Monday, August 27, 2012

Martial Arts for Health & Fitness

There is allot of buzz about Martial Arts since the MMA craze began back in the 90's. The UFC, (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has had it's own reality TV show for 10 years now and there is a new Pay-Per- View every other month for the millions of mixed martial arts fans around the world. We all remember the late, great Bruce Lee back in the 70's. Then later, Steven Segal and John Cluade Van Damme. Even more recently Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the indestructable karate champion and movie/TV icon, Chuck Norris! We also can't forget Sensei Miyagi teaching karate to Ralph Machio in Karate Kid.

However, martial arts isn't just for cage fighters, karate kids, action movie stars or self defense courses. New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that people in their 40's and 50's who regularly practice martial arts demonstrate astounding levels of physical fitness in comparison to people the same age who don't exercise at all. The study subjects who practiced martial arts had 12% less body fat, were able to do twice as many sit-ups, had enhanced flexibility and leg strength, demonstrated a stronger immune system and showed greatly improved balance. I personally can attest to this as I started my latest martial arts journey at age 47. I am now 51 and training for a black belt in two different arts. I must say I am in far better shape now than I have been since I was 25.

It's not surprising, of course: martial arts -- even mild forms like Tai Chi -- have long been known to confer tremendous anti-aging health benefits to their followers. Throughout Asia, it's not uncommon to see large groups of elderly (people in their 60's, 70's and 80's) practicing Tai Chi at sunrise in the community parks. Despite their age, these people have better aerobic conditioning, balance, strength, flexibility and coordination than many typical Americans in their 30's who are already suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and cancer. People who practice Tai Chi simply don't experience those diseases with anywhere near the frequency. As a result, they live longer, healthier, happier lives. Not only that, when people excercise and have fitness goals in general, they eat better and try to live a more healthy lifestyle.

Martial Arts helps keep folks on that fitness level, striving to stay in shape or get in even better shape for the next belt rank test.
Any form of martial arts or physical discipline will produce similar results, by the way: Aikido and Combat Hapkido are my favorites, but you could also enjoy MMA, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kendo or whatever martial arts you choose, it's all good for you! No matter what you decide to do the point is get moving, excercise, stretch, stay off the couch and out from in front of the computer for hours and hours. There is a fit and healthy person inside you dying to get out, literally! Martial Arts could be the key to living a healthy life even well into your 50's and beyond...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Honey VS Sugar (Battle Royal)

Many people work to get themselves off sugar for valid reasons. Too much sugar is like poison for the human body and can lead to all types of terrible consequences. The first to come to mind is diabetes. We all know how bad it is and can lead to devestating illness, blindness and death. Milder forms of diabetes can also strike people who don't watch their excess sugar intake and cause problems too. People who drink alot of soda are prone to get diabetes from all the sugar. In fact a 12 oz Coke has about 36 grams of sugar. That's just one small example, there are many, many more.

Why Honey?

Both sweeteners contain glucose and fructose. However, for sugar, in the process of manufacturing, the organic acids, protein, nitrogen elements, enzymes and vitamins in the sugar cane are destroyed, whereas honey, a natural sweetener, when subjected only to minimal heating keeps it's natural state and provides a multitude of benefits to the body. Also, honey has certain beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are not present in table sugar. Local honey is often the BEST!

Here are some interesting facts:


One tablespoon of table sugar or sucrose contains 46 calories, while one tablespoon of natural sweetener honey has 64 calories. Though honey may have more calories, we actually need to use less of it since it is sweeter than table sugar. As a result, you may in fact consume even less amount of calories that you would with sugar. And in the long run even though honey is more expensive, it may be more economical than table sugar. I was taken aback when I first found out how much table sugar I was consuming when I take a can of coke -- 10 teaspoons, and a 50g chocolate bar -- 7 teaspoons!


Table sugar is sucrose, which is made up of two molecules bonded together. When we eat table sugar, our stomach has to use its own enzymes to separate the molecules apart before we can use the sugar's energy. Honey is quite different. The bees have added a special enzyme to the nectar that divides the sucrose into glucose and fructose -- two simple sugars for our bodies can absorb directly.

Hence, honey vs sugar, honey has a healthier Glycemic Index (GI) which measures the negative impact of a given food on the blood-glucose level. The lower the GI rating, the slower the absorption and infusion of sugars into the bloodstream and hence a more gradual and healthier digestion process.


