Think Like a Black Belt

loribook-copy-231x300Today’s guest post is by Lori Hoeck, author of the ebook Think Like a Black Belt and creator of the website of the same name.

What can I say – I’ve adored this blog from day one! Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will know I love wisdom from Zen masters and the Tao. What you may not know is that I used to do karate, back in the Bruce Lee days. My children now study karate, not just for the self defense, but for the focus and discipline.

Lori, a former volunteer firefighter, is a senior instructor in the martial arts,  a third degree black belt in tae kwon do, a second degree black belt in tang soo do and a contributor to Black Belt Magazine.

I first met her through the wise comments she leaves on other people’s blogs. You may know her as Space Age Sage. When I visited her new site, I loved that she’d brought all of her skills and passions together.

Please check out Think Like a Black Belt  for mental, physical and emotional self defense lessons, especially if you’re a woman or have children.

Who can benefit? Anyone who walks in public, parks a car, has children, works with others, goes out in the evenings… in short, everyone! We’re talking some of the most practical life skills that can be applied to any situation where you need to be sharp, alert, aware and informed. I let my teenage kids read these posts. I’m anxious by nature, but the tips they’ll learn from the  Think Like a Black Belt  ebook and blog will help me breathe a little easier. I bought the book the day it came out!  It covers many topics such as strengthening your inner radar and your psychological and physical defense mechanisms, and teaches us to layer all the skills for greater effect.

I want to think like a black belt; I want to feel poised and strong, confident, alert and wise. I want to have what Lori calls a “determined heart and mind”. I want to feel my skills have been honed, that I’m not spending so many hours in front of a computer that I’m losing my physical instincts and awareness of the world around me.

It tickles me that we have three black belts among our café regulars – it makes me feel honoured. Please welcome Lori.

7 Ways Blogging and Karate are Alike

by Lori Hoeck

When Janice asked me to write a post, she left it pretty open — “anything that inspires you” — so I decided to show how karate and blogging are similar. At first you may think a physical, class activity like karate and a cerebral, solitary activity like blogging can’t have too much in common, but you may be surprised!

Here we go with seven ways karate and blogging are alike:

You have to do it to understand it

Parents can watch their kids do karate for years and friends may read your blog for years, but neither groups will get it until they jump in for themselves.

Both require lots of work

The old adage is true of blogging and karate: “You get out of it what you put into it.” This is especially true if you want to make money teaching karate or earn a living by blogging. It’s even more work if you can reach a point where you make it look easy.

Feedback is fulfilling

One of the greatest highs in teaching karate or writing a blog is receiving feedback from someone whose way of thinking changed for the better because of something you wrote or said.

Often addictive

Because the depths of the martial arts and blogging have never been fully explored – one is too old and one is too new – both blogging and karate can become all-consumng and addictive.


Karate and blogging both demand self improvement. Karate pushes a person physically, mentally, and emotionally to perform at greater and greater skill levels. Blogging pushes your writing, organizing, and time-management skills, as well as your technology, SEO, and networking skills.

Change is required

Just as a karate student must learn to move and think differently to execute karate techniques with both power and control, a blogger will often adapt their writing style, tone, and caliber to make more of an impact on readers.

Transparency matters

At the higher level of black belt, instructors can read students easily. How a person bows into class, what they do when they think your back is turned, or how loudly they kia (karate yell) tells me where their heart is in regards to training. If you’ve read enough blogs, you can probably do something similar as you read the tone, energy, and voice of a blog writer.

I could probably come up with more ways they are similar, but how about you? Can you see other ways karate and blogging are alike?


  1. @Lori,
    Thank you so much for this. I love to visit blogs full of passion and integrity and yours is one of them.

    I would love to think I could become an unflappable blogger someday. I just have this feeling Jet Li wouldn’t let himself get as worked up as I do about some of the trivia of blogging. I love his coiled spring elegance.

    I also think there is an honour system, a deep pride in being respectful and courteous in karate that I’d love to promote in the blogging world. Most clubs are also very supportive of their members, no matter what level they’re at. In fact, all belts are encouraged to help lower belts because passing on skills and knowledge is a good way to reinforce what you know.

    SO many parallels. I’ll shut up now! It was a good question. (Marc, of Daily Aikido, mentioned something else when commenting on another post, but I’ll wait and see if he visits.)

  2. Hi Janice,
    Wow, what a nice introduction! Thank you. I love the way you call the self defense skills “practical life skills.” How true it is! I wish more parents taught these … and now they can!

    “Most clubs are also very supportive of their members, no matter what level they’re at.” This is true, and I’m glad the bloggers I’ve gotten to know are very supportive as well.

    Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..How our intuition warns of danger

  3. I want to feel my skills have been honed, that I’m not spending so many hours in front of a computer that I’m losing my physical instincts and awareness of the world around me.

    Talk about being hit by a ton of bricks! That’s twice now in one day that a sentence has literally caused me to stop and take stock of what was said. To evaluate it and see how it applies to my current life.

    In this case I think it’s because I quite literally feel the exact same way. I’m very aware that lately I’ve become detached from mother nature, I’m not as grounded as I should be.

