when my family lived
near Tokyo, where my father was stationed with the US Air Force. When my
parents asked me how I liked first grade,
|Getting a black belt in karate was never my goal. It was
the journey that interested me – the exercise and the ability to touch my toes.
Focusing my high school days on pompoms had left my body toned and agile.
However, by the time I was nearing 30, I couldn’t see my toes. Much less touch
My martial arts training had begun
I admitted that I hated recess the
most. Pressed, I confided that it was the boys who ran after me, jumped on me
and tried to kiss me that made the recess hour intolerable.
The following week, my ballet class was supplemented by a
judo course, where I was surrounded by boys. Within a few lessons, I was
tossing my 200-pound instructor over my head. Actually, he was leaping, but I
thought I was tossing him. Armed with confidence, I began throwing the boys my
size around as well. Then the bigger boys in class. The next incident on the
playground was memorable. For the first time I walked onto the playground and
stood still. When a boy jumped on my back, I threw him over my shoulder. As he
lay on the ground, I yelled loud enough for everyone to hear, “Don’t ever do
that again!” And no one ever did.
Many years later when the school bully picked on my son, I
enrolled him in a local karate class in New York City. While I sat with the
other mothers at the back of my son’s Tae Kwon Do class reading, I occasionally
glanced up to see college-age girls exercising with punches and kicks thrown
here and there. And they could all touch their toes!
I felt silly the first day of class, decked out in my white
uniform and white belt, surrounded by children and a few teenagers. The mothers
at the back of the class smirked and, luckily, held back their laugher as I
spent more time kicking myself than landing my foot on the big bag in front of
But it wasn’t long before I was touching my toes. The
exercise was great and I was hitting the bag more than myself, so I stuck with
it. My son and I progressed through the various belt colors and three years
later we were awarded our black belts.
people ask me if Iíve ever had to use karate. The
answer is, no; however, Iíve been in situations where
knowing karate might have saved my life.
Although I can
touch my toes and defend myself, the real advantage of my
karate training is that I have a black belt in the
boardroom. My path to success in business forged
through disappointments and over failures. .
The skills that I learned in karate give me the confidence
to deal with top executives – whether they are arrogant, powerful or obnoxious.
Intimidation is not in my vocabulary. “Get a
Black Belt in Business!” is the story of my journey to the boardroom and how
using the foundational tenets of karate training can help the reader get a black
belt in business.