The Janine Bolon Show with Cheryl Ilov and Janine Bolon: Discover the Warrior Within

Cheryl Ilov: Discover the Warrior Within

Cheryl Ilov

Cheryl Ilov is known as the reluctant Ninja. A long time dancer turned martial artist at the tender age of 47, Cheryl shares with us the 5 changes anyone can make to strengthen their abilities. In this episode she discusses with us how to gently move through life as a warrior using the mental talents of peace, harmony and compassion.

Cheryl shares with us the process to:

  1. Move out of your personal comfort zone and embrace “new”
  2. Experience your inherent skills
  3. Train yourself into awareness
  4. Find your inner strength
  5. Think, move and walk like a Ninja

Cheryl’s latest book: The Reluctant Ninja: How a Middle-Age Princess became a Warrior Queen will be available in January 2022.

Cheryl’s blog

The Femininja Project Podcast

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Forever Fit & Flexible

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show and I am Janine Bolon, and with me today, I have Cheryl Ilov and let me tell you something pretty awesome about this lady. Number one, she and I have known each other for a couple of years, we were at this book fair way up in the mountains of Colorado. And it was this wonderful little like Christmas book fair. And we were side by side at different tables selling our books. And we just got to talking about physical fitness and over the age of 50. And I don’t know if you know this, but she is not only a speaker, but also an author of the award winning and best selling book Forever Fit and Flexible, Feeling Fabulous at 50 and Beyond. And one of the things we started talking about was basically how she’s been a physical therapist for 20 years in private practice, and she has helped hundreds of her clients recover from pain and injuries by not only integrating the science of physical therapy, but also with the art of movement, and she combines her personal experience of recovering from a dehabilitated chronic pain syndrome with her education and experience as a physical therapist to help her clients enjoy a vibrant, healthy life. So Cheryl, second book, which happens to be the Reluctant Ninja How a Middle Aged Princess Became a Warrior Queen chronicles her journey into the male dominated world of martial arts at the tender age, you guessed it of 47. And she became her teacher’s first female student that earned a black belt now it took her 10 years, but she got there ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the show, Cheryl Ilov

Cheryl Ilov
Hello, Janine, thank you so much for having me on the show. I really appreciate it.

Janine Bolon
It’s wonderful to have you with us. Thank you for calling in, we appreciate that we know things were kind of weird. We appreciate you making adjustments for the show. It’s great. So one of the things that you and I were talking about was we were really just wanting people to be able to discover the Warrior Within. And I really wanted to walk through those five steps that you were talking about before we ever started recording. And we’ll go through it over the course of this hour. But if you don’t mind, let’s start talking a little bit about you said in order to discover the Warrior Within you have to address the issues that you have with your comfort zone, do you mind expanding a little bit more about that?

Cheryl Ilov
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to get out of your comfort zone for personal growth, because we all get stuck in habits and ways of doing things that don’t really challenge us anymore. Because we are comfortable doing them, we’ve done them over and over and over, and that makes us stale, it kind of gets us stuck. And for our bodies and our brain, and our mind to really expand and grow, we need to try new things. And that is by getting out of our comfort zone, it’s a lot more appealing to us to sit at home with a cup of tea or something on the couch because you know, maybe feeling a little bit more safe. But it’s so important to challenge ourselves by trying new things. Even though of course, you’re getting out of your comfort zone, and it is very uncomfortable to do that. But try and find an environment where you feel relatively safe. So even though you’re challenging yourself, you know that you won’t be hurt either physically or mentally or psychologically, which is how I ended up going to the dojo that you know, I eventually landed in. Because I knew it was a safe environment. I knew the teacher he was my acupuncturist before he became my teacher. And I had already seen some of the students going in and out of the dojo because this clinic was right next to the school. So I had a certain level of okay, I at least know the teacher, I know a few of the students, but it was still really difficult to get myself onto the mat. But, it was an amazing learning experience. And that’s what we need to do.

Janine Bolon
And when you talk about making sure that you find yourself in a safe environment, making sure that before you take the leap, so we’re not asking anybody to just dive off headfirst into the deep end of a pool here. We’re saying it’s okay to ease yourself in. Just make sure you take appropriate steps. So can you walk us through some of those appropriate steps that you use not only for yourself, but what you’ve talked to your clients on how to move out of your comfort zone in a gentle way.

