Where’s The Trust?…

Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. Has it always been like this?

When we were young trust was something that we easily embraced, we trusted those around us without hesitation, prejudice or fear. Through conditioning and the status quo we were educated on the perils of talking to strangers, being out going or living without fear. Our natural ability to trust became the new age paranoia’s. The innocent trust that we once embraced has now become our biggest fear.

Over time our circle of trust became a group we reserved for the very select few around us. Those that wanted into our circle would have to earn that privilege the hard way.

So how does one enter our circle? Is it through their actions and demeanor? What gifts they bring? Or is it our intuition? Personally I think it’s a combination of all the above, with intuition trumping the others.

In this day and age of paranoia and perceived doom and gloom, trust is in short supply and dwindling fast. Let’s face it we generally only interact with those we trust, we befriend and give to those we trust and we follow those we trust. Unfortunately as history has proven, following the wrong person or ideology has led to the demise of many.

I’m not saying we should trust everything and everyone, to the contraire. I do think it’s important that we lower our standards and become more giving and accepting of others, at least until they prove us wrong.

Trust is a lost art, with it we share, love and grow. Without it we become greedy, hateful and cynical.

Who do you trust?

By Master Tim Bell


We can’t afford to be lazy with kids’ health…

By CHRIS COCHRANE Sports Columnist

Wed. Apr 28 – 4:53 AM

How often must we Canadians receive a thumbs-down on our wretched collective physical fitness level before we genuinely act to fix the problem?

Apparently, we’ve become immune to most of the warnings.

For decades, it should have been impossible to ignore countless stories and reports of how the declining health of adult Canadians will eventually eat up billions of dollars in health-care costs.

In recent years, that same focus has switched to Canadian youth, with several private and public studies about an out-of-shape teenage population that simply isn’t physically active enough to avoid future medical problems.

Now the inevitable has happened. We’re hearing horror stories about the physical conditioning of the youngest part of our population.

A group called Active Healthy Kids Canada has, for several years, issued a report card on the physical fitness levels of Canadian young people. Its stated goal is make physical activity a larger part of our lives and provide intelligent solutions for government and society in this fight. Annually, it tells us what we don’t want to hear.

This week, Active Healthy Kids Canada released its sixth annual report card. And the marks, again, weren’t good. The grade for physical activity levels for Canadian children was another F, something difficult to appreciate in such a rich nation.

Here are a couple of interesting notes about the report, as carried by The Canadian Press, indicating the seriousness of the problem:

“The report card reveals only 12 per cent of Canadian children and youth are getting the 90 minutes recommended for daily physical activity. Meanwhile, young people are continuing to devote considerable time to video games, computers and TV, accumulating six hours of screen time on weekdays and more than seven hours on weekend days,” the report says.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this most recent study is that 15.2 per cent of children as young as two to five years old are already overweight, and 6.3 per cent are obese.

Canadians like studies. We must, we produce so many of them. Both the private and public sector have reams of facts showing the dangers of out-of-shape youth.

Yet, regardless of how many studies are done on this fitness matter and ultimately ignored, the consistent answers haven’t changed. Experts agree a physically active society would be a healthier one and a less expensive group to maintain in terms of health costs.

There are plenty of ways to achieve this. For the kids, mandatory school gym classes, for all grade levels, are essential. Free nutrition, fitness and lifestyle education classes at the community grassroots would be invaluable for everyone. Open and free access to all community recreation facilities would stimulate sports interest at all age levels. Full government refunds on all youth registration costs for enrolling in amateur sport would increase participation. And more intense community education on the dangers of raising kids in front of computers and televisions would help.

Sure, this national conditioner would have a cost. But that cost would be more than covered by the savings realized after thousands of more active Canadians avoid what could have been costly hospital stays and medical procedures because they physically shaped up.

It’s obvious many Canadians can’t do it on their own. They need help. That’s where government comes in, though greater funding for local community centres, school programs and amateur sport activities.

Such spending shouldn’t be hard for any government, provincial or federal, to justify. Sometimes you spend a little money to save a lot more. That’s just smart business. And also smart politics.


Chris Cochrane is a sports columnist with The Chronicle Herald.

Who’s Your Friend?….

What makes a belt black?

The covenanted blackbelt is considered by many the holy grail of martial arts, or is it? What does the belt signify? Why is it so revered by those in the martial arts? In this post, I will attempt to answer these and other pertinent questions.

Back in the day before the Americanization of martial arts the belt held no particular significance or value; it was used primarily to secure the dobok/gi top of the practitioner. As this fabled story goes, the student would not clean their belt, so the belt over time would start to become darker from the sweat, dirt and grime from training in the arts. It was considered, the darker the belt the more time the student had trained and thus the more proficient and skilled they supposedly were.

