Planning to Swim

So I have been talking about taking out the sinking option in our lives but what does it really mean to learn how to swim figuratively in life? I am not saying that you jump into a lake without prior swimming knowledge and just expect to survive.  There are steps that one should remember.

Step 1. Research and Plan

You can’t just one day decide to be an Olympic power lifter and compete. You need proper training and good coaches and a great team. Before you attempt anything, research and plan. Know the waters you’re jumping into. Understand what you need to take, what level of proficiency you’re gonna need to swim. If you’re starting that business, have a business plan and talk to experts. The amount of preparation that goes into these things are important.

Step 2.Have a fantastic team

I have my mom and dad, Alex & my sons, friends who would encourage me and hold me accountable to my progress and make sure that I was still working towards my goals so I don’t get sidetracked. Their support is invaluable and will help you stick to your vision. When someone crosses the English channel there’s always a boat right next making the journey with them. It always helps to have a life raft of people around  you.

Step 3 Focus

Once you get in you have to focus. Focus on where you’re going. If you look around too much, you get distracted and its harder to keep yourself afloat. It takes more work pushing forward. When I teach kids in Martial Arts, I aways tell them that when you ride a bicycle and you keep looking around, most likely you’re gonna crash. You have to keep your eyes on the track or you won’t succeed.

Step 4 Have Confidence

About 15 years ago I took a Lifeguarding course with my coworker who was a six foot 2 fellow and I had to mock save him . While other kids had hundred pound partners, I was lugging across a man who was 75 pounds heavier than me. When I thought about how much he weighed he really got heavier and made it hard for me. But when I had confidence that I had the skills to save him,I was able to succeed. You see, you don’t always get to save hundred pound kids, sometimes you have to lug around a man twice your size. Just like our problems, sometimes they are more than we think we can handle but if you have the confidence to face them and you know that you have the skills then its winning half the race.

Some Diamonds Go On Rings, Some Dimonds Dominate Them. Will You Join Me in Dominating the Rings of Live? A. img_0102

3 Things I Learned from Being Sexually Assualted

Scared Child

 

I was between the ages of 2 & 3 ….probably closer to 2 years old. It is one of my first memories. I can recall the layout of the apartment to the detail. My dad had left me with a family friend/babysitter – a teenager. Someone I knew well and had watched me before. I trusted him completely. It was probably early afternoon.

I sat on the couch with him as we read a magazine together. He was “cuddled” next to me the way someone reading a child a story would be. As we looked through the magazine we came across a picture of a naked man with a briefcase. He pointed out to me that the man was naked. I distinctly recall going from a place of safety, trust, and comfort to fear, guarded and confused. He then asked me if I had ever seen “one” before and if I wanted to see his. I told him no. He proceeded to pull down his pants around his knees, exposing his penis and tried to convince me it was ok. I don’t know how, but at that very young age I KNEW it wasn’t ok. I created space between us by going over to the other sofa and putting the coffee table in between us.

He then began to ask me to kiss it – telling me it was ok to do so. Again, I don’t know how I knew it wasn’t, I was too young for anyone to have explained that yet, but I knew. I told him no and began creating more distance. He started following me around pleading with me to kiss it. I was scared. I had to use the bathroom and thought i would get some privacy/escape. But, he followed me in, standing in the doorway. He sat on the floor in the doorway with his pants still down. Telling me it was ok. He then told me he would kiss mine if I kissed his. I still told him no. I was scared and knew I couldn’t let him see “mine” so I used 2/3 year old logic and sat backwards on the toilet. When I was done he continued to follow me, asking me to PLEEEAAASE kiss it. I did what any 2/3 year old would do to escape – I went to the bedroom to take a nap. He didn’t follow me and left me alone. At some point during his following he begged me not to tell our parents, that they would be upset.

I don’t know how much time passed before we saw them again, a day..weeks? Its only snapshot memories – like a movie in my head. I think that day may have been the day I told my parents. I recall being scared and clinging to my dad. I recall the friends etc that were there asking why I was so quite and not as talkative as usual. I don’t recall ever seeing them again after that day.

