Judo Woman – Keiko Fukuda, Wish You Were My Granny

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by Angelcortada, Flickr.com

When I was in school – I used to get a bit of a hard time, because at that time I was taller than most. So you know how kids are. After years of sibling violence by my two bigger sisters, I could take of myself! But was still a gentle soul. So I tried to avoid fighting unless I had to.

My big sister was a tough nut, with some pretty rough friends she routinely promised to (saying this politely) “punish my bullies”! A boy having his big sister or any woman beat up his bullies? Not cool, not cool at all! I wanted a big brother desperately, but you don’t always get what you want.

Not about me – Relax it’s not a post about my family history. I was reading the news yesterday and one thing jumped out a cool story about a 99 year old female Judo master “ Keiko Fukuda” who sadly passed away, this week. You’ve probably read the same story, it was everywhere. Even though it’s a sad story it’s also a cool one, because until her death she was the highest ranked woman in the world in Judo. That got me thinking, what an epic grandmother she would’ve been! Like a big sister, mum, teacher and big brother all rolled into one small tough bundle. Can you imagine in the playground:

“my dads bigger than your dad”

“my dad could beat the jelly out off your dad”

“my granny could beat the bejeebers out of both your dads, their brothers and Chuck Norris!”

Keiko Fukuda – All joking aside the life of Keiko Fukuda was an amazing person. Her grandfather “Fukuda Hachinosuke” was a samurai, and Jujutsu master. One of her grandfather’s students founded Judo! If that wasn’t amazing enough there was something special about this woman from an early age, when she chose to study Judo – at a time when women didn’t practice the art! She was the student of 3 Jujutsu masters in her time, studied Judo under the founder of Judo (Kanō Jigorō)! Not only the highest ranking woman in Judo, but in the history of Judo! What an inspiration she is.

I read somewhere that when she started, her family thought she might marry a Judo teacher rather than actually studying it seriously (they got that one wrong), which wasn’t the done thing for a Japanese woman of that generation. However sadly she never married or had kids. She was quoted as saying one of her earliest concerns about studying Judo, was having to “spread her legs”. If you know anything about Asian culture, especially Japanese culture that’s pretty taboo even now. Whether you agree or not, women need to sit politely in most social situations, so can you imagine what it would have been like a 90 years ago! On the other hand if you know anything about martial arts, balance and strong wide stance is crucial in defense and offense, which I guess really went against the grain for a Japanese woman of those times.

Her personal motto was: “Be gentle, kind, and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically.”

Keiko Fukuda, was a real pioneer for the sport of Judo, and for women practicing martial arts. Rest in peace Judo, Jujutsu samurai grandmother! Wish you’d been there instead of my big sister and you were way cooler than my hypercondriac , smoking, complaining, tight fisted granny.

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Sex Addiction Fact or Fantasy?

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By Jessicalrone, Flickr.com

Which of these isn’t a real disorder? Choose one: a) sex addiction b) hoarding c) binge eating. Okay I guess the title of my blog gives you a clue. Yep, you know how I think it’s sex addiction.

Okay so now you’re wondering who decides.It’s a good question because oddly enough it sounds very plausible to me, certainly at least as much as hoarding. But there again I’ve never known a hoarder, I mean a sex addict! Getting back to the question.. in the USA it’s the American Psychiatric Association (APA) who decides, and last December they decided not to include sex addiction in their health handbook.

But I guess people can get addicted to anything right? It’s one thing when APA says there’s no such thing, butwhat about the string of famous personalities who’ve either demonstrated this behavior or openly admitted it? So I’m betting all the high end psychotherapists are not writing this one addiction off so quickly. Especially when such big names as Tiger Woods, David Duckovny have demonstrated sex addiction like tendencies. Okay these stars are not official sex addicts, but there are more than a few male celebs who’ve gone on the record as being.Micheal Douglas, was a famous womanizer before our dear Catherine whipped him into shape. Kayne West and Charlie Sheen have both gone on record as being sex addicts – but there again those pair will say almost anything.So far I’ve only mentioned guys, but don’t worry there are some girls too. However most of them like Jennie Ketcham either worked in the adult movie industry before hand, or had suffered with other several addictions, which dubiously coincided with TV shows.

Just how many people are addicts? This is just a weird coincidence I promise you, but I’m writing this article at a hotel, in Hong Kong that charges $50 dollars for using the internet, for which I’m too mean to pay. But from earlier research, I found the estimates in the UK are that 6% of a population is sex addicted and one in five women. Rather selectively I don’t have the numbers for men, but it wouldn’t surprise if it was more.

So just in case, any rich celebs are reading this what are the symptoms? Apparently “recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior,” we all have these right? But if all these urges last several months then you’re in trouble. Phew.. it’s a relief it doesn’t really exist, because if it did every teenage boy on the globe and several of my friends would have to seek professional help.