Cheryl Ilov
Well, the first thing you want to do is do your research. So whatever it is that you’re looking to get into, let’s say maybe it’s getting into well, let’s just use the dojo as an example. Because I have people ask me, oftentimes you know, where do I go? How do I know which martial art will work for me. So I just would encourage you to get on the internet, thank goodness, we do have that technology and research a lot of different martial arts. And then when you locate a couple of styles that you think might work for you, I would encourage you to contact the different schools, the different dojos, talk to the owner, and absolutely go and watch a couple of classes, maybe not just one class, but a few classes, because then you can see the energy in the school, you can see how the students interact not only with the teacher, and vice versa, but how the students act, interact with each other. And that’ll give you a feel for what it would be like to be in that situation. And if it doesn’t have a good feel, if you just don’t, you know, feel a little bit icky, or a little, maybe it’s not the right one for me, then just try another one and just keep on going. I know a lot of people that have looked at many other studios before they ended up in the one that you know, that fits them. But you have got to find that fit.

Janine Bolon
It also helps to go to some of your community centers, what one of the things I was stunned by was how many martial art teachers very high quality teachers were at community centers because of the pandemic and the shutdown, they didn’t have access to their dojos anymore. And so they were doing outside classes and that sort of thing. So definitely make sure you get referrals as well. So martial arts is definitely one thing you worked on for over a decade. Do you mind sharing with us a little bit about what piqued your interest in martial arts at age 47? I mean, I’m sorry, that’s a story in and of itself.

Cheryl Ilov
Well, nothing really piqued my interest, I did not want to do it. Because I’m a fussy girl, I’ll be the first person to admit that I like Pilates and Pointe shoes and ballet and you know, the pretty things in life. And martial arts was absolutely never on my radar. But it was when I met my Sensei, my teacher, I went to him for acupuncture. The very first time when he started putting needles in my legs, he said, You know what, with your legs and my coaching, I could teach you how to kill with these things. And I was horrified…

Janine Bolon
We could make these suckers lethal weapons.

Cheryl Ilov
You’re gonna have to register them as lethal weapons. And I was horrified because I couldn’t believe that anybody in their right mind would think like that, let alone say it out loud. Long story short, it took him three years to talk me into taking some classes with him. And he finally wore me down. I got tired of listening to stories about martial arts in the dojo, and, you know, the healing power of martial arts because I did have an incident right before I met him that, you know, had pretty much rocked my world. And he said that martial arts would really help me recover. And I thought, you know, the man’s crazy, I just don’t think this is going to, you know, be a way for me to recover, but okay, I’ll give it a try. So after three years of badgering me, I told him, I was going to take a few classes, just to learn a few self defense techniques, and to prove to him how much I was going to hate it. And then I would quit.

Janine Bolon
So, that’s one of those. Alright, I’ll go out drinking with you once, but then I quit. We’re not doing it ever again.

Cheryl Ilov
Yeah, well, once I took that first sip, it was all over. But I have to admit, I did not fall in love with the art right away. But it wasn’t long before, you know, I like to tell people that I did not choose the art. The art chose me.

Janine Bolon
That is the way of it though, isn’t it? There’s so often in our lives when we’re called into some sort of arena, and it’s not one that we would have picked off the shelf. I mean, if we had our druthers, we would not have done it. Like you said, you’re a pretty girl in the sense of I like pretty things I like graceful things. I like to dance around in ballet toe shoes. Not sitting there with my pair of katanas going, come at me, bro. I mean, you’re just, that’s not your way. But one of the things that’s interesting, and I know our listeners can’t see this is a lot of times when I get on Zoom meetings with you, you have these beautiful knives or swords behind you. And so talk to us a little bit about how you got into the sword fighting.

Cheryl Ilov
Oh, Janine it is just such a long story, and I don’t even know if I have time to go into that right now.

Janine Bolon
Okay, but you do have some beautiful swords that are behind you that you would do also work with.

Cheryl Ilov
Absolutely, and I would love to be able to fill you in on that sometime soon.

Janine Bolon
Okay, so we were talking about the five steps that are helpful for people to discover the Warrior Within and most especially if you have found yourself in a situation you did not expect to where you’ve been physically hampered or crippled up and you’re coming out of a movement limited situation. So there have been many times where I have had something happen, I wasn’t able to raise my arms over my head, that sort of thing is one of the first things that Cheryl Ilov talks to us about is getting out of your comfort zone, try something different, try something new. So let’s talk a little bit Cheryl, about the evaluation skill set where you were like you need to evaluate your skill set. Talk to us a bit about that.

Cheryl Ilov
Well, you know, it’s really funny because you can evaluate your skill set. But a lot of times, we don’t even know that we have inherent skills deep inside of us, that we can use in a lot of different situations in life that we don’t even realize. So sometimes, we discover those skill sets when we get out of our comfort zone. So for example, there was a lot of skills that I realized that I had, you know, that were very useful in ballet class or in other venues, but really wouldn’t apply to martial arts because I had never studied a martial art. But all of our life experiences that we’ve had, up until this point, really lead us there.