All through my childhood I had nightmares about this day. Reliving it over and over in my sleep waking up screaming, crying and scared but never recalling the dream. My parents had no idea – and with the exception of these dreams I did not remember what had happened. When I was in 5th grade they had a session on molestation etc. I started having the dreams every night for a couple weeks. I remembered them now – finally I said to my mom, I keep having these weird dreams every night and I told her about the dream. She said, you remember that. I realized the nightmares and dreams I had been having were my memories replaying over and over.

As a young teen I was hanging out with some friends who always stopped in and visited this old man who would always have candy for the neighborhood kids. We had visited a couple times and it was always weird and uncomfortable. My instincts said bad place – but my friends went there all the time – so I ignored it. When we were there the last time, he reached out and grabbed my breast, hard, and wouldn’t let go. I froze – completely shut down in shock – my friend grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the house. I told our parents and they called the police.

Why do I share this? Because I never want to feel that again. The fear, trauma, nightmares. I for years couldn’t have an older man standing near me. I would get tense and stressed. I never want that feeling back.

Self defense training specifically like Krav Maga gives you the tools to protect yourself, but more then that… the confidence in which you carry yourself reduces your likeliness of being a victim. Now of course there is no self defense I could have learned for when I was so young..but understanding the feelings help me understand why it is so important.

So what can be learned form my experiences?

1. Listen to your instincts. 

Listening to my instincts at that young age saved what could have become an even more traumatizing event. If I didn’t listen and did as he asked, “kissed it”, what would have come next…. not listening got me into “trouble” as a teenager.

2. Train – the more the better.

I froze.. I FROZE!!!!!! Sure I didn’t have any practical self defense training at that point..but I considered myself a confident don’t take nothing from anyone kinda girl… but my shock froze me in place. My goodness, I responded better at 2 years old keeping distance and furniture between us then I did when I was older. This is more common then you realize, do some research on how people respond in an attack situation. Taking a self defense seminar or two is great. But to know how to respond, to keep your skills sharpened train weekly, daily. Training in a good program like Krav Maga also puts you through stress drills..allowing you to push through the stress..and the “freeze” moment to protect yourself.

3. Tell

If something does happen make sure you tell some right away. Get help and support. Report them right away, you may protect someone else.

So get the training. Learn the facts. Be aware.

Feel free to check out one of my facilities.

www.abdspencer.com or www.abdshrewsbury.com

Or for a Krav Maga school near you visit

www.kravmagaalliance.com  

#liveitloveit #blackbeltlifestyle

4 Ways to make your interactions more powerful

Worcester SharksThis weekend my Rock star staff and I had the amazing opportunity to perform on the Ice for the Worcester Sharks. 125 of our members came – had an amazing time ABD style.

 

Sometimes one person tells you to...
Sometimes one person tells you to…

When we finished performing – waiting by our table was a young man and his mother. He was so excited to see me he ran over and gave me a huge hug. He then began quickly speaking about how good it was to see me again, how much he had missed me, and how excited he had been when he realized it was me on the ice.

He shared how he would soon be 18, how time flies. He shared how the last few years had been incredibly challenging for him. He had gotten himself into some bad situations, but he was turning his life around. He shared how much I had inspired him. He even commented how close we had been. How excited he was to be back, and get back to our relationship.

 

The thing is, I hadn’t seen him in at least 6 years, so I didn’t recognize him (12 & 18 a lot of growing happens). I have known him for about 15 years, since he was 3, But I only saw him a handful of times between the ages 3 & 4. Then again years later when I visited his school for the ABC of success seminars I do for school children.  He then took martial arts classes from us for a while.

 

What amazed me is in that 15 years the few times we interacted had such a powerful influence on him. It got me thinking, you never know how powerful your impact is on people. You don’t realize how giving positive encouragement that 1 time could drastically affect the influence how people see things. As I thought on this I recalled being in 5th grade and a science teacher who’s 2 minute chat and 5 second praise changed how I saw my potential as a student. See the teacher I had the previous year always noticed everything I did wrong, every mistake, every short coming. Entering 5th grade I fully believed I was a “bad” student and not very smart. We had just had our first science test of the year, the class did not do well. The teacher discussed the importance of studying – how it makes all the difference, then said only one student in all of the 5th grade classes got a 100 on the test. She then pointed me out and comment that I clearly was a smart student and was going to have a very successful school year because of my work ethic. I did, I had my best school year ever…because she took a moment to praise my success.

