On January 4th, 2010 I made the decision to make a few changes in my life over the next 365 days, so I sat down and put together a list of personal, martial arts and community based goals that would ultimately change my life, inspire my family, friends and students that nothing was impossible and even more importantly make a positive difference in the world.

Once I announced my little project to my family, friends and students, I was met with everything from skepticism to jubilation. One of my goals was to give up my favorite weekend beverage…BEER. My daughter was pretty sure that I had been abducted by aliens and an imposter had taken over my body. If you knew me well you would agree with her whole hardily. Beer was one of my favorite weekend vices, other than watching my beloved Packers on Sunday. I hope the NSLC has since forgiven me.

Fast forward 7 months…it’s now day 200 of my 365 day quest. So far I’ve completed 40,500 pushups, lifted 1,112,943 kg’s using Kettlebells, Completed 42 acts of kindness and lost a whooping 10 lbs, just to name a few. Personally I feel and look better than I have in years.

Other than how great I feel, I have also become more aware of the urgent issues facing our existence and have become more empathetic to the delicate world around me. Important issues like the dangers of Aspartame and the obesity epidemic, run away global warming and the destruction of the environment, along with the tragic slaughter of innocent Dolphins in Japan. These are issues that affect us all whether we like it or not. These are issues that need more concerned voices and more concrete solutions. It’s disheartening to see so many of us who ignore the call and remain silent and numb.

My biggest eye opening experience was becoming more conscious of what I was putting into my body. It’s an eye opening experience, walking into a convenience store and trying to find food or drink that is healthy in anyway. These stores are crammed to the rafters with cheap, unhealthy high calorie, obesity causing convenience foods, and if the label says diet it’s pretty well guaranteed to be laced with cancer causing aspartame. It’s no wonder we have a sick, unhealthy society and a health system in crisis. Our big Grocery stores aren’t much better with their pristine isles of sodas and snacks. One has to search high and low for any healthy, chemical free alternatives, and if you’re lucky enough to find any, they’re usually hidden in the back on the bottom shelf.

Have I changed over the last 200 days? I’d have to say that I’ve become more in touch with myself and the environment. I have definitely become more cynical of the status quo. What I do know for sure is that we are being brainwashed and lied to by government, big business and big oil, whose only agenda is unlimited growth at the expense of our heath and future concerns.

If we continue to squander our resources, fill our bodies with toxins and chemicals and continue to be wastrels our existence and our planets future is in real serious jeopardy. I guess the good life does come at a high price.

I have only 165 days left to finish what I started, but in reality should there be an end? I think I’ll keep this party going.

If you would like to follow my progress or get inspired join me on my blog at:

Get inspired today…Join the fight!

By: Master Tim Bell


Is this the age of Stupid?

For the last 30 years we have been warned about the causes and effects of global warming and for the last 30 years we have done very little about it. Greenhouse emissions have been steadily on the rise yet we have repeatedly turned a blind eye to the statistics and numerous warnings.

Global warming without a doubt is the biggest threat that we have ever faced in the history of humanity, and could very well determine our survival as a species, yet we continue to abuse our planet and use up our nonrenewable resources at an alarming rate.

When we are faced with immediate crisis we tend to rally to the cause, yet when faced with a non immediate crisis like global warming, we tend to suffice our fears by listening to the nay sayers and ignoring the hard facts.

Today we are at a point where if we continue to stay the path in the very near future the path and any hope will be gone.  You can combine every tragic event that mankind has faced throughout history and it will pale in comparison to the tragedy that we are faced with today.

So why do so few care? And why has so little been done?  No thanks to our politicians who bow to big business and big oil, growth and consumerism unfortunately trump over the environment and our future existence.  Due to our insatiable appetite for stuff and our love affair with oil, we have sadly become more adamant in protecting our present way of life than in ensuring our future survival.

We have run out of time for more discussion, debates, and empty promises or yet another lame band aid solution, the time for action is now. We need alternatives to fossil fuels and conserve what supplies we have left. We need leaders who can lead instead of follow. We need to change the way we live and learn to live with less frugally.