The belt system we have today is based on that philosophy, with white being the first belt and blackbelt being the last. Americanization of this system has taken this further by introducing other colors into the mix based on systems, ideologies and philosophies.

In most martial arts today the length of time between each belt is usually determined by four main criteria:

  1. Training classes attended
  2. Knowledge of curriculum and the execution of technique & protocol
  3. Attitude…Attitude…Attitude
  4. Instructor intuition

The Americanization of the belt system in theory has been good for martial arts, It has created more structure and given us a road map from each belt to the next. The downside is that it has also created an environment where attainment of the belt becomes the primary purpose and focus, causing ones vision to become skewed and narrow as a result.

To truly understand what makes a belt, one must first look inside themselves for its ingredients, and then ask this question: Does the belt make the person or does the person make the belt?

When the attainment of the belt trumps the attainment of personal excellence, it’s then that it becomes just another belt.

Blackbelt is and always has been a state of mind and an attitude, it’s not found in a belt.

By: Master Tim Bell

What’s with all this NOISE!…

Daily we are inundated with noise, now I don’t just mean the auditory noise that we experience from life happening around us, but the noise that bombards our senses and steals our valuable time.

With the constant barrage of e-mails, text messages and Tweets we spend a good portion of our day going from one medium to the other in a never ending circle. The ironic part is that everything seems to be marked urgent. In all seriousness is it really urgent or just a ploy to get our undivided attention. I think the later.

It kind of reminds me of the fable “The boy who cried Wolf”. At first everyone believed him but with so many false cries, people started to ignore the noise until one day the boy was right and the wolf did appear. With this constant state of perceived urgency the pertinent and important messages become lost in the noise.

Social networks have also added to this noise, especially with time sucking. Sites such as Facebook have become our newest form of crack. We spend hours friending people that in most cases we never met. I have seen some with up to 5000 friends. Seriously who really has 5000 friends?

We put our thoughts, feelings and personal lives out for display, hoping to get a compliment or the preverbal thumbs up. Don’t get me wrong social networks are great for connecting with like minded people and sharing information and ideas, for that I am guilty as charged. It becomes a problem when the social network becomes the reality.

Advertising is another form of noise that takes it to the extreme. With so much variety and choice today, advertisers are constantly finding ways to vie for our attention, and exploring every avenue available to do it. We are so bombarded with this noise that are attention spans are dwindling faster than Nova Scotia’s NDP government’s popularity. If the message doesn’t register almost immediately it is ignored and becomes part of the noise. The smart advertisers realize this and are now asking for our permission to develop a relationship first and then a customer second.

Dealing with noise is all about balance and simplicity. I like to use acronym KISS (keep it simple stupid). Let’s face it everything isn’t urgent or ever will be. When it becomes urgent trust me you’ll know it.

Yes the wolf may come but in the meantime turn off those iPhones, Blackberry’s and tell your Facebook friends that you’ll get back to them shortly.

Life doesn’t happen digitally.

The Ghosts of Taiji…

I’m a big fan of documentary movies, especially the ones that bring important issues and causes to light. Last night I watched a movie called “The Cove” it was a movie my daughter Angela highly recommended, knowing my passion for important causes and the environment she was right on the mark, plus we have the same great taste.

The Cove is about a small town in Japan called Taiji that on the outside looks like Japan’s version of Wally World but on the inside hides a very dark and disturbing secret. The Cove is a movie about that secret.

Each year in Taiji 20,000 dolphins are herded into shore and slaughtered, the main reason being that they are considered a pest by the local government and fishermen. The fishermen systematically herd the dolphins into an open cove for selection. Some are chosen to live, while others are chosen to die. The fortunate ones who are picked to live become show dolphins and are sold and shipped to theme parks worldwide. The unlucky ones are moved to a separate and secluded cove away from prying eyes and the media to be slaughtered mercilessly.

The butchered dolphins are then processed for their meat and sold to local shops and supermarkets throughout Japan. Here’s where the story gets even more bizarre. No thanks to our disregard for the planet, dolphins are inundated with levels mercury that are considered to the extreme and highly toxic. The World Health Organizations acceptable level for human consumption is no higher than 4 ppm (parts per million), dolphins have been tested for levels as high as 2000 ppm. Innocent Japanese unaware of these levels and the horrors of Taiji are slowly being poisoned and dying.

This and the systematic extermination of these mammals is so wrong on so many levels. Dolphins are highly intelligent mammals that are more equal to us than any other mammal on this planet. They feel, they love and they are aware. Would you stand by and watch 20,000 people being ruthlessly murdered? Or would you stand up and do the right thing?

