Articles in Category: Martial Arts

How to Choose the Right Self Defense Tool

Screamers, Pepper Spray and Kubatons

Kubaton smallOne of my favorite classes to teach and topics to discuss is about how to choose the right self-defense tool or weapon and how to use it. There is no one tool that is right for everyone in every situation. The key is to find one that works with your life style and plays to your natural strengths in how you defend yourself. Read on to learn the questions to ask yourself when looking at possible self-defense weapons.

Why I continue to Train

Facing the challenges!

MelissaWhiteBeltThis is me at my very first promotion ceremony getting my gold belt. Every black belt started as a white belt with the courage to try.

Earlier I wrote about what it took to get me through the door at Karate International and in a karate class. Another side to my martial arts journey is why, after over 9 years, I am still training and have expanded my studies to other styles. I’m not going to lie, I wanted to quit several times but I had one great reason that kept me persevering and not giving up.

What Makes You A Target?

Debunking the Myth

15 30There are many myths revolving around self-defense. One in particular is a common belief that an attacker chooses a target because of their clothes or how they wear their hair. For example, it is believed attackers are looking for a female with long hair in a ponytail that would be easy to grab.

The truth is that they are looking for an easy target. Someone they can catch off guard and easily manipulate. Someone who looks like they won’t fight back. We have all heard about the importance of being aware of your surroundings.

What Will It Take?

Women Need To Take Back Control

IMG 8163Many times I scratch my head in complete wonder about why more females don’t take some form of martial arts training or self-defense classes? After all, this is knowledge that can save your life. It allows you to take control of your own personal safety without depending on someone else. It gives you the freedom to really live your life independently.

… And then I think back to the long journey I had and what it took just to get me to walk in the door of a dojo. I have always had a love of martial arts. My favorite movies were drenched in martial arts scenes, my guy friends in high school and college took martial arts. I spent many weekends watching them train (while I did something like weight lifting or running on the treadmill) or sitting in the corner of the dojo watching them take a class. A class full of aggressive, adult males.

My understanding was that only kids did martial arts as an activity and as adults it was only appropriate for guys. I believed I couldn’t do martial arts. I was too small, too weak, too female. There’s no way I had a place in that world that intrigued me so much. All I could do was watch, appreciate, and support those friends of mine that did train.

Staying Safe At Home

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

15 70

Staying Safe At Home

by Take Control Instructor Melissa Palmer

Attacks happen when you are vulnerable. Your home is the place where you should feel the safest. Unfortunately for many that also means this is where they make an easy target. When you are home, your guard is down. After all, you are in your castle, where you should be safe. This article will cover several points on how to take control of your home.

4 Things you should know about your Personal Safety

The Unpleasant Truth About Your Safety

15 67When most people think of an attack, they imagine a masked man in a dark parking lot, or breaking into a house, for a completely random act of violence.  The horrible and uncomfortable truth is that most attacks are not from the stranger but are committed by people who know the victim.  They are family members, friends, significant others.  They are people we have trusted, invited into our homes and with whom we dropped our guard.

Staying Safe as Runner or Walker

Five Rules for Runners and Walkers by Melissa Palmer

KIRunnersby Melisssa Palmer

This morning I woke up to yet another article about a runner being attacked or abducted. Here in Raleigh, NC we have a very strong running community and these stories hit home. We have a running group (KI Running Crew) at the Karate International dojos that meets at least once a week to go run and we can’t help but notice the different things runners and walkers do to make them an easy target. Whether you run in groups or alone (it’s not always an option to have a group to run with) be aware of the decisions you are making that could make you a target. Read on for the top five rules for runners and walkers.

A Mother's Influence

I learned a lifetime from my Mother

AKathy Olevsky Mother’s Influence
By Kathy Olevsky

My mother was probably the single most important influence in my early adult years.  I remember being recognized by the YWCA , 20 years ago, for their Academy of Women award.  When they followed me around for a day filming my life, they also asked me some pointed questions.  One of the questions was to find out who my mentors were.  In those days, there were very few women in leadership roles in the martial arts and I, personally, did not know any of them.  I did not have any role models in my field in movies or on television.  So, when they asked the question, I told them my role model was my mother.

Your Own Journey

Chart your own path to Black Belt

west1By Kathy Olevsky
Today I was speaking with one of our Black Belts, Michael West. He talked about how he quit smoking a few years ago and how much Karate has had an impact on his life. In the same breath, he spoke about how he worried about not keeping up with some of the other Black Belts in class. He realized recently, however, that he is on his own journey, at his own pace.

Ten Steps To A Healthier New Year

Make sure you succeed in your goals this year!

Ten Easy Steps to a Healthier New Year


By Kathy Olevsky

This is the time of year when most adults are reviewing their life and setting goals. Many of us are making a healthier lifestyle part of the plan for the upcoming year. This year is my 37th year in the Martial Arts Industry. Over that time, I have come up with some points to share that have helped me stay physically active and healthy.

Your Child Is Not Perfect Yet

They Will Be Awesome By Black Belt

Your Child is Not Perfect Yet!

By Kathy Olevsky

kids 1Over the years, we have met with many different types of parents. I will say, by far, there are the parents who are disturbed that their children act out a little bit in classes or talk too much. We just want you to know, your child may not be perfect in classes yet, but they will be AWESOME by the time they are Black Belts. (read more)

A Cancer Survivor's Very Personal Journey to Black Belt

Jen was angry at her body for betraying her with Cancer

Jen 5A Cancer Survivor's Very Personal Journey To Black Belt

By Kathy Olevsky

Around Thanksgiving in 2009, some numbness on the right side of her body led Jen Spragins to her doctor. The next day, she was in the hospital having a walnut sized brain tumor removed from the lining of her brain. She later went through chemo, radiation and recuperation. (read more)

Girls Need Martial Arts

What all parents need to know before middle school

punching girlGirls Need Martial Arts
By Kathy Olevsky

Over the many years of teaching martial arts, I have come to learn that what we give our young students is much more than a martial arts activity.  These children learn goal setting and focus.  They develop confidence through their own hard work.  They learn about success and overcoming obstacles.  I was reflecting on a favorite “karate kid”.  These are the kids who grow up in our dojo and turn into amazing adults. (read more)