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Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly

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“Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself “Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this one down.”—Mary Moore, author of The Unexpected When You're Expecting Susan Schorn led an anxious life. For no clear reason, she had become progressively paralyzed by fear. Fed up with feeling powerless, she took up karate. She learned how to say no and how to fight when you have to (even in the dark). Karate taught her how to persuade her husband to wear a helmet, best one bossy Girl Scout troop leader, and set boundaries with an over-sharing boss. Here this double black belt recounts a fighting, biting, laughing woman's journey on the road to living fearlessly—where enlightenment is as much about embracing absurdity and landing a punch as about finding that perfect method of meditation. Full of hilarious hijinks and tactical wisdom, Schorn's quest for a more satisfying life features practical—and often counterintuitive—lessons about safety and self defense. Smile at strangers, she says. Question your habits, your fears, your self-criticism: Self-criticism is easy. Self-improvement is hard. And don’t forget this essential gem: Everybody wants to have adventures. Whether they know it or not. Join the adventure in these pages, and come through it poised to have more of your own.


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“Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself “Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this one down.”—Mary Moore, author of The Unexpected When You're Expecting Susan Schorn led an anxious life. For no clear reason, she had become progressively paralyzed by fear. Fed up with feeling powerless, she took up karate. She learned how to say no and how to fight when you have to (even in the dark). Karate taught her how to persuade her husband to wear a helmet, best one bossy Girl Scout troop leader, and set boundaries with an over-sharing boss. Here this double black belt recounts a fighting, biting, laughing woman's journey on the road to living fearlessly—where enlightenment is as much about embracing absurdity and landing a punch as about finding that perfect method of meditation. Full of hilarious hijinks and tactical wisdom, Schorn's quest for a more satisfying life features practical—and often counterintuitive—lessons about safety and self defense. Smile at strangers, she says. Question your habits, your fears, your self-criticism: Self-criticism is easy. Self-improvement is hard. And don’t forget this essential gem: Everybody wants to have adventures. Whether they know it or not. Join the adventure in these pages, and come through it poised to have more of your own.

30 review for Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yodamom

    Some great quotes and a few self realizing moments had me finishing this book even when I became glossy eyed through much of it. This is a book that a present martial arts student might appreciate more than I did. I studied Aikido for 8 years and understood her stance, practice techniques and such but reading about them for hundreds of pages was mind numbing for me. I could have gotten much more from the story with it trimmed down to 50 pages.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Felicia Steele

    I have the great privilege of having gone to grad school with Susan Schorn, or as we know her 'George,' so this book was a special treat. Her wry wit and storytelling comes through in her magnificent prose. Reading it was almost as good as drinking her ass-kicking eggnog. Her book is inspiring, funny as hell, and tremendously wise. I foresee quoting her frequently. I have the great privilege of having gone to grad school with Susan Schorn, or as we know her 'George,' so this book was a special treat. Her wry wit and storytelling comes through in her magnificent prose. Reading it was almost as good as drinking her ass-kicking eggnog. Her book is inspiring, funny as hell, and tremendously wise. I foresee quoting her frequently.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Smile at Strangers is perhaps best described as a mash-up of Eastern philosophy, Western memoir, and self-defense how-to. It's a kind of chicken soup for the soul of anyone who takes both personal safety and personal growth seriously. This isn't to suggest readers will achieve nirvana. In the vernacular of Zen Buddhism, Schorn's primer is closer to kensho; the initial awakening experience. It shows us something new, something different. It shows us that personal safety doesn't have to be reactive Smile at Strangers is perhaps best described as a mash-up of Eastern philosophy, Western memoir, and self-defense how-to. It's a kind of chicken soup for the soul of anyone who takes both personal safety and personal growth seriously. This isn't to suggest readers will achieve nirvana. In the vernacular of Zen Buddhism, Schorn's primer is closer to kensho; the initial awakening experience. It shows us something new, something different. It shows us that personal safety doesn't have to be reactive and it doesn't have to be rooted in fear. That's a message that's not just refreshing, it's also empowering. As to the safety element, Schorn eschews blow-by-blow self-defense instruction for an approach that's considerably more strategic. She addresses broader themes like setting boundaries, making eye contact, de-escalation, and the power of saying "no". The presumption is that by thinking of self-defense in the context of a larger worldview (rather than as a series of discrete physical actions) readers will acquire a meaningful foundation to build on. Smile at Strangers is also a personal journey; one where readers learn along with the author. As events unfold, some common assumptions about safety are questioned and some conventional approaches are refuted. Frankly, that's a good thing. As Schorn makes clear, our typically fear-based, reactive responses to danger are often counter-productive. Delivered through a series of insightful (and often humorous) vignettes, Smile at Strangers offers hope to those who believe that strength and safety can spring from something more worthy of our spirit than fear.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wardegus