 

I promise, that teacher probably does not remember me, or that day, but I do. I remember and it had such an impact on me here I am sharing it now. Just like the young man I saw this weekend the positive energy she fed into me had a massive effect.

 

So how can you change someones outlook?

1. Point out the positive, in everyone you come in contact with. 

 

Yes, even your coffee barista should hear how much you appreciate their energy and passion.

 

2. Don’t harp on the negative.

 

My teacher the year before only cared about everything I did wrong.. I don’t ever recall her saying anything positive about me.

 

3. Make the praise public.

When ever public “brag” on those around you.. children, friends, spouse, coworkers, employees. Don’t keep their victories a secret. Just like my teacher that day – she highlighted me to all my peers.. boosting my confidence and helping to bring the best me to the surface.

 

4. Never Assume it doesn’t matter.

I never would have thought my interactions with this young man would have been so intense, the was clearly a major influence and after many years he still saw me as someone he could trust and rely on. It does not seem like this young man had very many positive people in his life who poured into and cared about him. My few interactions showed him a life worth living.

 

So every day, be a positive encouraging force..its not always easy, BUT ITS ALWAYS WORTH IT. 

 

btw you can check out the video of the instructors performing last saturday at the Worcester Sharks here,

 

ABD Team at Sharks game

#liveitloveit #alifeworthliving

I Knew They Were Christians..

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I knew they where christians shortly after I first saw them. The family of 4, 2 young boys..father and mother. What gave it away, where they carrying their bibles? Was their joy overflowing? Did they have their I love Jesus tshirts on? Maybe bible verse bumper stickers? Did the Holy Spirit jump when i saw them?

None of the above, I knew they where christians by their scowl….
We had taken the family to Lake George and the Shcroon lake area. We where excited from the break of the hustle and bustle to spend time with our boys. We decided it would be fun to visit the caves near Schroon lake. Clearly we where not the only ones, the caves where very busy that day. I had first noticed this family in the gift shop prior to starting our hike… I noticed them because it appeared the father was scowling at me.. the wife glaring. I looked around and noticed nothing amiss…assumed it was my imagination and went back to my family to enjoy our hike.two adults
This family started before us and we ended up running into them again at the first look out point…. this time they again glared, but at my whole family. It was then I recognized that look and was transported back to my teenage years…………
I grew up in church. I loved being a christian, I was homeschooled, as where most of the people my age in that church. I recognized that look, because I had been on the receiving end of it all of my teenage years. I thought that was how christians greeted each other, with a look of disgust as if you where not worthy of their time…. you had to climb the christianity ladder to be noticed.judgemental1
During those years I cried myself to sleep in pain and  heartache almost every night because I wasn’t good enough. I recall an announcements that a leader was needed for children’s church, when I volunteered I was told someone else had asked to do it.. I found out this person didn’t want to but was told they where the only one who was available. I was no longer allowed to sing solos in church after singing Petra & Dc Talk ( not even the raps etc.. ballads!!) I received letters from “concerned woman” about my tight clothing ( I was a size 4 wearing size 12 hand me downs…not sure how that could be considered tight…skater/baggy was the style) My pain at that point was overwhelming, the hurt overbearing.
cranky
I didn’t see at that time that it wasn’t me that was broken, but the lens in which those people where using was.
Then at 16 I was at the breaking point, the starts of an eating disorder, suicidal, severely depressed……. I started martial arts. There from the first moment I was accepted by all the cool kids and all the not cool kids lol. Kids-adults instantly welcomed me into their “family” loved me for exactly who I was, even though our style was different, liked different music, had different interest. I was loved, for me. No need to prove myself, or “earn” a place…ironically the place where rank matters on the floor, it did not matter in real life. But this was “the world” I had been warned to stay away from. The “heathens” who did not attend my church and homeschool like me. The wicked ones who wore the wrong clothes. Why then could they love unconditionally?
I knew they where christians by the way they judged us. Then, I noticed the cross he wore.
The rest of our hike we passed them countless times, each time being treated as if we had leporasy or something. I did a “check up from the neck up” –we where not being rude, we where patient, quiet, respectful, no inappropriate joking, everyone was dressed appropriately. I am not sure what we had done to offend them. My son finally asked me, “Mom, why do they keep looking at us like that?”
cranky-calvinists
I am blessed to say after my teenage years I have been part of 2 amazing church families who have loved on us like Christ commands. This small experience brought me back, made me think- If that is how my faith is represented, no wonder people would not want to be a christian. As I thought of it at this park, I was almost ashamed to have the same faith as this family who would, without knowing anything about us (even if they did know anything about us) treat us in such a cold fashion. I confess that at a point I was guilty of   the “scowl” to those who had not yet “ranked” as a christian.
“My son finally asked me, Mom why do they keep looking at us like that?”
I  believe it breaks our saviors heart that our churches do not love as he commands. That a teenage girl can find unconditional acceptance in a sport, but not in her church family. I strive to love, even when it isn’t easy. even when I don’t understand. When I find myself starting to cast assumptions or judgement – I recall that girl and her pain.
Whether you are a christian or not, I think the importance here is to remember, what we say and how we treat people can have an even deeper impact then what we see. Instead of pouring coals of judgement onto those you interact with, pour into them instead and help them to develop into the person they can be.
If you are searching for a church home that doesn’t judge and rank, I would love to have you join us at mine! http://www.fellowshipne.com is warm and welcoming and ready to get to know you….and not talk about you.

