Archive for martial art

Destiny Is A Choice!

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We live, We Love, We Win, We Loose

Our destiny given, yet our fate to choose.

Who are we that can choose, you may say

Our path is given, we dare not stray!

Yet it is there within our heart, we know the truth

Our life is ours that only WE can prove.

Do not doubt, our destiny is clear

Only also know this, no matter what may seem

So much MORE is ours to redeem.

So rise, I say and claim your bounty.  

Choose your fate, over your seeming destiny.

The power you see, is up to you.

Do know that destiny can deceive.

And choose your life with the simplicity

That it truly is up to me.

We live, we love, we win, we lose

Our destiny given, our fate to choose.

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cc: dhee July 2014

 

 

 

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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing.

I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress on a film called, ‘Soldiers;’ and we are on set.  I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode.

I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I’m ready. I give a nod and thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!”

From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!”

Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up. My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I have been perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’ve been a little happier when there has been no pain or headache involved, but I was definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Of course, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?”

Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure. That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul.

I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film ‘Under Cover Blues’ down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do. Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had almost been paralyzed with fear – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….’Batman Forever,’ ‘Batman & Robin,’ ‘Demolition Man,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Swordfish,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Independence Day,’ plus an ongoing list of television shows like ‘Star Trek Voyager,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘VIP,’ and the ‘X-Files.’

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground – into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (‘Bella Mafia’)!

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure.

I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And then there was the highlight of, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on ‘Gangs of New York,’ I landed one of the best contracts in the business with the TV series, ‘Alias.’

Although the glamour of this business has been fun, it was at times overwhelming. To keep my sanity, I have always worked to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

 After a lifetime of dealing with issues from an extremely difficult childhood, I welcomed the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after over 20 years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the eight hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work when I get one of those calls.  I just try to pass up the car hits, and stick to ‘prat falls’ and fighting!

Sure there were times when I would long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I was sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I knew that, once again, I was conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up.

You see I now know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do. Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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Olympic Day. A Gift To Give!

An Olympian With an ‘Olympic Day’ Perspective

Just yesterday, a very shy six-year-old girl approached me with downcast eyes and caved in shoulders. 

“Can I have your autograph please?” She spoke in such a whisper of a voice that I could barely make out her words. 

I was suddenly blind-sided by the familiar pain of childhood, and the memory of my mother’s voice in my ears of, “You are not good enough and never will be!” 

You see, this little girl reminded me of what I was like when I was six years old…abandoned, abused, and raised in an orphanage in remote Louisiana.

Now as a mature woman who has conquered extreme odds and risen from the ashes to hover in the clouds with accomplishments in Olympics, Hollywood Film and Life…this little girl reminded me that I have been given a great gift in life; that of self-confidence, self-esteem and courage. 

Greeting her with a smile I said, “My what pretty blond hair you have!” “What’s your name?”

“Sylvia” She replied quietly…still not meeting my gaze.

“Why do you want my autograph Sylvia?”

Looking at me for the first time with blazing blue eyes and a very slight smile, she replied, “One day, I want to be strong like you!” And she quickly lowered her eyes once again.

“Well, Sylvia, do you know what I think?” I asked her as I took the crumpled up paper from her hands and straightened it out. She shook her head to answer ‘No.’ 

“I think you already are strong Sylvia.” “You just don’t know it here (and I touched her head), and here” (and I gently pressed my fingers above her heart).

“You see?” I continued. And she looked up at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. “It took a LOT of courage to come up here and ask me for this autograph.”  “So this tells me that you ARE brave and very strong!”

“Really” she spoke in a much firmer tone?

“Really!” I replied and I signed the autograph, gave her a big hug and then handed the paper to her. 

She giggled as she took the autograph and clutched it tightly to her heart. Then with her head held high and a beautiful smile on her face, she turned and skipped her way back through the heavy mass of kids, teens and adults crowding around.

With a radiant smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, I turned and greeted the next person in line.

Later, as I walked back to my car to leave, I realized that the most wonderful gift that I had been given in life…was to have the privilege to share a little bit of courage, self-confidence and self-esteem with those who needed it most.

To me, THIS was what ‘Olympic Day’ was truly about!

Dana Lynn Hee

(Posted on Facebook June 23rd 2010)

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If I Should Die Tonight, I am Grateful

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I am reminded this evening after I finish a wonderful BBQ that was shared  with the very old man, my neighbor…and sit quietly contemplating in the darkening skies….I am reminded of how grateful I feel about my life.