Janine Bolon
And so when you’re talking about inherent skills, give us some examples on that.

Cheryl Ilov
Well, I can use an example of myself, the very first class that I ever took, I had to work with a black belt, which terrified me, like you wouldn’t believe. And I had, I mean, it’s ridiculous here I was this middle aged, you know, princess, surrounded by all these men, and he told me to kick him and I said, but I don’t want to kick you because I’m afraid I’m going to hurt you. And he just laughed, he thought that was absolutely adorable. And he just pointed to his belly, and he says, No, go ahead and kick me here, I know, you can do it. Go ahead. And I thought, I don’t know how to kick anybody, I’ve never kicked anybody in my life. And he kept encouraging me. So finally I said, Okay, if you insist. So I just picked up my right leg, and I just drove my pointed toes deep into his abdomen, as if I were flying in a Grand Jete across the ballet stage,

Janine Bolon
And we will hang on, I’m gonna pause you right there, because we have about 30 seconds before we go. If you want to listen to the rest of this story of how Cheryl probably I don’t know if we brought him to his knees or not. We’re going to find out in just a minute, but we’re going to go to our sponsors, and when we come back, Cheryl Ilov is going to talk to us about the inherent skills that we actually have and may not know about, as we discover the Warrior Within be right back.

Janine Bolon
And welcome back to the Janine Bolon Show. Today I am with Cheryl Ilov who happens to be a wonderful ninja person. Yes, yes, she’s been in martial arts, and it’s amazing her entire journey. She’s written a book, it’s going to be available in January. It’s called The Reluctant Ninja How a Middle Aged Princess Became a Warrior Queen. And she talks about how she did this at the age of 47. And so we’re going to talk a little bit more about that with Cheryl. But first, we were in the middle of a story when we broke for commercial. And so we’re gonna get back to that story about how you have inherent skill sets that you may not be aware of, or even realize. And so tell us about this again, you’re at the dojo, you’re standing there in front of this big guy, and what does he say to you?

Cheryl Ilov
He told me to kick him. And I looked at him and this is my very first class. I’m just kind of twirling my ponytail, and I say, but I don’t want to kick you. And he says, No, it’s okay, go ahead, you kick me. And you know, he kind of pointed where he wanted me to kick him in the belly below the belt, and I said well I don’t know about this. And I said, Well, I’ve never kicked anybody before, and I don’t want to start now. And he said, but it’s part of what we’re gonna do today. Okay, so then I’m still twirling my ponytail, and I said, but I don’t want to hurt you, and he got this sweet little smile on his face. And you can just see the air bubble right above his head that said, Isn’t she adorable? She thinks she can hurt me. And he just smiled, and he says, Don’t you worry, I can take care of myself. You can’t hurt me. And I’m still kind of looking at the area like around his belt, and I said, but I don’t want to hit you, you know, in any sensitive parts. And he just smiled even bigger, and he says, Don’t worry, you won’t hurt me and I can protect myself, So come on now just go ahead and kick me. Well, I didn’t know how to kick anybody, but I do know how to dance. It came in handy. I picked up my right leg and I thrust my pointed toes deep into his abdomen as if I were doing a Grand Jete across a ballet stage. And apparently I could hurt him.

Janine Bolon
Hello, martial artist meet Ballet.

Cheryl Ilov
Exactly. Poor guy, you know, he flew backwards a few feet and you know, and was hanging on to his belly. Well, my Sensei Mark had watched the whole thing from a distance, and the guy said to me, Wow, that was pretty good. Actually, that was really good. Where did you learn to kick like that? And my Sensei had come over to me. And he just looked down at me, and he said, How many years of ballet, and I looked back up at him. And I said, 27, because at the time, it was only 27 years. And he just nodded sagely, and he looked at the guy, and he said, she’s a lot stronger than she looks. Don’t let the package fool you.

Janine Bolon
I mean, everybody knows you don’t mess with dancer’s legs, right? I mean, it’s the most powerful part of their bodies. I think that’s so funny. I think that’s so funny. Anyway, so this is your very first ever class, and, you know, they tell you to kick in, okay, and all that and you’re like, I really am not interested in this martial art I’m only doing this because I want this guy, my Sensei to stop badgering me about joining it. You ended up staying with this teaching for 10 years, I mean, you became a black belt in it. So what happened? What was next?

Cheryl Ilov
Well, the black belt came in 10 years. And to this day, I am still training at the dojo, I did take a three year hiatus after 12 years of just really, you know, hitting it every day. Well, not every day, but you know, training steadily for 12 years. But there was something that happened, and like I said, I didn’t pick the art, the art picked me. And I really didn’t want to be there. I mean, I wanted to be in ballet class with my girlfriends. And the guys, you know, in ballet are a lot softer and kinder than these guys that wanted to hit me, kick me, punch me, throw me, and pin me to the ground. And Mark had told me that there were plenty of women in the dojo, Don’t you worry about it, there are plenty of women, and even higher ranking females that will take you under their wing and teach you the art of an ninja, what it’s like to do it, you know, as a female, blah, blah, blah, well, he was either lying, or he was stretching the truth, because most of the time, I was the only girl in class.