    This book helped with my anxiety. Schorn asked a lot of the same questions I ask myself. Gratefully, I didn't have to go through years of karate to figure out the answers. This book helped with my anxiety. Schorn asked a lot of the same questions I ask myself. Gratefully, I didn't have to go through years of karate to figure out the answers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda Tapp

    As I read through this book, I was disappointed that it was so karate focused - something I didn't pick up in the title although the image on the cover should have given me a hint. Also, as an ex-Expat who understands what it means to "bloom where planted" I found myself feeling annoyed by the author's whining about living in Hawaii and how she led her family to move back to Texas without really giving the move a chance ( and after all, it was Hawaii - not Moscow, or Dubai, or somewhere truly ch As I read through this book, I was disappointed that it was so karate focused - something I didn't pick up in the title although the image on the cover should have given me a hint. Also, as an ex-Expat who understands what it means to "bloom where planted" I found myself feeling annoyed by the author's whining about living in Hawaii and how she led her family to move back to Texas without really giving the move a chance ( and after all, it was Hawaii - not Moscow, or Dubai, or somewhere truly challenging where the language and the culture is different). All that being said, I consider a book worth the time if I learn even one beneficial piece of information - one thing I can use or share. In this book, there were a few: -I now want to register my teenage daughters, and maybe even a refresher for myself, for a self empowerment type of self-defense class - most women don't "grow up" until their thirties and this is the best time for adventures. The author states "when you find yourself in the midst of one, you have three choices: you can embrace it, run away from it, or suffer through it. They're all viable options, but the first is the only one that's any fun," (I totally agree but this seems to be a little hypocritical after reading her Hawaii story). - "Beyond each triumph are new peaks to be conquered" - Mas Oyama (and title of a chapter) and "After forty, new challenges hard to find" Although I had a few issues with the book, I would recommend it to other women but especially young women and women interested in the martial arts.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennybeast

    I love this book. It is honest. Screamingly, hilariously and empoweringly honest. Admittedly, as a Texan girl with an anger problem, I might be just be too close to be objective, but I can't even express how glad am I to have read such a thoughtful contemplation on the philosophy of living fearlessly. Schorn tells her story with wit, a wry humor, excellent writing and a fearless, clear voice. There is a lot of Karate in this book, but there is a lot more as well. Thoughts about risk-taking, thoug I love this book. It is honest. Screamingly, hilariously and empoweringly honest. Admittedly, as a Texan girl with an anger problem, I might be just be too close to be objective, but I can't even express how glad am I to have read such a thoughtful contemplation on the philosophy of living fearlessly. Schorn tells her story with wit, a wry humor, excellent writing and a fearless, clear voice. There is a lot of Karate in this book, but there is a lot more as well. Thoughts about risk-taking, thoughts about women and safety and how our culture reacts to both: this is a book with a lot to say, and I hope you take the time to hear it. I promise, it's really funny and trachea-crushing gets mentioned more than once. What more can you ask for?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Bateman

