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Politically Incorrect

December 23, 2016 Leave a comment

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I took about half of my students from the dojo to The Progressive Care Center Wednesday night to sing Christmas carols for the elderly residents there. We stopped in the dining room and sang for the ladies and gentlemen still eating their dinner. Then we walked down the hallways singing a nice variety of songs. There were many greetings, salutations, and best wishes passed on. The words “Merry Christmas” were exchanged several times. These people said that freely with no guilt or regret. Why? Because that is the way they were raised. They were, for the most part, brought up being taught that Christmas was a special day that was meant to bring people together and bring out the best in them.

Today, at work, I wished a co-worker Merry Christmas. She said the words back almost as a natural reaction. Then a very strange look came over her face and she told me that she hoped that didn’t offend me (this after I initiated the greeting). I looked at her and smiled. I asked her why she thought being wished a Merry Christmas would offend me. In the same vein, why would celebrating a day that emphasizes peace, love, and good will to all people be considered offensive?

 

I am 54 years old. I, too, grew up holding Christmas as a special time of the year where we shared love and joy with each other. I remember those years as being happy and learning that this was a time of the year we look to our fellow men with love and compassion. We go out of our way to do special things for each other out of love.

 

Have we come so politically correct that we snub our noses at those sentiments? Are we so worried that we will offend someone that we forsake good will? And by the way, what the hell is so offensive about wishing someone peace and happiness?

“It offends me that you said that because I am (fill in the religion or non-religion of your choice)”

 

So you’re telling me that because you do not believe what I believe that my honest and sincere wishes for your prosperity and good fortune are offensive? You’re saying that because you worship differently, or don’t worship at all, that my holiday greeting to you is bad? I’m a bad person because I wish you and your family the best during this season. That is one of the most insane things I have ever heard.

People stand up on a soap box and speak about their Constitutional rights. Let me give you a lesson in the Constitution. The First Amendment gives you freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.  The founding fathers of our country realized that the Church of England had been ruled and directed by the government for many, many years. In those days practically everyone, and I mean everyone, went to church. The monarchy controlled the church. They knew that if they controlled the pulpit, they controlled the citizens. The fathers wanted nothing like that happening in the new country they had fought so hard to establish. So they wrote the First Amendment so that the government could never have that kind of control.

I know that I am going to take a lot of flack over publishing this. I know there will probably be some people who leave nasty responses to it. The thing is I’m going to read those comments and smile. Why? Because I’m not a Christian. I have been a practicing Wiccan for 20 years. I have no problem with “Merry Christmas”, nativity scenes, Silent Night, Joy to the World, or any of the other things associated with Christmas. So, that being said, I have one thing to say to those who just might be offended,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. May the peace and love of the season be yours and your family’s.   

 

Happy Holidays

December 29, 2015 Leave a comment

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Greetings, everyone, from Colorado. I wanted to take a moment to wish all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and the best of the Holiday Season.

 

Much has been happening in my life since I last blogged. It’s funny. I got my End of the Year Review from Cafe Press and was a little disappointed in myself in that I had only wrote one thing in 2015. Hopefully 2016 will be better as I have resolved to attempt to sit down at this beast we call a computer and hopefully blog at least once a month.

 

I have missed you guys, my followers and the people here that I follow.

 

One tid bit of news: the man who assaulted my daughter and almost killed her is due to be sentenced at the end of January. Of course, our court system being the way it is, he made a plea deal and is looking at only 8 – 14 years in actual prison. Perhaps we will delve further into my feelings over this in the future.

 

For all of you reading this, please encourage others who might be interested to give my humble little blog a try. They might find something they like!

Categories: Uncategorized

Through The Dark Night

September 30, 2013 6 comments

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It has been quite a while since I have posted on any regular basis here. For those of you who actually follow and enjoy this blog, I truly apologize.

As most of you know, my wife of 18 years passed away in May from cancer. It was sudden and it was very fast. I think myself and my daughters actually held on to the hope that we would beat it until the very end. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing has never been certain in my mind or in my heart.

After the funeral was over things calmed down a bit. People stopped bringing food by the house. The visits became fewer and further between. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. With that came time to think, meditate, and reflect. To be totally honest, that actual time period became a part of the gray “black and white” world I had found myself existing in. If you have ever been very sick, suffering from a fever, and woke up on your sofa in the middle of the night with an old B&W movie playing on the tv you can grasp what I mean. You see the movie playing in the dark. Yet there is no color. You see the people’s mouths move. Sometimes you even hear the sound of their words, but you can’t quite understand what they are saying. That was my life in a nutshell at that point.

