The Art of Winning Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

BQC in the News

Protect Yourself: Ladies Night was filmed by two different reporters. I haven't yet seen the 7 News video but the Daily Camera has produced theirs. Props to the Daily Camera!

To view, comment on, and rate the video:

Mary Aitoshi

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Protect Yourself, part II

My latest column in Women's Mag is now available! Check out Women's Magazine in your local coffee shop or online. I think this issue looks great and is larger than previous isses--a testament to Aimee Heckel's great work! You can check out my article here.

I wanted to repost my November article as a blog. It was orginally published in Women's Magazine and can still be found online. I'm currently planning my February article so please send me your Saftey Questions!

---Begin Story---
With Thanksgiving around the corner, we tend to engage in a little reckless behavior to shore us up for the winter: a few extra calories, a splurge on something warm and some searching for a partner to see us through the cold nights. This search, while often worth it, can leave us vulnerable to heartache, disappointment or even violence.

So what do you do when the moment comes and you realize, "This is not the person I want to spend 10 more minutes with, let alone the rest of the winter?"
You leave.

In college, I got out of a bad date when the cops came looking for my date’s roommate, and I ducked out the door right under the arm of the policeman. Whatever works.

When it doesn’t work, and there are no police around, you need more options. Self-defense books talk about avoiding danger and fighting back with lethal force. But what’s a girl to do if she’s already in a private location and things get out of hand? This is no stranger or dark alley. This is a place and a person who seemed safe — maybe exciting — just minutes ago, but things have now turned ugly.

First, some rules for your mind:
No, you don’t owe him anything.
Yes, you can do what you want.
Yes, your desires are most important.

Second, some tricks for your body:
Pinky fingers are weak and handy. Grab one and twist.
Grab on to any piece of flesh and twist.
Use elbows, knees and palms. They are your strongest and most reliable weapons.

Third, some strategies for your spirit:
Be crafty. Back carefully to the door while lying and saying things like "Gosh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize the time."
Be slippery. As you head toward the door, be just out of reach. Be very welcoming, maybe make another date you’ll never keep and slowly slide away.
Be strong. Fight, spit, claw or yell your way to the exit.
Be smart. Call on your resources to help you process, connect with something beautiful and don’t let fear hold you back.

Most importantly, don’t ever believe you’ve lost the ability to control the situation. Each moment, this moment, is a choice and an opportunity.
---End story---
Protect Yourself--Ladies Night! Join me at the Boulder Quest Center for tips on fighting back, de-escalating violence, and staying safe.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Protect Yourself--Ladies Night

This Saturday I am running a FREE Women's Self Defense class at the dojo. (Boulder Quest Center, 1200 Yarmouth Ave, 303-440-3647). It's short notice because I hit my limit over the weekend of stupid advice in response to the 6th attack in downtown Boulder (since Halloween). In the most recent attack, the woman fought back and got away! Every day I talk to women who are afraid that fighting back will escalate the problem, that they'll be labeled a B!&*H, or that they will freeze up. My two-hour self-defense workshop addresses these issues and is driven by participant questions and experiences. In previous workshops, we've covered everything from ground defenses and weapon wielders to animal attacks and smarmy co-workers.

In this workshop, we'll have the chance to practice physical and emotional defenses, hit targets, and practice under pressure. Invite your friends, family, and any other women you care about to join me for this free event.

Boulder Quest Center
1200 Yarmouth Ave
Boulder, CO 80304
(303) 440-3647

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

World Holiday Dojo

This holiday season I am indulging an old dream and creating a World Holiday Celebration for the dojo. This dream was born over a decade ago when I worked for a YMCA. We had a basket of inspirational sayings and a person could just choose one out of the basket whenever the fancy struck. I loved this basket. After only about 2 weeks, the basket disappeared. I asked my friend in management about it and was told that we had to remove it because it only had inspirational sayings from the Bible and was therefore more exclusionary than the Young Men's Christian Association wanted to be.

On the one hand, I understood. They wanted to appeal to more people and not alienate others. On the other hand, I was outraged. There are many religious and secular traditions with wisdom to share. Why not expand your offerings around an inspirational theme, instead of sanitizing the experience.

