Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Ep 105: Strength, Power, and Vitality for Women at Any Age with Cheryl Ilov

September 15, 2023 Cheryl Ilov Episode 105
Ep 105: Strength, Power, and Vitality for Women at Any Age with Cheryl Ilov
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Ep 105: Strength, Power, and Vitality for Women at Any Age with Cheryl Ilov
Sep 15, 2023 Episode 105
Cheryl Ilov

Today, I am speaking with Cheryl Ilov, a dynamic force who challenges the misconceptions of aging, fitness, and the power of the female spirit. She is a physical therapist, martial artist, dancer, and author.  With over 20 years of experience in private practice, she has helped thousands of clients recover from pain and injuries by integrating the science of physical therapy with the art of movement.

Cheryl is also a second-degree black belt in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, which she began training at 47. She is the author of two books: “Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond,” and “The Reluctant Ninja: How A Middle-Aged Princess Became A Warrior Queen.” She hosts The FemiNinja Project podcast, which is about overcoming obstacles, personal empowerment, restoring human dignity, and alternative health and healing.

__________

Click here to apply for coaching!
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:


[2:40] Cheryl's passion for self-mastery
[7:15] Misconceptions about aging, fitness, and being a woman
[10:43] Definition and significance of the somatic movement
[13:27] Your perspective on vitality
[17:14] Top 3 recommendations for enhancing vitality
[22:44] Starting martial arts training at 47
[29:05] Your unique challenges as the only woman in your martial arts class
[35:09] Breaking gender barriers in martial arts
[41:39] Comparison of Ninpo Tai Jutsu with other martial arts forms
[44:30] Overcoming intimidation for women in martial arts
[49:45] Practical application of martial arts in real-life threats
[54:37] Safety and empowerment techniques for women
[59:59] One question Cheryl wished Philip had asked
[1:01:01] Where to learn more about Cheryl
[1:02:37] Outro

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

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Show Notes Transcript

Today, I am speaking with Cheryl Ilov, a dynamic force who challenges the misconceptions of aging, fitness, and the power of the female spirit. She is a physical therapist, martial artist, dancer, and author.  With over 20 years of experience in private practice, she has helped thousands of clients recover from pain and injuries by integrating the science of physical therapy with the art of movement.

Cheryl is also a second-degree black belt in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, which she began training at 47. She is the author of two books: “Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond,” and “The Reluctant Ninja: How A Middle-Aged Princess Became A Warrior Queen.” She hosts The FemiNinja Project podcast, which is about overcoming obstacles, personal empowerment, restoring human dignity, and alternative health and healing.

__________

Click here to apply for coaching!
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:


[2:40] Cheryl's passion for self-mastery
[7:15] Misconceptions about aging, fitness, and being a woman
[10:43] Definition and significance of the somatic movement
[13:27] Your perspective on vitality
[17:14] Top 3 recommendations for enhancing vitality
[22:44] Starting martial arts training at 47
[29:05] Your unique challenges as the only woman in your martial arts class
[35:09] Breaking gender barriers in martial arts
[41:39] Comparison of Ninpo Tai Jutsu with other martial arts forms
[44:30] Overcoming intimidation for women in martial arts
[49:45] Practical application of martial arts in real-life threats
[54:37] Safety and empowerment techniques for women
[59:59] One question Cheryl wished Philip had asked
[1:01:01] Where to learn more about Cheryl
[1:02:37] Outro

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Cheryl Ilov:

We talk a lot about training our spirit. So it's not just training, you know this even with what you do in the fitness industry, it's not just physical. You know, you're actually strengthening and growing your entire being. And especially as a martial artist that's really really important to us and I could feel my spirit starting to rise, I could feel my spirit getting stronger.

Philip Pape:

Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Wits& Weights community Welcome to another episode of the Wits & Weights Podcast. Today I'm speaking with Cheryl I love a dynamic force who challenges the misconceptions of aging fitness and the power of the female spirit from her starting martial arts at 47. eventually becoming a black belt to her unique perspective on somatic movement and its integral role in vitality. Cheryl integrates the worlds of dance martial arts and physical therapy, we will explore the art of movement, the challenges faced by women in fitness and actions you can take to enhance vitality and build confidence No matter your age, or where you're starting from. Cheryl is an author, speaker, physical therapist, martial artists dancer and former chronic pain patient. With over 20 years experience as a physical therapist in private practice. She has helped 1000s of clients recover from pain and injuries by integrating the science of physical therapy with the art of movement. Cheryl firmly believes that our body has an incredible capacity to heal itself, and that everyone can enjoy vibrant health and vitality at every stage of life. She's also a second degree black belt in an ancient Japanese art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu. From her own experience of beginning training at the tender age of 47 and becoming her teacher's first female Black Belt. 10 years later, she discovered that there's an incredible amount of strength and power in each and every one of us just waiting to be unleashed. Cheryl is the author of two books, one titled forever fit and flexible, feeling fabulous at 50 and beyond. And the reluctant ninja how a middle aged Princess became a warrior queen. She's also the host of the feminine Joy project podcast, which is about overcoming obstacles, personal empowerment, restoring human dignity, and alternative health and healing healing. Cheryl, it is so good to finally meet you and have you on the show.

Cheryl Ilov:

I thank you, Philip, it is an honor to be here. I really appreciate it.

Philip Pape:

So you've got quite the background. We were talking about that before we started. And we're going to dive into some of that it. This is a time when people are always seeking shortcuts, right? This is a time when people get complacent as they age, this is what I see at least. And here you are you dive into martial arts at the age of 47. You're a dancer, physical therapist, you talk about unleashing strength and power. One term that I've often used on this show is is self mastery, specifically physical self mastery, but even in general, and it's something that I really admire about you and your story. So what is the driving force behind your passion for this mastery?

Cheryl Ilov:

Oh, wow, what a great question. Honestly, Phillip, I think what it is, is my incomparable stubbornness, and my resilience or not my resilience, but my resistance to accepting the status quo. You know, as we mature, some people might call it age, but I say we mature. As we mature, we start to hear things like well, you're never going to be able to do this again. Or you have to be careful. You know, I just spoke with a retired orthopedic surgeon yesterday for my podcast, and talking about, you know, like bone density, bone loss and the fear that comes along with aging, because we're told that all of these horrible things are going to happen to us. And it's not necessarily true. Because what we believe is what we become. And if we hear that those labels when you're getting older, you're getting frail, you're you're gonna lose bone density, you won't be able to do these things. Eventually, we believe that and what we believe is what we become. So I think it's really important for us, as we get older to flip the script and kind of look at what do we want our life to be like, over the next 510 years, you know, project ourselves see ourselves as in our 60s 70s 80s. And that, to me really kind of lights a fire underneath me, especially because I've been told so many times about the things that I wouldn't be able to do. I was a chronic pain patient when I was in my mid 30s. I went through another really difficult time when I was in my 40s and both times I had people almost I felt like they were patting me on the head and saying Don't you worry it's going to be okay and we are going to take care of you. And that was just what I needed to hear here because I don't want anybody taking care of me. And I don't want anybody telling me what I can and cannot do.

