Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This fact is simple and true…
One kind gesture to a stranger
One smile to a loved one
One laugh with a friend
One compliment to a co-worker
One friendly comment to a clerk
Each small thought and action flowers into something beautiful over time. I think that we have a tendency to minimize the true affect of small actions. In favor of believing that change involves big thoughts and actions from a tremendous number of people. When in fact, millions of speck of dust create mountains, and millions of grains of sand paint the coast line with a beach.
Each footprint of our lives ripples through all of eternity like the butterfly effect indelibly changing history. If you think of our lives in this way, what actions would you take that would be different.
How could you create a joy that will shatter the hundreds sorrows?
Monday, March 30, 2009
Here's a great pasta salad that we made to take to my nephew's Birthday party. It got a great response from everyone. The fresh vegetables combined with the feta and pasta make a great combination.
3 cups tricolor rotini pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
1 cup ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped unpeeled cucumber
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
TOSS all ingredients in large bowl. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
Monday, March 23, 2009
This weekend, while walking my dogs, we were attacked by two off leash German shepherds. This incident had all the aspects of a true self defense situation.
The two German shepherds ran quickly from behind a garage and attacked us. The one shepherd and grabbed my dog, held it down by the neck, and start to shake. It was definitely a red zone case where the dog was attempting to hurt or kill my dog.
So what did I do…
Basically, the Fast Defense training that I took almost three years ago came shining through. I used all of the steps for the fast defense training to thwart the attack. It’s strange that after all these years the training stuck with me and I successfully and effectively applied it in an adrenalized state of mind.
The whole time that the situation happened I could hear Debra Kipp’s voice coaching me through the situation (She coached me in some of the scenarios). I used a verbal self-defense yelling at the dog “Back off! Get off my dog!” I remember my trainers voice telling me to never go for the head because they will bite you so I kicked the dog in the hind quarters to get it off my dog. (Don’t worry the other dog was fine, the kick was more of a really firm shove.)
By this time, the owner ran out and was trying to corral the dog. I remember hearing the voices from the Fast Defense class yelling, “Stop, Look around, go get help.” I looked around for my Portal of Safety and headed out of the dog’s territory. I remember glancing back and the owner was still trying to grab the dog as I headed around the corner.
Amazingly, I got to my house and checked my dogs and myself out. Because of the decisive action, we got out of there without a scratch which was hard to believe considering how vicious the attack was.
I call the police to report the incident and found out that the same dogs attacked one of my neighbor’s dog. They said that because the owner got scared and froze. Her dog almost died and had $900 worth of vet bills.
This incident was a harrowing reminder the process that Fast Defense and we teach in class works.
Remember the three steps…
First - the Verbal Self-defense
Second - the Actual Confrontation
Third – Finding the Portal of Safety
Friday, March 20, 2009
Part of being a martial artist and a martial arts educator is inspiring us and our students to live a healthier life and maintain healthier eating habits. Today, I want to present some great web sites and organizations that every martial arts school owner should know about and implement within their schools. And every parent should support and check out for their children.
Currently, I believe that our nation is experiencing and eating dilemma. Our busy lives have driven us to feeding our kids with convenient prepackaged foods. And the worst part is advertising on TV betrays these foods as healthy. From lunch packets full of starches and fat to “health” drinks packed with sugar, it’s hard to find foods that are actually healthy.
There are many organizations that have already identified and address these social issues and provide great information and alternatives to this mainstream media food meltdown that the average American experiences on TV.
Slow Food Movement
The slow food movement grew as a counter-revolution to the current fast food movement. The slow food movement “seeks to inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices and market forces so that they insure equity, sustainability and pleasure in the food we eat.”
The slow food movement wants to get back to the days when families enjoyed time together around the dinner table ~ eating healthy, home-cooked meals. You can visit them at their website to read more about it at http://www.slowfoodusa.org.
One of my living heroes is Alice Walters. She was a predominant American chef in the 70’s. The goal of edible schoolyards to give “students’ hands-on experience in the kitchen and garden fosters a deeper appreciation of how the natural world sustains us and promotes the environmental and social well being of our school community.”
The idea is to start vegetable gardens at local schools and have children work in the gardens. This year at our martial arts school, I plan to have a garden outside our school for students to take care of during the growing season.
For more information about edible schoolyards, visit their website at http://www.edibleschoolyard.org. Also, check out the square foot garden website at http://www.squarefootgardening.com. Square foot gardening is a perfect intensive gardening method to use at any school.