So I made a vow to promote difference, rather than a sanitized experience, and thus the World Holiday Celebration was born. I don't want to arbitrially celebrate holidays; I want the dojo to represent the holidays BQC students celebrate. To participate, bring in a decoration to share with the dojo, enter our Art Contest, participate in free classes, and have a joyous holiday! (And don't forget to Give Props! this holiday season to everyone who makes your world a better place!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Women's Mag story

Check out my new story in the Novemebr issue of Women's Magazine!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How to deal with an aggressive date

My second story recently published in Women's Magazine. Check out the story here: I am so enjoying the opportunity to share my perspective and experiences with others. Please email me with questions you'd like me to cover in my column. Use our contact form or email me at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Information

I hope you've all received your evite to our graduation this Friday (Halloween). If you haven't received it, it's either in your spam or we don't have your correct email. For more on BQC's Halloween festivities, please check out Jenn Zuko Bough's awesome blog, Daily Cross-Swords.

~Mary Aitoshi

Friday, October 24, 2008

Graduation: The Place to Be on Halloween!

This Halloween marks Boulder Quest's first Friday night graduation. I've been so gratified to hear all the excitment building around these Friday night tests. Plans are in the works to make graduations even more fun with Belly Dance and Stage Combat demos, group meditations, and demos from selected students. We are also adding a potluck and an opportunity for groups of students to self-organize to take advantage of the different options at Uptown (especially 4580 Restaurant whose bar and restauant are great places to gather)!

For Halloween, you are invited to come to graduation in costume. Look in your inbox for an evite so you can sign up for our Halloween Potluck or come early to help me decorate the dojo! We'll also have a costume contest and bobbing for apples.

Every month, we'll have something new at Graduation and we need you to bring your friends and family to help make the dojo the Place to Be!

~Mary Aitoshi

Monday, October 20, 2008

Festival 2008

Festival 2008 was a blast! I always look forward to the awesome teaching and the chance to hang out with old friends but this year felt special. I've been thinking about it--trying to figure out what made this Festival so different from previous years. Was I more comfortable with myself? (Probably). Was I more skilled? (Thankfully). Was I happier than last year? (I hope so). Did I have more reasons to need to connect? (Sadly).

So even though I can't point to a single reason why this Festival is the best one yet, I have decided that Festival will be my personal New Year event. Rather than assess the year and making resolutions that I forget by February, I'll use Festival as my barometer for gauging mental & physical health plus evaluating my ability to bring my goals to fruition.

Where was I last year...the dojo only had 70 students, now we are at 125. I plan to double our school in the next 6 months and I'm excited about our positioning in the community. Last year, I was still in shock from the death of my father, which happened less than a month previously. Last year, I was trying to get the bare bones of my new kata and now I'm starting to have better mind/body coordination. Next year, we'll have 300+ students and I'll be looking to refine the kata lessons and make them my own. Maybe I should also arrange voice lessons...

~Mary Aitoshi

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award

I'm at the dojo, preparing for my first call with my Biz Coach. I'd been thinking in the past few months that a coach might be able to help me organize my thoughts to take the dojo to its next level. But...I wasn't really sure I was ready to make the financial investment. Every decision I make these days goes through the filter, "How many students will this bring me?" I wasn't sure and so I put that desire to a back-burner. Then I heard about my award and included in my package was 1 year of coaching!

Our industry has lots of conferences and I was thinking about going to one recently. My teacher, Stephen K. Hayes, was one of the featured speakers so I knew there would be valuable content. I was distressed, however, by the lack of professionalism in the sponsoring organization. When I heard that my friend would be visiting during the dates of the seminar, I put that on the back burner and decided to look for other opportunities to connect with businesses owners like myself. Then I heard about my award and it included a travel stipend to Charlotte for a conference and conference tuition for the Charlotte and the Fort Lauderdale events!

We don't have a bulk store here in Boulder and I was trying to decide if it was worth driving to Louisville for Sam's Club or Costco. The rising cost of gas and the slight membership fee made me question if was the best use of my time and money. And then I heard about my award and it included a business membership to Sam's Club. I activated the membership yesterday and bought a new video camera and saved $100 on my selected model!

As part of our martial tradition, there is a mind tradition: a collection of secrets and teachings about accessing your full potential. One of these secrets is the power of manifestation. When I saw the email announcing that the Sam's Club applications were available, I jumped on it. When I ran into technical difficulties, I called the Count Me In offices (twice actually). I was inspired by the process of completing the application, and I won! Thank you to Count Me In and Sam's Club for creating this opportunity for my manifestation.

Mary Aitoshi
Stephen K. Hayes Pro Shop

1501 Lee Hill Road #18|Boulder, Colorado 80304|Phone: 303.440.3647|Email: