The one with the camera

It has been over a year…

I was the aunt -the sister- with the camera; taking every picture, every video, until the last drop of my battery. Recharging on some outlet while sitting on the floor. Always so proud to see the fantastic accomplishments of my black belt family. So proud to see the dedication, and the passion, in my sister, her husband, and my niece and nephew.

Especially my niece who, clearly, has blossomed into a strong little miss.


(With my black belt family)

Surely, I am not the first.

It has become fascinating to be so immersed in the world of Tae Kwon Do, it having begun so indirectly.

More over, the man I would come to share my life with would be a black belt too; a very advanced one -Mr. Benavides. Another wonderful personal discipline shared with his sons. 


(With Mr. Benavides)


(With my teenage stepsons)

Now, more affected than ever.

Cheering at every moment, for every level of black belt in the book. And for many ages…  

Seeing little children be also inspired, and starting. Like Isa -I love her spirit.


(Celebrating Isa’s birthday)

No wonder the bug would hit me.

To a person uninformed, the practice may seem an aggressive one, but it is all so positive. Mr. Benavides is a very joyous man, and I know his character in part he gets from a lifetime in martial arts. So for me, it only was a matter of time.

Fast forward and I have become obsessed with the idea of the practice, and participating in ATA competitions. Not as a camera woman, but on the mat. I particularly enjoy forms, and especially creative forms. 

When a form is performed superbly, as I witnessed Mrs. Von Schmeling perform it, it can be mesmerizing. That is the word I will use… I was mesmerized. The perfect synchronization of form and breadth… I could hear her every move and its intention. I could see every start and stopping point, and so much control. I could see her power.

Then I thought -I can do that… I would LOVE to be THAT good.

The thought quickly turned, and I started to think… I am an Architect. But it turns out I am not the only architect that would practice the discipline. I have friends all around the globe that have emerged at all levels of belt since I began looking -and feeling- more deeply about training. A friend architect -Mark- 2nd degree black belt in Chicago, an architect colleague -Armin- training with his son across the globe -a green belt in Austria, another colleague in Arkansas -Jeremiah- who not only is a brown belt but actually also participated in the design of ATA’s headquarters, and another colleague -Keith- who called it a life-changer also practicing with his daughter, in Raleigh. The list goes on. Funny, I have yet to encounter a woman, architect, martial artist… (aaah, the story continues!…)

My goal is to start training on 09/01/15, deliberately scheduled. Today is different than over a year ago in that I am more immersed, I have more intent, I have observed more, and now I have more freedom midday to train with adults in a less hectic, less full session. On those same days I will attempt to also practice Bikram -combining the two at least twice per week.

As I move forward with my path, I will be sharing my progress, and I hope to achieve an impossible: a true scorpion kick in a short 2 1/2 years… Why, you ask? It is only a line of measure. I like to set myself seemingly impossible goals because that is the way I make my most optimal, best, personal progress (in anything).

On that note, one last thing…

I can’t wait!


-Tabitha, White Belt, Bikram Yoga practitioner + Reiki Master

Yoga v3 – Tuladandasana

People, Happy Friday!

Today, I present the proper foundation and practice for a very challenging (more so than it seems) “balancing stick” pose, or Tuladandasana as is referred to in the Bikram series. As an asana it is recognized as the “Warrior III” pose, or Virabhadrasana III.

For martial artists this is a challenging pose which optimizes the work for improvement of core strength, and overall limb extension. The pose creates a full body tension, while it also works to adjust and improve posture, and perfect balance.


For its practice what is most difficult is to reach the full body’s extension, which means that your limbs reach full height; full height is considered your feet and hands to be at or above your hip’s level.

Do not let this seemingly easy pose fool you… It is one of the most challenging poses reason why it is the shortest pose of the Bikram series.

Once you have pivoted, and your body is in a full extension, your body goes into a rushed mode for blood pumping into your heart, so as you begin its practice you will learn it is one of the most cardiovascular poses; getting out of it, your heart is significantly accelerated… give it a try!

Additional benefits of its practice include :

  • Strengthening of ankles and legs
  • Strengthening the shoulders and back muscles
  • Abdominal toning

Remember : it is a full tension pose, where as in a steel cable, you are pulling in both directions -toward the front with your hands and toward the back with your feet. If you are not challenged, then you are not pulling. And always remember to exit the pose in the opposite way you entered.


-Tabitha. White Belt, Bikram Yoga practitioner + Usui Ryoho Reiki Master

Yoga v2 – Modified Padangusthasana

For this second session, I present the proper foundation and practice for a modifed “standing forward bend” (or “big toe”) pose, or Padangusthasana.

This pose calms the brain -reducing stress and anxiety, stimulates your kidney and liver, fully stretches your lower limbs, improves the function of your digestive system -is a full core compression pose, relieves headaches by recirculating fresh oxygen to your brain, and helps relieve symptoms of menopause.

For martial artists, this pose in addition does help with strengthening kicks, it helps with strengthening core, it lengthens reach for both lower and upper limbs, and improves flexibility and balance.


-Tabitha. White Belt, Bikram Yoga practitioner + Usui Ryoho Reiki Master