could do. It is too late when you are at the scene of the shooting to start trying to think of a plan. Spend some time planning what you could and would do now and take some time to do some planning with your family about what they can do if they are in such a situation, or if they hear shots at their house, etc.
7. Move, move, move. Don’t stand there if you are trapped in the room, move your head and move your body. It is much harder to hit a moving target than a stationary one. I know this is a disturbing point, but it is a necessary point and I must make it. Do not lie on the ground if you see him start shooting people who are lying on the ground. If he has not shot anyone, and if he tells you to lie down, then you can do it and probably should do it, but when he starts putting bullets in their heads, don’t lie there and be next. I would rather be shot running around the room, than lying face down.



So, Martial Arts Can’t Change A Family?

So, Martial Arts Can’t Change A Family?

I have a young friend who last year decided she wanted to get healthy. She will not be named because of her age, but I am going to call her Andi. Andi is 16 now and a year ago was wearing a size 28. Her parent’s (who are friends of mine) also have battled weight problems. Andi lives in a small town in western Texas. Last year before I was in the accident Andi decided to take control of her health and get healthy even without her parent’s help or support. She came to me to ask for help, knowing I am studying nutrition at Kaplan.
Andi and I spent some time talking about her like, dislikes, hobbies, and other things related to her entire life. I learned she likes martial arts movies and other action movies. She also likes to watch tv shows like “Dancing With the Stars.” Like many teenagers who battle weight issues she struggled with low self-esteem, depression, lack of confidence, and other problems. In response to learning this, I gave her some advice such as eating more vegetables, and work on portion control. I also told her to talk to her doctor and to get a full blood work-up. To get her lipids and other blood levels checked. Which she did and then gave it to me.
But I also encouraged her to get involved with activities that would get her moving. Andi chose 2 activities and got a couple of her friends to support her. One is martial arts. She chose Tai Kwon Do, because there is a dojo walking distance from her school. She is now a green belt and determined to reach black belt before she graduates from high school. She also began to take dance lessons and is loving it. But how has martial arts changed her family?
About 3 months after beginning the lessons and making changes in her eating habits, her parent’s decided to join her. Andi now Andi does all the cooking and her parent’s are loving the new eating habits. Andi also has a younger sister who is 8 and also started Tai Kwon Do. Andi’s little sister I will call Summer. Summer has never had a weight problem. And because of the lifestyle changes initiated by Andi, she likely never will.
As of about a week ago,  Andi now is at a size 18 and plans to be at a size 16 before her prom in April. Plus she has her first boyfriend who is completely supportive of what she is doing. Andi after high school is considering becoming a dietician or a health coach.
And has decided that martial arts will remain a permanent part of her life. Her parent’s and sister are loving martial arts and are planning to continue in it as well. Andi attributes the biggest change because of the mindset she has because of martial arts.
Just something to think about.
Credit to the “parent/child” picture goes to my friend Professor David Dunn. His website is Premier Martial Arts, Santa Clarita Valley, California. Professor  Dunn  is one of the leaders for UFAF, or the United Fighting Arts Federation. The same group I am part of with Top Form Karate & Fitness. UFAF has a network of schools all over the country. Look at the website for UFAF to find a school near you. Or, you can do like I’m doing and use the Top Form Online School. In the few weeks I’ve done this, I have already passed my first test, which is a written test. And I will test for Gold belt in a few weeks.



  • Sensei,
  • Master/Mr./Ms./Mrs.
  • Bowing as you enter or leave the room
  • Bowing to the instructor
  • Before and after doing a kata (special thanks to my friend Renshi John Morgan Hamilton for this part)

These are all used to show respect in martial arts. I have noticed that respect is lacking in many families as well as in schools. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says that respect “regards the qualities of the mind, or the actions which characterize those qualities.”

Another website Babin’s Martial Arts said this about respect regarding martial arts: “Respect means “taking someone else’s feelings, needs, thoughts and ideas into consideration”.   It means treating people, places, and things like they are special.  It also means admiring others and honoring their wishes and knowledge.  And finally, when dealing with others, you take their position into account.”

Think about someone you know who is respectful. Doors just seem to open for them. They are just blessed more. And life is just easier for them. The youth who is respectful gets better grades in school and has more friends. Leaders command respect. And it is because they are respectful.

Billy Graham

But now think about someone who is not respectful: how is life for them? Easy or hard? What kind of friends do they have? How are they perceived in the community they live in?

Respect is something that is earned.  But sadly, in many societies today this is something rarely seen. But it should be changed. And it can be. Respect is required in Japan by society. So, it can be taught. One of the biggest lessons my Grandpa Boyles and Grandpa Elkins taught me growing up is that we should always be respectful. It is a lesson that is sadly lacking today. But in dojo’s around the country: it is being taught. So, we do have hope.



Martial Arts Tournaments and Life!

Martial Arts Tournaments and Life!

In a tournament, you will have competitors. And some will win, others won’t. In martial arts, the tournaments are no different. But in the martial arts community, even if you don’t win a tournament you will still find plenty of support. And it’s that way in life too.

Sometimes you lose a battle to win a war. And in a way, that’s how I see tournaments. When you battle in a tournament, you may lose. But losing isn’t losing if you learn something. And that is something that is important to learn.

In 2010 I watched the movie “The Karate Kid” with Jaden Smith. Here is a clip from it: Everything is Kung Fu. In this scene, Young Dre learns that everything is based on Kung Fu and the more I learn about this, the more I realize how true it is. In this movie, Dre lost some battles throughout the movie. But in the end, he gained character and that is the best win anyone can have.

I would encourage you to take a look at martial arts and see how it can change your life.

To close today, here is a clip from my favorite martial arts movie, The Martial Arts Kid. And one I highly recommend to anyone who battles bullying. It is an amazing movie.