Philip Pape:

That stubborn streak is relatable to me at the very at the very least, it's funny, my wife and I both have that sometimes they say opposites, opposites attract, but we're actually very similar. So it kind of butt heads in that way. But it's always fun. Because you're right. It's like why, why do we need to accept where we are? Why can't we do what is physically possible, mentally possible. And many of us, we don't discover that, until we have some of that wisdom of as you said, maturity age, whatever it is, that we may have been afraid in our 20s, or people been telling us things for years. And at some point, you just listened to it because you don't know any better, perhaps. And then the wisdom starts to reveal itself as you try things right. And as you take that action, so I love that idea of just doing it and saying forget what these people say. The other thing is Cheryl, right. Outliers tend to be the ones that that make progress. I don't know about you. Have you found that that just, you know, the status quo is where the complacency lies, and that outliers are the ones that are kind of changing the world.

Cheryl Ilov:

Absolutely, and the ability to go out of your comfort zone. And there's a reason why we don't like to go out of our comfort zone, because it's pretty uncomfortable. So we do like what's known. And we do like to kind of stay in the status quo. But I think along with the incomparable stubbornness comes that once and the wisdom as we get older, it's, it's the adversity, you know, we all have a lot of issues and obstacles in our life and challenges, and how we deal with those adversities. And come out through it on the other end, is basically how we are setting ourselves up for the rest of our lives. Yeah,

Philip Pape:

for sure. And part of that adversity, for many of us comes in the physical world, right with when it comes to fitness and health. And I always argue that health is the most important thing you have, because it enables everything else in your life, no matter how important all those other things are. So we focus on getting stronger. We talked about movement, nutrition mindset on this podcast, and then cultivating that agency to constantly improve to bust through the status quo. So I want to set some context here in your journey to feeling fabulous at 50. Right? What are the most commonly spouted misconceptions you that you alluded to that do hold people back about aging and fitness? And feel free to add being a woman to the mix?

Cheryl Ilov:

Okay, well, you know, I think being a woman is not that much different, I guess, then, you know, men go through the same experiences as well, just maybe in a different way, but that we are being told that, you know, the experts, the from media, from the health experts, of what to expect, when we're aging, and again, using air quotes, that of course, we're going to be losing our bone density. So we have to be really careful, you know, it's natural to start losing your balance, you know, you're going to need these medications. You know, all of these things that we have to do, it's almost like it's a prescribed course of action that is inevitable,

Philip Pape:

inevitable. Yes.

Cheryl Ilov:

That's not true. And as you said, in my introduction, I am a former chronic pain patient. And that happened when I was in my mid 30s. And I was a chronic pain patient for two and a half years. And I was a medical professional. At that point. I was not a physical therapist, I was a respiratory therapist. So I was doing everything that I was supposed to do, according to the western medicine model. You know, I went to all the PT appointments, I took the medications I did the stupid exercises and stretches that the PTS gave me, went to all the doctors appointment, my life was just a mess. It was horrible. And you know, I'm sure I was depressed back then I couldn't even identify it. I was in too much physical pain. But after two and a half years, I finally realized, Hey, I'm not only not getting better, I'm getting worse. And this regimen that I was following, I think was keeping me in that pain spasm cycle that I couldn't get out of. So it wasn't until one of my doctors told me that I would never be able to do my laundry in my grocery shopping all in the same day. Because the arthritis in my spine was so severe, I would end up being bedridden that it was just like whoa, wait a minute, you don't understand I'm planning on going back to ballet class. And she actually laughed in my face and said wait a minute, you don't understand you are a chronic pain patient you will always be a chronic pain patient. You will never have the life you wanted or the life you had before. Even if you couldn't go back to ballet. You can't do that. You're way too old. And she knew that one of my goals was to go to physical therapy school, get my master's degree and she says you can forget about PT school because you are way too damaged. You are way too broken. And even if you could do the work, which you can't, you are way too old. I was 36

Philip Pape:

that that is unbelievable. And you mentioned and all of those things like bone balance, no bone density and balance and medications being inevitable. And it's almost like the cause and effect are flipped, right? Like, these things get that way, probably because we're not doing the things that we should be doing and could be doing. And now we want to do those things. And the medical establishment is kind of stuck in there, what I call sick, sick care mode, rather than healthcare mode. So that so that that's fascinating. And being a physical therapist, I'm going through left shoulder therapy as well. And you kind of see those messages, even in that industry where don't do too much like don't take it too fast, you know, take it easy. And here I am wanting to train and get stronger. And you got to have the right to the right mix. So let's segue into the somatic movement, because I want to understand more about that. I think about it in your book, which is up behind you, forever flexible. My personal association with that is like the mind body connection, at least in the context of strength training, but maybe that's a narrow slice of what you mean. So what is somatic movement? And why is it important? Well,

Cheryl Ilov:

absolutely, it is the mind body connection, and the somatic movement, it's like taking that mind body connection and really fine tuning it and taking it to a much deeper level. As well as being a physical therapist. I'm also something called a Feldenkrais practitioner. And it's a it's a four year training program. And it is basically a very highly sophisticated form of neuromuscular reeducation, based on the scientific principles of neuroplasticity, that our brain and our nervous system and our bodies, our mindset can change, all during the course of our lifetime, that we are incredibly malleable beings, starting with our nervous system in our brain. And the funny thing is, Phillip, you're gonna love this when I was in physical therapy school, we were taught and that wasn't really that long ago, I graduated in 96. We're taught in all of our neurology classes that this incredible miracle of nature's want to call it this neuroplasticity disappears at the age of 14 that has that point. You know, we're so hard wired that we can't change anything. And how depressing is that you want to think about it. But of course now neuroscience has finally caught up with you know, the idea that yes, this neuroplasticity, not only is with us forever, as long as we have a pulse, but it's incredibly powerful. And that we can use this power of neuroplasticity to change our lives and to keep us going in the right direction until the day we take our last breath.

Philip Pape:

It's an empowering thing, right? Like you said to to better your agents. It's like when when some when I get the question, well, I'm over 50, how can I start strength training? Like I'm over 50 It's like this block of once you hit a number or even 40. I mean, I'm 42. And I'm like, I'm not old, come on, you hear that, like, I'm a woman over 40 Is it is XYZ possible. And it's like, you know, you can be 75 and you can lift a barbell and deadlift for the first time, it doesn't matter. And that's why I love your story. Because you're going to talk a little bit about it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. The bringing the brain into us is really fascinating because the idea of adaptation. Beyond something like evolution, right? We often think of like species and things like that, but in real life in your life as as a biological creature that you can change so many things about your body, with your mind and change your mind itself is really fascinating. So I want to talk about vitality, in that context thriving and kind of link it all together. What is your perspective on that? Right? You talk about this at every stage of life? That's what we're talking about? And what is the most important component for that vitality? You know, if you had to choose just one? Well, first

Cheryl Ilov:

of all, I love the fact that you brought the biology into it, because we can change our biology. And it has even been proven that we can change our DNA. So but that's another long story. But it all does start with your mindset. And that's, I think, where the vitality comes from, as well. Again, we've all had a lot of really terrible things happen in our life journey. Life isn't meant to be easy. I wish it were but it's not. And it's how we deal with a lot of those adversities. I think that really has a lot to do with Vitality. If I look back at some of the horrible things that have happened to me in my life, you know, I could be incredibly angry, I could be bitter. But you don't want to do that, because it's really bad for your complexion. So you know, ladies, don't be bitter. It ages you very quickly. But if you could look at some of those things that have happened to you along the way and kind of flip the script and say, you know, okay, it was really terrible that that happened. And I really struggled mightily as I was going through it, but look at where I am now. And look at where all the opportunities come from those adversities. So to me, that's what vitality is. It's a positive energy. It's a sense of you know what, life really is amazing and it does provide it so many wonderful opportunities, even thinking of look back at the pandemic, that was horrible, really horrible. But look at all the positive things. Well, the few positive things that did come out of that is that we didn't become a lot more connected, you know, through the internet because we have no choice. So now, you know, there's a lot more telemarketing or not telemarketing telemedicine, you know, the podcasting community has just exploded, I get to talk to you, I met you through another podcasting connection. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be talking to a woman in Israel. It's just amazing how many wonderful things have opened up? Yes, as a baby boomer, I'm here to say the technology is terrifying when you're learning it for the first time. But like everything, you know, change is inevitable. You can either fight the change, or you can go along with it and figure it out.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, right. It's like a like a, like a ship on a wave. You know, a lot of what you're saying reminds me of positive psychology. I remember reading something, how the vast majority of people have positive thoughts, right, even though we out loud, don't necessarily talk that way. In social media. And, for example, cancer patients will often think about how other cancer patients had it worse than them in whatever way that they're going through treatment, and therefore it by comparison, makes things seem better. So you kind of alluded to that of like, bad things happen. They're going to happen. They have happened. And where are you now? And this is the future. And you know, we're always looking forward to what's going to come from that. It's like the question, what would you tell your younger self to change? And, like, often the right answer is nothing, right? Because you won't, you wouldn't have gone through those experiences. So I'm just, you'll find that when I ask questions, share, I go off on tangents and just start talking and thinking out loud, because I love this. The philosophy of all of this.

Cheryl Ilov:

Actually, I love tangential conversation.

Philip Pape:

Good, good, good. Yeah, so vitality in the context of it, starting with your mindset, because again, neuroplasticity, and the physical manifestation of what we think otherwise, we can't do it, right, we can't get healthy, fit, eat better, whatever it is, martial arts without starting there. So if we're going to get very specific and actionable about it, right, so people have something to walk away with, what would you say are, say three things a listener can do to improve their vitality in that context?

Cheryl Ilov:

Okay, well, starting off right now, I would say, three things, turn off your turn off the TV, and the radio, don't listen to the messages that we are receiving, you know, through a lot of the advertisement, because it's just, it's gonna mess with your mind, don't let anybody else influenced you. Second thing is go outside. Even if it's hot, even if it's cold, even if it's raining, take the time just to go outside, be in nature, have some time with yourself and really have that, that moment where you can access your inner being your inner child, if you will, you know, your your deepest thoughts, your desires, you can't do that when you're distracted by, you know, the barking dogs, which of course, we both love, or the television or the radio, you need to do that in absolute silence. When I say absolute silence, I'm not talking about you can hear the birds singing, you can hear the wind in the trees. Those are the things that really help clear your mind. A lot of people will say meditate, I can't say meditate, because I can't do it myself, I would be there

Philip Pape:

to there. I have

Cheryl Ilov:

failed meditation miserably. And I've had so many people, the meditation gurus that have had a lot of them on my podcast, you know, you're doing it wrong. And you know, let me help you, I will help you do it the right way. So I hear that and I say, Huh, one more thing in my life that I'm doing wrong. No, thank you.

Philip Pape:

I don't want to do that. It's an added stressor. Right.

Cheryl Ilov:

So what I do is I will do some movement patterns, I'll do what we call key home, practice, just some martial arts movement patterns, then I can clear my mind, that works for me. So for your listeners, find something that really resonates with you and does work for you. Whether it's, you know, a walking meditation, whether it's just sitting outside and silence, just find what works for you. And that is incredibly powerful. Because that way you can get rid of all the junk, all the stuff that's in the back of your head, you know of what you're hearing those subliminal messages from the media, from other people from the experts, and really figure out what you want for yourself and what you need for yourself at that moment in time.

Philip Pape:

This is really great advice. I mean that let's break these down. The first one about not just turning things off. I mean, I would add social media to the mix. Right? Absolutely. Which I know you were implying that too but just even think news like I used to be a news junkie. And the only news I look at now is like the local paper just to kind of get the headlines. And so my daughters are aware of, you know, I've got two young daughters, they wouldn't even be aware of what's going on. But beyond that, it's just a bombardment of, of trash. It's just like, terribly mixed messages. And not not even mixed. They're highly biased messages, right? Like you said, they're trying to sell you something, fitness industry IgE, all that same thing. So getting away from it is a great idea. You know, go lift weights, go for a walk, or whatever. And then the other thing of having time with yourself, I also, I will tell people, hey, breathwork and meditation are two options to reduce stress, but I don't do them. So you know, I lift weights to reduce stress, I go for a walk to reduce stress, I will walk around the house and just start talking and getting my thoughts out of my brain to do you're talking about of like, unloading things off my mind. So all great advice, I think people going outside and just getting their steps and getting their son is part of the whole beauty of what we have as humans here on the earth. So