Then something happened. I made a decision. I decided that it was imperative that I get some kind of normality back in my life. I had to do things I was used to doing. I had to be places I was used to being. Work was one thing that happened quickly. All of my vacation time and sick time was exhausted and financially I HAD to get back there. But there was something else. Like an old friend or a comfortable warm blanket, the dojo called to me.

I have to admit the first time I entered the building was rough. You have to understand that my dojo is decorated and furnished to look as much like a traditional training hall as possible. It is at least done that way to the best of my knowledge and ability. There are fans on the walls, oriental screens set around, and various wall hangings and scrolls. My wife had either bought these, been with me when I bought them, or jokingly pitched a fit when I spent what she believed to be too much money on them. There is a collage on one wall with photographs of students, past and present. Of course she is in some of those photographs because even though Carol never took one single formal lesson from me, she was very much part of the life-blood of the dojo, even to the point that a lot of people, students and parents alike, called her “Mrs Sensei”. Her spirit was as alive in that studio as it was at home.

Instead of letting it get me down I began to take comfort in it. I remembered all of the things she had done and things she had helped me do including the benefit for Family Crisis Services which had been the last event she had played a major role in. The day of the event she stayed at the dojo, working the front door until she became so tired and fatigued she was forced to leave.

Something amazing began to happen. I didn’t even realize it at first but with each passing moment spent there I, out of reflex, began to change back into the Sensei I had lost for a long time. My focus shifted to doing what I was supposed to do: teaching. I stopped worrying about what other instructors were doing. I stopped stressing on what bill to pay first. I remembered a saying someone told me or I read a long time ago: “Treat every single class like it’s your last one and every single student like it’s the last time you will ever teach them”. Considering what I had just went through, and still was going through actually, that struck a very deep chord inside of me even though, as I said, I didn’t even realize exactly what was going on.

A few really special things happened in the process. My students sensed something different and it became contagious. Sensei was actually living up to the Go Do Shin (5 Way Spiritual Path) and remembering the “Spirit of First Beginnings”. It became contagious. They started enjoying classes again…and…they told friends who came in to try classes. Many of them stayed.

Something else that is worth mentioning. Many of you who have read this blog at all know that I have had some serious issues with the Fight Like a Girl Women’s Self-Defense program. I’m not saying that some things about it still don’t bother me however, I looked at the phone one day and there was a strange number on the voicemail. I hit the play button and it was Sensei Kym Rock, the founder of FLAG. Sensei Rock had saw my post on this blog about the guy teaching self- defense techniques that were weak and wouldn’t work and calling his program Fight Like a Girl. She had checked and the guy was NOT part of her organization and she had taken steps to rectify the situation. But more importantly, more dear to my heart, the thing that touched me, was that Sensei Rock had heard of Carol’s passing and offered me very sincere and heart-felt condolences. Because myself and some types of modern technology simply don’t get along and I accidentally erased the message and number, I never got to tell her “thank you”. So, Sensei, should you happen to read this please accept my deep and true appreciation for your time and your kind words.

I have also looked back on some things in my life and come to terms with them. Life is too short and far too precious to waste your energies on silly things or stupid bickering. It is far better to let that kind of negativity go and channel your time, energy, and emotions into helping other people with a sincere spirit of care and compassion. Carrying around hatred and other negative energies serves no purpose at all. We are put here in this life for a very short time. It is precious and should not be squandered on trivial things. You can’t live a happy fulfilled life if your spirit is in constant chaos.

Perhaps this will make sense to you. Perhaps it won’t. Either way, reflect on it for a while. We can all find a positive even in the most negative time of our lives if we simply allow it to happen.

A Long Week


I have not been posting for a while. Many of you already know if you have been watching my personal Facebook page, my wife of 18 years passed away last Sunday, May 19th at 11:45 am after a very short battle with cancer.

My emotions have ran an entire spectrum and my energies have been scattered for three weeks now as we battled through hospital stays and radiation treatments.

We had her ceremony yesterday and the outpouring of support brought me to tears. The church was completely full of family and friends of the family wishing to celebrate the life of “Mrs Sensei”.

Hopefully this coming week I am going to get things back to “normal” at the dojo.

 

Declaring War on the Monster

February 28, 2013 4 comments

One thing I have hoped since I began this blog is that it would educate and inform others. If not that, I had hoped it would at least entertain people to some degree. One thing I have noticed is that more often times than not it educates me. At least it makes me think.

My last article was on Domestic Violence. I thought that it was time to begin looking at the subject and getting feedback from others. As I began actually researching the subject even more some of the things I wrote about, and some I didn’t, sickened me.

It seems that not a day goes by that I don’t open a newspaper or turn on the evening news and am bombarded by horrible stories of violence and Domestic Violence. You notice I capitalize the words. That’s because Domestic Violence has become almost a living breathing thing in my mind. An evil thing.