On a serious note, addictions of any kind can be very devastating with long last repercussions on the lives of the people it affects. But what are the official symptoms (before the APA changed their mind)? Like other addictions the person is driven to seek out and engage in the act seeking all the benefits and ignoring the negative impacts. According to a BBC Health article, casual sex and general JFK marital behavior are not the only symptoms. More precise ones may include:

  • Excessive use of pornography
  • Feeling worried about the possible behavior
  • Wanting to stop or change your sexual behaviour
  • Feeling unable to stop, despite wanting to
  • Using sex as a way to cope with other problems
  • Needing more sex to get the same fulfillment
  • Feeling very low or guilty after
  • Spending large amounts of time planning or engaging in sex
  • Missing important social events or even work in order to pursue sex

So what’s the treatment? The worst thing would be to find another addiction – it’s sounds kind of funny, but in my personal experience people who are addicted to one thing are often predisposed to other forms as well. With all addictions the first and most important step is admitting to having a problem.

The debate is still open, whether it exists or not, or whether it’s a compulsive behavioral or addiction. However the treatment would involve psychological therapies, behavioral therapies all leading to the person understanding their condition and the consequences.

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Forgive Lance Armstrong & Big Fat Momma 

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By DonkeyHotkey, Flickr.com

What is love? Why do we sometimes seem so hell bent on destroying our love and relationships. I sometimes think that people are programed to self-destruct. Lance Armstrong is doped, the whole world knows it. But who are the victims? His team mates, marriage, and perhaps a friend or two. After many years of lying he probably doesn’t even have a single friend who would stand by him publicly.

In the fact the whole story reads like the script of Big Fat Momma’s House. A man tries to do something good, but lies – Lance Armstrong. The main character is trying to catch the bad guy and win the day – Tour De France, but along away people start to believe in him. Lance Armstrong  spends the rest of the movie getting into dubious situations while trying maintain his Big Fat Momma disguise. Finally just like the real one (who was also an imposter of the real thing), he gets caught, while trying to do what he feels is right.

The differences are he caught the bad guy (Tour De France) several times and kept on lying – while making tons of cash. Unlike the fake Big Fat Momma, he kept on lying even when the latex mask started to peel off.  Like Big Fat Momma, Lance Armstrong got the girl – seven of them, but he had to give them back.

Lance raises some ugly questions about us – In the general context, and in relationships why do we feel we have to lie? How many times have we, or will lie to our loved ones and friends? Does it really matter if we are trying to do the right thing or wrong thing, then lie? “Oh I was just protecting you”, is that really ever the case? Politicians, husbands, wives, criminals often confess, but when? That’s right, after they were caught. Blah blah hindsight and all that, but I’m not talking about hindsight. What I’m talking about is the need to do lie in first instance – that little white lie. So when do we feel we have to lie in relationships?

You don’t want to be with that woman or man? Then don’t cheat on them. Give him/her a chance to find somebody that does want to be with them. Man up, and just be single. If there are other things you’re lying about, then talk about it with someone. If we can try to understand why we feel, or do things it can be an extremely useful tool in prevention. If we take the example of having an affair, it’s much easier to talk about why we feel the need to cheat with someone, than actually cheating. As a good friend once advised me “It’s the perfect crime, until you get caught.” Don’t do it in the first place and you won’t have to lie.

It’s not my fault, it’s life – I agree to a point. We do have unreal expectations, dumped on us, every where we are told if we drink that beer we get the hot girls, or if we buy the gadget we will look handsome and automatically get a better job. Lance’s case he pretended to be superman and he was in many ways, from cancer to a wonderful athlete. But once he showed the world he was superman, that’s when it all got worse.

If we blame Lance, or even Big Fat Momma, then we need to take a closer look at ourselves. Why do we only confess when we are caught? Why do we feel a need to do this stuff, why are we so destructive? Most importantly for Lance Armstrong and for us, what are the reasons behind our confessions? If we confess only because we were caught, then how are we “or him” going to move forward? I’m not picking on Lance Armstrong (or Big Fat Momma), I’m just using him for SEO, but the question remains why do we get ourselves into these situations?

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If Only Santa Was a Woman – Unwanted Gifts

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by North Charelston, flickr.com

Christmas friend or foe, either way it’s gone for another year. But what’s left? Big stomachs, ruined bank accounts, headaches, screaming kids that don’t want to go back to school, more than a few unwanted gifts, and that’s just me! So how about the rest of the world? But seriously what do you do?

Why do we even buy presents in the first place? Guys will buy a gift for a woman they love and other people will buy fabulous gifts which are loaded down with good intentions. But what is it? Guilt, pressure, love or just simply a case of keeping up with the Joneses? One thing for certain, the original religious concept has become somewhat neglected, forgotten or even shunned by popular opinion. Even when we do remember the genesis of the idea, it’s molded into plastic and sold as an action figure.