I am grateful I was born and then abandoned to orphanage. For worse would surely have come.

I am grateful for the insincere love and lack of love…for these experiences helped to wizen my heart to those whom I now know are not to be allowed into mine.

I am thankful, that I left my house an early age, for even though I endured humility, I encountered thankfulness and the bond of human nature.

I am eternally grateful to my Foster Parents, and the organizations that assisted in giving me assistance along the way, including the wonderful, stable, loving home with my Foster family.

I am appreciative of the lessons I learned from my younger days of love…searching for my dreams of a wonderful man.   For this taught me what is NOT healthy….yet gave me the desire for a true love and companionship.

I am eternally thankful that God allowed me to spare my life that one moment of dire distress…for he then opened up the world for me to new and wonderful opportunities.

That one, powerful experience, sent me on a journey of the unknown…the un-forseen…and definitely, the unprecedented.

My life?

Changed forever.

And now….as I sit (no…not wealthy or living high)…enjoying the cries of the peacocks and the children still playing basketball nearby?

I am at peace. For I have been given so much in life…that if I should die tonight. I will have no regrets.

Basically? I am grateful for everything. The good…the bad. The wise, the sad.

It is all good in the end. For it makes us who we are.  And what a blessing to just be.

I am very thankful.

dana hee

(posted on Facebook, April 2, 2011)

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Innovation and Visualization – Winning the Olympic Gold

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Dana’s shares her story about training and competing  for the 1988 Olympic Games!

Back when I was first training and competing in Taekwondo, I had discovered although I was stronger and faster than most of my competitors, I didn’t have the endurance.  And what good was it that I would win the first and second round in our full-contact fighting sport of Taekwondo, yet then lose in the third.  The truth of the matter is that I didn’t even have the mindset to persevere.  Once things got tough…my mind would overrule my body, and I would just quit!  And I knew that if I wanted to be an Olympic contender, I needed to change this!  So I decided to go train in upstate New York, with a famous coach, known for producing competitors with amazing stamina.  His athletes had that ‘indomitable spirit’ that I was lacking. 

During one of the first training sessions, we were doing a repetitious kicking drill which was designed to increase stamina.  Everyone had a partner holding a kicking paddle that we kicked as many times and as fast as we could.  At some point, when my endurance was failing, he came over and took the paddle from my partner and held it for me.  Each time I started to tire and slow down, he yelled at me to continue.  About the third time this happened, I snapped, and yelled back, “I’m TRYING!”  Well, he lowered the kicking pad, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Try…not good enough!”  “Everyone ‘try,’ not everyone ‘champion.’”  “Don’t ‘try!’”  “Just DO!”  And he raised the kicking paddle for me to continue with the drill.

The thing is…how do you ‘just DO,’ when you don’t know that you can DO?  How do you ‘do,’ when you don’t believe that you can do?”   Well, I learned the amazingly important answer to the first half of that puzzling question in another training session with that coach!

I learned this lesson during a long distance run.  One of the biggest elements to this coach’s training program was running. That was something I had been doing as little of as possible. I had discovered back in high school, that long distant running would make my heart start ‘racing’ 90 thousand miles and hour.  And then the racing heart would trigger an asthmatic reaction that would close off my lungs. But since I was there in New York to train and learn, and I was determined to improve, I went with the program as best as I could.

One of the runs he’d have us do was an extremely difficult one up and through a cemetery. It seemed impossible for me to do this run successfully, and on my last two efforts, I had been forced to stop and walk up the steepest hill. On this third attempt, despite my determination, I found myself laboring as usual as we began to climb the dreaded hill. About a quarter of the way up, with my breathing coming hard and fast, my heart started racing. A few beats later, the asthmatic reaction set in, and my desperate lungs began closing off further. Panic stricken, I came wheezing to a stop, bending over, trying desperately to get some air into my starved lungs. My coach, who’d been staying alongside me to encourage me, came up to me – I thought to help reassure me. Not!

