The Pilgrimage

I stood quietly in the middle of the dojo floor and listened respectfully while Sensei yelled at me.  He had progressed from yelling to screaming, and by now he had been screaming non-stop for thirty minutes. I was keeping track of the time by sneaking peeks at the clock on the wall at the end of the dojo. It was quite impressive to witness Sensei’s ability to find new things to yell about, as well as his stamina for screaming. He certainly was a creative screamer, and apparently, I was giving him plenty of reasons to scream at me. I didn’t know where he was getting his energy from, but at least one of us had some staying power. Personally, I was exhausted, but knew better than to admit it. Over the past half hour, we had established a predictable rhythm. My partner would attack me, I would...

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Lessons from The FemiNinja

During my 17 years of training in the Art of the Ninja, there were many principles and philosophies of the art which were applicable to every aspect of my life and every life situation. My training was not only about protecting myself, it was about learning how to have a better life through the insights gleaned through training. A few weeks ago I had the honor of telling my story to the Pearls of Wisdom Women’s Circle, hosted by my friend and colleague Beth Anderson of Pearl Coaching, LLC. I shared some of my insights with them, and now I am sharing them with you. As I reflect on my experiences, I realize I have so many ninja secrets that I am now collecting them and organizing them to put in a book. Yes, even while my second book, “The Reluctant Ninja,”is going through...

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The Reluctant Ninja

I am beyond excited to announce that the manuscript for my next book, The Reluctant Ninja, has just been turned over to my fantastic editor, Donna Mazzittelli of Merry Dissonance Press. Here is a sneak peek. PREFACE I unlocked the door to the dojo[1]and stepped across the threshold. I removed my shoes, respectfully bowed to the Kamidana[2] and walked across the mat toward the dressing rooms. My stocking feet whispered softly across the padded floor, barely making a sound as I crossed the length of the mat. At the end of the mat, I turned, bowed again, and made my way to the ladies dressing room. My gi[3] was hanging neatly on the hanger with my belt draped across its shoulders, exactly where I left it one year earlier. The only change was the thick layer of dojo dust that covered my uniform....

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How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way. Or, more specifically, out of your mind. As someone who has been out of my mind more often than I care to admit, I understand how sometimes your mind can mess with your head. And your goals. And especially your dreams. One of the things I learned as a brand new martial arts student was how to get out of the way of an attack. And I was really, really good at it. My technique of choice was to cover my head with my gi top and run off the mat screaming, “Don’t touch me!” Ah, yes. Those were the good old days. Eventually I was able to get out of my head and into my body to stay engaged with my attacker and gracefully step out of the way. Soon after that, I was able to step back into my attacker and take him down. It was a slow...

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Be Aware, or Beware!

Last week I was honored to deliver my information packed, educational, motivational and interactive signature speech “Be Aware, or Beware” to the members of Rising Tide Business Network. I have decided to share a brief synopsis of the presentation as well as one key life lesson or take home point which was emphasized under each topic that was covered. Keep in mind, this is simply a sneak preview.  BE AWARE…..OR BEWARE I. Introduction: My personal story, as well as first martial arts class and how my journey into the strange new world of men and martial arts began. Life lesson and key point: I was stronger than I thought I was, and so are you. I firmly believe that there is an incredible amount of strength and power in each and every one of us, just waiting to be discovered. II....

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Ancient Ninja Secret for Your New Year

Here we are, in the last week of January. Maybe you started the new month (and the new year), with high expectations of working out, going to the gym, or eating healthy. How’s that working out so far? A lot of us make those New Year’s Resolutions and end up falling flat on our face. Fantastic. One more thing we can feel guilty about. But, I have a better idea. Instead of feeling guilty or giving up completely, I am going to share an ancient ninja secret with you. But, please don’t report me to the Society of Ninja Secrets. They might not like it, and might take away my hard-earned official secret ninja card. So, here it is–keep moving! Literally, just move. Move your body in every single direction, including forward, backward, side to side, and diagonally. There are...

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Blinded By The Light

“Blinded by the light” made for a great song title by the Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in the early 1970s.  But, if you’ve ever had a bright light in your eyes, you know that it does literally blind you, at least temporarily. Those rods and cones that live in your retina start going absolutely bonkers trying to readjust to the sudden burst of bright light, leaving you confused and disoriented. Which is the reason why you should always have a strong, high powered flashlight with you at all times, day and night. And, you should be holding it in your dominate hand. I know, you probably don’t have the personal real estate available for something as frivolous as a flashlight. After all, that is where your cell phone lives, even when you’re walking around in public....

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What Is Courage?

Out of all of the characters in the Wizard of Oz, my absolute favorite is the Cowardly Lion. Except for Toto, of course. Okay, that makes Lion my absolute second favorite. But, it’s funny how the big, strong Lion was always running away from danger and little Toto was always running towards it. So, which one had courage? In my ninja-driven way of thinking, I have the perfect answer. They both did. How is that possible? Because, what is the definition of courage? Most people would say it is the absence of fear. But, in reality, it is action in the presence of fear. We’ve all experienced fear. There are several ways we can respond to it. We can run (flight) like the Lion did by removing himself from the threat to keep himself safe. It’s actually a really smart choice, even...

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Sharing ninja secrets: Shhhhhh……

As a card carrying ninja, I sure know a lot of ninja secrets. I spent many long, hard hours of training for 14 years in a smelly martial arts dojo with a lot of sweaty men to learn these secrets. I also spent a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort along the way as well. But, every minute and every penny was well worth it and well spent. It is my heartfelt desire to share some of these secrets with you without violating the code of the Super Secret Society of Ninjas, so here are just a few simple tips that will help you stand, walk, and move like a ninja to help keep you safe every time you step out into the world. After all, our body language communicates to the world what kind of day we’re having, and even how we feel about ourselves. And people pay attention to it more than...

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Trick-or-Treat and Ninja Tips

I love Halloween. I always have and I always will. But, the world has changed a lot since I was a kid. Maybe it’s just the ninja in me, or being a grown up that makes me more aware of the potential dangers around us, especially when we are in a festive mood and celebrating a holiday. Here’s wishing you and your family a very fun filled and Happy Halloween, as well as a few ninja safety tips to keep in mind. I know you already know them and practice them, but just putting it out there does make me feel better. 1). Carry a sturdy and high powered flashlight. Not only will this help light your way, you can shine it in the eyes of any undesirable goblin that comes your way. This will temporarily blind them, giving you the chance to get away. 2). Leave the masks at home. No matter...

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