It has to start with this generation, because if we wait any longer it will be too late for the next.

So to answer the question, “Is this the age of stupid?” It very well could be, if we let it.

By: Master Tim Bell

Would you like that Super Sized?

How many times have we been asked that very question at our favorite fast food joint? How many of us have said, yes?  When one looks at the state of our citizen’s health and at our ever expanding girths, it would be safe to say that super sizing is the status quo.

How did we let ourselves get to this point? Experts estimate that 10 to 25 percent of children and teenagers and 20 to 50 percent of adults have weight problems, what’s even more troubling is the latest obesity statistics.  According to experts, 15% of children and 25% of adults are considered obese and those numbers are climbing at an alarming rate.

Human biology is out of step with 21st century technology. Our main problems lay with the high energy, subsidized, cheap foods that are easily and conveniently available along with many labor saving technologies including our sedimentary jobs and lack of exercise. The combination of these equals unavoidable weight gain and inevitabaly obesity.

Obesity is a chronic condition that puts sufferers at risk to over 30 serious medical conditions, from type 2 diabetes to heart failure. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are attributed to obesity alone.

Self Defense and awareness is the key to any health-related issue. Recognizing symptoms of a problem before it actually becomes a problem defines prevention. Most health related issues can easily be prevented and obesity is no exception.

Here are some ways to help prevent obesity:

  1. Stay active (at least 1 hour per day)
  2. Eat Healthy (avoid those cheap convenience foods)
  3. Watch your weight
  4. Drink plenty of water (avoid sodas, especially the diet ones)
  5. Get a regular physical check up
  6. Keep junk food out of arms reach
  7. Only eat when you’re hungry
  8. Don’t Super Size your meals

Obesity itself may never be irradiated, but with one person at a time it can certainly be prevented.

For the sake of yours and your family’s health, the next time you’re asked to Super Size.

Just politely say “NO Thanks!”

By: Master Tim Bell

What’s Your Poison?

Okay, I admit it; “I’m a Coke 0 addict” I was one, right from the start.  A beverage that tasted just like the “Real Thing” without the calories, that’s a no brainer, I was sucked in hook, line and sinker.  It was a match made in heaven, true Cola love.  Why not, I could drink gallons of it with no real fear of getting those extra unwanted calories. Life was good, at least so it seemed. That was until I started hearing disturbing rumblings about its main ingredient Aspartame.

Being curious, I had to investigate. So armed with my new Gateway laptop, a cold non carbonated beverage and the power of Google I typed in the phrase “The dangers of Aspartame” within seconds 152,000 results popped up. After perusing a few of the more popular pages, I discovered these little tidbits:

  1. Aspartame was first discovered in 1965, by mistake.
  2. It was originally listed as a biochemical warfare agent.
  3. It’s 180 times sweeter than sugar.
  4. In 1981 it was approved for human consumption (without any real testing).
  5. In 1983 it is approved for use in carbonated beverages (pressure from the soft drink industry).
  6. In 1989 the FDA receives over 4000 complaints about the adverse reactions to the sweetener.
  7. In 2005 it was scientifically tested and proven to be the cause of cancers and tumors in test animals.

To date there have been over 92 different side effects associated with aspartame consumption. These can occur gradually, immediately or can be acute reactions. Some of the more common ones are headaches, change of mood a change in vision, sleeping problems, it also directly linked to the formation of tumors and some cancers.

Aspartame is widely used in over 5000 food products worldwide.  How can this be with all the proof of its deadly side effects?

The story of Aspartame is the story of triumph of corporate might over scientific rigor; it shows how a dangerous product like Aspartame can be approved by a government faced with corporate pressure and greed. Whatever happened to” By the people…For the people?”

If Aspartame was originally classed as a drug instead of a food additive it would have never passed testing or been approved for human use. It would have instead been classified as a lethal deadly poison.

We as a society are somewhat to blame in our search for a low calorie alternative. It’s another fine example of that old adage “You better watch out for what you wish for…Because it might come back to bite you in the butt”.

