Virtuous Masculinity is Not Toxic

The 4 virtues of a man- I derived this from the Order of Man news letter. These 4 virtues are also seen in the Bushido or warrior code of the samurai.

1. JUSTICE

This is the righteous man. He is fair in his dealings with others. He understands the difference between selfishness and selflessness.

2. PRUDENCE

This is the man of action. He’s able to discern the appropriate path forward. He governs himself with reason and makes good choices.

3. FORTITUDE

This is the man of courage. He has the willingness to face danger, pain, and uncertainty. He displays bravery in both physical and moral strength.

4. TEMPERANCE

This is the man of moderation. He practices self-restraint, forgiveness, humility, and discipline in all areas of life.

Masculinity, as I survive current culture landscape is seen as such an evil and frowned upon trait anymore. As you may or may not know, my father raised me in the martial arts. Through that he taught me to never let my disability stop me. To hold my head up and stick my chest out. To be tough and hold my ground, and to never use my skills for the sake it. Always to restrain evil from either self or the life of another .

I learned all of these above virtues in the martial arts, being a martial artist has in many ways taught me to be a more peaceful person. Peaceful- but also knowing when to use my skills to handle real evil or an unruly person who’s just having a bad day. It makes me a more kind and loving person.

And yet men like me, disabled or not. Who train or teach martial arts, shoot guns, eat a lot of red meat and so on are seen as a antagonist. We are seen as toxic. Why? In my estimation it was once seen as good, for a man to be tough, capable, a protector and knew how to treat a woman.  Call me old fashioned if you must, but I believe that a man should still hold a door for a woman, and treat her with the utmost respect while taking care of her mind and heart. The obvious objections to this are:

I don’t need a man to hold a door open for me.

I don’t need a man to take care of me in any way shape or form.

A woman might not need a man to hold a door open for them, or take care of them. But I’m not going to change my values as a man in the name of succumbing to new culture norms. And for the record, I have zero problems with a woman who is strong, educated and has her own interests in life.          

In my weekly martial arts practice I know many women who can handle their own in a fight, and can even lift more weight then me. Still, it doesn’t take away from the fact that virtuous men, would still do all they could to protect and woman from violence should they have to. It has nothing to do with whether or not a woman can defend herself or not. But that being a protector is hard wired into the DNA of a man, or at least it should be.

There is nothing toxic about this, it’s what makes up the warrior inside of the inner man. There’s so many men today that are scared of their own shadow, afraid to getting punched or roughed up. We frown upon boys that get into scuffles with their friends and someone getting a bloody nose. I can remember the first time that I ever got into a scuffle with someone, I ended up elbowing them in a face as hard as I could. Was it the right thing to do?

No, but after all the drama resolved, my dad had us shake hands and we actually became friends after. The point being that when you have a masculine father step in, and demonstrate that while there is a time to use violence, virtuous men understand that they are more often willing to pursue peace and use violence as a last resort.   

We need men that are capable of violence, we need men that are capable of even being able to hunt for their own food, in the name of providing for their own families. We need men that are disciplined so that they can accomplish their life’s mission. We need men, that are also filed with compassion and empathy, so as to help ease the burdens of others in this world. We need men who are willing to stoop down and lift others up, so that they too can set themselves on solid ground.

Masculinity-or rather virtuous masculinity is not toxic. Nor should we seek to strip it away from the hands of men. We need it greatly in our currently societally standing. We need to take it back, and show it to a desperate world. We need to take it back from other men in this world that are not living up to all that they could be. We need to take it back from all the other men in the world that are using their so called “masculinity” for all the wrong reasons.    

Change and The Hour Glass

No one likes to come to realization that they need to improve in life, it’s almost like we are being exposed somehow. Or that people can see something about us that we can’t see ourselves. And even though this feeling is not very comfortable. I find that it is all the more important and needed, that we feel that ever intrusive feeling.

For me, I have come to the realization, that I am not always grounded in my masculinity. I notice that sometimes I just let people walk on me, I don’t do the best with being a masculine man and stand up for myself.

Why?

Because I’m afraid to rock the boat, afraid to say what I really think. And as such, I allow to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others to rule. This needs to change. Realizing that I have areas of my life that need work, it’s a good thing and even a blessing.

There’s no need to be discouraged about having areas in ones life where change is needed, just commit to the process of doing the work every single day. Whatever it is, if its weight loss, do the work. If its gaining muscle, do the work, if its being more confident and assertive- do the work!

It might not happen in the time frame that you or I want it to, but never stop doing the work. It doesn’t matter if you fall on your face in the process. You do a burpee and get back up. Don’t fall for the lies of victimhood or that you have to hurry to get things done.