To my surprise, he came up behind me, placed his hand on my back and started pushing me unceremoniously up the hill! Oh the indignity of it. He completely ignored the fact that I couldn’t even breathe, and that I was close to passing out or getting violently sick. “How insensitive!” “How unbelievable!” As I stumbled forward from the pressure of his hand, I became angry and started moving forward on my own. As I put one foot in front of the other, muttering angrily to myself, trying to pull away, he kept pace, with his hand resting on my back as a reminder that he was not going to let me stop. Fuming with anger and indignation, it was with surprise that I discovered I had reached the top of the hill, and that I hadn’t passed out. Although my breathing was still labored and wheezing, I discovered that, if I could just keep putting one foot in front of the other…I could keep going!

That revelation sounded off in my head like a trumpet from heaven. As my coach pulled ahead and let me continue on my own down the hill that thought pounded in my brain with each forward footstep. I realized that I had been thinking, “I can’t make it,” “I can’t do this.” “I’m going to pass out!” Yet, once I had taken my mind off of those negative thoughts, and focused on something else…I had discovered that, “Hey,”  “I could do it!”  “I could keep going.”  From that time on… every time I began to think, “I can’t,” and want to come screeching to a halt… I would force myself to keep taking just one more step…and I would replace my negative thoughts with positive ones!

Throughout my Olympic training I used what I had learned with that coach, as much as possible.  In theory, it was easy to replace the negative thoughts with positive affirmations.  I just substituted “I can’t,” with “I can.”  “I won’t,” with “I will!”  What made this difficult is that I found it much easier to slip backwards into what I already knew – those negative thoughts – than to convince myself of something that I couldn’t actually ‘picture’ in my mind.  It was really hard to stay positive, when one half of my brain was saying, “I can,” while the other half was saying, “What makes you think that!?”   And I knew that if I wanted to be an Olympic contender…I needed to get both of those halves working together as a whole!  I desperately needed to solve the second half of that question of how do you ‘just do,’ when you don’t truly ‘believe’ that you can do…before I entered that competition ring at the Olympics!

Our United States Taekwondo team arrived in Seoul, Korea two weeks before the Games, to do the final, most important training before our competition was to begin.  Unfortunately, I had sustained a back injury at the Olympic Team trials a month and a half beforehand.  And although I had tried all kinds of modern medicine, sports medicine, and holistic remedies, the injury had gotten progressively worse.  All of the doctors agreed, that the only thing that would help, was rest.  But, there was no way I could do that, and have a chance of winning!  By the time we arrived in Seoul, the pain was excruciating.

During our third practice in Seoul, we were doing a kicking drill where each of our teammates held a kicking pad at different heights, and one by one we would run the gauntlet of pads, kicking and screaming like banshees.  When it was my turn, I started out kicking ferociously.  “Hey…this was the Olympics…I was going to do this!”  I was doing fine, until I came to the very last high kick.  As my foot reached for that pad, a lightening bolt of pain shot through me and dropped me to my knees in tears and agony.  As my coach and teammates turned aside, I gingerly picked myself up, and limped off to the side.  It was obvious to all of us, that my Olympic dream was over before it even began!  I was devastated!

That night, I agonized over this dilemma.  This was the Olympics!  I couldn’t just give up!  I have sacrificed so much to be here!  Yet, what could I do?  If I didn’t train these two weeks, I knew that, even if I could compete I would feel unprepared…and I knew that ‘mental’ negativity would interfere with my determination.  Later that night, after hours of torturous twisting and turning in bed, I came up with a plan of action…or in-action as it turned out.  I would practice by visualizing the things that I needed to work on!

So that’s what I did.  For the remaining days before our competition, while everyone else practiced physically, I practiced mentally.  I would find a quiet place, sit, meditate and visualize my attacks, and my counters. I saw myself executing everything with perfect precision and timing.  I saw myself winning match after match!

As the morning of my competition dawned with my back rested enough to compete, I felt it in my spirit that I was ready for competition.  I felt good!  I felt confident!  Then…as I began warming up…that old fear of failure started creeping in again.  Who did I think I was?  What made me think that I was good enough to do this?  As we were called to enter the competition area, I frantically searched my brain for the answer to that question,

Suddenly realized that I had lots of reasons to think that I was good enough!  I had practiced physically, and I had practiced mentally!  I had the strength, the speed, the training and the endurance.  And that’s when it hit me, that I had the answer to the second part of that question of, “How do you just do, when you don’t believe you can do?”  You build your confidence and self-esteem through preparation!  And I WAS prepared.  I had done everything possible to be prepared for this exact moment!  I WAS good enough!  So I told myself, “Be not afraid,” and I took that final step into the competition ring!