Cheryl Ilov:

and I do want to add something else to that, because you gave me a great visual, when you're talking about listening to the news and all that trash just being thrown at you. And it is it's like all of these little torpedoes in a being launched at you. And I got this image of what we do at the dojo, one of the first things we learn as a new martial art student is to evade an attack how to get out of the way. And it's, you know, quite simple. If somebody's going to punch you, and you see it coming, you just step out of the way. And all of that negative energy goes past you, and the person actually goes right into the wall or off a proverbial cliff or whatever all of that negative energy goes back into them. So that's the same thing with the messages that we're getting not only from, you know, the media, social media, maybe even society and our friends and even family messages that they might be telling us that you just get out of the way, just move and just kind of like, you know, duck, you know, bait and switch, whatever, just get out of the way and pay no attention to it. Because words have a lot more power than we think they do.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, yeah, I'm often accused of being too nice a guy when it comes to not taking the bait and kind of jumping into an argument because in the fitness world, there's all the all the camps and all the misconceptions and myths thrown around. And often it's with an attempt to sell something and some people some people's style is to go after that, or even post videos of like, here's why so and so is wrong, and I just don't do that. And I don't even engage and I like that. What you said kind of validates probably why I do that is just to let it brush by you. Just I don't need to waste my time on it. Yeah, okay. So like, I want to talk about the black belt stuff in the mental jujitsu, this this ancient Japanese martial art, I do want to understand what's involved like, what what do you compare it to, but you started training in 47, you got the black belt, 10 years later, you're getting higher levels of that. So you were, I guess, 57 at that point. Most of my clients, probably a lot of people listening are between 30 and 60. On this podcast, I'm guessing. And I've seen, I alluded to before, I've seen the power of somebody who's like 55, they never lifted in their life. And then they start and they start getting these winds of like, Hey, I'm stronger, hey, I can do this thing in my life I haven't been able to do before, not even the building muscle part, which then starts to come as well, and their physique improves and everything else. So I'm on board with your philosophy 100%. The listener still wants to know What were you thinking? When you started martial arts at 47

Cheryl Ilov:

I was thinking I had lost my frickin mind. Pretty much. I did not go willingly. I'll be perfectly honest. Martial arts was never in my on my radar. It was not in my DNA. This is not anything that I would ever in my entire life thought that I would be interested in doing. And my father was a black belt in karate. I have four sisters. So as a father of five girls, you could well imagine since you'd have to. He wanted us to learn a few techniques. And he would always try and get us to go to the gym with him to work out and it was like, too icky. No, you know, that sounded disgusting. And no, none of us took him up on it. I was more of a fussy girl ballet tutus, tiaras, you know, pointe shoes. That's that was my thing. And I met my sensei. He was my acupuncturist, before he became my sensei. I don't know if you've heard this story on any of my other shows, but I'm sure

Philip Pape:

I have but the the audience may not have. Okay.

Cheryl Ilov:

So it's a really interesting story. One of my clients, I needed a new acupuncturist and one of my clients recommended this guy, and she was really picky. So I thought, well, she likes him that he must be okay. So the very first time I went to him and he started putting needles in my legs, he got a very faraway look on his face. And he said to me, you know, with your legs and my coaching, I could teach you how to kill with these things. And I'm thinking all Right, who thinks like this, let alone says it out loud. And I'm laying there on the table going, I think maybe I need to go. But I was literally stuck. I was pinned to the table. I had needles all over me. So unless I wanted to, or try

Philip Pape:

to relax, right, like what was kind of trying to, but he's telling you how you can kill me. Okay.

Cheryl Ilov:

That's my legs. And you know, I mean, I was really shocked and horrified. Well, he did have a martial arts school right next to his clinic. It was like a little duplex. And finally I said, well, thanks a lot. But no, I'll just save my killer legs for ballet class. And I almost thought about not going back to him. But there's something about him I really liked. And you know, I felt so much better after the acupuncture, acupuncture treatment, so I thought I'll stick with him for a while. Well, what he did not know is right before I met him, I had a really traumatic experience. And as traumas go, a lot of times when you know, you try and get help, and you try and report it, a lot of times, you know, people just don't listen. So that's basically what happened to me. So I just stuffed the trauma deep down inside, pasted a big smile on my face and pretended everything was fine. Well, it really wasn't. And mark in the meantime, that was my acupuncturist kept trying to get me to take classes with him. And I'm like, No, this No. So about a year later, the trauma came spewing out. And he was the first person I went to, because I don't know why. But I knew intuitively that he would listen to me and he wouldn't judge me. And he would believe me, which of course he did. So he started treating me for PTSD with needles and Chinese herbs. And she got Sue, which was lovely. And then his campaign to get me on the mat went into high gear. And he kept saying there was such a healing power in martial arts, Cheryl, you need to do this, blah, blah, blah. And I kept looking at him saying, I don't understand how hanging out in a smelly Dojo with a bunch of sweaty men whose goal is to attack me is going to make me feel any better. I'm sorry, I'm just not making this connection. So he never gave up talk about incomparable stubbornness is about three, it took him three years. And after three years, I finally said, you know, he wore me down. I said, Okay, I will take a few classes just to prove to you how much I'm gonna hate it. And then I'll quit. Now,

Philip Pape:

did was he doing this to everyone like this? Was this a sales pitch? Or did he see something in you? Maybe in hindsight, you learned this that where he kept persisting?

Cheryl Ilov:

Well, I don't think a lot of people ask me that. That's a great question. Because when people find out that I ended up being his first female black belt, you know, in 20 years of teaching, he never had a female achieve that high of a rank. You know, people say, Oh, he saw something in you. He saw that inner warrior, he saw this. And I said, No, that's not true. He saw a person who was really suffering, he saw somebody who was struggling. And we had developed a really warm friendship. And he just sincerely sincerely wanted to help me. He had no idea, you know, that I was going to rise up through the ranks the way I did, I had no idea. My goal was to teach him that, you know, he couldn't tell me what to do, because I was going to hate this, this martial art thing. But no, it was just truly amazing. And I'm very grateful to him, you know, to this day, and like I said, I'm getting ready to test for another belt level. And it's been 20 years since I walked into that dojo.

Philip Pape:

Well, I mean, tell us more about that experience, right, because your perspective as a woman, the only woman there in the class, people listening to the show, I mean, we do talk a lot about the, you know, empowering people, men and women, but especially the traditional avatar, I guess, in the fitness world is, you know, a lot of movement. Dhoni, you know, a lot of restriction, you know, lightweights you can't build muscle, you can't be strong. It's this and that. I don't know a lot of is shifted, and hopefully shows like this and others have shifted about your strength is important performance, fueling, building, right abundance, not worrying so much about whatever the ideal body image is, as how do you feel great and empowered yourself? And that's going to give you the image you want. So tell us about your perspective?