    I began reading this book as research for a short story I’m writing, but I quickly discovered a much wider appeal. Susan Schorn has shaped her karate journey around her life (or maybe it’s the other way around). In the process, she touches on important questions about self-identity, body image, feminism and being human. The anecdotes are humorous and touching because they are utterly honest. The writing is vivid and fluid. The author's voice is the voice of a trusted friend. Smile at Strangers w I began reading this book as research for a short story I’m writing, but I quickly discovered a much wider appeal. Susan Schorn has shaped her karate journey around her life (or maybe it’s the other way around). In the process, she touches on important questions about self-identity, body image, feminism and being human. The anecdotes are humorous and touching because they are utterly honest. The writing is vivid and fluid. The author's voice is the voice of a trusted friend. Smile at Strangers will have a lasting effect on me. I am sure that I will read it again. Moments after finished the book, I went online to find out if there are karate lessons where I live. This is not something I would ever have considered before reading this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ling

    This book was so inspiring and full of life lessons that were truly moving. The author is hilarious, and really tells her story with so much life and spirit, I felt an incredible sense of loss after I finished the book. The bonds between the women and the wisdom from her Sensei was felt very strongly.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kyren

    Amazing book. Well-written and a great read for anyone interested in self defense or martial arts, or for anyone looking to find ways to deal with fear. Funny, witty, insightful and quote-worthy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Turner

    I didn't really relate to much of this and didn't get that emotional connection you get with many other memoirs. Nor did I find it very entertaining. Sort of felt like I was wasting my time. I didn't really relate to much of this and didn't get that emotional connection you get with many other memoirs. Nor did I find it very entertaining. Sort of felt like I was wasting my time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    K

    Prereq's for this book: 1) you are a woman; 2) you are a student of martial arts (preferably Seido or Kyokushin). I don't think someone without those two prereqs would gain anything from reading this. However, if you are #1 and 2 above, READ THIS BOOK. I highly recommended it to my Jun Shihan and the women in my dojo. It felt like this book was written for me - there were so many parallels or near parallels to my own life (I come from a TKD background with a 15 yr lapse, starting a new journey in Prereq's for this book: 1) you are a woman; 2) you are a student of martial arts (preferably Seido or Kyokushin). I don't think someone without those two prereqs would gain anything from reading this. However, if you are #1 and 2 above, READ THIS BOOK. I highly recommended it to my Jun Shihan and the women in my dojo. It felt like this book was written for me - there were so many parallels or near parallels to my own life (I come from a TKD background with a 15 yr lapse, starting a new journey in Seido this year so close to 40 and with two young children.) I wish I had Schorn's discipline, but she has inspired me. Things this book taught me: 1. Why no one in Seido uses exaggerated breathing (which I was trained to use in TKD). Seriously, I had no idea that Seido uses normal breathing and felt silly being the only one exaggerating my breath. 2. Honbu does hold blind training, it is just not as Daredevil sounding as one of our Senpais made it sound. 3. "When you criticize yourself, that's your ego talking. You're displeased because you're not perfect. Well, no one's perfect. Get over yourself." In other words, shut up and say osu. 4. Stop apologizing for everything. For example, don't say sorry for saying no. 5. Not to be afraid of the kyosaku stick when I finally work up the courage to go to Honbu. 6. Work up the courage to go to Honbu - it sounds amazing. 7. Keep calm and Kai. 8. It may be wise to train with a true Japanese speaker before going to Honbu because when you meet Kaicho for the first time, all your dojo Japanese goes down the drain. (I studied German for 4 years and then worked with a German woman who told me that I was saying my German all wrong, so I can see the truth in this. Learning a language second hand is not the same as learning it first hand.) 9. I'm on the right path. Why else would I have returned after all these years. And it is ok that I'm almost middle aged - age doesn't matter here. It is about so much more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Admittedly my rating relates to MY interaction with this book. I’m not sure how I found it, but it was placed in my hands (well, my nook, but you know what I mean) at the exact perfect time. I am also a “late start martial arts student” (Tae Kwon Do in my case) who is preparing to test for Black Belt. I found myself in tears at points in reading - and multiple parts are bookmarked and highlighted. I’ll probably collect them onto a page, laminate it, and put it in my gear bag to re-read as I list Admittedly my rating relates to MY interaction with this book. I’m not sure how I found it, but it was placed in my hands (well, my nook, but you know what I mean) at the exact perfect time. I am also a “late start martial arts student” (Tae Kwon Do in my case) who is preparing to test for Black Belt. I found myself in tears at points in reading - and multiple parts are bookmarked and highlighted. I’ll probably collect them onto a page, laminate it, and put it in my gear bag to re-read as I listen to my Project Black Belt playlist. Love, love, love.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Carder