Unlike honey, table sugar lacks minerals and vitamins (hence it's been often called empty calories), they draw upon the body's nutrients to be metabolized into the system. When these nutrients are all used up, metabolizing of undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid is impeded, contributing to higher cholesterol and promoting obesity due to higher fatty acid on the organs and tissues. That is why it is not uncommon for fat people to suffer from malnutrition and many other health related problems. So the message is, honey vs sugar, if you are watching your weight, honey will be a smarter choice than sugar. Besides the differences in nutrition, I feel sugar can never compete with honey in taste. Though both are sweet, honey has such a unique flavour that can be very useful and superior in many foods and beverages. The range of honey floral varieties is so vast that experiencing for yourself the uniqueness of each variety and being able to appropriate each variety to exploit every possibility to complement and improve taste of different types of foods becomes a skillful art.

Finally, I have been using honey as my main sweetner (for coffee) each day for nearly 30 years. I am a very healthy 51 and attribute alot of this to my use of honey and other bee products. I also am an avid bee pollen fan. I normally take two 500 mg capsules a day. You can buy bee pollen over the net or at your local GNC or other health food store. Bee Pollen is VERY good for your body and provides you with just about every thing your body needs to stay healthy. Some say that bee pollen is as a super nutritious, perfect food, the tiny pollens contain almost all the nutrients required by the human body and are enormously rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids which are anti-viral, antibacterial and helpful in lowering cholesterol, stabilizing and strengthening capillaries.

Learn more here: ~

Learn More about Honey ~

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fitness After 50, II

Greetings Friends!

Now that I am 51 I am taking steps to get into better shape for the next two martial arts tests coming up soon. I have decided to give it my BEST and as I look into more and more fitness & holistic health ideas, I have found I have made some serious but easily correctable mistakes over the last 30 years.

First of all I have been an avid bread man all my life. I LOVE bread with butter, margarine, garlic, jelly, honey, biscuits with gravy, you name it. However, I have given up bread over the past eight months and I have lost a significant amount of weight. Now one real good benefit is since most of the fast food I used to eat was made up of sandwiches I have given up fast food too! This is a BIG plus as I was in the habit of eating at Wendy's, Chic Fil A and a few other places on a weekly basis for years. So now, no french fries, iced tea, chicken sandwiches or quarter pounders... Think of the calories I have missed out on. I have gotten used to not eating bread now and it is not as bad as I thought it would be. Less bloating and gas too!

Now I have started my day with a cup of coffee or two for the past thirty years or so. I normally do not eat any food in the morning, only coffee unless I have scheduled a breakfast meeting for some reason. Of course I have had Visalus, Vi Shakes the past 90 days for breakfast and I LOVE it! I have recently found out that the body needs water in the morning to kick start the metabolism and rehydrate. Coffee should be the second thing I consume instead of the first so I have made that change. So far it makes me feel slightly nauseous but I am sure I will get used to it. I bought some distilled water, used that up then just went to tap water.

Finally, I have doubled up on my strecthing and excercises, added many more salads and lettuce wraps to my diet and bought a lumbar support for my van. That and my "90 Day Challenge" led me to a weight loss of 25 lbs! I'm down to 153 and in better shape than I have been since my 20's! With all these new changes I am sure to be well on my way to being ready for my upcoming BB tests. So here's to looking more like Bruce Lee and less like a Sumo Wrestler....

Peace be with you

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Elvis Week & Martial Arts?

Once again, it's that time of year in Memphis and that means it's nearing August 16th, the date Elvis Presley passed away back in 1977. Thousands of fans gather in Memphis Tennessee each year to celebrate the life of their hero and music ICON! Elvis was, to many folks, the King of Rock & Roll although he himself did not particular like that title. Elvis is still one of the most popular entertainers in the world even 35 years after his untimely death at his home(Graceland) which is the second most visited home in the USA next to the White House. I am a HUGE Elvis fan myself and could go on and on about Elvis and his talent. However, I will do more about him and his legacy on this blog at a later date.

Today I want to mention something that many people don't know about Elvis, that is he was a Karate Master! Yes, I said Master. He studied karate with a Korean instructer in Memhpis, Master Kang Rhee and with Ed Parker while he was in Hollywood. Ed Parker was the founder of American Kenpo karate.