    The Universe is definitely telling me something though. I just came from Lori’s site, having commented on her first article about intuition, to find another of her posts here 🙂

    And what a great post it is.

    I nodded fiercely at the first comparison. I was still nodding by the time I reached the last – albeit with less vigour and more sage-ness (I can see why you’re known as the Space Age Sage Lori)

    Something which I’ve noticed in the dojo and I think also holds true to blogging is that the tatami are a great equaliser.

    It doesn’t matter what your age, your colour, your gender or even your physical ability is, everyone is treated equally in the dojo.

    Even religion gets left at the door. For example, we’ve had people refuse to bow and even join in with the training because it’s against their religion. However, when we take the time to explain that there is no religious connotations to bowing, or that turning in Aikido is akin to turning the other cheek in Christianity, we find that people are more than willing to join in.

    Other than a few obvious exceptions, I feel the same applies to blogging.

    Marc´s last blog post..SEO 101.2 | On Page Factors

    1. I think a lot of us are craving the chance to get grounded and reconnected at the moment.

      When I read Lori’s question, and her section on challenges, I thought about the comment you made on my other post, the one about unconscious competence as we progress in martial arts. Just like in blogging, the basic skills become effortless, invisible and feel like they’ve always been part of us, but we’re always advancing. I think one problem with blogging is, there are no ‘belts’ to remind us of all our hard work and how far we’ve come. Money and stats, fame and popularity come and go in blogging, but in martial arts, we work steadily towards enlightenment as well as mastery. Our attainments are acknowledged, honoured and respected even if our health fails.

  4. Hi Marc,

    Janice has a way with words, doesn’t she? And I agree Mother Nature has a way of re-setting us.

    Thank you for the kind words on my guest post. I think your comparison hits the mark — both martial arts training and blogging are great equalizers, and age, color, gender don’t matter so much as the effort.

    Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..How our intuition warns of danger

  5. Hi Lori,

    The one thing that comes to mind about how karate and blogging are similar is the quote from Bruce Lee about being like water:

    “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

    I think to do anything well in life, you have to fully be whatever it is you are trying to accomplish or definitely be in the moment. I know that this may or may not apply to blogging (depending on the person) but that is what came to mind after reading your great article. I love the name of your blog too!

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..What’s Your Purpose?

    1. Hi Nadia,
      Thank you for the kind words about my post and blog name.

      I do enjoy water metaphors! I also like this from the Tao Te Ching:

      Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
      but it is the center hole
      that allows the wheel to function.

      We mold clay into a pot,
      but it is the emptiness inside
      that makes the vessel useful.

      … We work with the substantial,
      but the emptiness is what we use.

      Both blogging and karate are the substantial; what they both can do for us and for our students or audience is the emptiness.

      Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..How our intuition warns of danger

  6. Marc and Nadia,
    It’s one of my favorites, too! I won’t tell you how many times I watched Enter the Dragon as a teenager 😉 Go on Marc, share your favourite Bruce Lee quote; you know you want to!

    When I think of that quote and blogging, I think of how we stay true to ourselves – we stay ‘water’ – but we’re both shaped by others and we can fill them with inspiration; we flow through others’ lives without losing our identities and uniqueness. We ebb, we flow, we gush and sometimes we pause and well up into deep, clear pools. We can be whatever we decide to be; a powerful , refreshing force for good, a destructive flood, an annoying drip, drip, drip or a stagnant puddle. If all bloggers flowed towards the same common aim, towards making the world a better place, we could be an ocean.

    Sorry. Got carried away.

    1. Wow. You go girl! I sense a post on the power of water and flow!
      I like the idea of our individual drops flowing powerfully into a force for good.

      1. Thanks, Marc – another cracking quote that can be applied to lots of things, including blogging and writing. A healthy exception is when it comes to preventative self defense; sometimes sending off that air of being able to apply, to do, is enough to make folk think twice about messing with us.

  7. Hi Janice,

    I have also read Lori’s book and it’s a powerhouse of information. I love your review and how you said you would love to have a “determined heart and mind”. I would like that for myself, too.

    Hi Lori,

    I love your guest post and all of the comparisons.

    I don’t know much about karate, but do know it helps to develop the mind. For me, blogging does that, as well. As I age, I find it keeps my mind sharper and the more blog posts I read, the more my knowledge base expands. The more I learn to question, and the more I find my inner ninja.

    When I have watch karate, it reminds me of a dance, of sorts. Blogging is much the same. We write, we visit, they write, they visit and together we grow into what we call “community”. Although we may blog alone, we are attracted to like minded people who support us, who grow to care for us, and who watch our backs as we venture into the unknown.

    Together we can all become “black belts of the blogosphere”. How cool is that? 🙂

    Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..How To Capitalize On Your Blog Statistics

    1. Hi Barbara,
      Thank you for your kind comments.

      You’re right in that both do develop the mind, there’s a great deal of give and take in each, and both can develop a very strong community.