Janine Bolon
He just wanted you in the dojo bad didn’t he? He really wanted you as a student.

Cheryl Ilov
You know, he did, he wanted me in the dojo so badly, but it wasn’t because, you know, he wanted me as a student, because he knew I was really suffering from that traumatic event that I had, and he wanted to help me. And, you know, he was very protective of me probably the first year or so in the dojo watching out for me to make sure that I didn’t get hurt, and you know, working with the right guys, and all that kind of stuff. But then all of a sudden, I’m starting to climb the ranks. And I didn’t want to be a black belt. I didn’t even ever want to be a yellow belt. I didn’t even want a white belt. But it came with the uniform.o, so I had to take it. I mean, I just was going to take a few classes and get out of there and get on with my life. But there was something that was so seductive about that art, and about learning how to use your body in that way. That was indescribable to me. I mean, it’s hard even to come up with words even to this day. But it was just something magnetic about the things that I was learning. And what I was feeling internally in myself and even my husband noticed too who basically doesn’t notice things all the time. But he noticed even after a couple of weeks, he says, You know, I can really see that this is helping you. You seem happier, you seem a lot more confident, and I just really think this is good for you. And I said, Oh yes, Mike. And you know what the best part is? And he said what? And I said it’s a great way to meet men.

Janine Bolon
Yes, this is helpful. The marital bliss, is it not Cheryl? So in his defense, he said what?

Cheryl Ilov
He said Whatever makes you happy, honey.

Janine Bolon
What a great, you know, he’s worth his salt. You hang on to that one. He’s a good egg that one. Yeah, we were talking about how to discover the Warrior Within using ninja skills. And we are talking with Cheryl Ilov today. And she has a five step process on how you go about discovering the Warrior Within we described in the first segment, how you walk out of your comfort zone and steps in that. And we’re describing now how you go about learning about your inherent skills that you may not even know you have. So Cheryl, I know you like to use yourself as an example because of your own transformation. But give us some ideas on what sort of skills you and some of your clients have noticed about yourselves, that came out as you started moving out of your comfort zone and moving into new arenas.

Cheryl Ilov
Well, let me tell you a story about one of my clients who of course, became a very dear friend of mine, and we’re still very close friends. She came to me just, you know, for a pain issue, and as we worked through that she also was suffering from, you know, post traumatic stress from a car accident. And so we had worked a little bit through that with some of our other techniques. And she was very fearful about a lot of things. And I thought, you know what, you might want to come to the dojo and just play with me. I use the word play, we use that word a lot in martial arts, which sounds strange. And I’ll show you a couple of skills, and you know, just techniques because she was a very petite woman as well. And she felt like, people didn’t really see her, and she also had three very young children. You know, they were just like, ages like, five, seven, and nine. And so she came to the dojo a couple of times, we would do a couple of private sessions, and I would teach her even just how to stand, walk and look people in the eye. And, you know, it was just incredibly mind blowing for her, like, you know, that’s gonna make a difference. So I gave her a couple of tips, and I said, the next time you go to the grocery store, this is what I want you to do, and I want you to see what happens. Because she was so tiny, she was kind of invisible, and she felt powerless. And so she started to use those techniques, and she said, Oh, my gosh, it was amazing. She’d be walking through the grocery store, and she would use those techniques that I taught her. And all of a sudden, it was like the parting of the Red Sea, everybody would just clear a path for her. And she says it wasn’t like they were intimidated, but they all noticed me, and they were smiling, and she thought that she was imagining it. So she went back to her original way of walking, and the way she would move to the grocery store. And all of a sudden, she disappeared again, and people didn’t see her. And that in itself, Oh, it’s fascinating. But here’s the best part, is that one day, she was having ice cream with her kids, and they were in front of the store. Then they were sitting in chairs, like up against a cement wall, and she had her little five year old boy on her lap, and her two daughters were beside her. And she saw a guy walking across the parking lot, and right away, she said to herself, this guy is trouble, and he’s heading right for us. And she knew it. And he walked right up to them and started like picking lint off of her son shirt. Creepy right?

Janine Bolon
Right.

