CHANGED MY LIFE
frustrating because I had to stop playing. I never performed, but I always enjoyed playing casually for myself and having fun. About four months ago, I decided to pick it up again. Today, I can pretty
and others. The program has reached over 400 schools throughout the United States and abroad, and has helped hundreds of kids. Martial arts has also been beneficial for me personally. About 5 1/2 years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I was quite fortunate that two months prior to my diagnosis, a neurologist and his family joined my dojo, and I was able to talk to him about the shake I was experiencing in my right hand. At the time, he told me it probably wasn’t something to worry about, but he came back later that week and did an exam in my office. Within 5–10 minutes, he knew; I had all the telltale signs of Parkinson’s. The first words out of my mouth were: “Rob, I’m such a blessed person. I have a job I love to wake up and go to, and I have a wonderful family.” He told me, “And you’ll continue to have a wonderful family and life.” This turned out to be absolutely true. It’s not to say that Parkinson’s doesn’t have struggles — it certainly does — but any problem or symptom that comes my way is a challenge I can overcome. My taekwondo training has helped me a lot in meeting those challenges — probably a lot more than I realize. The major symptoms I have with Parkinson’s are tremors in my right arm and leg and high anxiety. Practicing my forms and working out every day lessens my symptoms to the point that many people don’t even realize I have them. One major accomplishment I’ve achieved is picking my guitar back up. When I was first diagnosed, my tremor was
I always wanted to do martial arts, but growing up in small-town, rural Wisconsin with maybe 1,500 people meant my options were slim. I finally got the chance to sign up for lessons when I was in the military. I joined the Air Force in 1984, and two weeks after I arrived at my first duty station, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, I signed up for taekwondo. As Amanda mentioned in our first newsletter, that’s where we met. The reason I picked out my particular school was because they were the most experienced school in town. Martial arts wasn’t as popular as it is today, and there weren’t many schools to choose from, but my father-in-law’s school was the most successful. I signed up for a tryout class, which I enjoyed so much that I enrolled soon afterward. Once I joined, I knew it was something I wanted to do with my life. When I was 19 years old, still basically a kid and a white belt to boot, I went up to my instructors and told them, “Someday, I want to be an instructor as well.” Within the next 13 years, that dream came true. The responsibilities of martial arts instruction can be exhausting at times but also extremely fulfilling. I’ve achieved a lot in my time in martial arts, and one of the biggest accomplishments Amanda and I have achieved over the last 30 years is starting a program called Safety N.E.T. Kids. In 2003, I combined a child-safety program with a bully-prevention program and created Safety N.E.T. We developed a curriculum where children take action to protect or stand up for themselves
much play when I want to, and for me, that’s a tremendous victory.
I owe a lot to that first lesson I had at my father-in-law’s school all those years ago; it lit a fire under me and helped me pursue my dream of being an
instructor. Now, when I’m out on the floor teaching my students taekwondo, I feel the most at home.
– Glenn Olson
Made with FlippingBook HTML5