‘Tis But a Scratch — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 5/10/2018

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Two of my favorite movie swordsmen are complete opposites.

The Black Knight is an unyielding buffoon from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and Ujio is a dedicated warrior from “The Last Samurai.” The Black Knight is totally comedic. Ujio (eew-gee-oh) a samurai, is quite the opposite.

Two opposites.

Two awesome guys!

If you’re not a Monty Python fan, The Black Knight is famous for saying the most absurd things while LOSING a sword fight. I mean, you’re LOSING a sword fight and you’re talking?

In the movie, King Arthur systematically dismembers The Knight. And if dismembering can be funny, then this scene is the funniest dismembering scene in cinematic history.

The King wants to end the duel since he’s obviously beaten the Knight. But as each body part is lopped off, the Knight continues to taunt the King, trying to provoke him into continuing the duel. It’s silly and so stupid that it’s funny.

The Black Knight’s famous response, after the King cut off his arm, was to dismiss it as nothing because “it’s just a flesh wound.” And even as King Arthur is leaving the scene and continuing on his quest to find the Holy Grail, the dismembered Knight continues taunting and yelling at The King, calling him a coward and trying to get him to keep fighting!

In the very serious “The Last Samurai,” Ujio spends the first two thirds of the movie wanting to kill Tom Cruise. A feeling that we can all relate to from time to time, no doubt. (Probably more so after that whole “couch hopping” foolishness on Oprah several years ago. Or maybe after his interview on The Today Show when he called Matt Lauer “obtuse” or “feckless” or some such vague, but insulting sounding word. Not to mention the whole Scientology business.)

But in the end Captain Algren (Mr. Cruise) and Ujio become comrades and go into battle together against a common enemy. It would be a battle that Ujio would not survive.

At one point during the battle, Ujio is wounded multiple times, severe enough that he could have been taken from the field, and where he would surely die … behind the lines. Not an option for a proud and noble samurai. No warrior wants to die on the ground behind the lines.

Ujio rebuffs the concerns and the assistance from his fellow samurai, all the while spitting out blood. He gets to his feet without help, stands up straight, readjusts his battle armor, and without a word being spoken, nods to his fellow samurai, to let them know of his readiness and his resolve. Ujio then sets himself in preparation for the next wave of enemy soldiers. And when those soldiers attack, Ujio rushes into the battle to meet his enemy head on!

The fact that neither The Black Knight nor Ujio ever gave up would be reason enough for me to admire them. And would be reason enough for me to tell you about them.

But what I particularly like about Ujio and The Knight are their obvious choices to focus on something other than their circumstances, their wounds, and their sure defeat. They are singularly focused on their duty. Their eyes are fixed upon doing their duty, staying the course, and finishing their mission. They are mission focused and mission capable. By an act of their will, they ignore the obvious calamity and turn their attention to finding a solution to their dilemma and completing their mission.

“Tony are you ever serious?” I get asked from time to time. Usually it’s in the form of some critical remark or tone. Usually it comes from some stuffed-shirt-stick-in-the-mud-fuddy-duddy who takes things waaaay too seriously and takes exception to my jocularity and optimism. Usually it’s from someone who doesn’t know me very well.

I get the impression from them that they believe that somehow, I’ve managed to live this long without being touched by tragedy or heartache. That somehow the lines on my face have been caused only by sophomoric and juvenile jokesterisms and tomfooleries. That I’ve been spared the rejections and betrayals that accompany most others through this journey. That I’ve somehow veered away from the potholes and pitfalls; I’ve avoided the deathbeds and the funerals; I’ve missed out on life’s misfortunes, the pain of loss and loneliness, the death of a dream, or the tragedy of brokenness.

But if you know me at all, then you know that I am well acquainted with those things, the same things that accompany all of us in life.

What I refuse to do is to focus on them.

Or at the very least, try not to focus on them. I’ll take the rose-colored glasses any day over playing the victim or yielding to cynicism.

I don’t want my worst moments, or my most misguided decisions, or my deepest tragedies, or my most horrific experiences to define who I am. They will not permanently discolor my world nor cast darkness across my personality.

I want to be like The Black Knight and Ujio. I want my focus to be on moving forward. On the mission.

I’m not looking for excuses. I’m looking for opportunities.

I want to face my enemy with a sword in my hand and a crazy grin on my face. And in the process, I’m going to be irreverent and silly, occasionally serious, but mostly absurdly borderline inappropriate, light, and funny.