Cheryl Ilov
So she looked directly at him, and she said, Don’t touch him. And he got belligerent with her. And she just calmly kept staring at him and said, Go away, and leave us alone. And he turned around and ran across the parking lot. She was like, whoa. Exactly. And her nine year old daughter looked at her and said, Gee, that was really weird. And she’s like, Yeah, I know, let’s just finish our ice cream. And she said, You know, before this, she learned these little simple techniques, she would have freaked out, she would have been grabbing the kids, let’s get in the car, and literally, let’s get out of here. And that actually would have empowered that man, to be emboldened to be even more aggressive the next time he approached a young woman. So that’s just kind of one of the many examples that I like to share with people.

Janine Bolon
So we have a minute and a half left on this. So as we wrap up how to go about not necessarily evaluating your skill set, but being aware that you have inherent skills that you may not know about, do you have any advice or tips that you can give people on how to, number one, move out of the comfort zone, and number two, be aware of these skill sets, because you’ve been through the process multiple times, anything you care to share?

Cheryl Ilov
You know, all I can say is keep an open mind. Keep an open mind, and keep an open spirit. And that’s probably even more difficult to describe because we have a tendency to think of ourselves in a certain way. I never would have thought of myself as a martial artist. So trust me, you know, I was a ballet dancer, a physical therapist, this is what I was and who I was. And when we do that we put limitations on ourselves. So take those labels off. Don’t put those labels on yourself. Just keep an open mind. And again, like I said that open spirit, because that’s when really you start to develop even more personal growth, and more skill sets, more cognitive ability. just because you’re allowing for new things, new experiences, and new sensations to come into your life and into your body, mind, spirit and soul.

Janine Bolon
And we’ll be back after the break, where we will talk about how to train your awareness.

Janine Bolon
Welcome back to the Janine Bolon show, and I am here with Cheryl Ilov as we are talking about how to discover the Warrior Within. Cheryl is an author, and she talks about how to stay fit and fabulous after 50. But she also talks about how to be a Warrior Princess and Ninja, and walking like a ninja, how to discover that Warrior Within. We have five steps that she is walking us through, and in the previous segment, we were talking about how to get out of your comfort zone so that you can actually evaluate and learn what inherent skills you may not realize about yourself that you do have. And the other fun thing is, step three, is you’re stronger than you think. Cheryl, how about you walk us through what you mean by that, and what are some examples that you have?

Cheryl Ilov
Well, if you go back to my first day at the dojo when I was actually quite terrified, and I had to kick a black belt in the belly, and I thought, well, this isn’t gonna go well, because I have no idea how to kick anybody. But when I did kick him and he fell backwards, a couple of feet, I realized that I do have inner strength, that I don’t even know that I have. And I think especially for women, and men, too, that like sometimes kind of wears us down a little bit. And we forget how powerful that we really are. And we forget how strong we are. And it takes, again, getting out of that comfort zone, trying new things, expanding our world, expanding our physical and mental, you know, capacities by challenging them, that we discover what those skills are, or that strength that we have. When you think about it, I’m sure many of the listeners now as they’re hearing this, they could maybe look back at a time where, you know, they were either really struggling or they’re faced with a very difficult situation, and they found this inner strength within them to help carry them through the bumps in the road of life. To get them to the other side, maybe after you know, they’ve gone through it’s like wow, I’m stronger than I thought I was. And then from that experience, it actually helps compound that strength. And it’s not the kind of muscular strength, it’s a strength of spirit and the strength of your mental capacity as well as your physical, mental state.

Janine Bolon
So when it comes to you’re stronger than you think we hear this over and over in many a hero’s journey, whether you’re watching movies or what have you, and especially people have a tendency to really think of the physical aspect or the physicality of that. So when you talk about mental strength, what are some suggestions you can make on how to be stronger than you think mentally?

Cheryl Ilov
You know, there’s a lot of different training programs that you can go through. And a lot of my clients and even guests that I’ve had on my own podcast, you know, have gone through, like even the oh gosh, the Navy SEAL mindset training. And to me, that’s a little bit tough. Like, I don’t think I’m ready for that. But actually I knew a woman in her early 60s that said, Yeah, I’m gonna do it, and she did. And that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. To me, that’s a little bit much. But even through, you know, my ballet training, you realize that you have to be mentally tough to be able to take some of the criticism and you know, that you get through, yeah, it’s a lot of body shaming and stuff. And even going through life, I would start with something that wouldn’t be quite as intimidating or quite as challenging. For example, I had a client who was being bullied by her mother in law. And I thought, I know what a terrible situation. And I mean, she would get almost physically ill when her mother in law was coming to visit and the woman was, she was a counselor, she was a therapist. So she understood she was a Psychotherapist. She understood what was going on, but she didn’t know what to do about it because she was completely bamboozled by this situation. So I just, you know, talked to her, and we did a few little movement patterns in the dojo to show her where her inner strength was, and how to find it. And that was just by the way she was standing, and the way that she was carrying herself. And it’s like, look, just relax your knees, keep your back up and straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your knees relaxed, and look her right in the eye. And so we practiced a few, movements like that, and we did that for about two sessions, and her mother in law came to visit. And when she tried to, you know, get in her space and get in her face, my client just did exactly what she remembered, and her mother in law backed down, boom, immediately. And so of course, she’s calling me the next day, and she’s so happy and she’s proud of herself. And I just explained to her, you know, this is just the beginning, you’ve tapped into that inner strength and inner power, so now you can grow it a little bit more, you can play with it. And it’s just that level of confidence that we lose, when we are being either bullied or pushed around or have a bad relationship, or a bad relationship with our boss, or difficulties at work, or even difficulties with our family or running our business, even through COVID, all of those things, you have to get back on track and find that blade of strength that’s deep inside of you, or that well, or whatever it means to you, because we all have different ways of describing it and experiencing it.