It’s not that I have just discovered it. Neither have you. It isn’t that it just became an important issue. It always has been. Has it grown in intensity? Yes, I believe it has. Yet even noticing that growth is not the reason it has suddenly came to the forefront of my mind I don’t think. I saw it when I was very young. It is one of my earliest childhood memories. I think it has probably lurked in the back of my mind all of my life like a silent ghost.

The thing that I think brought it forward in my life was a story in the news from Colorado Springs a few weeks ago. A man, I hesitate to call him a “Father”, murdered his two children then took off on his motorcycle. He wrecked the bike and killed himself only a few miles from his home.

How many of these stories do we hear every single day? Often times there are more than one or two stories in the same news broadcast. We listen to them. See them. Absorb them. Then we go on with our lives. I have been just as guilty of it as anyone. Finally I threw my hands in the air and asked WHY???? Have we gotten to the point that we are so desensitized to it that it’s “Just life”?

I haven’t.

I have seen a lot in my life. Looking back I think I have actually sought out violence in a weird round-about way. Twenty-four years in Corrections is pretty much putting yourself right in the middle of violence. I know it, have embraced it, have walked hand-in-hand with it. I would say that I have been, because of that life experience, pretty much as numb to it as anyone else could be. Some would say that gives me an advantage. I suppose in a lot of ways it does. But I have come to the point that I will not be as numb as the average person because of it.

Several years ago the dojo began supporting Family Crisis Services here. This organization is simply one of the most wonderful ones I have ever seen. The people there, many of them volunteers, selflessly give of themselves to assist the victims of Domestic Violence, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. They provide training and education to schools, churches, community organizations, and first responders. They offer a hotline 24/7. They also provide a Safe House for victims and are advocates to them as well even going as far as assisting the victims with restraining orders. They help victims develop safety plans for themselves and their children. There are several other faucets in which they act on behalf of those who cannot help themselves. And everything they do is confidential.

One of the things Family Crisis Services is very involved in is the Take Back the Night Walk to raise awareness on Domestic Violence. Several years ago I developed my Defeat the Darkness Women’s Self-Defense classes and seminars to compliment and work in adjacency with Take Back the Night. Even though the program has been a marvelous success I decided it simply was not enough.

This year Defeat the Darkness has taken on a whole new persona. I have decided to do an all-day event including martial arts demonstrations, guest speakers, and the self-defense program. We intend to collect donations for Family Crisis Services and do everything possible to raise awareness and educate the community.

Since I began working on the event I cannot believe the outpouring of support from the community. I can find fellow martial artists to demos at the drop of a hat. That’s no problem for me. The things I thought would be difficult are turning out not to be as much work as I thought. Within one afternoon I had three guest speakers lined up with the possibility of several others. I wanted door prizes and thought getting people to sponsor the event would be problematic. I had seven sponsors within 45 minutes today. I’m not bragging. I feel lucky and very blessed.

I hope this will be only the beginning. As hokey as it sounds, I feel like I am launching a war on a monster. It is a war I am willing to fight but I fully understand it is not one I can wage alone.

I am adding a link to an article one of our local publications printed (including in it a very nice photo of some of my students working out) on the dojo and the subject.

http://www.canoncurrent.com/category/news/karate-school-fights-to-serve-community/

I urge you, please, stop taking the problem of Domestic Violence with a shrug. Get out in your community. Take action. Make a stand. You can make a difference in people’s lives.

The Other Side of Violence

February 11, 2013 5 comments

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In the past I have written a lot on violence in this blog. Violence, as sad as the fact may be, is a part of life. Violence can be placed in two categories:

Social Violence

Domestic Violence

I have written quite a bit on the Social Violence side of the coin. Actually it is pretty much all I have written about here. Social Violence can be considered acts of violence that randomly happen to us. We are in the “wrong place at the wrong time” sort of scenarios are the ones that make up the majority of Social Violence cases. Like physical assault, sexual assault, robberies, and ect, these types of assault happen for the most part on a random basis. In my Common Sense Self-Defense articles I have provided a lot of information on Social Violence and how to deal with it. There is a ton of information on the subject in this blog. I intend to write more on it later.

In this article I want to touch a bit on the other side of the coin. I want to talk a bit on the dark and very personal torture that is Domestic Violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

A pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate or romantic relationship where one person chooses to control the relationship through the use of force, intimidation or fear.

This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic Violence’s abuse can take many forms. It may range from physical, emotional, sexual, economical, or a combination of these. It can be extreme as we often picture it, or it can be very subtle. In a relationship, it knows no boundaries or age limits. It happens in straight or same-sex relationships. Either sex can abuse the other (yes, women can be abusers to men). It can, and does, happen to teens as well as adults.