Cheryl Ilov:

Well, as far as you mean, being the only woman walking into class,

Philip Pape:

yeah, you're in the fitness world, in general, in the class, all of that, yeah, we will start

Cheryl Ilov:

with a dojo, because that was really weird. You know, I knew I would see a lot of marks students going in and out when I was waiting for my treatment sessions. So I would see the guys they all seemed very nice. And you know, they'd see me through the glass and a lot of them would either smile or wave and some of them would even bow in my direction on going on. That's kind of corny. But so I knew, you know, these guys going in and out. And when Mark, when I finally said, started thinking about maybe taking some classes, I said, you know, I'm really worried about being the only woman in class and he goes, Oh, don't you worry. I have plenty of female students, and some of them are even higher ranking and they would love to take you under their wing and teach you the art of the ninja, and what it's like To be a female ninja and blah, blah, blah, and I'm going, Okay, well, maybe this will work out. But I didn't realize that I never saw any of these women coming in and out of the dojo. So you know, okay, I don't know why I believed him. And when it came time for me to take, I signed up for classes and I said, Okay, I'm going to try this. And he says, Don't worry, there'll be you know, somebody, another woman in class. Well, my first class, not only was there no other woman in class, there was no other woman with like in a three or four mile radius. So there was me with all of these guys, I had just come straight from ballet class, my hair was still in a bun. And I'm looking going, this isn't going to work out so well. And I felt so out of place, and so incredibly uncomfortable. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone. But of course, the men were very gracious, you know, they greeted me, they showed me where the woman's dressing room was, which did not go hand at all to myself. And as awkward as it was, you know, I managed to stay through the whole class. And I even got the opportunity to kick a black belt, which I tried not to, because I'm like, No, I'm not in this for the long run. I don't want to kick you. I've never kicked anybody before. And this black belt is saying, Come on, kick me, you can do it. You can do it. And I could tell he thought I was really adorable. And I'm like, I've never kicked anybody in my life. And I'm not about to start now. And he's up twirling my ponytails. I'm talking to him. And then I says, besides, I don't want to hurt you. And that's when I really thought, you know, he thought I was just absolutely priceless. And he got this big smile on his face. And he said, Don't worry, it's okay. I can take care of myself and you can't hurt me. And I'm like, okay, and then I'm looking like where his belt was located. And I'm looking like in that direction, kind of south of the belt, if you know what I mean. And I says, I don't want to get you in the sensitive parts. And he nodded, and he says, I don't want that either. Just make sure that you aim above the belt. Just kick me you'll be fine. And I'm like, okay, so I didn't know how to kick. So what did I do? I did what I knew. I pulled my right leg up. And I pointed my toes and I drove my point of foot right through his abdomen as if I was dancing and doing a grunt attack. Again, I did what I knew, well, apparently I could hurt him. Because he actually flew backwards and landed on his butt. And Mark, my sensei now have walked over. And he was just looking and Wescott up and said, Wow, that was pretty good. Where did you learn how to kick like that. And Mark was standing next to me. And he looked down at me. And he said, How many years of ballet and at that point, it was only 27. So I said 27. And he's talking about

Philip Pape:

on toe and everything formal. Okay,

Cheryl Ilov:

feet, legs, killer legs. And he looked at the black belt. And he said, Don't let the package fool you. She's a lot stronger than she looks. And it was like, boom, mental head smacking moment. I realized at that moment, I was stronger than I look. And I also realized, and I think is really is very important for the audience to hear, especially for those women out there, that we have life skills, that we can carry on into a lot of different situations that we don't even realize, who knew that the ability to do a grunge day could basically maybe even save my life someday. I had no idea.

Philip Pape:

Transferable life skills, that this is good, because it reminds me of so when I have a new client, one of the questions I asked him are what are your strengths? Like? What are your strengths that we can build from and oftentimes it's a mental strength, right? Or it's a personality kind of strength, but it reminds me of that because what you're saying is, you know, you didn't karate or not karate, the martial arts was brand new to you. But you had effectively worked for years on things that would carry over, right. Similarly, people listening probably have strengths that they are not aware of, or haven't exercised as much and you going into a new venture is the exact place they can exercise those skills. And it's one, you know, it's one less thing to learn one less thing on the learning curve. I think it's a great message. And I'm wondering like, what is that? You know, how can people discover that? Like, do you have any ideas on how can someone discover that? Was it one of these things where you just just try things just just be open to anything? And you never know?

Cheryl Ilov:

Well, you just said it. Yeah. And that is to get out of your comfort zone. Because like I said, I was way out of my comfort zone. And for those of your listeners, who are thinking, Well, you know, I haven't gotten off the couch, or I haven't been exercising. I have a really dear friend who does not exercise. She hates exercise. And she was telling me about it one time on the phone. And she says, Well, I just don't exercise and blah, blah, blah. And I says, Wait a minute, didn't you tell me that you and John went out dancing last night? And she says, Oh, yeah, well, you know, country swing and line dancing, blah, blah, blah. And they danced nonstop for four hours. I'm like, Ronnie, that's exercise. You know, moving is exercise any kind of movement. And for those people who are still maybe a little skeptical, you know how to move. You know how to exercise, you know how to play because you did that when you were a baby, when you were a child? You know, you go back to using like, the environment is your playground. And not worry about am I doing this right? Am I doing it wrong? Just when we were kids, we didn't worry about that. We just moved.

Philip Pape:

It's true. Yeah. But play play should never end no matter how old you are. It's I mean, having kids I definitely see that, you know, when they want me to play with that my, the answer should be yes. As much as it can be, you know, when I'm when I'm not like just like slammed with work or something. Oh, that that's really good. Because what something else came to mind. If I can still have it in my brain. You were talking about movement and dance? Yeah, I guess, two things come to mind. One is the idea that if you can do things that you're already doing in some extent, but but shift shift that in a new direction, it's much lower friction, right, much less resistance to doing something else. The other thing is trying things you've never done before, despite thinking you will, quote unquote, won't like them. Give yourself a chance, because you really don't know until weeks months, and it depends on what we're talking about. But even when you talk about exercise, it's like, if you've never done it before, try it. And then if if you do it right, and you get results that they actually cause you to like it, that like creating that feedback loop. So is that what you found that? I guess how long did you resistance last getting into martial arts before it was like, Oh, I actually love this.

