Tag Archive for inspiration

White Belt Wisdom

Inspiration comes from the strangest places.

Three of us were promoted to black belt together, and last night it was my turn to demonstrate at the dojo’s graduation night. I chose to demonstrate an empty hand kata and a sai kata, then break a few boards. I could probably run these kata in my sleep at this point (I certainly had enough dreams about them as I was first learning them), and I’ve done this break before, so it shouldn’t have been a big deal.

Yet I’m not a fan of demos and tournaments. I can do readings, panels and presentations at conventions all day, but put me in a gi in front of everyone—especially families and strangers—and I get this funky self-consciousness thing going on. I also have this added false pressure that says, “You’re a black belt now, don’t screw this up.” The demo reflects on me, my instructors, and my school. As such, I had a case of the shaky nerves as we got closer to showtime.

Shortly before I was set to take the mat, we had the white belts all lined up and ready to walk out for their demonstration and promotion. This seven- or eight-year-old boy looks out at the crowd and asks, “We don’t have to go out there by ourselves, do we?”

We assure him that no, they will all be out there demonstrating their punches and kicks together, and he breathes this huge sigh of relief. I tell him I have to go out there all by myself, though. Kid says:

Yeah, but you’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have! It should be easy for you.

Kid was dead on.

So I went out there and rocked the shit out of that demo.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Find Inspiration

I’m not gonna lie: I had a long night last night. We had some celebrating to do.

Post-karate Crown

Post-karate Crown

I was exhausted this morning, but I’m a big boy and (try to be) a responsible adult, so I went to work. Made it through the day, got plenty of work done, no problem.

Then came workout time after dinner. Halfway through my second exercise, I sat down in the chair and didn’t want to get up. I thought maybe I’d put the workout off until tomorrow. My head felt heavier than the weights.

Then iTunes shuffled over to “Gonna Fly Now”.

As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, I got up, grabbed the barbell, and pounded out the last set of that exercise and then kept on going to the next one, and the next one, until I was done. Sometimes we just need a kick in the ass.

This applies to writing, too.

This is one of many reasons it’s important to read. Writers should always be reading to study the craft, but I also find reading my favorite authors inspires me. Sometimes I read a sentence and say “Damn, I wish I’d written that.” Nothing gives me the itch for the keys more than moments like that.

Sitting in front of a blank screen and you don’t know where to start? Walk over to your bookshelf and grab a collection or anthology and read a short story. Don’t read a novel chapter; you don’t want to get sucked in. Read something short and self-contained. Even a comic book works. Call it a warmup to get the blood into the creative side of the brain.

Works every time.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.