Mentoring Mentor and Mentee

The school year is just about over, one more week to go.

I’ve fulfilled my mentoring commitment for now.  I look forward to continuing it again.

I didn’t get enough of it!  I would have liked more hours a couple of times a week.  Maybe next time I’ll have a better understanding of the program and can exploit it more on behalf of my mentee.

There’s an initial awkwardness to overcome for both parties.  They know they’re the “kid” and you’re the “MENTOR” but the meaning of that term is unclear for the kid, so you’re probably another grownup authority figure meddling in their  life.

From what I’ve heard, my mentee is different.  Sixth grader, 12 years old, male.  But, he got a star student award recently, is well spoken, well mannered, vibrant, generally well behaved.  I think most us mentors expect to get a “troubled youth” and some do, but I didn’t.  Sure, his grades in a couple of subjects need improvement, but with his character and consciousness, that will come.  He does not have a “thug” mindset.  I’m sure his home life contributes to his genteel attitude.  Right on Mom and Dad!

So, I looked to establish that as the “MENTOR” I was not going to bust his chops about schoolwork.  His time with me should be a welcome break from the rote of the average school day.  I would also not push empty platitudes on him.  We’d meet, have lunch together, speak a little about ourselves, share interests and questions, and he’d go back to class nourished and refreshed.  As that got settled and we established some trust, we sometimes got to quizzing each other on math. “Oh yeah, whats four times eight minus ten?” and you have to answer fast.  He was pretty good, and gonna get better.  I shared that at  my house we read a lot. I shamelessly encouraged him not just to read but to develop good reading skills and habits.  I told him “if you read, can remember what you read, and add it to something else you read, you can then teach yourself anything you want, any time you want!”

We started to learn to juggle.  He hasn’t kept up his  practice but we’ll revisit that.  We managed to do some Kali eye hand coordination training; he can do a Redonda, a single stick single Sinawali, and we started a six count entry drill that grown ups have a hard time with, and he got the gist of it in one short session!

We started to play chess and he’s picked that up fast too.

IMG_2199 He got this dog tag from a Red Tails exhibit at his school.  I told him that this is “self talk,” something people do to keep in their minds principals that are important to them.

I especially focused on “use your brain” and “never quit.”

Another aspect of our relationship is that we speak bilingually, though I encourage  mastering English because “that’s the language of where you are.”   However, we have  dabbled in a few Japanese phrases.

I can’t wait to continue with my mentee.  I read a quote recently that said “Education is when the mind expands, not when the mind memorizes.”  School requires a lot of memorization, I told him that, and that he has to memorize formulas, numbers, names, dates, etc.,  not to consider that the hard part. Using your mind to put those together for a purpose that’s where others fall short

If he’ll have me, we’ll expand our minds, and my chess will get better too!


Goals-Onging and New

I had a mental block when starting to write out goals recently.

There’s a bunch of things I wanted to spell out as goals.  But I was mentally overwhelmed.  How can you start to list your goals and not come up with a single one?

Then it hit me that I had ongoing goals that I was already working on and being successful with.  I was overlooking the fact that I am goal oriented and have been for a long time, even before coming to the “write your goals down” thing.

I had the goal of parenting and raising up a child who would become a well mannered, decent human being who was mindful of others, not a taker, well educated, independent, and spiritual.  Done!

I’ve had the goal of maintaining a higher than average degree of health and fitness.  Ongoing and generally successful.

I’ve had the goal of learning martial arts, developing excellence in them, and being able to share them with interested individuals.  Ongoing and generally successful.

I’ve had the goal of being a good and consistent provider for my family.  Ongoing and successful.

The goal of increasing in wisdom and knowledge.  Ongoing.

I wanted to learn to juggle and taught myself in a weekend.  I wanted to be an intelligent visual artist, done.  Wanting to learn to cook Asian dishes, making a great whiskey sour, do coin magic, play chess…done and ongoing.

So for a minute I felt hopeless, goal-less, lost, but; upon reflection, I am no loser without goals or achievements in life!   2I’ve been as successful as I’ve wanted to be.  I’ve taken on challenges and surmounted them.  Take a breath and stand on the shoulders of those accomplishments which were once just a “goal.”  Then scan the horizon, see which ones attract you the  most, which ones beckon you to the challenge,  set your eyes upon them, they are your new goals!

When asked about goals, we, and I am including me, sometimes clutch at straws, looking to answer a question rather than respond to a passion.  Goals and passion are linked.  I’ve listed as goals things I was not passionate about, just responding to making a list.  Not my most successful endeavors.  But when a passion is the  link between your actions and your objective, that is a goal!