Being an effective learner begins with…

Being an effective learner begins with…

Yesterday I watched a replay of a webinar from Kaplan University. This webinar talked about 6 things it takes to be an effective online learner. But there are some applications to life that I’ve been thinking about.

One, reminds me of Boy scouts. My 2 boys were in Cub scouts and eventually in Boy scouts. They are prepared. They get what is needed for the task ahead. If they are going camping, they figure out what is needed and pack appropriately. For example, if the boys were going camping in the summer, they wouldn’t pack a winter coat, they would pack a swimsuit. By the same token, if you are undertaking a new plan in life, you need to figure out what is needed to be successful.

Two, they manage their time. Set self-imposed deadlines. And devote sufficient time and effort to excel at it. And don’t procrastinate. Do you want a successful life? Make it a point to do this. Make time to exercise, eat right, and learn what is needed to learn to be successful.

Three, take initiative! Decide what you want, take control of the learning process to achieve it and be prepared to do problem solving when it’s needed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Be self-motivated. Yesterday I told you what my grades have been with Kaplan, I accomplished those grades by being motivated and by taking the initiative to do what is needed. If you don’t know what those are, go back and look.

Four, exceed other’s expectations of what they expect of you. And exceed your own expectations of what you think you can do. By the way, this goes into the black-belt mindset you’ve heard me refer to on Saturday’s. Henry Ford said: “If you think you can or think you can’t, your right!”

Five, seek to be an effective communicator. I’m not talking about being a public speaker. Communication is a developed skill and to be successful, you need to be willing to put forth the effort to improving it. Learn to seek out and take advantage of available resources. If you need some ideas or need to know where to find help on this, reply here and I’ll help.

And six, be persistent! Learn to tolerate technical problems. It happens in the age we live in. If the internet isn’t working, work on something else until it’s corrected. Seek help when you need it. Work daily on what you want. When challenges come up: persist. I’ve been told (and I’ve repeated this MANY TIMES) “tough times never last, but tough people do.” Tough people last because they persist. Or in other words: quitting isn’t in their vocabulary! It’s not an option.

So, how do you do these 6 things? Here are some tips:

  • Access materials and people you need to be successful
  • Connect to people more successful than you are. Remember: you are like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Do you want success? Hang out with successful people, both on the internet AND in person.
  • Plan your week in advance.
  • Establish times to work on your goals.
  • Impose your own deadlines for what you want.
  • Take the initiative to learn what you need to be successful in whatever you endeavor to accomplish.
  • Recognize what is expected as a minimum, then take it to a higher level.
  • Accept constructive feedback from others more successful than you, clarify as needed, and then apply it.
  • Finally, be empowered to overcome any obstacles that come up.



“That’s Violent!” And other myths!

“That’s Violent!” And other myths!

I’ve been told that learning martial arts is all about learning to be violent! I can laugh about that now, but at the time I was just thinking about learning martial arts I was strongly advised not  to do this because of that. But here’s what I’ve learned about martial arts.

It’s not about violence! There are people who use martial arts in a bad way, but a good sensei will come down hard on a student who uses it this way. It’s about self-control, and using it to defend others. In the movie “The Martial Arts Kid”  with Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Cynthia “Lady Dragon” Rothrock, Jansen Panettiere, Kathryn Newton, Matthew Ziff and TJ Storm, Robbie learns martial arts to defend himself and to defend people he cares about. A good sensei will teach this way.

It makes you aggressive! No! It doesn’t! By learning self-control you learn to not be aggressive. Aggression comes from LACK of self-control! You learn to defuse confrontations. It helps to deal with bullies too, because it builds confidence which makes them less of a target!

You need to be in shape to be in martial arts! Listen! You will get in the best shape ever as you train! You will develop flexibility and get a great cardio workout. Most martial arts schools welcome people with disabilities! Including those who are blind, disabled, or even wheelchair-bound! ANYONE CAN DO THIS! I’ve got into the best shape I’ve ever been by training in martial arts.

Here’s another myth: “It’s hard on your body and leads to lots of injuries!” False! If you practice it safely and do it as your taught, your risk of injury is low! Yes, injuries happen! But only when doing it incorrectly, or in competion or else in real world use! Did you know that the sports that rank highest on injuries is cheerleading! Football and soccer rank higher than martial arts too! What is the hardest thing you can do on your body??? INACTIVITY! That’s right! Being sedentary is hard on your body! Martial arts gets you moving, boosts your strength, builds your heart and works on flexibility!

It doesn’t work in the real world. In the movie “The Martial Arts Kid” there is a scene that I love! Robbie has been confronted by a bully named Bo. Aunt Cindy comes to his defense and fights off Bo using martial arts. Now, I can imagine you are thinking “this is in  a movie and not in the real world.”  I am friends in the real world with Don Wilson, Anita Clay, James Wilson all of which are producers in this movie. They have confirmed to me that this movie was done based on the real world. In this interview, Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson of The Martial Arts Kid Movie, Don talks about this movie and about martial arts in general.

Here’s one my favorites to debunk: Martial arts teaches eastern religion! No, it doesn’t! Religion isn’t taught in martial arts! I’ve done martial arts in churches and in traditional dojo’s. The values that are taught in martial arts are universal! Respect, discipline, self-control, perseverance, leadership, goal-setting, courtesy, focus and other things. This is universal! Martial arts you will find  will compliment the teachings of your faith.

Finally, a black belt is an expert. FALSE. Reggie and all the other black belts I’m friends with have told me in words and in actions that reaching black belt is just the beginning! When you reach black belt, you have just barely mastered the fundamentals. A quote I came across recently is “Sometimes a teacher, always a student.” Take a look at the masters and you will see how true this is.