Janine Bolon
And that’s one of the things that I absolutely love about some of the teachings you have not only in your books, but as you coach your clients, is you move right from you’re stronger than you think, and then you say, Okay, now it’s time for us to train your awareness. Talk to us about that next step.

Cheryl Ilov
So, there’s a lot of different types of awareness. There is situational awareness. There’s environmental awareness. There is personal internal awareness of what’s going on with you. I mean, so there’s a lot of different ways, you know, of awareness or different levels of awareness. So one of the things that I love to do to start training, well, the first thing you do is you put your cell phone down. So I just, it makes me crazy when I see people, especially women, and now kids walking around in the neighborhood, or in the grocery store, in a parking lot with their face in their cell phone, because that is the one thing that is absolutely numbing our awareness. And it’s also something that is what predators are looking for. Predators are looking for an easy target. If they see somebody who has their head up, their eyes are open, they’re looking around, and they’re aware of their environment, that is not an easy target. So that’s the first thing that I would suggest doing. The next thing is when you do drive to work, school, even going through the grocery store, change your route, change the route that you take, when you’re driving, or when you’re walking, or even going to the grocery store, if you go through, you know, okay, I always start at the produce section, go to the opposite side of store and go in the reverse direction. It is amazing how that just wakes up a lot of the neurons in your brain, it’s like, it really wakes up your nervous system, and you’re starting to pay attention to things that you didn’t even realize were there before. So same thing going through your neighborhood, through walks in the park, changing your route, there’s so many things that you can do that actually just activate like I said the neural pathways in your brain and really start making you aware of not only your environment, but of different situations. And then you’re starting to watch people more carefully more closely. And you start paying attention to their body language, which is really a powerful tool in keeping yourself safe.

Janine Bolon
And one of the things that they have shown is that when you change up your route, I mean routines are helpful for us, because it allows us to live a little bit easier, because we don’t have decision fatigue. And so that’s why we get into routines and systems. But when we’re talking about awareness, if you want to activate it, I highly recommend you listen to what Cheryl was saying to you, because when you want to be more aware of what is going on in your world, there is a beauty and grace by doing things differently, it helps wake you up to the beauty that is in this world. And so thank you so much for bringing into that situational awareness and environmental you were able to take both of those. So talk to us a little bit about internal awareness, if you don’t mind.

Cheryl Ilov
Oh, so that might be a little bit trickier. But that’s just to, you know, that we have that intuition, inherent awareness that, again, is something that kind of gets, no, it gets kind of pulled out of us with life, you know, so I thought oh, you know, don’t pay attention to that this, you know, intuition, blah, blah, blah. But thankfully now, we know that there really is scientific proof that does exist. So even in, like when you walk into a store, and this happened to me fairly recently, I walked into the grocery store and there was something, something wasn’t right. And I didn’t even know what it was. But there was something and I saw a couple of people that just made me uncomfortable. And I thought, You know what, I think maybe I’m just gonna go home and come back another time. And you know, I did check the newspaper later to see if anything happened there and nothing did. But there was something that made me very uncomfortable. So start paying attention to either the little voice in your head, or that little sensation in the pit of your stomach that’s saying something is not right. Another thing I like to do is just go outside where I know I’m safe in the backyard, sit in a chair, close my eyes, and just listen. And listen to the sounds. I call it kind of sound layering, and what you’re hearing in the background, and how those sounds are affecting you the difference between listening to a bird sing, or the difference between hearing a dog bark, or the traffic in the background to that one really easy, safe and simple way to start training that internal awareness, and then taking that to, again, maybe working with a friend or a spouse or somebody you’re very comfortable with, and pretend like you know, okay, think negative thoughts. And if you can pick up on their negative thoughts, you know, it’s just, it’s a little bit. It’s hard to describe verbally, it’s kind of like a game to play.