We often picture it as we have seen it in movies but Domestic Violence isn’t just an argument every once in a while. Domestic violence describes an ongoing pattern of abusive behavior when one person chooses to control the relationship (most often a romantic relationship) through force, fear, pressure or intimidation. Sometimes it is not even noticeable. Put-downs in public can only be the tip of the iceberg. It can very often be subtle even to the point of withholding money or taking paychecks.

That romantic relationship can be between two people who are married, divorced, living together, dating, with kids, without kids. It can be between teenagers, young people, adults, the elderly, between a man and woman, two women, two men, two people from any race, culture, nationality, religion, and from any neighborhood, economic status or educational level… Domestic violence can affect anyone.

It is important to understand that people commit domestic violence because they choose to do so, not because they can’t stop themselves. I think our modern society too often wants to place blame for something anywhere except the place it needs to be…on the person who committed or is committing the negative behavior. Abusing someone is a CHOICE.

We should all know the signs of Domestic Violence, not only to protect ourselves but to possible warn or protect others.

What are the Warning Signs?

•extreme jealousy or insecurity
•constant put-downs
•possessiveness or treating you like property
•telling you what to do
•constantly checking in on you
•explosive temper
•making false accusations
•isolating you from your friends and family
•preventing you from doing things you want to do

What Can be Done?

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, what can you do? The answer is not as simple as one might first think. Unlike in the movies we can’t just storm into the home and stop the violence as much as we might like to. Unlike Social Violence self-defense courses do little good because many people either do not realize they are actually being abused or refuse to admit it.

How can a person not realize they are being abused?

You have to understand that a lot of Domestic Violence / Abuse is psychological as well as physical. It is a pattern that over time has become, in the victim’s mind, normal. If possible pull the victim to the side, get them away from their abuser, and have a serious talk with them. Try to educate them and explain to them that what is happening is wrong. You can also inform the proper authorities. Help Lines and Hot Lines are abundant and easy to find. One thing to keep in mind: you are involving yourself in a very volatile situation on both sides. You absolutely have to use some discernment in how you act and the actions you take. You also must be willing to accept that the victim may not be willing to listen to you or accept your help. Remember, they think in many cases that nothing is wrong. The abuser is already a violent person in one form or another and may at least verbally assault you. In reality you must have a great deal of wisdom and courage if you attempt any form of intervention.

If you are being abused you need to:

Realize you are being abused.

You are in a cycle. You have been brainwashed to certain degree. You have to come to grips within yourself that you are a victim. Most importantly you have to realize that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Remember what I said earlier, people CHOOSE to abuse someone. The idea you have done anything to deserve abuse is part of the cycle that the abuser has set into place in your mind. They have put you, your life, and possible the lives of your children in a nice little box…or cage.

Get Help

There are many organizations out there that are ready and willing to assist you. I support and work with such an organization that not only offers support and counseling but can also offer abuse victims and their children a place to go, a Safe House so to speak. Find these people and accept their help. No matter what you have come to believe, you are being victimized and you need help and support.

Get Out!

Just as it is with Social Violence you need to separate yourself from the thing that is harming you. You need to “escape”. If there are children involved this becomes even more critical. Perhaps your abuser isn’t harming your children physically but there are mental and emotional scars they are enduring that will last them for the rest of their lives. You may believe with all of your heart that things will get better. You may think that eventually you can change that person. Things will NOT get better. You will NOT change your abuser. In all probability without professional help, things will get worse.

You Are Not Alone

As I said, there are people out there that can and will help you. You are not the only person that has had to endure the pain and suffering you are experiencing. Inside of each of us is the heart of a warrior. That heart can take many different shapes and form each warrior differently. One of the main characteristics, the main traits, of a warrior is courage. You have to embrace the warrior within you and find the courage to act. You have to find the strength to reach out for help. Once you can do this you will find that you are truly not alone.

Wetmore Fire Relief

October 23, 2012 1 comment

DROP OFF STATION AT DOJO

We are setting up a Relief Station at the dojo for victims of the Wetmore fire.

Rocky Mountain Shito-Ryu Karate-Do / USA Tang Soo Do

323 Main St Canon City CO

Please bring:

  • Toiletries

  • Non-Perishable Food Items

  • Blankets

  • Bottled Water

  • Household Items

THE PEOPLE OF WETMORE COLORADO NEED YOUR HELP NOW!!!!

Hours will be announced ASAP. WE WILL BEGIN COLLECTING ON 10/24/12 (WEDNESDAY)