Fruit and Veggie Matters
This website was formerly the 5 a day website. The idea of Fruit and Veggie Matters is to educate and influence people to eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables.
This idea of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day can easily be implemented as part of any martial arts program. It also stimulates a lifelong habit of eating healthy for your students.
Visit the website at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov for more information.
Well, there you have it. My picks for three must see healthy eating and living organizations.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
To paint a new picture of our lives, we only need to take responsibility for these choices and make new choices to change the direction of our lives.
What are some of the bad choices I’ve made in my life and how can I correct them?
What are some of the poor choices that I continue to repeat that I want to change?
What are some of the best decisions that I have made?
What are three good choices that I can make today that will draw me closer to my goals?
What are three actions that I can make today to change the course of my life?
Sometimes to paint a different life for ourselves, it’s just a matter of asking and acting on the right questions.
Today is the day that we paint a beautiful picture by picking the right colors and painting the right strokes on the canvas of our lives.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This week I want to talk about Picking Your Battles. It’s so easy to constantly try to be a puppeteer in our children’s lives. This is one of the main reasons for power struggles between children and parents. So it’s very important for us to pick our battles.
By picking battles I mean looking at the children’s behavior and picking the behavior that we feel is the most important to correct. Sometimes, we tried to correct too many things in our children’s behavior at one time whether to important or not.
In my experience as a martial arts instructor and teaching hundreds of kids, I realized to facilitate the parents goals of creating better behavior that it is important to work on one behavior at a time. Of course, we want to work on the behavior that we feel is the most important then create a plan to in our mind to correct this behavior.
By creating a personal improvement plan, we can proactively respond to inappropriate behavior, instead of just reacting to it. If we do not plan are responsive in advance, it’s easy to get frustrated and fall back on negative, unproductive responses like nagging, arguing, and cajoling.
In future weeks, we will talk about some strategies to employ to productively correct these unwanted behaviors.
But... until then... remember to Pick your Battles carefully.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Currently, I was performing all my training in my gym in the basement. My wife doesn’t particularly like the gym in the basement because it’s called and damped down there. She has dubbed it my “dungeon” gym.
A few weeks ago, I found out a friend from high school Curtis, now owns a branch of Snap Fitness. He invited me to come over and check it out as we talked about doing some cross promotion. I was really impressed with the gym. These Snap Fitness gyms are compact gym with more of an intimate feel to them. This weekend, my wife convinced me to join my friends Snap Fitness gym.
Now that I’ve met my weight goals, I am ready to start performing a more athletic based working out. I found that Snap Fitness actually had a really cool Website tool that helps you plan your workout. Their website plans, your workout according to what goal you have – weight loss, athletic, toning, or strength.
Snap Fitness provides you with a big gym workout, but without the big gym problems and small gym comfort. I guess small is the new big.
Monday, March 16, 2009
We got this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp minced shallot
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
12 chicken cutlets (about 2 pounds)
Coarse kosher salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3/4 pound green onions cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 1/2 pounds slender asparagus, tops cut into 3 inch pieces, stems cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl, cover and set aside. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add saffron and stir until slightly darker, about 30 seconds. Transfer to another small bowl, cool and crumble saffron. Let stand at room temperature.
Sprinkle chicken lightly with coarse salt and pepper. heat 1 tbsp oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed., cook chicken until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Arrange chicken on platter; tent with foil.
Add 1 tbsp oil and butter to same skillet. Add white and green parts of onions and saute until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add asparagus. Sprinkle saffron over vegetables. sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper and saute 1 minute. Add broth, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tenderand borth reduces and thickens to glaze about 5 minute. Stir in heavy whipping cream and gremolata. Season with salt and pepper. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to platter, arranging around chicken. Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve.
Friday, March 13, 2009
I am attracted to the ideas of simple living, self-sufficiency, and homesteading. In fact, I am currently looking to buy some commercial real estate for our dojo so that I can use it as my laboratory for sustainable living ~ more on that when the time comes.
In my research, I found some great websites about sustainable living and homesteading that I wanted to share with everyone.
Countryside & Small Stock Journal
The Countryside & Small Stock Journal was established in 1917 that is "serving that branch of the Voluntary Simplicity movement seeking greater self-reliance".
The website features articles from Homesteading as a business to Gardening to Survival skills. They also feature a blog called the Scarecrow Chronicles which is regularly updated with articles.