Perspective on the Recession

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I met a fellow martial arts school owner at a friends house the other night. The friend mentioned to me earlier in the evening that his guest owned 4 other schools on the south shore. I made introductions and we chatted a bit about his school. He was incredibly respectful, but he also had tunnel vision. I have met many school and business owners like that over the years. They just “know” what does and does not work.

We first started discussing the styles we taught, he told me about his school and how great his style was. He wasn’t arrogant about it, just confident and specific. He asked how my school was doing. I told him great.IMG_2966 The topic came up, kid students adults etc. He then told me “the economy sucks, so adults don’t want to take class now” When I shared we have over 250 adults training in Spencer, he explained his schools where in high end areas so the recession has caused more problems with wive’s having to get jobs now.

I mentioned how we also offer ilovekickboxing..started to ask if he had heard of it. He told me how he did kickboxing in the 90’s “When it was hot” but “NO ONE” does kickboxing anymore..nobody is going to join that program.

“If there is a recession, I refuse to participate.” Master Paul Garcia

We opened our school right as the recession started. I heard the news and media every day talking about how bad it was. I started feeling afraid, and doubting our decision to open a school. These where the worst conditions, in a small farming community. I heard the locals talking about getting laid off, I saw house foreclosures on every corner. My own home was behind now.  I had been running a school for the 8 years prior in the same community in a great economy, how on earth could we succeed in a failing economy.

Then one day I sat in Master Garcia’s training and he said the quote above, “If there is a recession, I refuse to participate”. I realized I had allowed the mindset of what was in the media etc. affect my own behaviors. I realized then I had a choice on how I was going to respond to the things happening in our community, I Could jump into the doom and gloom boat, or I could paddle against the stream.IMG_3105

We doubled the size of our school that year. We have continued to grow every year, in every program. We surrounded ourselves with like minded individuals and stopped spending time around those negative nellies. I have watched all of the America’s Best Defense Schools (even those in well to do communities grow like crazy year after year).

Please understand, I am in no way down playing or sweeping under the rug the fact that there have been some very had times in our country for families. I am rather encouraging to choose how you work with the cards you are dealt.

Did you know that the game Monopoly was born due to the Great Depression? Charles Darrow found himself out of work after the crash of ’29, he then spent years perfecting the game and became the first millionare by creating a board game.

Check out these 5 stories from the great depression,

Monopolyhttp://mentalfloss.com/article/20837/5-great-depression-success-stories

Then of course, you can check out why so many adults choose our schools at http://www.abdspencer.com or http://www.abdshrewsbury.com