What about all those gifts we don’t want? The advertisements, pressure from colleagues, commercials for credit cards and loans offer no advice. All these tools of commercialism only point in one direction, and that’s towards the checkout. There are however a few shining lights out there from the odd individual, to the online business. Some of these offer useful solutions to the overdose of unwanted presents.

Not everybody is out to make a quick buck from our problems, according to a story by Reuters there’s actually a pretty cool shop in Slovenia which opened just in time for Christmas.  The idea behind the shop is simple yet important.  Basically if you don’t like a gift then simply change it for one you like.  To quote the shop owner “people get and give too many present nowadays” and I think the shop owner is 100% right.

In some cultures especially in China cash really is king when it comes to gifts. Yes you could say it’s a cold, perhaps even an unthoughtful kind of gift – but there’s no denying its versatility.

Gift cards are increasingly popular gifts, I especially like them when it comes to kids. As opposed to cash, it allows you moderate control on what they kids will blow their money on. But these sentiments maybe the thing’s biggest downfall. What happens when you get a gift to a shop you stylistically have nothing in common with? What are your options if you have a gift card you don’t like, can you take it back to the shop in question and get the cash? Not likely, at least not in that shop. But there are ways according to The Daily Beast.

Cash back sites – the middle man will take a cut!

Giftcards.com, will assess the cash back value, mail you a check or even transfer funds via paypal. Gift Card Granny, it’s a smiliar variation on the above, it scans sites that will give you the most value for you card.Just be prepared to make a small loss on the value of the gift card.

Then you have old faithful – Ebay. There’s always loads of people who are wanting to get their hands on a bargain. But you will have to prepared to sell for a lesser amount, but it’s better than being stuck with a card you hate.

Other options

Gift card rescue, works with Amazon, you get a bonus 5 percent for changing it too an Amazon gift card. Cardpool, works much the same way.

Charities can benefit too. Plastic Jungle allows you to donate the cash on the card to a worthy charity, its aligned with a few such as Red Cross. Plastic Jungle rather cunningly allows you add air miles as well, in cooperation with United Airlines.

Traditional gifts

If the gift is a more traditional kind of gift you can deal with it in similar ways. You could try holding a swap party. People rewrap the gifts they don’t want, and give them to someone else – of course they ran the risk of getting disappointed twice. Or you could do it the boring way and not wrap them – an episode of The office springs to mind. Just make sure things are of a similar value!

Returning stuff to the stores can be an option. It depends on the store of course, not all stores have equal policies on returning gifts. Just check the policies for online and locations for shops. But of course if it’s given to you then you might have little choice, you’re going to have to roll with the punches.

Re-gifting, I have done this and felt horrible about it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. In my case I had to go back overseas and didn’t have the luggage space, so I off loaded the gift and saved time, and money (but it still didn’t feel right). Although seriously why not? I think the key issue is, to choose more carefully than the person who you gifted it to you in the first place. The lucky person might appreciate it more than you did.

Donate it! Just like the gift cards, donating something can be a rewarding experience and in my book a much nicer feeling option than just simply re-gifting. I have a friend who just a few years ago, gave 100’s of man sized teddy bears to a load of kids that needed a bit of happiness in their lives – although in this case they were just extra teddies from the factory. But honestly the kids didn’t care about how they got them, they were happy just the same.

About The Woman, Merry Christmas Everyone!

A Man Needs a Woman, Does a Woman Need a Man?

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by *martin*, flickr.com

Women are tougher than men! The word is out, it’s official but I guess all you girls knew that already. My two big sisters who bullied me for most of my life knew it too, but that’s another post…

Men who lose their wives have a 30% greater chance of passing into the great beyond! The research was carried out by Professor Javier Espinosa, who led the research project at Rochester Institute of Technology, in the US.

We can’t avoid it obviously. It all happens to us all, unless you spend a million dollars to freeze your head in a dodgy facility. But apparently but the loss of a wife, or I guess a long time partner, leads to an increased chance of mortality for elderly men within 2 years.

Professor Javier Espinosa suggests that after a death of their partner elderly men are less prepared to take care of themselves than women. The reverse situation is quite different. It seems that a man needs a woman, but does a woman need a man? In the reverse situation the statistics don’t play out the same at all. The research didn’t uncover evidence of a statistically increased chance for recently widowed woman to suffer the same fate.

This research raises more questions than it answers. Did they factor in health, or physically differences between women and men? I’m not sure they did, but the Professor did suggest it might be down to a care-giving mechanism. He went further to suggest that this mechanism prepares women to carry on their lives, alone.