    This is what's called a 'fast read' ... Schorn, a martial artist with an anxiety issue, takes the reader on a really close inspection of the inside of a karate studio and its instructors. Worth reading! She is also heavily involved in the Empowerment Self Defense for women movement which believes that strategic hitting, kicking, etc. is better than nothing, yet acknowledges that every person in a violent situation must follow their gut. Despite this contradiction and uber-belief in the martial a This is what's called a 'fast read' ... Schorn, a martial artist with an anxiety issue, takes the reader on a really close inspection of the inside of a karate studio and its instructors. Worth reading! She is also heavily involved in the Empowerment Self Defense for women movement which believes that strategic hitting, kicking, etc. is better than nothing, yet acknowledges that every person in a violent situation must follow their gut. Despite this contradiction and uber-belief in the martial arts, I recommend with three stars - interesting take on a subject I'm interested in.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ty

    ‘...if we’re smart, we choose our roles - spouse, parent, employee, black belt - for a reason, because they are necessary to accomplish something we want, something we believe in. Those values are what make you one person, whole and integral. If you stay in touch with them, you can perform any role you take on, because you’ll know how the role aligns with the magnetic north of your own beliefs.’ - pg 238

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Schorn gives a great, straightforward account of working with anxiety. While a lot of her path involved physical training, I felt like her attitude and practical tips could be useful for anyone, in physical training or not. It leans more essay than literature, so don't expect breathtaking prose. Expect one strong woman's story of how to deal with a scary world and even help others to deal with it too. Down-to-earth and inspiring. Schorn gives a great, straightforward account of working with anxiety. While a lot of her path involved physical training, I felt like her attitude and practical tips could be useful for anyone, in physical training or not. It leans more essay than literature, so don't expect breathtaking prose. Expect one strong woman's story of how to deal with a scary world and even help others to deal with it too. Down-to-earth and inspiring.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Stebner

    Really tried but I just couldn't get through the last couple chapters. Overall, I mostly liked the lessons but the book didn't hold my attention enough. I struggle with anxiety like the author but it is very different than hers and I agree with others that I got bogged down in the descriptions of the martial arts moves. Really tried but I just couldn't get through the last couple chapters. Overall, I mostly liked the lessons but the book didn't hold my attention enough. I struggle with anxiety like the author but it is very different than hers and I agree with others that I got bogged down in the descriptions of the martial arts moves.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    As someone who co-owns a karate club, I found this to be a fascinating journey of a young woman with many fears and insecurities and how she found a way to fight them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Impacted my worldview in a good way. Time well spent.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I enjoyed the lessons and the writing style. I also appreciated that most of the chapters were short. I thought the content was relatable despite having no desire to break boards and fight people.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mia Bolding

    She repeats herself way too many times that it becomes unbearable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aundrea Kee

    Could NOT get in to this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anji

    Great book - I loved the lessons learned through karate study. The empowerment self defence sections were fascinating. Very funny writer.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pete Harris

    Tells of the author's progress and growth in martial arts and life generally. A positive, humane, useful and thoughtful book. Tells of the author's progress and growth in martial arts and life generally. A positive, humane, useful and thoughtful book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Randall Klein