The only thing that separates us from these mammals is water.

The time for action is NOW! – To help all you need to do is Click HERE

Together we can STOP this horror.

By: Master Tim Bell

An Inspirational Essay From a Junior Student Graduating From Red Belt to Black Stripe…

I Never Thought . . .

You can say that Taekwondo is all about the technique of any martial art but if you think more clearly a martial art is all about what you do, what you say and what you feel. If you come to any martial art school to just learn techniques it’s not the place for you because, Taekwondo and being a martial artist is all about your actions and taking charge.

If you’re not honest or reliable you’re not a martial artist because a martial artist helps people around you to change the world. We all know that martial arts is not for everyone because if it was the world would be a much nicer place. If martial arts are not for everyone as martial artists we can change people to act like a martial artist even if they are not.

To accomplish a martial art we use words to help us learn more about the martial art. Ever heard of the word self-control? Self-Control has a lot to do with what we do in Taekwondo. For instance, on the sport side of Taekwondo we are still martial artists and to show it is to bow to the opponent and coach in the beginning and end of the match. To accomplish self-control you must show it by accepting that the opponent won that match and you could try in the next tournament. Or you can use self-control by accepting that you won in a match and not show too much by bragging–that’s how we can be martial artists. As martial artists we can prevent other people to lose their control by telling them about self-control. If you’re a martial artist like myself and you lose your control or temper it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person it means you can learn from your mistakes. Self-control means controlling your body and mind in a safe and positive way.

Focus is also another important word in our Taekwondo community. To have focus means you accomplish a part of Taekwondo. We use focus in every Taekwondo class. We use focus in poomsae, sparring, competition, and technique. Well I think you get the point! If everyone had focus it would make life much easier to live in. Focus is when we are calming our body to relax. We use focus in an every day of our lives. Gautama Buddha or “The Enlightened One” was the creator of Buddhism who practiced on meditating to focus. In Taekwondo we also practice on putting away our thoughts to focus on the martial art.  Following in Buddha’s footsteps, Mohandas Gandhi also practiced focusing to relieve pressure. You can see we use focus around the world, especially in Taekwondo. That’s what makes us special!

Before I joined Taekwondo I always loved martial arts. I always watched all these cool martial art movies so I decided I would wanted to try a martial art. Before I never heard of Taekwondo so the martial art I wanted to join was Karate or Kung-Fu. But then my dad showed me Taekwondo and I loved it! The reason I wanted to join a martial arts was because I wanted to learn all the techniques. But then when I got into Taekwondo I found out that martial arts is much more then the techniques. It’s about learning, buliding character, goal setting, self confidence, helping others and a lot more! Also I never heard of poomsae before until I joined Taekwondo. As I joined Taekwondo I noticed that Taekwondo is a lot different then the other martial arts like Karate and Kung-Fu. Everyone says that Taekwondo is just like Karate or Kung-Fu but in some ways it’s a lot different. They might have the same roots but in Taekwondo we use the whole room. Going from left to right can make Taekwondo a hard martial art to be good at.

Going to tournaments is anothor accomplishment in Taekwondo. I go to the tournaments I can go but I understand when I can’t go sometimes. In tournaments we go there to have fun and to have a goal to reach. We try our best in tournaments but it might not turn out the way we expected so we learn from the competition and try hard next time. I have a goal in cometitions and it is to go to the Olympic Games or the World Taekwondo Championships. To achieve this is to train hard in our daily Taekwondo class.

Poomase has a lot to do with focus. If you have focus you have achieved a part of poomase. In poomase it could be fast or slow but the number one thing to remember it to be relax and focus. Poomsae represents your focus, power, strength, ability and balance. We  use poomsae to relax more and to focus more. Poomase is a form to show your rank or belt. In poomsae we breathe through our nose and mouth to show our strength. Like sparring, we bow in the begining and end and that proves that we are martial artists. Also in poomsae you are using as much as power as you can even if you’re not hitting anything.

In sparring we use techniques to score a points. In sparring the object of the game is to score on the opponets pad on the back or front for a point and a score to the helmet would give three points. Also if you are doing a spinning kick to the pad such as back kick or spinning pichagi would give you two points. In sparring when you kick you are tring to reach the pad unlike poomsae you are just kicking strat forward.

The reason I think I should get my black stripe is that I think I’m ready in my own mind because I practice and memorize my poomases and Olympic techniques and I practice my board breaks and sparring. I am also going to try community work to help the world so I can think “What I’m doing for the world and think that I’m being a great martial artist too.”

By: Bell’s Taekwondo Student, Dylan Bennett