Archive for martial art

Destiny Is A Choice!

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We live, We Love, We Win, We Loose

Our destiny given, yet our fate to choose.

Who are we that can choose, you may say

Our path is given, we dare not stray!

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

Our life is ours that only WE can prove.

Do not doubt, our destiny is clear

Only also know this, no matter what may seem

So much MORE is ours to redeem.

So rise, I say and claim your bounty.  

Choose your fate, over your seeming destiny.

The power you see, is up to you.

Do know that destiny can deceive.

And choose your life with the simplicity

That it truly is up to me.

We live, we love, we win, we lose

Our destiny given, our fate to choose.

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cc: dhee July 2014

 

 

 

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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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Olympic Day. A Gift To Give!

An Olympian With an ‘Olympic Day’ Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why do you want my autograph Sylvia?”

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

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

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

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

“Really” she spoke in a much firmer tone?

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

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

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

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

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

Dana Lynn Hee

(Posted on Facebook June 23rd 2010)

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If I Should Die Tonight, I am Grateful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life?

Changed forever.

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

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

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

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

I am very thankful.

dana hee

(posted on Facebook, April 2, 2011)

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Innovation and Visualization – Winning the Olympic Gold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FINDING COURAGE WITHIN!

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

STARLIGHT STORY

(Age 5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Dana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stress! And How To Combat This. II

Listen with your heart!

When you are stuck in a quandary and cannot see the forest for the trees, it is wise to let an outside source help you with your needs.

Yet as much as you may want to…you cannot listen to someone when your mind is on overload and your heart is on empty.

So when you truly want to make a change that is beyond your ability, or even beyond your comprehension….

What do YOU think you need to do?

All you need to do is focus on what you CAN control, and let another help you with what you cannot.

The truth is simple you see. And it will set you free.

For an outside thought, a helpful hand or the clear insight into your soul can once again make your heart whole.

So take the advice of a friend, take that hand or the advice from your soul. Then listen and act. And once again, you will feel the freedom and joy your negative thoughts stole.

Now…how to act you ask? When you seem frozen in time? That is soon to come as I transcribe to paper my experiences on same and the certain knowledge of this in my mind.

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“Dana’s Near-Suicide Story”

Light or Darkness. Which should you choose when all is lost?

When you fall to the earth and darkness closes in.  When the light of hope begins to dim.  Hold tight to your beliefs.  And one day, you will soar again.


 

 

It was warm that evening.  It was just about midnight.  Seething with self-disgust and emotional turmoil, I sat on the edge of my bed and rocked back and forth in silent agony.  As the minutes ticked by, my distress increased, almost to the point of hysteria.  I just couldn’t ‘take it’ anymore!  With a heart-wrenching sob, I suddenly sprang to my feet, grabbed my car keys and ran down the stairs to get my car.  Pealing out of the driveway, I raced off towards the nearby mountain highway.

With tears streaming down my face and my throat tight with constriction, I forced the accelerator down further and the car slid screeching around the mountain turn in the ‘inky’ blackness of the night.  With my face rigid with anger and self-loathing, I braced my hands on the wheel as I fish-tailed out of the curve and head down the last straight-a-way, and towards the death-defying hair-pin turn 500 yards ahead of me. I cleared the last stand of tall pine trees and raced into the night sky.

It was then that I was suddenly hit with the most beautiful, panoramic view of twinkling stars on the beckoning horizon.  Still on ‘auto-pilot,’ I punched the accelerator all the way to the floor.  Suddenly, my brain flashed back to childhood and to the many nights I gazed in hope at the stars in the night sky. One image from the past, stormed into my mind with the impact of thunder.  It was the evening when I saw that single star.  The evening when I made a wish.  I was only six years old.  But that simple wish gave me the hope and courage to walk into the following years with a tiny spark of hope.

“What happened to me!” I shouted in rage.  “I don’t believe!”  “I don’t believe!”  “I….”  My thoughts and speech were suddenly blocked by a single booming phrase that thundered through my mind, “Be not afraid!”  My mind cleared.  One thousand one, one thousand two…I switched my foot over to slam on the brake.  As the tires screeched eerily on the dark pavement, my car slid at frightening speed, straight toward the flashing yellow guard rail.  It was a flimsy barrier overlooking a vertical drop off of thousands of feet of solid rock.  “Too late,” I hissed to myself…

That one moment in time, changed my life forever.

Santa Clara Cherry Queen Promo Visit in Japan

 

 

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MY OLYMPIC STORY [A young girls’ struggle to overcome the odds against her and make her long-standing dream come true].