    With humor and an abundance of salient, well-researched advice, Schorn runs a literary clinic on how to live aware of one's surroundings without living in fear of them. This book, along with being highly entertaining and wildly informative, is necessary. For everyone. A copy should be worked into the tuition at every college. With humor and an abundance of salient, well-researched advice, Schorn runs a literary clinic on how to live aware of one's surroundings without living in fear of them. This book, along with being highly entertaining and wildly informative, is necessary. For everyone. A copy should be worked into the tuition at every college.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book is an interesting combination of memoir and exploration of the author's deep and abiding love for martial arts and all the ways it has helped improve her life. I think any woman who has contemplated whether martial arts could benefit her, been personally violated or has issues with fear should read this book. Schorn makes an excellent case for how practicing martial arts has ramifications that go far beyond your belt level and how powerful your roundhouse kicks are. Simply put, martial This book is an interesting combination of memoir and exploration of the author's deep and abiding love for martial arts and all the ways it has helped improve her life. I think any woman who has contemplated whether martial arts could benefit her, been personally violated or has issues with fear should read this book. Schorn makes an excellent case for how practicing martial arts has ramifications that go far beyond your belt level and how powerful your roundhouse kicks are. Simply put, martial arts became the guiding force in Schorn's life ... informing everything from motherhood to career. Besides being a memoir, the book provides practical advice and guidance on how to live your life fearlessly. This isn't just about self-defense (though that is one of Schorn's passions). It is about being confident, embracing the unknown, learning from our mistakes and having the courage to embrace and seek the unknown. Each chapter begins with a lesson that Schorn learned ("Self-criticism is easy. Self-improvement is hard. You're here for the hard stuff." "Fall down seven times, get up eight.") and then discusses how she used martial arts to get through challenges in her life (ranging from her sister's cancer diagnosis to putting an addition on her home). Even if you have no interest in martial arts, I think you can find value in this book. It is one of the more realistic and honest explorations of "woman power" I've ever read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Max

    (update: changing to 4 stars after discussions with my 9-year-old son who literally cannot put this book down...) Schorn is a terrific and often very funny writer (one of her chapters is called "Don't be afraid of the dark -- grab darkness by the throat, kick its ass, push it down the stairs, and laugh at its haircut"; and another descriptive line "my husband has the feet of a cartoon hillbilly" may well stay with me for the rest of my life). Though her subject isn't one I know much about (using m (update: changing to 4 stars after discussions with my 9-year-old son who literally cannot put this book down...) Schorn is a terrific and often very funny writer (one of her chapters is called "Don't be afraid of the dark -- grab darkness by the throat, kick its ass, push it down the stairs, and laugh at its haircut"; and another descriptive line "my husband has the feet of a cartoon hillbilly" may well stay with me for the rest of my life). Though her subject isn't one I know much about (using martial arts to help stem anxiety and gain some control over her life and runaway fears), I liked the book best when it addressed personal life obstacles that had to be overcome (like her strong desire to leave a seemingly perfect opportunity to live in Hawaii) and even the struggles to renovate their old South Austin home. A lot of the descriptions of the martial arts methods and the efforts to keep the supportive studio where she trained from falling apart felt journalistic and sometimes like a series of essays. That said, the book was entertaining and inspiring enough that I'm going to seek out the studio featured in the book (not far from my house) and maybe even take an introductory lesson!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    This was a book I needed to read. I am glad I read it now and I want to share it with everyone. Especially females. Susan shares with us the story of her personal realization of what it means to be a woman in society, and why she has decided to make it mean so much more. She shows her sisters a strength and kindness, a light within themselves, and a path towards greater wisdom, all while beating the snot out of them. She sheds light on the greatest of our problems, starting with how we are viewe This was a book I needed to read. I am glad I read it now and I want to share it with everyone. Especially females. Susan shares with us the story of her personal realization of what it means to be a woman in society, and why she has decided to make it mean so much more. She shows her sisters a strength and kindness, a light within themselves, and a path towards greater wisdom, all while beating the snot out of them. She sheds light on the greatest of our problems, starting with how we are viewed by society, and worse how we view ourselves. She explains how to start yourself on a path of expecting more from others with just the way you look at them and react to them. Basically she makes herself the victim, the instigator, and the savior in her own story. Its clear from this book that all she wants is to inform people. There is no reason to be constantly afraid. If you are afraid it is because you lack information. To strengthen yourself is to gird yourself with resolutions for a better tomorrow, a better you and a better world. I loved this book and if I ever have a daughter I will make her read this as soon as she learns how.