Janine Bolon
And once again, we’re right back to that word you’d like to use in martial arts, which is play you’re playing at this activity and you’re working through it. So after the break, we’re going to discuss more with Cheryl Ilov discover the Warrior Within we’re going to be talking about how to think, move, and walk like a ninja so stay tuned, we’ll be right back.

Janine Bolon
Welcome back to the Janine Bolon show, and we are lucky to have with us today, Cheryl Ilov who is helping us understand how to discover the Warrior Within basically how you can think, move, and walk like a ninja. It’s based on her book that’s coming out in January. Cheryl, thank you so much for walking us through this five step process. So talk to us a little bit about this whole think, move, and walk like a ninja thing. I think that’s fascinating.

Cheryl Ilov
Well the think like a ninja is probably right now when people hear that they’re thinking, Oh, Warrior warrior, you know? And it’s like, well, yes, you know, the ninja are warriors. But what is a warrior when people hear that word, they think of fighting and warfare in conflict, and you know, all these terrible things. And that really is not what a warrior is. A warrior is love, peace, harmony, is very compassionate, loves nature,loves learning. And that is what the characteristic of a ninja is. So it’s taking away some of the things that get in our way of enjoying life, and enjoying nature. And it’s finding that loving, compassionate heart, and spirit that we carry ourselves into the world with. And thinking like a ninja, though, keeping that in mind, is that of course, we are the warrior spirit, very loving, very compassionate. And we are also very good at drawing boundaries, we have strong boundaries. So if somebody tries to cross that boundary, you just step back and say no, you know, please, let’s don’t do this, please. I’m asking you nicely. And then if they do it again, it’s like no, please, really, I don’t want to do this, you know, and then the third time, it’s like, okay, you cross the line. And now there’s going to be some kind of consequence. I’m not saying you take out your sword to start whacking people. But it’s like, Okay, I’m going to either, you know, remove myself from this situation. I’m going to, we call it ninja disappearing act, you know, the ninja have a reputation for disappearing? Well, yeah, you just walk away. Because if you’re in a conflict or something is escalating, you can’t get hurt if you’re not there. So ninjas do have a way of just walking away, you know, it’s like, okay, I’m, I’m getting out of here. So it’s about being able to evaluate situations and stuff. And, you know, is this a healthy relationship? Is this a good environment for me to go into this store? You know, just kind of always thinking, you know, how can I make this situation a little bit different? And that goes into the body language and the walking like, walk and stand like a ninja. It’s really fascinating when you watch the way people walk and carry themselves, and you can look at somebody and you could get really good at it, you can tell if somebody is having a bad day, you can tell if somebody has low self esteem, you can tell if somebody is an easy target. You can also tell if somebody has a very strong spirit, if they have confidence, if they’re having a good day. And you can do this just by watching the way they walk, stand and move. So typically, especially as Americans in our society, when we walk, we have that very forward head posture, and you know, forward chest, and it’s almost like we’re falling, it’s, you know, controlled fall all the way, you know, through your gait. But if you just stand up tall, but soften your knees and really move from your hips, I would say move from your pelvis, it’s more accurate than saying move from your hips. But it’s kind of like a little bit of a rolling gait, and you’re more solid on your feet. And you’re more grounded, but yet you’re moving in a way that’s a lot more fluid. So it’s not that structured, you know, clunky, repeated, controlled fall. It’s almost very sensuous. And it’s something that if you look at how a cat walks, or even, you know, tigers or panthers in the wild, it’s a little bit more organic, it’s more visceral and aware.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, that’s one of the things that I was not in the same martial art issue when I was learning it. But that was something they kept talking about, they would say, Oh, you Americans, right? They were always talking to us about you Americans, and, we were very military, and so you were used to marching and that sort of thing. And so we had to really learn how to lower our center of gravity, that our center of gravity was much lower than we had realized. And so that brings us back to that discussion you had with us earlier at the break before the break, which was about, you know, be internally aware of yourself. And that awareness of where is your center of gravity. So that moving like a ninja, I enjoy the fact that you talk about how it is a more sensuous walk.

Cheryl Ilov
And you know, what’s really interesting when I did first start in martial arts, of course, my center of gravity was very high, because I was used to ballet. So you know, my knees were always straight, my legs were always long, my back was always straight, and the shoulders back, beautiful ballet posture. And all the guys had to do was walk past me and the breeze from them walking past me would knock me over.