      I like the “inner ninja” phrasing. Now if my inner ninja could just kick my inner critic’s butt when it gets out of hand — that would be nice!

      Lori Hoeck´s last blog post..How our intuition warns of danger

  8. @Lori,
    I love hearing other folks’ quotes at the best of times, but this is amazing – I think we’re all singing from the same quotebooks! The quote in your response to Nadia is one of my absolute favourites, too. I nearly used it on my piece The Empty Jug, which is about being open to inspiration and how we’re all unique, useful and special in our own way.

    I love exploring metaphors, and you’ve introduced a really inspiring one with your post. Thank you!

    What a great idea for Lori’s next ebook ‘Black Belts of the Blogosphere’! 😉

    I like what you said about community and supporting; writing our posts and reading others’, responding in our boxes and commenting elsewhere, done with integrity – and without depleting ourselves – is a really healthy win/win exchange of energies.

  9. I was thinking of a similarity in the same way Janice was in her first comment. There’s a respect in both marital arts and among bloggers that I have been impressed with.

    Bloggers tend to be a respectful bunch, offering each other “link love,” guest posts, Tweets and Stumbles. It doesn’t matter if the blogger is 70 years old like the fantastic Robert Brault [] or if he’s a 13 year old whiz like Dan Miranda, [] the respect is the same because the content is good.

    My son takes kyuki-do, which is a combination of tae kwon do, judo, and hap ki do. The respect for skill is there as well, with a 6 foot adult male yellow belt bowing to a 10 year old girl black belt. Just like in the blogging world, respect is not based on how old you are or how tall you are or what sex you are, but on how hard you work.

    Randi´s last blog post..Sunday Serenity 6-28-09

  10. Hi Randi,

    Kyuki-do sounds like a well-rounded martial art for your son. I’m glad he is training.

    I like that level of respect in blogging and the martial arts, too. You give great examples.

    One of fun things instructors do is occasionally take an as-yet-unschooled-in-respect adult white belt and have a 10-year-old black belt work with them on , say, a simple block. The newer student’s poorly masked look of disdain changes quickly when the young black belt’s intensity, respectful tone, clear instructions, dedication, and skill come shining through.

  11. It’s great to learn more about karate and how it relates to blogging. I agree with the addictive point especially. I’m always trying to keep it all in balance and that’s why I don’t keep up on Twitter and Facebook.
    Somethings got to give or I will!

    Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..A Bold, Bright & Happy Summer

  12. Hi Randi,
    I agree with Lori; I think it’s great he’s training, staying with it, gaining all sorts of self esteem and respect for other people. I’ve seen the difference in my kids.

    Thanks, Tess. You got me thinking of another one; balance! Absolutely crucial in martial arts and, as we’ve both learned, blogging. Can’t wait to check out your latest post seeing as I’m officially on holiday ‘from school’ now!

  13. I’m a very new blogger, so I especially appreciate this post. Like taking karate, I suppose, you can’t be too shy to sign up and get started, rely on inner focus, but allow outward expression. I’ve never had a karate master, but I’m finding a lot of wise blog masters in this community. Thank you all.

    1. Hi Lori (from Spiritual Tidbits)
      Just wanted to say a quick hello and thanks for visiting! I’m a newish blogger, too, and every one of the people in these boxes has helped or inspired me in some way. I loved the way you expressed this: “rely on inner focus, but allow outward expression.”

    2. Hi Lori from Spiritual Tidbits,

      A person does have to overcome a lot of trepidation for karate and blogging — good comment!

      I’ve found the same to be true of the blogging community — there are so many bloggers willing to help and share, even if they’ve been blogging a long time.

  14. @Vered and @Cindy,
    Thanks for popping over. Lori’s gifted us with great food for thought here!

  15. Hee hee, I wrote several articles about karate and blogging a few years ago! Some of them are:

    What beginners karate taught me about blogging

    What taking the hit in karate taught me about blogging – personal courage

    Does GOD practice Goju-ryu Karate or Aikido?

    Karate rocks. Period.

    Visiting your blog (and glad to have found this one!)!

    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog post..Ever wonder what Income Fitness is NOT? Part 1

      1. I’m wishing I’d updated my Comment Luv, Marc; that way you’d have a choice of post to put in it and could highlight a few of your Daily Aikido ones.

  16. @Barbara,
    Thanks for these; it may sound a bit obvious given the name of my blog, but I really do love it when folks share their insights and personal journeys in these boxes. Thank you!

  17. Lori, this was bang on. Not that I do martial arts, but I just substituted running for karate, and got the picture. I have been blogging for over a year now, and when I go back and look at my early posts, I shudder. But, I discovered I was passionate about it, and strived to learn the ins and outs, and refine my skills.

    And I keep wanting to push my skill level for blogging in general, while at the same time zeroing in what I am truly passionate about. I imagine, this is similar to deciding which discipline of martial arts you want to focus on. This led me to my Silver & Grace blog.

    BTW, I love how you have ‘married’ your love for martial arts with your love for blogging with your new blog. Your kia shines through strong and bright.

    Eliza´s last blog post..Understanding weight gain after 40

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