Knees and Students

December 9, 2018 by Rieshy

A few weeks ago tears leaked down my face as I stood on a squishy balance beam and did slow front kicks.  Kicks that were only level with my waist.  Slow.  Wobbly.   I was sweating and worn out after 20 and trying to surreptitiously use my sleeve to dry my face.

I hate it when I leak tears.  Undignified.  Immature.  Silly.  Cue more tears.

That was six week post surgery, 18 weeks post injury, the point where putting on the knee brace in the morning had become as automatic as unplugging my phone from it's charger.  I was in a rehab-rut.  A rehabilitation tire-rut in mud partially frozen over with slushy ice kept shadowed by the back of the garage.

What's hard wasn't the suddenly atrophied muscles and too tight jeans or even the hard work of physical therapy; it was the fatigue of the smallness of the therapy.  Willing those muscles to remember how to tighten.  Just tighten.  Just stinking flexing those quads whose address my brain had lost.  The silliness of the minutia that included being congratulated for doing a wobbly waist-high front kick.

But it hurt. And I couldn't sleep well.  And I found myself whining.  And then I loathed myself for whining so I ate more chocolate and rationalized not doing all my PT homework because it was so meager anyway.  That part of me always eager for defeat threatened to rise in triumph.  Denouncing every small victory as insignificant and unworthy.

Lately, I've thought about my martial arts students and what I want them to learn as they come up on testing time; it reminded me that what I can't do now and even what I may never be able to do again is irrelevant.  The power of studying a discipline such as martial arts is in honing the skill of breaking down large problems into personalized and manageable chunks.   And then sticking with it, growing with it- day after day in the now- enjoying every victory and being thankful for every lesson along the way.  Then applying that same discipline to every important aspect of life.

Rank, testings, competitions: all are fun and even inspiring but they are not necessarily the end game.  It's more personal than that.  I work towards my students doing this.  I can do this.

And I can do it with a bit of professional curiosity and joy.

A Thief in the Night

October 26, 2018 by Rieshy

Grief: a cat,
quiet and heavy.
Settling on your chest
at two a.m. inhaling
your exhalations.
Whispery whiskers,
tickling your lips.


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New Newness

January 14, 2018 by Rieshy
On my kitchen counter I have an espresso machine and a French press.  On my stove I have a percolator, an Italian stove top espresso maker and a Turkish cezve. Because, umm,  because- actually I have no good reason to have 5 ways to make coffee.  I just really really like coffee.

Sometimes you want your cup of joe with a nice creme, and sometimes you want a demitasse filled with coffee thick enough to chew- you get the idea.

When I got the cezve from a daughter this Christmas I researched Turkish and Greek coffee making videos and started boiling away.  I experimented enough with different recipes that I couldn't sleep.  So I took some time off and came back to the cezve from a different angle.  Almond milk.

What if I boiled the coffee directly in almond milk instead of water?

And I discovered perfection and a bit of an oddity.  If you boil Turkish coffee in almond milk not only do you still get that wonderful froth but the coffee somehow ends up tasting like hot cocoa without the treacle-like sweetness of hot cocoa.  Not to mention strength and thickness wise it is like having your coffee and eating it too.

2018- may I discover something new each week, and may at least some of the discoveries be more life changingly profound but all just as delicious as this week's new newness.

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Grappling Games, Part 1

December 11, 2017 by Rieshy

Standing with my 16 year old in line and having to explain, 4 times, that the spectator bracelet was for my son and not for me was fun.

Having all my children excited for me was both an ego boost and a prod.

(note to self, get photo of children standing still and looking at camera)

Having a teammate to pose with was awesome.

Knowing that my Sensei Dani and Larry Kooyman, from Family First Martial Arts, were both there with their kiddos to support Tina and me brought home comfort to an unfamiliar arena.

Having a blast both losing.

And winning.

And losing.

And winning.

The Jujitsu community is amazing.  
Sean Patton from UFC in Hendersonville coached me- just because he is awesome.


Rule of Thumb- No Snakes In The Dark

November 30, 2017 by Rieshy

I love teaching martial arts.  I love having a mat full of kids; it's a mat full of potential and I don't mean just martial arts potential.

Someday everyone of "my" kids is going to be out there; adulting.  I'd like to think that the discipline, focus, patience and kindness they practice every time they come onto the mats will become part of who they are.

A couple of days ago I was talking with a class about how performing kata solo in front of an audience can be nerve wracking or scary but it helps you lock the moves into memory and strengthens your ability to rely on your own knowledge.  I thought I'd segue into a little motivational talk on the importance of forcing oneself out of comfort zones to practice self-reliance and strength....

It was all going well; one child raised their hand and talked about how scary it was presenting a science project at school, another child talked about dance class.  Encouraged I said, "Find something a little scary, like doing your kata in front of your family or friends, and make yourself do it.  Practice bravery."

At this point a nine year old raised his hand; with a frightening lack of facetiousness he blurted, "I think playing with snakes in the dark is scary!"

We took a water break.

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Daily Swindles

November 19, 2017 by Rieshy

Confidence is a shell game.

Fake it 'till you make it.
Speak softly so people will listen;
except sometimes they won't.

       Is that where the big stick comes into play?

Believe in yourself,
your talents,
your skills,
your worth.

       But what's the grading scale?

Know yourself,
your talents,
your skills,
your worth.

       Is there an office for remediation?

But don't think so much.
Convoluted venn diagram contraindications.

Only God remains,
immutable and most surprisingly of all;
omnisciently still in love with us all.


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Planning Squirrels

October 10, 2017 by Rieshy

A skill I'm working on.

I fly by the seat of my pants.
Most of the time.
I plan just enough to have a track to be derailed from
because, duh, trains can't fly.

My 10 year plan?
It's been: be alive
while not eating cat food as a dietary staple.

It's not lack of faith nor a paucity of dreaming.
It's years of mothering and multitasking others.
Years where flexibility equaled survival.
And admittedly the latent tendency to let a teenaged daughter convince me to purchase new socks.

The exact same socks I had in 7th grade.
Except in 7th grade I wanted to be too cool for pompoms so I cut the pompoms off.
Pompoms- eternally derailing but actually kind of fun.

what was I planning?


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