I think what can tie me up the most, is that I sometimes see my life like an hour glass. All the sand quickly running out. Now, it is true the time is running out on all our lives. But to think that that we have to hurry up and get things done, in the name of “missing out on something” can be a bit of a trap.

Again, yes we should work to get things accomplished but more over. We should realize that this our own journey, and if it takes some of us longer, so what? At least your trying, fighting and succeeding to the best of your ability everyday.

How To Be A Bad Ass Human Being

Tips For Being A Bad Ass Human Being

Human beings are amazing, we can do so much with our bodies and minds every single day of our lives. My own existence is something that I simply do not thank God for on a regular. Rather I piss-moan and groan about how much my life sucks. Anyone who knows anything about my own story, knows that the deck was stacked against me. And yet, by the grace of God I have gone onto obtain multiple degrees and certifications. Even though doctors told me I would always be dependent on others, and even though educational professionals told me I didn’t have what it took to attend university. We human beings have forgotten how beautiful our own existence is, we have lost sight of the fact that we can all be bad asses in our own right. So what are a few tips to become that person?

Finding Your Mental Resolve: We don’t like to hear this, but the only way we truly find our resolve, the only we become mentally and emotionally tougher is through hardship and challenges. Some of us have had very tough and painful lives, and because of that, it’s easy to feel defeated and buried under the ashes of life. Yet, we have forgotten that we can rise from those ashes. I am not always a believer of pulling up oneself by their boot straps. Though, at times in life, you will have to do that. Much more I am a believer of being shaped and allowing yourself to be molded and mentored by other people who truly care about you. I am eternally grateful that God gave me parents who not only told me I was strong, but showed me I was. I am also thankful that God let me experience all the suffering in my life. I’m thankful that he led me through the valley of death. Because it made me who I am today. Find the good in your life, face the darkness in your own life, try more and more every day, to not listen to the lies in your mind any longer. Suffering comes for us all, in different ways throughout our lives. As such, we should always have our armor ready when the fight comes, in the name of not being blindsided by an attack. Some of us are so comfortable with our own comfort, that the slightest bit of adversity sends us packing. Learn to be steady and calm and adversity, because the storm always passes.

Enjoy Solitude: This is art form, I have been working on more and more in my life. I have come to love solitude, by myself and without distraction. Some of us are afraid to be alone with our own thoughts, have to always be doing something. But there’s really happiness and healing, in being able to be still, and see what resonates inside us. It’s in the stillness of the night, that we can discover who we are, what we have to work on and where we want to go. It was in the solitude of my heart, that I discovered that the creator of the heavens and earth was drawing me to himself, he was making me a new creation, a strong soldier and a seeker of how he sees me. Get comfortable being your own company, interact with the thoughts in your own mind, no matter how dark and uncomfortable they may be. Get a journey, write things down, it could be a method of healing from trauma, holding yourself accountable for goals. Our biggest problem in society, is that we are constantly seeking information outward and we are not spending enough time discovering who we are and how bad ass we can be. Start seeking solitude today, even if you’re a parent, find time early in the morning, or even for a few minutes before bed. Take stock of your life. You will be better because of it.

Listen To Others: I’ve always been more of a listener than talker, and I honestly like it that way. Listening to others should be pretty self-explanatory, but some of us talk so much and we don’t listen enough. When we do that, we miss out on being teachable. We miss out on exercising empathy and compassion for others, who might be in a time of darkness. With utilizing our ability to listen, rather than speak. We have a better chance at showing others a light covered path to hope.

Become The Healthiest You: This will look different for each person, because we all have different abilities. But we all could be a bit, or even a lot more healthier in our lives. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I haven’t worked with a lot of people with different abilities. The reoccurring theme, with working with a wide variety of clients, is that if you commit to the process of getting better each day, with proper nutrition and exercise you will see results. Yes, things take time, but that’s the beauty of it, in that we get to embrace the process and see the small changes gradually. The instant gratification that we crave with our health and the rest of our lives isn’t real. Nutrition and fitness are two categories of life that have been made overall complicated. As a whole, I feel that quite a few us could do much better, by saying no to a lot of processed foods, and yes to more water, protein, and some fruits and vegetables if you like them. (I’m not convinced that we need them and function fully).
In terms of fitness, you don’t always have to have a gym membership. Nor do you have to go balls to wall for hours on end. I did CrossFit for a number of years, and as much as I love it. Not all your workouts have to be that intense to get a good workout in. If you’re new to the world of fitness, I suggest taking a few 10 minute walks every day, (gradually work your way to a jog) while starting to master the push up (even if it’s on your knees) along with other variations and challenges to pushups as you go along. And mastering a good squat form- in different variations, weighted and single legged squats. Because we all do it every day. Just with those exercises alone, you can do a lot with those daily movements and habits.
Next, get yourself a pull up bar or some rings, you really can build a lean strong body with these two pieces of equipment. With rings, you can utilize harder variations of push- ups, dips, planks and bridges to build the core- etc.
Kettle Bells are great too, especially the swing, because it’s a total body movement that even throws in cardio at the same time.