But I will also purposely and daily engage in introspection and reflection with a hope of discovering a better way to be a better me.

But at the end of the day, I want more laugh lines in my face. I will systematically put aside those things and those people that are not in my best interest, who take the smile from my face, or who drain the energy from my life. Not everyone in my life has earned the right to be there.

And so should you put those things aside.

Dismiss from your life those who constantly misunderstand you and assign ill intent to your most innocent of actions. Keep at a distance from those who would rather jump to conclusions than understand the situation and the circumstances. Let the “right fighters” fight alone.

There are many of you reading this who have overcome incredible and horrible experiences and yet you CHOOSE, by an act of your will, to focus on the now and the future! You know that happiness isn’t found, it’s manufactured … from within. You refuse to be shackled to the past or to an experience that YOU did not choose.

Many of you have honored me by sharing some of those experiences with me. You have brought me into your inner circle of friends and family and allowed me to see the burden — invisible to the rest of the world — that you have chosen to leave on the side of the road. You’ve shared with me your stories of victory and triumph. And the ugliness of those experiences has only made me admire, cherish, and appreciate you all the more. You shine like diamonds in the sun! You have become more noble and winsome in my eyes … you are more precious and amazing.

I have a recurrent theme, a sermon, a message that I am almost daily compelled to recall and share. It’s the ancient lesson from Plato: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Choose life! And choose it on your own terms! Ignore the critics and the fearful. Take chances. Say yes!

Live an extraordinary life, despite your circumstances!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain.

— 30 —


Thursday’s Schedule: Rain? BOGA. Clear? CARDIOGA


We have a fellow boot camper who is on the search for a new job. She is searching for something in the field of meeting planner, executive assistant, or project manager. If you know of anything or need more details please let me know.


I’m excited to announce that our own Ashley Holloway has been asked by the University of Memphis to join the faculty as an Adjunct Professor! She’ll be teaching graduate students in the area of nutrition. They sought her out because she is outstanding in her field! She remains with Abbott Nutrition and with us! Congratulations, Ashley!!!

by Sergeant Major Ashley Holloway, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Adjunct Professor

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

The Health Benefits of Oatmeal

1. Boosts Energy- Oatmeal has a good number of carbohydrates, and your body needs carbs to keep its energy levels up. That’s where oatmeal can come in handy. Low fat and relatively low calorie, a single bowl of oatmeal can help to boost your energy levels (very important in the morning) while not loading your body with fat. Pair a small bowl of oatmeal topped with chopped up fresh fruit and nuts with a glass of milk to give your muscles the tools necessary to rebuild while giving your muscles a head start on post-workout muscle recovery.

2. Prevents Diabetes- Oatmeal has a low glycemic index which is beneficial when it comes to reducing the risk of diabetes. A low glycemic index helps the stomach empty its contents slowly, which has a positive effect on our insulin sensitivity. Oatmeal also contains fiber which slows down how quickly the carbohydrates effect blood sugar levels.

3. Helps with Weight Loss- Oatmeal helps decrease your appetite because it is full of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, which delays the emptying of your stomach, keeping you full for longer periods of time. This is very beneficial if you are trying to eat less. Also, cholecystokinin, a hunger-fighting hormone, is increased with the oatmeal compound beta-glucan. A 2009 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found satiety increased as a result of eating foods that contain beta-glucan, like oatmeal.

4. Fights Colon Cancer- Oatmeal is full of both soluble and insoluble fiber, and a high-fiber diet can be beneficial when it comes to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and adds bulk to the stool, which prevents constipation. This fiber attracts water and passes through the digestive tract easily, speeding the passage of food and waste. And according to the American Cancer Association, insoluble fiber helps the body to fight against bile acids, and their toxicity, which helps to lower the risks of cancer and helps to promote good colon health. A 2011 study published in the British Medical Journal found that total fiber intake, was strongly associated with a reduction in colon cancer. For every 10 grams of fiber consumed there was a 10 percent decreased risk in colon cancer. The more fiber people ate, the more risk reduction was found.

5. Boosts Heart Health- Oatmeal’s soluble fiber helps with heart health. The soluble fiber helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood stream. The way this works is the soluble fiber sort of gathers the bad cholesterol to itself while traveling through the body, then takes the bad cholesterol with it as it leaves your body. Oatmeal also contains both calcium and potassium, which are known to reduce blood pressure numbers. A 1999 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found whole grain consumption, because of its soluble fiber, was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.





What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!






Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?
A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.


What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Text: 901-644-0145

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