Cheryl Ilov:

Boy, that's a really great, great, great question. But I want to go back to the play. Because you know, when that is really an important part of my martial arts training, and that might sound like really crazy. But just when you're playing, that's the best way to learn. And it takes a lot of pressure off of you. So even when it you know, for those of you who might want to try you know, you know, a dance class or something, be okay with being really bad at it. And be okay with making mistakes. Because that's how we learn is by making mistakes. And whatever you do do it in the spirit of playfulness. And that's the one thing that even on my very first day of that that class even before I kicked Wes in the in the gut, that I was very, I was impressed by how well first I thought it was really stupid. All of the bow wing and the cloud, you know, some of the ritual buying in and stuff. I thought God these people are grownups, I can't believe they're doing this. I'm so silly. But after that all after all of the formal re in how much everybody laughed, and seem to be having a good time, even though they were beating the crap out of each other, which made me incredibly nervous. But they were really having fun. And that's a big part of our training is that we play. So after that first class, I giggled the entire way home. I had no idea why I was giggling. I do know that I had not giggled in a very long time. But there was something about it. I just felt like somebody had lifted a weight off of me. And I felt younger than I had in a very long time. And it wasn't until I but I still wasn't all in. Okay, let's be clear about that. I still wasn't all in this was a temporary gig for me. I was just gonna take maybe a month of classes and then quit because I didn't want it to interfere interfere with my ballet schedule. So I was shocked when I found myself writing a check for the next month's tuition because I thought man, I should be you know, check it out by now. Well, at the end of the third month. While I was still training, one of the guys came up to me and said you need to test for your yellow belt. And I said, Oh no, you don't understand. I don't want to yellow belt. I'm never going to test. I'm just in it to learn a few things. I'm going to quit pretty soon. So there's no reason for me to test. And so this guy badgered me until finally, it was like, just to get an A Shut up. I tested for my yellow belt. And I mean, it was terrifying. I mean, I almost passed out. I was so nervous. It was just absolutely, I'm sure it was an absolute mess. But I passed. And so I got my yellow belt. And I again, I giggled the entire way home, I'm looking at this stupid yellow belt. And it was just like, why am I giggling? Why is this cuz I don't really care. You know, I mean, I don't want this belt. But it was just such an amazing experience. The next day, when I went to the dojo, I couldn't even come out of the dressing room, because I tied my belt. And every time I looked at it, I burst into giggles, it was just I figured at that point, I was kind of liking it, but I still probably wouldn't stay much longer. Three months later, the same guy badges me into going for my second degree yellow belt. You know, you are way too obsessed with all this testing, one or two, just lighten up a little bit. So finally, I tested for my second degree yellow belt. Well, three months later, I got the idea to test for my orange belt. Nobody had to talk me into it. Didn't have to badger me to do it. It was my idea when I realized I know all this material. And at that point, I realized I was all in. However, I never expected to go all the way to Black Belt. Never. Right?

Philip Pape:

That's I'm sure the questions that come to the listeners mind are like, well, if if you kind of found a silly on the way, and these were resistant to doing the testing, why did you keep going from one to the next? Was there something deeper that was like, you know, driving you toward excellence, even though you didn't quite accept the rituals? You know, what I'm getting at? Like, what? Yeah, because he wants to know, like, what, what is the secret? You know, if they have a thing that they want to achieve? Maybe it's some simple thing for their health, maybe it's a workouts whatever? Where does that momentum start to overtake the friction? And what gets you there?

Cheryl Ilov:

Boy, that is a great question. And I'm thinking that momentum and the friction Boy, that describes me to a tee, I really honestly believe what kept me going was the fact that I didn't want a black belt. I didn't care about climbing up the ranks. I cared about living to see another day, or get through another class for the first two years. And a lot of people don't know this. But the first two years that I was taking classes, I would sit in my car and have to talk myself into going into the dojo. And by that time, I knew the guys really well, we were friends. They were we had a wonderful time training. But there was always in the back of my mind, what if something goes terribly wrong today. And I would just kind of force myself once I crossed that doorway. So this is another important message for the listeners. Sometimes you just have to walk through the door. Once I would walk through the door, and I was in the dojo, the smelly dojo, I knew I was okay. And I just wanted to be better at the art, not because I wanted to be a great martial artist. But I wanted to understand the movement patterns better, I started to become really fascinated with the history and the philosophy of the art itself. It's an ancient Japanese martial arts. And so there is an awful lot of, you know, the history and the philosophy in there. As well as the Spirit, we talk a lot about training our spirit. So it's not just training, you know, this, even with what you do, in the fitness industry, it's not just physical, you know, you're actually strengthening and growing your entire being. And especially as a martial artist, that's really, really important to us, and I could feel my spirit starting to rise, I could feel my spirit getting stronger. And you know, it just there were days when, even like today, it's like, I don't think I want to go to class today. But 1130 is going to come along and I'll be driving to the dojo. And sometimes you just have to do it. Sometimes you just have to take that first step. And once you're there, you know, it'll change your whole perspective for your whole day. It can change your entire week. You can change your life.

Philip Pape:

I think what you're saying is really important, because you've been doing this for so long, and yet still there is that thought of am I really going to walk in today, right? And I think people can relate to that because we all want it to be this perfect thing where once you fall in love with the process that it takes no willpower and you just do it and you're on autopilot. And we know that's not the case. I know. I love working out go to the gym. I have a gym at home. And yeah, there's always something about it. Like if it's squat day, I'm just like no Because, but but at the same time, there's so many things pushing you. And, and I know you say it's like forcing yourself, you just have to do it. But I also see that there is a lot of momentum, you mentioned, the knowledge that you are gaining the understanding the movement patterns, you are fascinated by all these different things, the mastery of the material, the history of philosophy, the art, the spirit. So there were enough things where you're like, This is just a fun, you know, part of my life, that if one piece of it is a little bit hard, that's okay, because the rest of it is just, it wouldn't be worth it to skip out on all of that. And so that kind of like, you know, when you set the balance there of momentum versus friction, you've kind of tilted it, which is answering the question that I asked what,

Cheryl Ilov:

