The Least Likeliest Athlete

Yesterday, I passed my test to earn my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. During the test, I was asked a set of questions by a panel of black belts, Masters, and Grand Masters, and I told them that I am the least likeliest athlete on the planet. I’m 42 years old, have a heart condition, severe arthritis in my back and my hips, and a bum knee.

And yet, since my 40th birthday, I have run two full marathons, eight half marathons, and now, have earned my black belt in the martial arts style that I love so much. Not too shabby.

I’m pretty proud of myself, but I’m not writing this entry to brag. It is my hope that I will inspire others! If you really want to do something, you can! It may take you a little longer, it may feel a little harder, and in the end, it may not look exactly how you envisioned, but if you keep at it, you can get where you want to be!

My test didn’t look the way I had imagined it. It wasn’t as clean or as sharp as I had hoped. I flubbed up in a few areas. But after two days, 200 push ups, 500 sit ups, 8 forms, and a few hours of self defense moves and basics like kicking and punching, I reached a goal I set out to achieve four years ago.

What’s on your “bucket list?” Want to write a book? DO IT! Want to run a marathon? DO IT! Want to find a better job? DO IT! Or at least give it a try. You have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there and trying. Succeed and you’ve reached your goal! Fall short and you’ve learned from a great experience.

Now that I’ve reached this goal, I’m already thinking of what I want my next set of goals to be. Who knows where I’ll go next?

Where do you want to go?

Until next time, veg in, don’t veg out! Karen


How Karate Changed My Life

I am a late bloomer. I’ve always known it. I’m also an introvert; which I’m sure some folks will find hard to believe. So four years ago when my then-husband found a karate school in our neighborhood and asked if I wanted to try a few classes, I reluctantly agreed.

I am often scared of “new people” and overwhelmed trying new things, but after one class I loved it, and we signed up!

I quickly found that I learned a lot more than I bargained for at my classes. Besides learning to kick and punch and block, I was learning how to be myself. I found my strength, and I found my voice.

After starting my classes I lost 30 pounds and started to enjoy working out. Soon, I was taking Gracie Jiu Jitsu alongside Tae Kwon Do. After a few unfortunate mishaps in Jiu Jitsu (a few bruised ribs and a concussion) I decided that this particular discipline wasn’t for me and I picked up running. I finished two full marathons and am now training for my seventh half marathon. I found my strength!

But I also found something much more powerful than that…I found my home. At 42, I still feel like the awkward kid from high school that never really fit in anywhere. But now, I feel like I found my place and my home. And I’ve learned that sometimes the bond you form with the family you choose can be just as strong as the bond you have with the family you’re born into.

So here’s my advice to all of you; find your karate! Or your yoga, or your Zumba, or your spin class, or your step class, or your boxing, or whatever it is that you think you’d enjoy. Find something that you love, that feeds your need to exercise, feeds your mind, and feeds you spirit.

You’re more likely to stick with a physical activity that you look forward to, so find something you love and go for it! By exercising regularly, you’ll likely lose a few pounds, gain a few muscles, and if you’re really lucky, gain a whole new perspective on life, like I did!

So veg in, don’t veg out, and by the way, if you do want to try karate, come check out my school; I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!


Cheng’s Martial Arts School, 1720 South State Road, Building 104B, Upper Darby, PA 19082

610-622-5260                     http://www.chengsmartialarts.com