His research was carried out on couples who were born between 1910 – 1930. Another interesting yet sad aspect of the research was highlighted. He found that after a loss of a child, a woman was 3 times more likely to suffer mortality. This seemed to be independent of social factors such as education, class or marital status.

For some of us this research may seem to make sense, my experience of parents and grandparents seem to bear this out. My grandmother outlasted a husband and a live-in-partner. Is it possible for us to die of a broken heart? University Clinic of Rostock, Germany suggest this might be the case due to increased level of stress and adrenaline.

Prof Espinosa’s study, co-written by William Evans from the University of Notre Dame, was published in the Economics and Human Biology journal

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McHale’s Daughter Loses Fight For Life

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The Rockets, Huston Texas are in mourning after the sad news of yet another high profile death in the media. My condolences to Kevin Mchale on the loss of his daughter – Alexander Sasha Mchale who just 23 years old. She finally succumb to the disease “Lupus”. Kevin Mchale , is understandably taking leave from his position,nd it’s still unclear when he will return to the Houston Rockets. The owner of the Rockets has expressed sadness and both support for the family of Alexander Mchale.

What exactly is Lupus?

Under the circumstances I wanted to check this up, as I have only heard of the disease in vague reference before. You might already konw what it is but it’s a terrible “autoimmune disease”. The affects of the disease can obviously be devastating. Lupus which is also called Systemic Lupus Eerythematosus (SLE) can affect any part of the body. The condition often attacks organs, such as the kidney, brain, liver, as well as joints and the blood. The problem starts when the body creates anitbodies that end up attacking its own immune system, normally the body does this against antigens (foreign matter in the body).

How Common is it?

The disease itself is not that common, but it belongs to a group of autoimmune diseases that number over 80. As a group it is fairly common and it also includes, diabetes which is now a very prevalent condition in many developing countries.

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Surviving Family Gatherings

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About The Woman – Happy Families

Walking on egg shells, might be a good analogy for how some of us might feel at family reunions, whether it be thanksgiving or Christmas. With my last article in mind (Halle’s Thanksgiving Bash) let’s look at some ways that we can promote a healthier environment for our families at such tense times. After all they are our loved ones! The holidays can be stressful on everyone, and often unfairly hard on  a woman,  rightly or wrongly they are often under the spotlight especially from the partner’s family. Mum’s, wives and girlfriends can suddenly find themselves in the middle a world wind of activity, so it’s important not to forget for us guys to pull our weight too. It should be an opportunity to cement your relationship, rather than straining it.

Step 1

Small talk, are safe subjects we bring up so we don’t get into fights with people we hardly know.In fact we often nicer to people we hardly know, than to the people we grew up with, shared bedrooms with. I’m not saying we should sit around talking about the weather, or whether the ducks have flown south for the winter, but we could certainly go some ways to avoid sensitive topics. Make a mental list of what they are, although you probably know what they are already – money, inheritance, politics, religion, health issues, wars or perhaps even fantasy football. Just don’t go there!

Step 2

Do something that will bring you together, a game or a sport – I’m not talking about full contact sports in the living room. Watch a movie, talk about the good times, watch a sports game or even pick up a board game. Head off to the back garden, to a park kick, or throw a ball around. At holiday times, money can be a sensitive topic, so focus on the things you can do together. There are plenty of things you can do that won’t deepen your sense of stress, or fire feelings of inadequacy, or agitate emotional conflict.

Step 3

There’s been times in my own family, where my sister’s haven’t got on, or times when individual have expressed poor judgment with money, or other things. Whether feelings spring from jealous, or just personality clashes, it’s worth giving everyone a heads up on who’s coming, changes in the arrangements. It’s worth even sitting down with some members of your family, before hand to ask them to be on their best behavior. Nobody likes bad news or trouble, but if you know or talk about sticking points as early as possible, then at least people are prepared.

Step 4

It’s good to have a game plan. Ready yourself for mentally and physically for an extended period of time with your family. I still remember my Mother (a beautiful woman, a very talented lady) working days ahead of family events, with the help of my Dad. Planning and preparation, can be dull, just the logistics of planning a family day can overwhelming for anyone one person. But it should been seen as chance to get involved, showing that support and love. This will go a long way to minimize potential stress and conflict at family reunions. Whatever you do, don’t leave things to the last minute, make sure you’re not freaking out when the family day or period arrives.

Step 5

Last of all “don’t push it”, by this I mean don’t force issues. Give people time and space to work things over naturally. Don’t expect people who really don’t get on, to sit down next to each other and enjoy a beer while chatting happily. It’s important to remember who the peace makers are, who the inflexible people are, some individual even thrive on bickering and if you have one in your family then you know exactly what I mean.

Family reunions can be demanding to say the least, but when it’s all done and the dust settles, it’s probably time to go back to work. On the plus side this gives you enough time to think about the woman you love and time to plan your next vacation, hopefully far away from the family.

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