Category Archives: fitness

I Did the Crane Kick. Yes, I did!

I’m still going to do a review of “Cobra Kai” on YouTube and then post it here on my blog, but first, this

The Karate Kid

Did you go see “The Karate Kid” back when it came out? I did! As a matter of fact, I went on opening day, June 22, 1984. Believe me when I say it made a profound impact on my life.

“Cobra Kai” just came out on YouTube last month (May 2), and it is worth subscribing to YoutTube Red just to watch all 10 episodes of the first season (I’ll talk more about that in the video). But before my youngest daughter was able to appreciate “Cobra Kai,” she needed to watch “The Karate Kid.” After that, she got a better sense for why “Cobra Kai” got me so pumped.

But what my daughters can never fully understand is what I felt when that movie came out. To them, it’s just a movie, but to me, it was a lot like real life…because I was a Karate Kid.

The Karate Me

Back around 1982, I think (maybe ’81), I started taking martial arts. My first lessons came from a man who worked at the hospital with my mother. As a favor (even though he did charge a fee), he took me on as his only student. For several months I trained with him at his house in a big room where he also sewed sails for sailboats.

The first style of martial art I studied was not Karate, but Hawaiian Kenpo. Training would start with a run through the neighborhood and then some wooded area, then some stretching. After that, we would work on various techniques meant to harm one’s attacker. Enough said.

After a few months with my initial instructor, he moved away and left me starting over. It was shortly after that that in 1983, a new Karate dojo opened up about two miles from my home. Walter Ward, a Marine combat veteran from the Vietnam War, became my new instructor (sensei). He was affiliated with Ben Kiker’s United Karate Studios in Dalton, Georga (Great people, btw. Highly recommend them).

I was Mr. Ward’s first paying student. The only other students at the time were his niece and another kid (if I remember correctly), and they went for free. This is one reason why “Cobra Kai” resonates with me, but you’ll need to watch the first episodes on YouTube to understand.

Real Tournaments

You may not have known this, but in order to make the movie set appear more realistic, the people who made “The Karate Kid” actually held a real Karate tournament during the filming of the last scenes. The “extras” in the crowd not only came to see a movie be made but to watch their own kids participate in a real competition!

Therefore, when I went to see the movie, so much of the tournament part struck a chord with me. You see, I had already been competing in martial arts tournaments and had won several awards. And, as a matter of fact, I had already been training for a tournament that was to take place the very next day!

Now, About That Kick

According to the directors, producers, actors, and stunt coordinators (including the guy who played the part of the main referee, Pat Johnson…9th-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and affiliate of Chuck Norris), the “crane kick” was totally “bogus.” In other words, it was a made-up kick meant to look good on screen.

In other words, it wasn’t supposed to work in a real-life competition.

But it did.

Remember that tournament I was supposed to go to on Saturday, June 23, 1984? The tournament that took place one day after the opening day for “The Karate Kid”? Well, evidently one of my opponents hadn’t yet seen the movie… mwwahahaha!

Sooooo… Right off the bat, as soon as I squared off with my opponent and the judge said, “Fight!”, I made use of what has now become cinema legend. I took the position of the crane stance, one leg lifted, then waited for the unsuspecting fool to walk right into a front snap kick to the chest (no, I didn’t kick him in the face – that would have been illegal).

I scored the point and later won the fight! It was awesome!

Then everybody saw the movie.

Oh, well. It worked once, though 🙂


NOTE: As I mentioned above, I did most of my martial arts training with United Karate Studios. My dojo was in Chattanooga, but the main dojo was/is in Dalton, GA. I wanted to give them a shout-out. With UKS I learned respect and self-control. I learned how to fight, but I never had to – because I also learned how to walk away from one. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve worked out like back in those days, but what was instilled in my mind can be drawn upon in an instant.

It’s been a long time, but people with true character never change. I’ve got a feeling that Ben Kiker’s United Karate is still every bit the real-life “Miyagi-do” it was when I did that fantastic crane kick 🙂

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Filed under fitness, self-worth, wisdom

Have You Done a Self-Examination?

A Doctor’s Instructions

I don’t want to get too TMI-ish, but as we get older the doctors say we should do more self-examinations. Have you ever been told this?

Doctor visits can be depressing 😉

You ladies are regularly told by your physicians to check for unusual or suspicious lumps in certain places. We men are told the same thing, just not as often (it’s not a subject we’re comfortable with).

But despite the awkwardness, all of us need to be reminded that it’s our responsibility to examine ourselves in between doctor visits. Fact is, embarrassing as it may be to discuss, a self-examination can mean the difference between life and death.

An Apostle’s Instructions

But as awkward as it is to discuss our bodies, the spiritual lives of people tend to be much more private and less likely to be examined. Yet, what does the Apostle Paul (a true Doctor of the Faith) recommend?

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? – 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)

Or, as another translation interprets it…

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. (NLT)

Believe it or not, there are many, many people who think they are in perfect spiritual health, but in reality, they are terminal. Consider the following examples.

  • Bob goes to church every day the doors are open, including cleaning day.
  • Henry gives 20% of his income and 10% of his time to the church. If there’s a need, ask Henry.
  • Margaret goes to a fundamental church, uses the “right” translation of the Bible, and never wears anything but a long dress (except when she wears culottes to the beach).
  • Mary would never say a dirty word, tell an off-color joke, or even permit foul language in her presence.
  • Sharon put aside marriage and gave her life to helping orphans in the streets of Mumbai.
  • Frank and Karen have Bible studies in their home, take the kids to Sunday School, have gold crosses in every room, not to mention on their necks.
  • A rich young ruler has kept ALL the commandments (not just the big 10), even since he was a boy.

Are you like Bob or Mary? What about Sharon or Frank and Karen? Are the above people spiritually healthy, or could there be hidden cancer not yet removed?

Remember Ephesians 2:8-9? Works don’t save people; faith in Christ does. It’s not about the life you live; it’s Who’s life is in you.

My Advice

Look, I’m not an M.D. or an apostle, but if you’d like my advice, here’s what I have to offer.

  • Listen to your doctor and do what you need to – check for those lumps and things. Your life could depend on it.
  • Listen to the words of Paul and do a spiritual self-examination. Is your faith genuine?
  • Go to the top of this blog and click on the “Eternal Life” tab and consider what is written.

Don’t neglect the health of your body… or your soul.

 

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Filed under Christianity, fitness, Life/Death, salvation

Obamacare (Affordable Care) Reality

For your information…

Today I am starting my first day of physical therapy for my shoulder (a month after rotator cuff surgery).

Being that it’s the first month of the year, and since I’ve not yet used my health insurance, here is what I’m looking at.

Up to 26 visits this year.

Each visit costs $100.

Insurance will pay 50% of each visit, up until my total out-of-pocket expense of $6,000. That’s six thousand.

So, just for 26 visits (if I go) I pay $1,300.

And all that for a policy that covers my two girls and me…

For $1,700 a month… for the “silver” plan.

$1,700 a month.

Thank you, Obama.

Truly affordable.

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Filed under current events, fitness, General Observations, politics, Struggles and Trials

Stupid Chest Pain! (Remembered)

The following post was written on 9/29/2013 – NOT today! But I’m thankful to the Lord for what He has brought me through over the last 4 years.


Not Again!

Earlier in the year (maybe late last year) I had been having chest pain. At one point I was literally afraid I was having a heart attack. Yet, after extensive humiliation, all tests came back negative (which is actually a positive).

Well, here we go again. More chest pain – in the same place – and more tests. Friday night I went to the ER just to be safe (and to make certain people be quiet). That’s when I got the same questions, the same initial tests, and the same evil looks from self-righteous, healthy, gym-membership-owning nurses who know I need to lose weight.

However, this time was a little different from times in the past.

What Am I?

When my wife and I first got to the hospital, I walked up to the desk and was greeted by a not-so-sweet lady with a clip board. “What’s the reason for your visit?” she asked. “Um, well, it’s a chest pain thing,” I answered. Then, without looking up she hands me a clip board and says, “Fill this out and sign at the bottom, then take a seat.”

In a moment or two I am triaged and taken to have chest x-rays. When I got to the room for the x-ray the technician asked to see my arm band (for identification). They had not given me one.

Later, while lying in bed and hooked up to monitoring devices, a hospital rep came in to ask me a lot of personal questions. They needed to know about any medications, whether or not I had insurance, and about previous illnesses or surgeries. Among the questions were the following:

  • “Mr. Baker, are you now, or have you ever been pregnant?” she asked. “I know I may look it, but no,” was my reply.
  • “Are you on any type of birth control medication?” That’s when I looked at her with the same look that Gary Coleman used to have when he said, What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?

Now folks, I have had little kids come up to me, touch my belly, and ask, “Are you having a baby?” But honestly, either my wife has been secretly poisoning me with estrogen, or this woman must have thought I was one ugly woman in a lesbian relationship. Why would she ask such questions? You’d think my facial hair, low voice, and Adam’s apple would be a dead giveaway!

Signing Out

Fortunately, the ER doctor decided not to admit me. He said they wouldn’t be able to do an arteriogram over the weekend, so I might as well go home and take nitrates until next week when I talk to a cardiologist. Who knows? I might be in bad shape, but we will have to wait.

So, after talking with the doctor, he said: “I’ll have them bring in your paperwork, then you’ll be free to go home.”

Guess what was written on the prescription?

Name: Anthony Baker   Sex: Female

Should I change my name to Antonia? !!


UPDATE: It is now 9/29/2017 and my name’s still Anthony :-)… and my chest is fine.

