Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

Motive picOne day in August of 1991, I was uptown and saw the local taekwondo club had a special offer of two weeks' free classes. I'd always been interested in martial arts, so I thought this sounded like a good deal and started classes.

I'd been in Oskaloosa less than a year and soon after starting my job at the radio station I joined the local community theatre group. I had been acting in plays since high school and enjoyed the friendships made.

When I discovered I was pretty good at martial arts, I had to make a choice. Rehearsals for each play conflicted with taekwondo classes. Although I still wanted to act, I enjoyed TKW more so I gave up the theatre. Sorry, Hollywood and Broadway.

Because of an injury as a child, I had had trouble with my right arm when participating in sports. Taekwondo brought back some of those issues, but in time, they relieved themselves with the constant exercise. Because I've kept up the workouts, I don't have as many elbow problems.

I earned my first degree black belt in 1993 and immediately joined the instructor trainee program. I had been teaching a lot of classes for several months but this program helped determine my future. I became certified (as opposed to certifiable), helped a friend of mine with her club for a year or so, then took it over and moved it to Grinnell. In 2003, I assumed ownership of the Osky club and although Grinnell had some problems, I still run the Osky club, even from an hour away.

I enjoy martial arts. I look forward to the tournaments and the camps. I look forward to seeing friends. I wish I had more time to participate in many of the activities around the country and I still strive for more students in my club.

I still work on my form and compete in tournaments. I train because I want to improve myself. I'm not in the best shape but I am strong and a lot more flexible than I would be without TKW. My body responds well to exercise. It revels in sweat, the sore muscles, the increased heart rate, and exhilaration of accomplishing my goal for the day. I suffer when I don't exercise and it's that much harder to do the next time. I feel good when I finish a workout. I recover faster today than I did six months ago. The coming cold weather will restrict some of the outside exercise, but I will cope as best I can.

Why do I exercise? Because I want to stay healthy. I try to watch my diet and think about what I ingest. Sure I have the occasional cookie and soda and fast food, but not as much as I used to. I'm more into salads and the right amount of lean beef and chicken. I love fish.

Chief Master Larry Hoover, an excellent high rank in my region, once related at one of our winter camps that up to age 30, people exercise to build. Building muscle, etc. After 30, we maintain. We may build a bit of muscle and lose some fat, but we're maintaining what we have already gained.

I don't want to be overweight. I don't want high blood pressure. At my next physical I want to see what my cholesterol level is but I've been watching the fat.

And I exercise. I run and bike and do WarriorXFit. I used to lift weights and would like to be in a position to get back to the gym. I still work on my form for flexibility, stamina, balance, and for self defense. I hope never to have to use martial arts against an enemy, but I'm training my instincts and responses to be able to deal with it if that time ever comes.

That's my motive for working out. Because if I didn't, then my body suffers.

Why do people write? For money. Fame. To say to people, “I am published.” Some people feel the 'need' to write. Some write for the pure enjoyment of writing, of expressing creativity. Some write only to share with family.

I write for all of those reasons. I write because I want to write and feel bad on those days I don't, just like exercising. I suffer when I don't write, and yes, it's that much more difficult to begin when I've stopped. With working out, I have to remember to stretch and cool down and push myself when I want to quit. With writing, I have to remember the rules, when to break them, proper grammar and punctuation, how to show and not tell. When I miss a weekly writers' group, I really miss it.

So, there you have it. I hope I've helped and spurred some ideas. Let me know your ideas for fitness and writing. How do you do either?

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