The Olympic Story of Dana Hee

Have you ever been so afraid of failure, that you couldn’t even think of succeeding, much less even try?
That’s how I lived my life for the first 22 years. From the age of three, I was passed back and forth between an orphanage and raging alcoholic, suicidal, low income, abusive family. From there I eventually ended up on the streets, in a commune, a halfway house, a government shelter, and finally a foster home at age sixteen.

Never trusting the illusions of love and safety, I left the foster home right out of high school. I then struggled for the next six years to make it on my own. On the surface, I presented my ‘survivalist’ game face that everything was just fine. But the overwhelming impact of the years of broken promises, emotional turmoil, and pain had taken their tole. The devastating feelings of sadness and despair from the past, blocked out any sense of hope I might have had. Time and again, I found myself running from any chance, challenge or dream because I did not believe in myself.

The thought, that I wasn’t good enough, had been instilled in me since childhood. It was as if the two words, “I can’t,” had been programmed into my mind. By the age of 25, I had become my own worst enemy of success. That is, until I made a decision that would change my life forever.

The decision that I would make did not happen overnight. It came from years of self-loathing, after running away from yet another of my dreams, and then some.

You see, in high school, I had discovered that I had a real talent and opportunity to be successful in the track and field event of high jump. With a scholarship offer and a sponsorship with a top Stanford University coach, I began to dream of Olympic Gold. I just knew that if I could win an Olympic Gold Medal, then I would really ‘BE’ someone.

Then I would be recognized, loved, and wanted. But just as the going got tough, I let my old fear of failure get the best of me. I couldn’t bear the thought of what would happen if I tried my best, and discovered that I wasn’t good enough. It was just like that old saying, that the higher up the ladder you climb, the further you have to fall. And I had become really afraid of hitting that ground. So I gave up. I just turned and walked away from my dream.

Years later, I was still kicking myself for my cowardice, when another opportunity popped up with my newly found talent in Taekwondo. Placing second in my first National competition in 1986, I discovered that this sport was to be introduced in the upcoming ‘88’ Olympics in Seoul, Korea. The revelation, that here was my second chance to make my Olympic dream come true, hit me square between the eyes. At that moment, it became startling clear to me that I could not just walk away again.
I’d been given a second chance, and by God, I’d make the most of it! This time I swore to myself, that no matter what, I would take this dream and make it come true. And if I failed…well at least I would know that it wasn’t because I didn’t give it 100% effort. I would know that, for once in my life, I did not let my fears get the best of me!

So with a glimpse of hope and an ounce of courage, I took one step forward and started climbing that ladder to Olympic Gold with my dream from the past.

I analyzed where I was, versus where I wanted to be. I listed the things I needed to do, then I figured out how to accomplish them. And step-by-step, I inched my way upward. Right off, I discovered that I had the raw talent, though I’d still need a lot more work. It also became clear that my biggest hurdle was my lack of self-confidence.

Champions have to believe in themselves, yet from my experiences and disappointments in life, I’d developed the bad habit of saying, “I can’t.” As a result, I had very little self-esteem! It was something that seemed impossible to change, and yet I just had to find a way!

In the next two and a half years, I trained like crazy. First for about 3 hours a day, then 6, and finally right before the Olympics, I was training 8 hours a day! I traveled and competed in every tournament I could find that would be beneficial. I researched and experimented with physical, mental, and dietary programs. I solicited funds from local businesses, help from top coaches, and ideas from top competitors.

Yet despite all my efforts, the real reason for my ultimate success was really because of a life changing experience I had while training up-state New York with a famous coach.

I had determined that although I was faster and stronger than many competitors, I did not have the stamina. And without this endurance, I would be unable to win. What good was it that I could win the first round or two, yet then lose in the third? Though I had trained like a maniac trying to increase my stamina, I discovered that I didn’t even have the mindset to persevere. Once I got tired, that was it. My mind overruled my body, and I would quit.

So I went to train with a rival’s coach who was known for producing competitors with amazing stamina and determination. His athletes had that ‘indomitable spirit’ that I was lacking. Right from the beginning, I ran into trouble. For, one of the biggest elements to his training program was running. That was something I had been doing as little of as possible. I had discovered back in high school, that long distant running would produce in me, a ‘racing’ heart that would then trigger an asthmatic reaction that would close off my lungs. But since I was there to train and learn, and I was determined to improve, I went with the program as best as I could.

One of the runs he’d have us do was an extremely difficult one up and through a cemetery. It seemed impossible for me to do this run successfully, and on my last two efforts, I had been forced to stop and walk up the steepest hill.