Here’s one more final disturbing fact that I discovered: Cancer can’t exist without the chemical Phenylalanine…Aspartame contains 50% Phenylalanine.

Isn’t this enough reason to switch to water?

Water – It’s the original “Real Thing”.

By: Master Tim Bell

What Happened to our planet?

I perused a great book review this morning by environmentalist Bill McKibben titled Eaarth (no I didn’t spell it wrong). In his book Mr. McKibben makes a great point, he states that the Earth that we all remember is radically different from the one we live in today, thus we should reflect this by changing its name.

Being very interested and active in environmental self defense this concept intrigued me. Mr. McKibben makes some very logical and valid points. For instance:

  • From the year 1995 to 2008 there has been a 75% increase in hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean. (not good when you’re living in Nova Scotia)
  • There is 48% less ice on the planet since in 1968 when the Apollo 8 astronauts took those infamous pictures of Earth from space.
  • One Chinese ship built in 2006 was capable of transporting 1.3 million 29 inch televisions to waiting customers in the west.

Mr. McKibben calls these facts body blows that are caused by global warming. The question is how many body blows do we need before we take notice?

As a martial arts instructor I teach others how to defend themselves against an attack, but unlike global warming a physical attack is in the now, and must be dealt with in the now. Global warming is a gradual matrix type blow that we assume can wait another day. We couldn’t be more wrong.

I can remember back in the day as a youth playing outside, unprotected on the hottest, sunniest summer day with no fear of UV radiation. Today if we expose our unprotected skin for half an hour, 3rd degree burns are usually imminent.

We are overtaxing our planet and its resources at an alarming rate.  If every person on the planet consumed as much as an average Canadian or American we would need 5 additional Earths to sustain us.

As our planet warms even further due to global warming, we can expect more floods, famines, fires, the acidification of our seas, the melting of the ice caps, more droughts and higher sea levels (look out Halifax).

So the million dollar question is “How do we defend ourselves?”  Unfortunate for us greed, growth and special interests from BIG business dictates our future. The oil industry has trillions of dollars invested in everything from power plants right on down to our oil furnaces. They like any capitalistic industry are mandated to protect their investment. This kind of archaic thinking is one of the biggest reasons we are in this mess we are in today and why so little is invested alternative energy sources.

All is not totally lost, we as individuals can make a huge difference, we can eat and buy more local, stop being energy wastrels and quell our insatiable appetite for progress and the attainment of more stuff.

We don’t have to buy one of those 1.3 million televisions sailing across the ailing Pacific from China.

Do we?

By: Master Tim Bell

The Lights are Green

How many of us wait for all the proverbial traffic lights to turn green before we get off our ever increasing behinds? When it comes to taking care of ours and our family’s health and fitness needs it sure seems that the lights are either flashing amber or stuck solid on red. We seem to be either too busy, too lazy, too stressed or we just plain procrastinate. Our excuses and reasons seem endless and rational, no thanks to our lizard brain.

Why is it that our health and fitness needs take a back seat to our insatiable desire for immediate pleasure and satisfaction? Is it our endless appetite for stuff? Or is it denial? Technology has made our lives easier but on the flip side it has created a society that is becoming unhealthier and bigger by the minute. Presently there are 1 billion people living on the planet who are obese; this is an appalling and disgraceful stat.

As a martial arts and fitness instructor my desire is to help as many people as I can. I encounter children, adults and families on a daily basis that could really use it.  Today this is more prevalent than ever.  I try to make every effort possible to reach them, but unfortunately very few heed the message or really care. Some of the common excuses I hear when it comes time to commit are “I (we) are going to wait and think about it” Wait and think about what? Or my favorite “I want to get in shape but I’m afraid to commit, because if I do I’ll quit” Now that’s and oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

No matter what the excuse or reason it all comes down to hard work and commitment.  This is something very few are ready and willing to do, especially when there are so many great excuses not to.

To be brutally honest as a society we have dropped the ball big time. This could be the first time in mankind’s history where an older generation will most likely out live a younger one.

Will this be our legacy? For our sakes I hope not.

By: Master Tim Bell