We all have needs and wants we act on.  We can even act on needs and wants resentfully, but those are not goals, they are obligations and duties.  A goal is a joyfully chosen path.

So what should I/we do?  Scan the horizon and check our feelings as we do.  Are you attracted, are you moved? Is it a duty and obligation, or a choice?  You have to act on them all, just recognize which are truly your personal goals.

I now take a breath…    1




Fitness and martial arts

It is not for people who want to “do exercise and loose weight” that’s a separate personal activity.

I added that line to an ad I placed for my martial arts instruction.  Many martial arts instructors and schools advertise that their training will make you fit and loose weight.  I don’t.  I think that the ones who do are kinda making a false claim.

I’m not a nutritionist or a fitness trainer.  I may know a few things along those lines, but as to being qualified to create an effective exercise and nutrition plan for someone, that’s out of my wheelhouse.   I spend my martial arts instruction time on martial arts, not nutrition and fitness. Martial arts and training for skill and excellence in it are time consuming.  So is following a strict program a nutrition and exercise.


I was speaking to a bodybuilder and personal trainer today who said she gets asked “Will I be in bikini shape by beach season?”  To which she answers “That’s totally on you!” She’ll analyse and tailor a regimen for you, recommend specific diet and nutrition for the goals you want to achieve, but as to whether you follow it is “totally on you.”

People lie. They’ll get the charts, the lists and schedules, and since the trainer is not with them 24/7, not follow them to the letter, then lie about it when the results aren’t achieved, even blaming it on the trainer.

Look at the people like this young lady I spoke with today.  She is doing the hard work.  She lifts heavy, and on a schedule. She follows a strict eating discipline, she pushes through the psychological challenges…pretty much on her own, well, she does have husband that helps her and watches her.  But she does it for herself.  She likes seeing the results of her efforts, and those efforts are continual, not a seasonal whim to be in “bikini shape”   She’s made a psychological life decision and committed to it.  It’s not whim.  Dudes

You can loose weight in martial arts training.  When I trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA,  I often lost 5 lbs per nights training session; I’d go in at 6pm weighing 180 and come home to weigh myself  at 8pm, and weigh 175 or less.  Having dinner, or a supreme pizza and a soda, and next day I’m weighing 185-187.  Did I loose weight?  Yes.  But next day it had found me back, sometimes with extra.  Why?  because loosing weight wasn’t my commitment.  If I was going to train for 2-3 hours, I wanted knowledge and to refine technical fighting skills.  This woman I spoke with trains about 3 hours a day, not to mention preparing her select foods and supplements.  To combine those efforts is 6 hours a day.  Oh, and she has children. add a job and a commute and only a fanatic will keep up with it all.

It’s unreasonable to claim someone will get quality martial arts instruction and a significant enough exercise session to loose any weight and keep it off continually, in a 45 minute training session, and without being able to monitor the individual’s eating and lifestyle habits. I cannot guarantee weight loss results for anyone else, only you can do that…for yourself.  Gyms, fitness trainers, martial arts instructors are not your mommy!


Fitness is important.  Not just for martial arts but for all of life in general,  because of that, I believe it’s a a lifestyle  decision that needs to be made independent of other decisions.  When you’re serious enough about it , you’ll monitor your own eating and nutrition habits, and the necessary exercise, to support your weight loss goals.  And you’ll get the results you want, no blaming the trainer, the gym, or the martial arts instructor.

Years ago, speaking to friend about how I was skipping tournaments for while till I got in shape to fight, he said this to me “Why, you don’t have to be in shape to fight.”  It’s true, except for the prize fighting arena.  That was about 35 years ago, and the karate tournament circuit was a little rougher than today’s.  You may not be in top athletic shape when you train martial arts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn and benefit from the instruction.

Some things may require athleticism, but martial arts were not originally developed to create competitive Olympic Athletes.

In my preferred martial art, the Filipino Martial Arts,  a lot of the most fearsome fighters are those in their 60’s and up!  They cannot run a 4 minute mile, lift 350 lbs, and have more than 5% body fat.  Attack them in a dark alley and when the light shines you’ll be a pile of bloody broken bones.  Why?  Because youthful, elite level athleticism, was not a super necessary element  in martial self defense training.

Work personally on your health and fitness.  See a doctor for an assessment.  Take medications as necessary.  Follow a life affirming eating and nourishment plan, and get appropriate exercise for your lifestyle and age.

Come to me to learn martial arts and self defense.  We won’t waste time on push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and trying to exhaust you so it takes longer to learn what you need to fight off an attacker.  Self-Defense-2

I am located in Debary, Florida at Black Lightning Martial Arts.

For more details use the form below or in Central Florida call:  386-320-3075