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    very funny (IMO), endearing memoir by a middle-aged Mom who took up karate as an adult to try to cope with a wide range of fears and specifically enduring anxiety about personal safety after a high school friend's Mom was murdered. blends the story of her becoming a black belt with vignettes about her husband and kids and co-workers in university administration; self-defense tips for (mainly) women; experiences helping to run a dojo; attitudes about challenging oneself, accepting imperfections e very funny (IMO), endearing memoir by a middle-aged Mom who took up karate as an adult to try to cope with a wide range of fears and specifically enduring anxiety about personal safety after a high school friend's Mom was murdered. blends the story of her becoming a black belt with vignettes about her husband and kids and co-workers in university administration; self-defense tips for (mainly) women; experiences helping to run a dojo; attitudes about challenging oneself, accepting imperfections etc. Structure is loosely chronological but mainly organized by life lesson she wants to impart, usually introduced by a karate training anecdote + a personal experience. I see from other reviews that it's gotten a wide range of reactions, and I can certainly imagine someone hating it. Author persona is very obtrusive, and she's highly opinionated. I don't think you need to care about karate in particular to find it engaging, but there is a lot of detail in that area. so i guess it's quite subjective, but fwiw I really enjoyed her candor about fears, her optimistic, persistent approach to coping, and her sense of humor.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    For a woman who feared everything - spiders, volcanoes, swimming (done because the parallel fear was drowning), sharks - she managed to completely turn her life around by gradually embedding the lessons she learned in the dojo into her heart, whether the lesson was "Say no" or using samurai wisdom to deal with her whip-owning boss. From being the one taking the self-defense class, Susan became the woman teaching them and using her own past fears to help draw other women forward. It's an entertain For a woman who feared everything - spiders, volcanoes, swimming (done because the parallel fear was drowning), sharks - she managed to completely turn her life around by gradually embedding the lessons she learned in the dojo into her heart, whether the lesson was "Say no" or using samurai wisdom to deal with her whip-owning boss. From being the one taking the self-defense class, Susan became the woman teaching them and using her own past fears to help draw other women forward. It's an entertaining read, and most women will find it enlightening. (Pay attention to the part about eye contact and looking down or away, and the difference your shoes make.) Some will also find it empowering. Most will find it inspiring. I had to force myself to *not* constantly read parts out loud, or laugh too much, and read it through in about 2 sittings because her voice came through so clearly, and each lesson was useful yet not hammered home. You could easily read this as a chapter-a-day book (if you can force yourself to put it down) or it'd make a great book for discussion groups.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    A humorous memoir in which Schorn takes us on her karate journey and applies the lessons she learns in the dojo to her life outside the dojo. As a woman, I especially enjoyed reading Schorn's thoughts on violence and self-defense. I appreciate how much she has gained from her martial arts training and how that has translated into self-confidence and stability in her life. And yet I feel like her accounts of karate training confirm what I have always suspected: that martial arts are not well suit A humorous memoir in which Schorn takes us on her karate journey and applies the lessons she learns in the dojo to her life outside the dojo. As a woman, I especially enjoyed reading Schorn's thoughts on violence and self-defense. I appreciate how much she has gained from her martial arts training and how that has translated into self-confidence and stability in her life. And yet I feel like her accounts of karate training confirm what I have always suspected: that martial arts are not well suited to my personality (or vice versa). Some of the karate teachings that Schorn described were vaguely reminiscent of the yoga sutras. Though karate and yoga are wildly different, I suppose both aim to enlighten students through physical practice. Many good lines, but my favorite was: "Jesus... It looks like Stevie Nicks exploded in here."

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