Well, it has been a little over four months since my daughter and I started taking Karate at Bill Taylor's Bushido School of Karate. At first, I didn't honestly know if I was going to be able to do it. It was definitely tough to push through. However, it isn't because the instructors were standing over me with sticks waiting to strike the moment that I slacked off. Please, give me a moment to explain.

Our youngest daughter is not a "team sport" kinda girl. She tried soccer, but just didn't seem to enjoy it. We tried swimming, but while she enjoyed it, it just wasn't a very practical option because of the location of the pool facilities. I took Taekwondo during high school and really enjoyed it, so I thought perhaps she would like karate. Turns out, we were right. She loves it and has a blast every time she goes to class (well, at least that is what she says after class is over).

Of course, I could not allow my daughter to take karate and not take it myself. The problem is (you have read my other articles, haven't you?) that I have really "let myself go" from a health perspective, and that just has so many negative aspects that I cannot even begin to list them. I wanted to do this for myself and my family, so that I can take care of them instead of them having to take care of me. I also did not want to attend a school that promoted you simply because you had paid your money and come to class. I truly only want to advance if I have advanced.

The way I see martial arts is that I am training myself to be able to handle situations that I hope I never find myself. When I go to class, I'm not trying to outwork other students, but myself. If I cannot do just a little better than I did the previous session, then I consider that class a failure. Not on the part of the teacher, but on my part for not working hard. Believe me, I have had a class or two like that, but it is always because I did not prepare myself to do well. I want to push myself to be better than I have been in the past, because that is truly all that I can control.

After this time, I love our school. The instructors are great, and my daughter is still loving it too. Our fellow students are encouraging and help bring out the best in each other, rather than having haughty attitudes that discourage others. I have lost a total of around 15 pounds, which is not as far along as I'd hoped, but at least it is moving in the right direction. More than weight loss, I can feel my body getting stronger, developing more endurance, and having much less stress than I have had in the past. If I could just keep my addiction to cookies in check, I'd be doing a lot better.

If you are exercising regularly, keep it up. If you aren't, start now. Trust me when I tell you that you will feel so much better. I have found that if I do not exercise I still have aches and pains, but when I do exercise the aches and pains make me feel better instead of worse. Work hard and your body will repay you with good health!