My Heart As A Trainer and Coach (For the adaptive community)

Being a personal trainer/nutrition coach, has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. And as I have written in a previous post, it was something that I hesitated from doing. For reasons of there not being enough money etc. I went ahead and ignored all the antagonist thoughts in my head and got certified in both!

I’ve been working the up hill climb at trying to gain a steady clientele, it’s difficult and even frustrating. Yet, at risk of sounding like an ego filled/puffed up human being. I’m going to brag about a few accomplishments , because I’m very proud of them.

The first notable one, was when I stared working with a young woman who had a worse form of cerebral palsy (CP) than I did. when I first started doing online coaching with her (which is what I do with all my clients) she could barely make her hands in the shape of a fist. In fact, doctors wanted to perform an operation on her to correct it. I didn’t think that surgery should be an option, unless we explored all the options.

After learning about my clients goals, I went ahead both a nutrition and fitness plan for her. For the simple reason, that I wanted her to be healthy and strong from the inside out. Long story short, after several weeks of staying as focused and disciplined as possible. She was able to open and close her hands! Much more, she was able to take a few steps assisted.

This to me has meant so much, and if as coach this is my greatest victory. I’m some what okay with that. There have been others with CP and other adaptive needs, that I have helped, in the areas of weight loss, gaining mobility and strength and so on. But the above story is most notable. Of course, I strive for others with CP and other needs to be their healthiest selves.

For we get one life and one body, and if we don’t take care of it. The consequences are much greater. My heart as a trainer, is to help clients adopt a healthy mindset and vision for their lives. Everything is mindset, which I believe sets me apart from other trainers, because some just focus on the body. Without taking stock of whats going on in the mind.

Our bodies are a gift, they might function differently, but they are a gift non the less. As such, we should be doing all that we can to take care of them each day. Eating more protein, drink more water, consume less sugar and so on. We should be doing all we can to make our bodies strong, even if all you can do is work your arms, do that! Make the most of what you got.

Learn to lay aside the fear, the doubts, the what ifs and start carving out the person you want to be. It’s not as difficult or impossible as you think, it just takes discipline, time and focus. But it can be done!

I’m here to help!

Movement As Blessing

 

I’ve always had the conviction that being able to move your body everyday, is a huge blessing. That conviction has only grown, upon getting my certifications in fitness  and nutrition. I want to ignite the fire and passion for people to love and honor their bodies inside and out.

Exercise can be a huge part in this, but more so, I am speaking toward the reality, that getting to move your body, everyday in small ways is a blessing. Even as I move my fingers to type this blog.

I long to see people with special needs, have a deep zeal everyday, to get themselves out of bed and do what they can to be healthier, happier and stronger. I know everyone has different ranges of ability, energy and so on.

The one objection that stem from this: Well, thats easy for you to say, you don’t.. (fill in the blank).

Actually, along with having CP, I am always in some sort of pain, I’m always tired, a lot of days I have to fight to even get out of bed. And yes, there’re a lot of days where my own struggle with depression beats me down. So I do understand very well.

But here is the deal, life is too much of a blessing to let any of that stuff have victory over me. Even on the days when I don’t want to get out of bed, you know what? I get out of bed. Regardless of the war that may be going on inside me on a giving day, I try and make someones life better.

Jocko Willink talks a lot about going through the motions, going to the gym when you don’t want to. Doing the things you would rather not do, because in doing so you’re better because of it. The moment my eyes open in the morning, I hear Jocko’s voice saying:

GET. OUT. OF BED. NOW!

Do the work you have to do.

Wash the dishes

Wash the clothes

Do the everyday and mundane things you’d rather not do. why!? Because your moving, your using the body that God gave you. Much better, you are forsaking the laziness in your mind, that says “oh no, you don’t have to anything today!”

Now, I’m not implying you can’t rest. What I am saying is that you can rest, after you have gotten everything on your to-do list done. Workout included! There’s something so beautiful about going to bed tired, knowing that you poured yourself out and crushed the day. That’s a wonderful way to live lives!

Then, you can rest and rest deeply.

