5 Ways to Cultivate a Positive Mindset

Beyond the Mat Lesson #6: Change Your Mind and Your Life will Follow This Beyond the Mat lesson is both timely and frustrating. My meditation practice over the last year-plus uncovered some very deep rooted emotions regarding self worth that simple affirmations don’t touch. Most of the time, thanks to what I call “mental hygiene,” I function pretty well with a decent amount of self-esteem. Sometimes, though, it takes a hit, and as I mentioned in my previous journal entry — it took a hit this week for sure. Positive affirmations are a great tool for mental hygiene, so you…
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Beyond the Mat Lesson #5: It’s Never a Waste

“If you learn from it, nothing is wasted.” I really liked this lesson’s focus on trying new things with the mindset that there will be some positive takeaway from the experience. I wish I had been in that mindset during my first degree test regarding the beach workout. Maybe Mercury was in retrograde or something, but I let my anxiety take over and didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. This year I know better! If I feel a funk coming on I think I’ll find a good Headspace meditation series to do a few days ahead of…
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Beyond the Mat Lesson #4: Silver Linings

“It’s all about the process” Wow. This Beyond the Mat lesson is downright anxiety-inducing in my current state of mind, with its focus on “What if I fail?” I don’t want to fail. I finished my checklist (just in the nick of time), but there are so many milestones ahead between today and the end of the test. The conditioning benchmarks start in a few weeks; the running trials are in almost exactly a month. I’m not where I wanted to be and envisioned myself at this point in the test. Will I meet the baselines? …I’m giving that a…
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Zoiks! She’s a Master of Disguise

Sometimes I feel like a Scooby Doo villain. At some critical point during this black belt test, my talented fellow testers will unmask this personae of “CGN Elaine” to reveal the sinister, lazy, asthmatic two-timer trying to pass herself off as a black belt and martial artist. What is imposter syndrome? How do you cope with self loathing? And who has been terrorizing the town dressed as a space ghost all this time?

Why Martial Arts?

It’s strange to have the word “martial” in your favorite hobby when you’re a non-competitive person like me who actively avoids confrontation. It’s doubly strange when, instead of doing one of the “artsier” martial arts, you end up in a mixed program that borrows heavily from the UFC.

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