Janine Bolon
Right? Yep, definitely not your more stable position to be in huh?,

Cheryl Ilov
Definitely not. And after about a year of really struggling with that, and you know, my Sensei would look at me, and he would just shake his head and say, Cheryl, you know where your center of gravity is. And you know, you’ve got your center and your core, but it’s just, you know, way too high. And I finally broke down, got out of my comfort zone and did something that I never thought I would ever do in my entire life. And that was to take a couple of modern dance classes. Because it’s the exact opposite from ballet, you know, they do get their center of gravity lower, and they do move, you know, a little bit more viscerally and with their knees bent and stuff. And it’s like, my goodness, you know, I had been taking, at that point ballet for almost 30 years, and here I was walking into a brand new, modern dance class. And I called a woman in Denver that I knew who had a company and had a really good school, and she knew who I was, and she goes, Oh, I have the perfect class for you. Tuesdays and Thursdays at this time, blah, blah, blah. And I said, Okay, I’ll see you next week. So I walk into class, and it’s her company class. I know. Right? And I thought I had told her I’d never had modern before and she’s like, You’re gonna be fine. Well, it really was a lot of fun once I you know, got over my awkwardness. But you know, I knew a lot of the young women in class, they would come and take ballet. So I thought, well, this is fair game. And it was so funny because once I stayed there for about nine months, because I was really loving it. I did learn how to get my center of gravity low. But here’s the most amazing thing, so for your listeners who do study modern dance, this is fascinating. I was watching some of their choreography, and I was just blown away, and I was so excited. I was telling the girls in the dressing room later, I said, Oh my gosh, that’s exactly what we do in martial arts. This move is an elbow strike, this is a throw, this is a that and I was getting so excited, and just so enthusiastic about it. And I realized that the entire dressing room was silent. And one of the girls looked at me and said, and you look so sweet.

Janine Bolon
Best compliment ever, you look so sweet, yet you could kill me.

Cheryl Ilov
Exactly. That goes back to what we said at the very beginning, you have inherent skills, I was able to explain to these ladies that they did have skills, you know, if they were attacked, that they could just break out some of their dance moves, and they would be able to take someone down.

Janine Bolon
And so, and not only would it be comical, but also very therapeutic.

Cheryl Ilov
There you go. Absolutely.

Janine Bolon
Very good. So we are here today with Cheryl Ilov talking about how to discover the Warrior Within. And she’s just finished walking us through these five steps on how you go about moving out of your comfort zone, and how you try to evaluate these inherent skills that you have that you don’t even know about, that you are stronger than you think. And that as you train yourself in your awareness, not only situational awareness, but environmental awareness, internal awareness, that you will eventually start to think, move and walk kind of like a present day ninja. So Cheryl, tell us about this book that you have coming out. Give us the title and where can people go to sign up for it, because I know it doesn’t come out till January. Is that right?

Cheryl Ilov
That’s right. Well, I’m hoping and like one of my ballet teachers would say hope springs eternal. It’s in the final phase, and it’s almost there. We have the book cover and everything’s done except we were just still waiting for that final product. They can go to my website. Well, the title of the book is The Reluctant Ninja, How a Middle Aged Princess Became a Warrior Queen, and it basically chronicles my journey into this male dominated world of you know, martial arts and how I got into it. And there were some really funny stories, there were some heartbreaking stories, there were some stories that are just nothing but spirit. And it does chronicle how I started climbing the ranks and becoming Mark’s first female black belt. So it’s a story about empowerment. And that’s really what the message that I’m wanting to share with my readers is that you know, you are stronger than you know you are, you’re stronger than you think you are. There’s a warrior and an invisible black belt in each and every one of us just wanting to come out so you can find it if you go to my website and sign up for my newsletter, then I will definitely make an announcement and send out a newsletter when the book does get published. So go to www.cherylilov.com. That’s it.

Janine Bolon
Wonderful, wonderful, because Cheryl is a multi book author as of January, you have two minutes here to tell us a little bit about your first book you ever wrote.

Cheryl Ilov
The first book I wrote is Forever, Fit and Flexible, Feeling Fabulous at 50 and Beyond, and that is a result of my own, another journey and experience of recovering from a chronic pain syndrome. I was a chronic pain patient for two and a half years, told to start applying for disability. It was an absolute nightmare. And I finally had to say I’m not going to do this. And I had to figure it out for myself, ended up going to physical therapy school, teaching other people how to heal themselves. I did not fix people, I taught them how to fix themselves, and I include all of that in the book. So people are empowered to be able to just learn that they can do whatever they want to do at every stage of life.

Janine Bolon
Thank you so much, Cheryl. It’s been a delight to have you with us on the show today.

Cheryl Ilov
Thank you Janine, I really appreciate it.

Janine Bolon
And this is Janine Bolon with the Janine Bolon show, reminding you that we broadcast on KHNC on every Sunday at noon. Join us again next week, we’ll be here with more guests who will help you save money, time, knowledge and your sanity. Thank you so much for tuning in. See you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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