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Filed under fitness, General Observations, Humor

Focusing On Jesus, and the Art of Throwing Kicks and Punches

Physical Therapy

About a week and a half ago I hurt my foot – my Achilles tendon, to be precise. I was mowing grass with a push mower on this deity-forsaken hill (the front part of the same yard where I fell three years ago and tore my right rotator cuff) when I strained the tendon where it inserts into the right part of my right heel. The pain woke me up from my sleep.

And this is what the front yard looked like until someone else came and mowed it for me. Did you know the grass in Tennessee could grow to 30 feet?

Because I could barely walk, even with crutches, I had to go to the orthopedic doc to find out how bad I was hurt. Long story short, I ended up going to physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and receive treatment for the tendon. As of today, praise God, everything is going well and I’m back on my feet with little or no pain.

But I’m NEVER mowing that yard again! I’ll make my daughters do it!

Physical Observation

Well, as I was sitting with an ice pack on my foot, there was a woman across the room throwing a weighted ball onto a slanted trampoline. The object of this exercise was to strengthen her ankle and increase her balance.

Earlier, not long after I got to physical therapy, I, too, was doing something to strengthen my ankle and help with my balance. So, as I was waiting for the timer to go off so they could remove the ice pack, I had time to ponder something.

Martial Arts

I began a conversation with one of the physical therapists standing close by and asked a few questions similar to the following:

“Are you familiar with martial arts? Have you ever noticed how martial artists have great balance? Have you ever considered teaching people how to balance the way I learned?”

The physical therapist was not too familiar with what I was talking about, so I explained.

Amateur artist’s rendering of actual martial artist named Anthony.

“When I learned how to fight, I learned to keep my eyes focused on my opponent. I never looked down, or around, only at the person I was fighting, usually in his eyes. As long as I kept my eyes on the one I was fighting, straight ahead, I could kick, punch, do whatever, all the while keeping my balance.”

“That’s interesting,” the therapist replied.

And here’s the thing. In my therapy I had to stand on a soft cushion, putting all my weight on the heel of my right foot. As long as I focused on an object in front of me, I could stand there with no support on that one foot and never fall. As soon as I looked around or looked down at my foot, I would lose my balance.

And when I eat at Chinese restaurants I catch all the stray flies with my chopsticks.

Focusing On Jesus

If you are already a believer, and if you’re familiar with Peter and his stroll across the water, then you’ve probably already figured out most of what I’m about to say: When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are less likely to fall.

However, I never thought about Peter when my foot was being iced; I just thought about Jesus. You see, I don’t get to ride in too many boats, and I’m not likely to get out of one once I’m in it. On the other hand, this old flesh gets distracted and falls every chance it gets, even when the ground is solid and flat.

Instead of glancing around at what’s going on in the world; instead of looking down and wincing at what causes me pain; instead of looking at the clock and wondering when it’s all going to end; maybe I should keep my eyes focused on my Heavenly Sensei (Jesus), bring this body under control, keep it in balance, and train it for the fight.

After all, I’d like to land a few more good ones on the Devil, wouldn’t you?

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Filed under Christian Maturity, fitness, General Observations

Helping Me Lose Weight 5/11/17

Let’s get serious…

It’s 5/11 and yesterday I picked up my new 5-11 tactical uniform pants (for the Sheriff’s Office – I’m a chaplain). They are a size 36 waist, and they barely fit. 

On top of that, my new uniform shirt, which is an XL, fits ok, but I still need to wear a vest underneath. But I have a beer gut, just without the beer.


This morning I weighed myself after my shower… 222.4 pounds. 222.4! 

Now it’s 7:04 a.m., I’m in between bus routes, and I can’t tell you how much I want to go inside and get a cup of coffee and a honey bun!! 

You guys have GOT to give me some encouragement! 

I’m too much of a man to look pregnant! 

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Filed under clothing, fitness, Food

Help Me Lose Weight!

I am now going to make use of the world wide web and call out for advice, because I know a lot of you have plenty to offer (I mean that in a good way).

I will be 50 years old in September. For years and years I have stayed around 200 lbs (average of 210 for the last decade). But now I am gaining…and I want it to stop. I mean, just look at the scale from today! I am going to have to let out my suit coat before I can afford to buy a new one!


Anyway, some of  you are very knowledgeable in this subject, so I am going to ask for your best weight-loss tips and stategies. Keep in mind the following before you respond:

  • I am 50 years old.
  • I have a damaged rotator cuff in my right shoulder.
  • I have a bad right knee (can’t run).
  • I hate cottage cheese with a passion.
  • I don’t do kale.
  • I will NOT give up coffee.
  • I have a Total Gym, but no money for a gym membership.
  • My weight goal is 180 pounds (I’m 5’9″), even though some may advise it to be more like 160; I don’t want to look like a stick; some fluffiness makes me more adorable.

So, can you help?

Even more importantly, do you care enough to hold me accountable?

Remember, if we are the body of Christ, and I am a member of the same body you are, me being overweight might just be slowing you down, too!

Let’s do this thing, OK?

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Filed under Christian Unity, community, fitness, Food, Uncategorized