Elvis was a natural at karate and began his study in the army back in 1960. Elvis was good friends with many of the karate greats including Bill Wallace. I was told by a reliable source that Elvis and Bruce Lee did meet, I have often wondered if they had a chance to train together. Elvis was awarded a 7th degree black belt in Korean Karate by Master Rhee in 1973 and was awarded an 8th degree black belt in American Kenpo karate by Ed Parker.

Elvis was working on a film project called "The New Gladiators" in the last few years of his life that was centered around martial arts. He was very passionate about the martial arts and wanted to help make it more popular in the USA.

You may remember alot of Elvis's jump suits kind of looked like karate uniforms or Gi's as we call them. He used many karate style moves in his onstage performances and in many of his films.

One last thing, Elvis recieved his first black belt in 1960 under a fellow named Hank Slamanski, this is a great story, one worth reading for any Elvis or martial arts fan.

So here's to Elivs, not only a pioneer in Rock & Roll Music, also a true pioneer in the Martial Arts world too...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just a quick technical note for all my readers. There is a big discrepency between what you see from Internet Explorer and Google Chrome in the design & layout of the blog. I will be working on those issues over the next few days..

Also, I will be publishing some really cool short stories here starting soon. I will break them up into pieces. Mostly fictional stories, all original works of mine. Hope you enjoy them.

Have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The "Hunger Games"

Woke up early again. My dog needed to go out so I decided to do a little computer work before I went back to bed. I have been thinking quite a bit about how my attitude towards hunger has changed since taking this "90 Day Challenge" with Visalus and I wanted to share this with some of you.

First of all I have come to recognize the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach as a signal not to eat but as my body telling me it needs something. Now how I respond to that feeling "Hunger Pains or Pangs" as some might describe it, is totally different than before. Six months or a year ago I would have wheeled into the nearest Bojangles or Wendy's and got myself a combo of some sort including fries and a tea. WOW! Do you realize how foreign that seems to me now?

Today when I feel that odd sensation in my stomach I look at it in a different way. I recognize my body wants something and I often respond by drinking some water ( I carry two or three bottles with me every day now) but I now see that signal as a good thing! It tells me my body needs fuel and if I don't stop and fuel up guess what? My body feeds on itself! If I have excess fat cells than that's where the body goes for fuel to create the energy needed to keep moving. It's a GREAT feeling to know that you are burning those fat cells. I drink water to sedate the feeling (no calories) and keep on going. Now if I get too hungry I pull out either a Vi shake (I carry one of those too) or a breakfast bar to get through the day and I eat later when I get home.

So to wrap it up let's just say we need to take a whole new approach to the Hunger Games we play each and every day as we go through our work week.

My tip pf the week is if you travel alot or drive for a living, always keep a cooler with bottled water, a few of your favorite breakfast bars, and a Vi Shake to get you through the day.

Peace be with you!

Monday, August 06, 2012

I've certainly made my share but it is part of who I am today...

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Martial Arts, Fitness & Weight Loss

Attended a great Seminar today with Grand Master John Pellegrini in Southern Pines, NC. Master Dorton was kind enough to welcome us all to his Dojang once again for an awesome Saturday of training with GMP! My Sensei, Jeff Flagg and his son Austin Flagg both recieved their 3rd dan certificates in Combat Hapkido as did Mona Doyle.

Next year Jeff Handy and I will be getting our 1st Dan at this seminar. Looking forward to that! I stuck to my diet today and ate light, not junk. The Visalus, VI Shape Shakes sustain me through these tough all day workouts and I still have energy to excercise later when I get home. Been eating lots of lettuce wrap/turkey/tomatoe for lunch or dinner the past month to keep the weight down but I still have a weakness for kettle chips! (grin)

More later!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Just Six More!

When I am working out in the mornings I have gotten into the habit of pushing myself a little harder. At the end of my set I add six more reps whether I'm doing pushups, crunches, using the dumbell or squats, just add six more reps to push your body to grow a bit more.

I wonder how we can use this method in other parts of our lives? Could we make six more sales calls in a day or a week? Could we put six more dollars in the tithing tray at Church or leave it for a tip at a restaurant where a great server deserves a helping hand? How about six more minutes of praying or devotions?

I'd like to know your ideas on how doing just six more, can change your life!