So wake up everyday, rip the the covers from your body and get moving. Workout, do the mundane tasks (and even your prospective on them will change), better yourself in every way you can, help others and then you can rest deeply. Do what you can everyday, so no to the lazy voice in your head, so that when you rest, you will rest fulfilled.

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Discipline and The New You!

I was talking with a client this more, and something that I said to them really struck me. It was the idea of dialing in your discipline. Meaning that one:

Discipline begins again every single day, what this really comes down to, is knowing why we are being disciplined for in the first place. Makes sense? And so for my client, they have this vision of themselves of who they want to be.

And they want to reach that goal, that space and time in their lives. For themselves, not because they want to be like anyone else. But because they want to be happy, healthy, whole and complete for no one else but them.

I can’t begin to tell you how revolutionary this, because then they can reach a place where they stop comparing themselves to others. Stop looking and obsessing over the numbers on the scale, because they aren’t defined by that anyone or anything else.

But again, this takes discipline, the discipline to not spend so much time scrolling through social media. Choosing to be discipled in waking up early, appreciating the gift of a new day.

The discipline of choosing the right foods, drinking enough water. The disciple to say no to food and other things in life that will only hinder you. This all starts with a choice that isn’t merely cognitive, but it is a choice that has to resonate within our full nature. It has to change ever part of you.

This can true for you as well, you just have to decide in the here and now.

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You and The Vending Machine

Wow,

Thank you for all the likes on my latest post, for all the new subscribers. I really hope to help and inspire people however I can!

Okay, that aside, I was asked to write a blog on combating the desire to go the vending machine when you are at work or in need of a quick repass, or something to get you through the day. More specially, that nagging antagonist in your mind, that tells you to cure your hunger by getting a 50 cent or dollar snack.

Now, I fail at nutrition too, a lot and sometimes I give into the temptation too. We are humans and we will make mistakes whether we like it or not. Let’s be honest about that. Much more, let us know our enemies all the more.

What I mean is, know, when your enemy sets out to attack on a daily basis. And be ready for it, better yet attack the enemy before they can attack you. I know I’m using very militant language. But when it comes to our health and nutrition, we have to be disciplined and go out on the attack.

Be it, making sure that you maybe pack healthy snacks with you, the night before. And drink plenty of water. Eat more foods that leave fuller longer, steak and higher protein foods. When you have that temptation, even finding a corner and knocking out some push ups or burpees.

Make every effort to make war against the temptation, because that mid day snack isn’t going to get you closer to your goals. Of being healthy, happier, more alive, satisfied and focused. It will get you off course faster than anything.

But.. But.. If you do get off track, please remember not to beat your self up, but dust your self off and get back on the path. Even if you do have a cheat day- that’s fine, but than start pounding the water and getting back on it. Typically, when our bodies tell us that we are hungry, and we crave the cheap and easy foods, our bodies crave nutritionist.

So apply discipline, and feet it healthy things. Learn to say no, imply windows of fasting and starve your body of its desire of processed craving. In our lives, we can leave behind legacy, one that can go on for those after us. That starts by making small changes today, in the here and now.

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The 3 Key’s To Change (On your fitness Journey)

Everyone has something they want to change  about themselves, be it physically, mentally or spiritually. Or so you should, sure moments of contentment tend to sustain us for awhile. But growth is the name of the game, when we stop wanting to grow and improve. We stop living and thriving altogether.

Let’s take the topic of weight loss for example, a person may set out to lose 20, 50 or even a hundred pounds.  The process for some is very difficult, the weight is stubborn and doesn’t come off as readily as one would like. It’s to become discouraged and give up on the process and gain even more weight.

The helpless thought kicks into our minds, making the claim that we always be this way, just accept it. Now, there might be a nugget of truth in the reality of “just accepting it”

I may always have cerebral palsy, my body might hurt a lot more than others, but that does not mean that I am over all helpless over my situation. As hard as it can be, I can choose to not listen to lie in my head that says I’m worthless.

You can capture it, speak to it with authority, understanding that it does not have the final word.

Embrace and celebrate the process: So you are aiming to lose some weight, or even gain muscle size. Embrace that it will be a journey, full of ups and downs. Nothing, almost nothing happens on our time frame. Celebrate every healthy choice, every workout, every time you chose a healthier source of food, over the quick satisfying fast food that won’t bring you any closer to a healthier you.