right, well, okay, but that this was really haven't touched on this. But the other thing is, the guys once I learned how to communicate with them, because the other was I was 47. I haven't had male friends since college. And you know, ballet class, yeah, there's a few men in class, but it's a completely different energy. And none of them were interested in trying to attack me. And, you know, they're just, it was a completely different energy. I mean, it's not that these guys were so macho, but they were, you know, they were all American men, and, you know, with families and everything. And it's like, I don't even know how to talk to these guys. And eventually, you know, we got to be really good. They didn't know how to talk to me, either. Because the women that would come into the dojo along the way, were a lot less girly than me, you know, they were really wanted to kick butt and all that stuff. And they wanted to be black belts. And it was like, I'm just here for, you know, short term. And, you know, I had to excuse myself and step off the mat. So I could fix my lipstick and my hair. And they're like, No, and, you know, they would try and attack me. And I would just run screaming off the mat going, No, don't don't touch me. And they're like, what was this creature? You don't? Exactly, but it was probably once I got that second degree yellow belt, and they started realizing it started taking me more seriously. And, you know, I can hardly blame them because I didn't take my own self seriously. But they started to help me and give me little hints and tips about how to use my feminine wiles to be able to train better. They also started whispering this word as they passed me Khun Ichi. And I'm like, Well, that sounds kind of dirty. What is that, and it's actually the female warrior. Okay. And so they were playing off of my feminine femininity, and my feminine wiles to help make me a better martial artist. And I have to tell you, this, it's really kind of funny. Of course, you know, I said, I have five or four sisters, you know, three girl cousins ballet class for over, you know, now for 40 years. So all of this feminine energy around me, didn't know how to talk to men. And the first time one of them called me to see if I wanted to meet him, you know, off class time to do some training. And you know, so it's like, okay, and after he says, Okay, see you then and he hung up. And I'm holding the phone going, Oh, my goodness, I had no idea that you could carry on a complete conversation in 30 seconds, with a few mono syllables, grunts and a See you at the end of it. And it was like a choir of angels began to sing because I thought this is so liberating. Where's the drama. And it was just like, wow, the way that men communicate is so different and uncomplicated than the way women communicate. That just opened up a whole new world for me.

Philip Pape:

That is true, we're simpletons

Cheryl Ilov:

tend to be very direct. And it's really funny because even in my second book, The Ninja book, under acknowledgments, I acknowledge the many magnificent men in my life because I would not be here doing what I do right now. And having, you know, the, the background that I have, without their help, I will admit, some of them were kind of jerks along the way, but that was okay. But most of them were incredible and really helped me get to where I am.

Philip Pape:

You make a good point that men and women can learn a lot just from the other gender, I mean, that right there in life, there's so much you could learn about I mean, for me being married, learning about empathy and listening and so many skills that I you know, identified with myself as being terrible to build so it's true. You know, I'm curious about the martial arts itself though. I do want to ask about that because just I have it on my list because I want to understand how how practical are these martial arts and to real life situations like maybe you get this question all the time, but if you don't, if somebody came up to you on the street threatened, you pulled the gun something like that, like what, what is this mark style effective as a defense mechanism is

Cheryl Ilov:

very much so very effective. I have never had to use it in that type of a real life situation. But I use the skills and the energy every single day. And I think that's one of the reasons why I'm not a target. And even, you know, sensei had told me one time, he says, you know, you develop an aura, you know, like an energy field around you. And people, no, predators are looking for an easy target. And if they see somebody who looks like an empowered person, they're going to move on and go to somebody else. If anybody ever pulled a gun on me, I pray to God, that never happens. I have no idea what I would do. But I do have some confidence that I would pull something out to save myself. You know, and even, you know, we practice break falls, you know, every class, we have a series of falls and rolls and tumbling, which, you know, I didn't realize that when I first signed up, and that was a big shock. Because getting on the floor, something I did not do well, I'm pretty good at it now. And I even had a spectacular fall. That was, when was that it was New Year's Day. And I'd gone to the dojo. And as I was walking out, you know, the sun had there was it had iced over there was black ice, and I didn't know it. So I was carrying a bunch of stuff in my arms. And one minute, I was just stepping, you know, on the cement. And the next minute, I knew I was on the ground. And I actually had flown up in the air. And, you know, when I hit, it was like, Damn, what happened here, and I looked and all my stuff was scattered around me in a circle, my notebook, my water bottle, my keys, my katana pages flew out of my notebook, I hit that hard. And, you know, the men came running out to see if I was okay, because they heard it and saw it. And I just looked at them. The first thing I said was, did you see my break fall? Because it must have been really spectacular. I was not hurt at all. Wow. I mean, you know,

Philip Pape:

instinctually, you know, I

Cheryl Ilov:

think too, I didn't even think about it. I just intuitively did a break fall. And I always wondered, would I be able to pull it out? I don't want to be challenged like that again anytime soon. And you know what I thought even as I was driving home, man, you know, a little bit of a trauma reaction shaking. And I'm like, No, you know, nothing terrible happened. And I thought maybe I should take an Advil or two, just prophylactically and it was like no, see what you felt like in the morning. And I felt fantastic. I felt great.

Philip Pape:

Now you mentioned tumbling is our grappling like, like BJJ or anything like that.

Cheryl Ilov:

We do do some floor work. But our skill set is basically in standing our philosophy is we never want to get we never want to be on the floor. Because there's always going to be somebody who is far more skilled than we are at the grappling the BJJ mixed martial arts, there's a lot of that our goal is to be able to go home. Okay,

Philip Pape:

so how would you how would you compare it to that and maybe like Krav Maga or boxing, right, which are often touted as like, very strong ways to defend yourself to

Cheryl Ilov:

Yeah, crop. That's great. That's a great, yeah, if you really want to kick ass take names, you know, and really do kill stuff. crops. You want to go home with somebody's DNA underneath your fingernails? Or, you know, yeah, I took a craft class one time, it was a woman's group. And I was invited. And I thought I really don't want to do this. You know, to be a team player, I went along with it. And gosh, they're probably 30 Women in class and one of the women said to the instructors, female instructors, what is the difference between this and some other martial arts? And they looked at each other, and one of them said, it's all martial and no art. Got it? And it actually came out of Israel, and they were trained. Or a secret. Yeah, yeah, to be able to fight without weapons and to be able to kill without weapons. I mean, if you really want to get down and dirty and crop is great for that. It didn't appeal to me because maybe with a ballet background, I'm a little bit more, you know, artistic. And one thing I love about our art, it's very sneaky. Okay? It's not. I mean, if you would look at me walking down the street, you wouldn't think Hey, she's really martial artists, you wouldn't think that right? And that's part of the ninja disguise. Okay,

Philip Pape:

I'm gonna have to look I haven't looked researched and I want to look up some videos or maybe if you have something you want to send me of yourself doing that. I would love to see that. What so if you had to women who are listening to want to know how to protect themselves or increase their confidence or all the things that you gain from this, any any strategies for them, you know, besides just doing exactly what you did, but some everyone's going to have a different thing that works for them.