Backwoods Home Magazine
Backwoods Home is "packed with solid, practical, hands-on information on a wide range of self-reliance topics."
And packed it is with great articles like...
- For a truly independent energy system, your choices are solar, wind, and water
- Kick the credit card habit and learn to stash cash
- Garden spaces for small places
Mother Earth News has tons of articles that are refreshed daily. They call themselves "The Original Guide to Living Wisely."
They feature sections on Do It Yourself, Renewable Energy, Green Homes, Organic Gardening, etc. with tons of excellent content.
- Save Energy with Winter Window Treatments
- Supereasy Compost Bin Plans: Check Out This How-To Video
- Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread
If you have any great websites, please post a link for me in the comments section.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ester and I will be joining millions of people around the world for Earth Hour on March 28, 2009 at 8:30.
What is Earth Hour?
Earth Hour is an international event sponsored by WWF where everyone participating turns their lights off for one hour. The purpose of this event is to become more aware of our electricity usage and our carbon footprint.
This is a great event for Martial Arts School owner who want to start an environmental self-defense program in their school. Simply, promote the event within your school and have your students turn off the light on March 28 at 8:30pm.
For more information about Earth Hour, visit the website at www.earthhour.org.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This video vividly reminded me of a teacher in High School that say how they can’t imagine the kid's these days leading the country. That was over 20 years ago.
Since that time, I, along with many others from my generation, we have embraced our destiny.
Since that time, we refused to fall into that negative, cynical, aloof attitude of this former teacher that can poison our thoughts and actions.
Since that time, we have continued to grow, train, and educate ourselves to prevalent in the face of any and all challenges.
Since that time, our school has become a beacon of our community by proliferating Random Act of Kindness and act of Environmental Self-defense. Our students have sponsored a child in the Philippines through Pearl S. Buck International. We have given away thousands of seedlings to the community to support TreeVitalize. This year, we are sponsoring an Earth Hour event and looking into partnering with the Borough on a community service project. Along with the many individual community service projects that our students have performed.
Since that time, I decided to never share this teacher's view of successive generations passing through our dojo doors.
Instead we are reminded like the video of the reverse view of children today…
I SEE the limitless potential of today's youth. I UNDERSTAND that our student’s energy is a tremendous resource, we can harness towards a greater good. I REMAIN FAITHFUL to the ideas and ideals that have built former generations.
Our school stands for ideals like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” We demonstrate it not in words but in the actions we take in our communities.
One last thing…
We can not afford to accept my former teacher’s view. As educators, we have a solemn duty and obligation to arouse a vision in our children that is greater than they have for themselves.
The lost generation... I think not!
Monday, March 9, 2009
This recipe is an adjustment from the a recipe found in The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Soup
1/2 oz mixed dried mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, including tender green parts, coarsely chopped
1/2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Turkey Back and Neck
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Salt and Pepper
Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain the soaked mushrooms, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove any grit. Using a kitchen towel, squeeze the mushrooms dry and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside the mushrooms and their soaking liquid.
In a large soup pot, add 8 cups of water and the turkey back and neck. Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 2 hours. Remove turkey back and neck. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Discard bones and neck.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil and saute leeks until nicely softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in shiitake mushrooms, carrots, barley, and garlic. Saute for additional 1 minute. Add sauteed vegetable mixture and turkey meat to turkey broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender but not mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add reserved mushrooms and soaking liquid to the soup. Stir in soy sauce and chopped parsley and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
* Comment below on yours!
"Self-Confidence Formula - First, I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my Definite Purpose in life, therefore, I DEMAND of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action"
from "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I bought a whole chicken with it I made a spicy chicken and rice bake and chicken noodle soup with the neck. The noodles I made from scratch.
During shopping, I realized that our usually olive oil is too expensive for this challenge and that I needed to stick with the vegetable oil.
Over the last two weeks, I found that eating on the amount that someone gets for food stamps with a little work can be healthy.
Monday, March 2, 2009
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice (I now realize I used a cup)
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1. Skin chicken; set aside.
2. In a large saucepan cook onion, pepper, and garlic in hot oil until vegetables are tender. Stir in black beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato juice, corn, uncooked rice, chili powder, red pepper, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to boiling.
Transfer rice mixture to a 3 qt rectangular baking dish. Arrange chicken on top of rice mixture. Sprinkle chicken with paprika.
3. Bake, covered, in a 375º oven for 45-50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and rice is tender.