On this third attempt, despite my determination, I found myself laboring as usual as we began to climb the dreaded hill. About a quarter of the way up, with my breathing coming hard and fast, my heart started racing. A few beats later, the asthmatic reaction set in, and my desperate lungs began closing off further. Panic stricken, I came wheezing to a stop, bending over, trying desperately to get some air into my starved lungs. My coach, who’d been staying alongside me to encourage me, came up to me – I thought to help reassure me. Not!

To my surprise, he came up behind me, placed his hand on my back and started pushing me unceremoniously up the hill! Oh the indignity of it. He completely ignored the fact that I couldn’t even breathe, and that I was close to passing out or getting violently sick. “How insensitive!” “How unbelievable!”

As I stumbled forward from the pressure of his hand, I became angry and started moving forward on my own. As I put one foot in front of the other, muttering angrily to myself, trying to pull away, he kept pace, with his hand resting on my back as a reminder that he was not going to let me stop. Fuming with anger and indignation, it was with surprise that I discovered I had reached the top of the hill, and that I hadn’t passed out.

Although my breathing was still labored and wheezing, I discovered that, I could keep going! That revelation sounded off in my head like a trumpet from heaven. As my coach pulled ahead and let me continue on my own down the hill, that thought pounded in my brain with each forward footstep.

I realized that I had been thinking, “I can’t make it,” “I can’t do this.” “I’m going to pass out!” Yet, once I had taken my mind off of that negative thinking, and focused on something else…I had discovered that, “Hey,” “I could do it!” “I could keep running.” “I didn’t pass out!” From that time on… everytime I began to think, “I can’t,” I learned to replace that thinking with, “I can!” Those two little words changed my life forever.

Throughout the remaining months of training, I used those two words as much as possible. And though it was never easy, and my mindset did not change overnight, I now knew in my heart, that amazing things were possible if only I believed in myself, and could just continue taking that one step forward!

This knowledge became the powerful key to my success. So much so, that when I got knocked out with a spinning kick in the Olympic Finals competition, I got back up and won the match. When, in Seoul, two weeks before the Olympic competition and a back injury got the best of me and forced me to stop training, I started practicing by ‘visualizing’ my fight moves. When it became obvious that my Olympic coach had dismissed me as a potential medal candidate, I let my disappointment, anger and frustration fuel my determination to prove him wrong.

As the morning of my competition dawned with my back rested, I felt it in my spirit that I was ready for competition.


Then…just before I entered the ring for competition, that old fear of failure started creeping back into my mind. “Who did I think I was?” “I would never be good enough!”

But, just as those thoughts started to take hold, I began replacing them with the truth. “I was ready!” “And, I was good enough!” And I took one step forward, and entered the ring. When my first match was halfway over, I knew that although my body was not 100%, my positive mindset made up for it. As I faced my toughest opponent (Chinese Taipei) in the semi-finals, I knew in my heart, that I was good enough to win. I knew that I had the strength, the speed, the training, and the determination. And most important of all, I truly believed in myself.

When my hand was raised after my final match to let everyone know I’d won the Olympic Gold, I smiled to myself, because I finally realized that I was, indeed, a winner. I had conquered my fears!

Standing on the Olympic podium watching the American flag flutter gracefully upwards to the music of our beautiful National Anthem, my heart swelled with pride and joy. As the cameras clicked their last photos, and I turned and walked past the cheering crowds, my mind reeled with the wonder of what I’d accomplished. Who would have thought that a scrawny, timid, lonely little girl with no self esteem or self confidence, would grow up and win the prestigious honor of being an Olympic Gold Medalist for her country?

Who would have thought that it would be possible to make a dream come true with a vow of commitment and faith in the two little words, “I can.”

As I gave one last parting wave to the crowd, and stepped out of the Olympic limelight, I realized that this was only the beginning. Somehow I knew, that this one moment in time would last a lifetime. Because, I now knew, that if I could just keep taking that one step forward, it was possible to make my dreams come true!

Cc Dana Hee, 1992

ABOUT DANA

Dana is an Olympic Gold Medalist, Top Motivational Speaker, 2X Hall Of Fame Martial Artist, Award-Winning Stuntwoman (over 17 years stunt doubling the leading ladies in Block-Buster Films such as the Batman Movies, The Terminator films, Charlies Angels, Peacemaker, Alias and MUCH more).  More importantly, she is a Life Survivalist whom endeavors to Inspire, Enlighten, and Elevate the hearts and minds of people around the world.

http://www.GreatThingsArePossible.com
http://www.greatthingsarepossible.com/

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Thank you for viewing my stories!  Love and light to all!  Dana Hee

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