Have a healthy sense of self love: Know who you are. Know that you are on your journey, lay your fear and insecurity aside. Show up to the gym, do work and never mind the fear of what people are quietly thinking about you. What matters is that you show up to the day and you don’t quit

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The Lost Art of Self-Control

imagesSelf-control is a beautiful tool, sadly I strongly believe that it is a lost concept or art. In the words of Robert Burns: Prudent, cautious self-control, is wisdom’s root. Think about this reality, in nearly all children martial arts programs, things like self-control, discipline. Honor, integrity and more are instilled in these programs. Now, by in large, this have become buzz words that parents look for to be instilled in the children. Largely because they have trouble instilling them in their children themselves, so martial arts might be a worthy avenue to try. I’m not knocking these programs, in fact, I love teaching kids and to be honest, kids programs are what keep most schools afloat.
Interestingly enough, we instill these values in our children and when people reach adulthood these values tend to fall away. I believe that’s because, we largely assume that as adults and martial artist we know how to control ourselves. Not so much! I have seen so many martial artists show no respect for their training environments, throw their equipment around, show up late for class, don’t pay attention and have an ego bigger than someone on my 600 hundred pound life. I have seen countless instructors, that don’t instill the bushido code in their students, and let them act however they want. Martial artist used to be disciplined and peaceful warriors, what has happened to us? I’ve seen many-videos of so called martial artists getting in fights, rather than exercising self-control and avoiding/walking away. I’ve seen countless FMA instructors teaching how to commit man slaughter, with an edged weapon. Rather than teaching how to control oneself and do what is needed and necessary, to use that edged weapon to create space and get away!
Furthermore, I also have seen instructors teach repeating stomps to the head, even after the situation has been neutralized. As martial artists, we should have the ability to control ourselves even when our lives depend on it. Now to be fair, there is a time and place to invoke violence. However, not every situation calls for that, in most self-defense encounters (if not all) one has to be able to legally justify the level of force used and why. Lyoto Machida, one of my favorite MMA fighters, has never let go of his Karate roots, that includes self-control, and even in his fights he does not go overboard when finishing a fight. In fact, he steps back and respectfully bows to his opponent. He is a prime example of self- controlled warrior that I’m speaking of. Lastly, outside martial arts and self-defense, self- control should be a daily current in your life. If it’s not, then you need to put into practice. Your life will improve immensely if you do. Not everything in life is worth freaking out about.
Learn to take a few moments each day to breath and be still, learn that the person you control is you. You can’t control as much as your led to believe. You only can control you. You can’t control the weather or how someone else reacts. Learn to separate yourself from a situation, let go of the past, set boundaries in your life and for others. Be self-controlled in your daily habits, make yourself a stronger warrior not just on the outside but the inside as well. I know what I’m saying may seem very basic and elementary, but I strongly believe that it is needed now, more than ever.

 

Don’t get bitter-Get Better! The Annoying Truth.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: Don’t get bitter getter better, if you’ve found it to be slightly annoying, that is more than okay. However, it’s been coming to my mind the last few days, and as annoying as it can be. I believe that the phrase or quote has truth to it.

First, bitterness is nothing more than carrying around excess emotional, mental and even spiritual weight inside us. It robs us of joy, fun, sleep, makes us cranky and not fun to be around. For many of us, we have had relationships go wrong, been screwed over in some ways or saw someone we don’t like get the upper hand in life so to speak.

It drives you nuts I know, especially with social media, it’s easy to see the lives of someone we don’t like all happy, acting as though everything is fine. Meanwhile, we’re still pissed that they hurt us, and rightfully so. I’m not trying to make smallness to anyones pain.

Over the last year, I have had a few people screw me over in various ways, and you know what? It hurts and it pisses me, and somedays I would like to give them a piece of my mind. But here’s the thing, they probably don’t care and aren’t even giving it a thought.

So what I left with? What are you left with?

Two options: Stay where were at: Bitter, angry, pissed off, hurt and wanting to smacking someone or a group of people silly. Or… Or, we can let it go, for the better quality of life. Letting go of the hurt, anger and frustration. This then, doesn’t mean that you justify what a person did, it doesn’t even mean you forget it. But it does mean accepting the harsh reality, that the person that is most stunted in forward progress is YOU and ME.

I’ll say it again, most people don’t care that you’re hurt, angry or pissed off. They mostly only care about themselves. Unless, unless a person comes to you and is truly remorseful, then the context can be a lot different. So at the end of day, we are stuck with ourselves.

Get better: As I said above, we can learn to gradually let go of the wrongs done to us, for the improvement of ourselves. We can ponder any mistakes that we could have made, and learn to improve upon them. We can apply discipline in our lives, in the name of setting boundaries, so that we don’t allow others to hurt us or take advantage us whatever it is, ever again.

You and me, we only get one shot as this earthly life. So why not spend it on the relentless pursuit of getter better in every single area of our lives. Not being weighed down by past experiences? We soar greater in life, when we have less to weigh us down.

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