Cheryl Ilov:

Right? Not everybody is going to want to spend 20 years in a smelly Dojo with a bunch of sweating and getting punched and smacked around and I can totally understand that I wasn't so excited about it, myself at first. But if I just want to list a couple of things, because they're really, really important to me, every time I see a woman doing this, it breaks my heart, please put your cell phone down, there is no text, there is no call, there is nothing that is so important that that phone should occupy your attention instead of your surroundings. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times, not to be hyper vigilant, but to be taking notes. You know, like mental notes like that is an interesting looking person. I wonder why they're wearing that, you know, I wonder if this person looks like they're having a really bad day by their posture, pay attention to your environment, and the people around you is a powerful tool for self empowerment. And you can even this is what I love, because you have two little girls, you could actually even play games, turn it into a game at the park, you know, and, and, Hey, what did you notice? And what color was that dog. And if you have to tell somebody you know where you were at and what things look like that you're training them in a way that's playful too. So it's not threatening, not you have to be afraid of everything. But just to be aware, so that awareness is so appointed, important. Put your phone down, start working on your awareness. The other thing of course, this is the awareness to be careful where you park, not to be worried but to pay attention. Always have your eyes up, look people in the eye, even strangers, smile at them, say hello. Because then people know that you're paying attention, people know that you're looking. And that is very empowering. Pay attention to how you walk and how you stand. When you're talking to somebody, let's say you're in a crowded room and networking of event, I talk with my hands a lot just because I always used to. But even now, when you have your hands in front of you been using them as self expression, they can always be used to knock somebody else's hand out of the way. Never stand with your you know, hands crossed, because that's in front of you. That's considered disrespectful. Hands on hip is considered confrontational. Hands behind your back, you might be holding a weapon. So just be careful of your body language and watch somebody else's body language as well.

Philip Pape:

This is great advice. What about in a restaurant? Do you recommend sitting facing the door? Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's what I've always done. Like my family knows. Like, I'm the I'm the guy who has to sit far from the door facing the door that

Cheryl Ilov:

I want to see everything that's going on.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. Yeah. You know, paranoia is not paranoia when it's when it's what's the phrase? Right. It isn't paranoia. Once it isn't paranoia or something? You know, I don't know what

Cheryl Ilov:

the phrase is. But I just think that that a healthy dose of paranoia is is really important to have. Yeah, everywhere. Yeah. Yeah. Being aware. And again, as you're back to the wall, watching. For the audience, pay attention when you walk into a restaurant, a new building someplace you haven't been before. First thing you do look for the exits. Know where the exits

Philip Pape:

are. Yeah. Even if it's even if it's just for safety if there was a fire or something like that. Right, exactly.

Cheryl Ilov:

We're not thinking nothing bad's gonna happen. But if you wanted to make a quick escape, the other thing is, I used to cringe when Sensei would say this, but everything's a weapon. We all walk around with water bottles nowadays. And that's really a good thing to have. So put your phone in your purse, but your water bottle in your hand. I like the ones that have the little hook where you can kind of swing it a little bit. Make sure it's always full.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, my wife tells me about the keys between the fingers, you know?

Cheryl Ilov:

Okay, but he's between the fingers. The problem with that is you have to be really close to the person.

Philip Pape:

Okay, fair enough. distance there. Yeah,

Cheryl Ilov:

I have something called a kubaton. Okay, so you can look it up, you can, I'm sure you can buy one online kubaton. And it's just a little stick with your keys on the end of it, and you hold it, you know, like, like you're holding a pencil or a pen, and you can swing the keys. Imagine what you could do

Philip Pape:

with that. Okay. All right, kind of like, yes, the

Cheryl Ilov:

last bit of advice I want to share with the audience, especially the women out there, do look into taking a self defense class or two. And don't just take one class and think I'm good. Take it a couple of times, take it with a bunch of girlfriends, have an engine night, you know, and practice some of these techniques with each other. Talk about the philosophies, talk about different scenarios of how you could get out of the way how you could protect yourself, you know, the knowledge is power, and the more you know, the safer you're going to

Philip Pape:

be. Love all this advice. And if you get strong in the process, or you know, focus on your health that way and they complement each other don't because a stronger person who also knows how to fight. That's pretty good. Pretty good combination.

Cheryl Ilov:

That's a happy coincidence.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. All right. So I do like to ask this of all guests. So when I respect your time where I know we're wrapping up here, but is there a question you wish I had asked you? And what is your answer?

Cheryl Ilov:

Oh, yeah, I thought about that. Um, I don't know, maybe, if you could have asked me. What would you like your legacy to be?

Philip Pape:

Okay, what would you like your legacy to be?

Cheryl Ilov:

Hmm, that there's a warrior in each and every one of us, and incredible strength and power. And if I could find mine, oh, trust me, you can find yours.

Philip Pape:

Love it. Love it, we're gonna leave it, we're gonna leave it that. Share. This has been a pleasure. There's a lot of great strategies here. For people and a lot of insights. We had myself included. I always love podcasts because we learn through our interviews, and therefore I know the listeners learning. So where can listeners learn more about you and your work?

Cheryl Ilov:

You can go to my website, it's Cheryl i love.com. Remember, there was no E at the end of I love everybody puts one on there. Even I do it sometimes out of habit. You can find my website I do have if you sign up for my newsletter, you have access to three what I call, you're gonna love this, Phillip, after we talked about meditation, you have access to three audio recordings of I call it meditation through movement. They're actually somatic movement exercises based on Feldenkrais. They're only 20 minutes long. You can download them and unsubscribe, you can find me on Facebook, you can find me on Instagram, find me on LinkedIn, I'm probably more active there than anywhere else. You can also contact me through my website, if you have any questions, especially if you're a woman, and you're thinking about taking some martial arts classes, and you'd like some advice, contact me, I would be happy to guide you through the process. Because if you do want to study martial art, or even just take some self defense classes, you want to be in the right spot. You do not want to be in the wrong school or the wrong dojo, I was fortunate because I got into a school that absolutely loves women. It's a very friendly, user friendly Dojo so I can give you tips on what to look for.

Philip Pape:

Perfect. So I will add those links there. The website IG, definitely Cheryl's super responsive. And if you need help with anything we talked about, I always encourage you to reach out to any of our guests but Cheryl, especially for questions, I'm sure she'll help you out. Cheryl, thank you so much for coming on the show sharing your awesome story, amazing things we can all learn from and take action from so appreciate you coming on.

Cheryl Ilov:

Oh, thank you so much for having me, Philip. And I do want to say one last thing. Philip is going to be on my podcast next week. So stay tuned and listen to what he has to say. And the name of the podcast, the feminine Joe project. And men are always welcome on the feminine Joe project. And that's one of the things that I make very clear. I love having guys on the show.

Philip Pape:

Yes, yes, you do. And so the feminine is a project you can find it I think it's all one word. It is because if you put a space there it may not show up. So all one word, the feminine to project. You're listening to this show now so it's easy to go follow it and subscribe her show. And then you also catch my interview there and all of her other great episodes. So thank you again, Sheriff for coming on.

Cheryl Ilov:

Thank you Philip. Have a wonderful day.

Philip Pape:

You too. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits & Weights. If you found value in today's episode, and know someone else who's looking to level up their Wits & Weights. Please take a moment to share this episode with them. And make sure to hit the Follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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