When my first match was halfway over, I knew that although my body was not 100%, my positive mindset made up for it. As I faced my toughest opponent (Chinese Taipei) in the semi-finals, I knew in my heart, that I was good enough to win.  When my hand was raised after my final match to let everyone know I’d won the Olympic Gold, I smiled to myself, because I realized that I was, indeed, a winner.  I had faced my fears, and overcome the limitations of my mind!

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FINDING COURAGE WITHIN!

Dana...second from left...in the Orphanage

STARLIGHT STORY

(Age 5)

 Abandoned by our mother when I was three, my two brothers and myself were placed in an orphanage where we were raised for the next 11 years.  It was touch growing up…feeling lost, alone and unloved.

Yet eventually, my mother did finally get back in touch with us, and would occasionally write or call, with promises that she would come visit or come and take us out of there to live with her.  I remember the rare times when I would receive a letter during mail call, and I would gallop all around the dormitory, waving that letter high in the air.  And then there was the time that I actually got to talk with her on the telephone, and she said she’d be coming to get us the next day to go spend the summer with her. I was so excited, I couldn’t’ sleep all night long.

So the next morning I convinced my housemother to let me wait for her on the front steps.  Shortly after breakfast I sat down on the cold stone steps, waiting, watching, hoping.  As each car entered the long circular driveway, my heart would beat a little faster, and I would shield my eyes from the glare of the sun and try and make out who it was.  As each car left with their excited, laughing children…my heart would sink a little lower.  Finally the bell rang for lunch, and I pulled myself to my feet, and went off to the cafeteria.

“Perhaps later” I said to myself!  After lunch, my Housemother, told me that, “No one will be coming to pick you up,” and that I would remain at the home, once again during the long summer vacation.

It was late that afternoon, that I sat in the deep grass and clover on the playground, beneath a huge sweet smelling Magnolia tree.  I watched the few kids that were left, playing a game of Jump Rope.  And as I thought about that morning, the familiar pain of abandonment wrapped it’s tight hold around my heart, and a feeling of hopelessness spread through my soul.

The bell sounded for us to gather in our groups and head inside the building, so I quickly wiped my face and walked across the lawn towards the huge stone steps.   I walked up the steps with the other children, then paused for a moment before entering the doorway.  I turned around to take one last breath of the fresh sweet air before heading inside to the dark, musty smelling dormitories.

It was then that I noticed…there on the horizon in the twilight, just above the tree-line…a single star glittering brightly.  Quickly, I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and whispered to myself…“Starlight, star-bright, first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might…have the wish I wish tonight.

And I made that wish…just before the hall monitor, smacked me on the backside with a ruler, and ushered me inside.  Later, in the quiet of the night, I held close to that star in my mind as the tears fell like rain down my cheeks.  Muffling my sobs in my pillow, I paused for a moment as a thought suddenly appeared in my mind.  It was three little words that I had heard in a Sunday school church sermon… “Be not afraid!”

Taking a deep breath…I thought about those three words and the light they held within, began to lend me their courage.  Quieting down…I dried my tears with the edge of the sheet, and finally fell asleep, dreaming of my wish on that star.

It was a wish that I repeated, year after year.  And it was a wish that always gave me a glimmer of hope…even in my darkest hour…for as a child, I believed in the power of wishes and stars and the three little words, “Be not afraid.”  And my wish was for love, a place to call home, and a happier tomorrow.

Hello!  “You can also visit my services as a Motivational Keynote Speaker listed on Thumbtack and get to know more about what I can do for YOU!”   

Cheers!

Dana

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Acting with Courage in the face of Stress! Dealing with Stress, Part III

When you are feeling the pressure and frozen in time…when it feels like you have no move left to make?

There is one rule to live by and but one path to take.

Just make a move, whether right or wrong, and you will see doors open a hundred miles long.

The biggest fallacy you see is that there is nothing to be done to change your circumstance.

Your secret to defeat the undefeatable is the law of inertia and it’s a wonder to behold.  How the smallest of movement can create your next championship gold.

For even if the step you take is true or false, this action creates a reaction and you will not feel that sense of loss.

You see the one thing I have truly learned is that the only thing worse than failure is being too afraid to even try.

So when you are thinking there is no hope and want to give in and die?

Take some small action and you will find, that whether you succeed or fail…you will feel like the biggest winner of all.

For nothing can take away that wonderful feeling deep inside of pride and satisfaction for having the courage to lift yourself back up every single time you fall.

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