Get Your Black Belt In Brain Health

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Tana’s milestones in her martial arts, earning for herself two black belts resound a lot about her passion for her health. Once told by her doctor not to engage in martial arts because of many health issues and ultimately battling cancer too, Tana’s fighting spirit still tells us what we can do even when the odds are against us. So today, we’ll get to know Tana’s story how she earned her black belt and how she continues to that training to achieve a black belt in brain health.

So today, we’ll get to know Tana’s story, how she earned her black belt and how she continues with her training to achieve a black belt in brain health.

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Donny Osmond: Hi. I'm [Donny Osmond 00:00:05] and welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way, hosted by my friends Daniel and Tana Amen. Now in this podcast you are going to learn that the war for your health is won between your ears. That's right. If you are ready to be sharper and have better memory, mood, energy and focus, well then stay with us. Here are Daniel and Tana Amen.
Dr Daniel Amen: Hi. In this video, I am going to brag about my wife who just got her second black belt in Kenpo and we are going to talk about the whole notion of being a brain warrior. Our little icon for Brain Warrior is a brain with a black belt around its head. It's a concept that's near and dear to my heart. Now, you just worked your brains out to get this black belt and it is a five-year process, and if you see any of the videos of her during her test, I mean she's just awesome and scary. And in the process, we really started thinking not only are you a warrior for the health of your brain and your body, but really, that's what we want for you. You are in a war for your health and we want to help you win.
Tana Amen: A lot of people ask me why I would choose something like Kenpo as my sport, and why I would work so hard to get this black belt because it was not easy, and for me it's very simple. It is symbolic for me besides the fact that I love what I do. It's symbolic for me. After going through what I went through with my health, it was not fun. I mean it was really hard. I was frustrated, I was angry, I was depressed, and it was years of going through that, and training as a warrior, really training in martial arts became something that became very symbolic for me.
Tana Amen: Not only was I attacked physically when I was young walking to high school, so I wanted a self defense, but after being attacked with cancer inside my own cells, I felt like I was attacked by this phantom that knocked me flat on the mat, if you will. I realized I had two choices. I was at this fork in the road, I could be a victim, or I could be a warrior. There was no in between. You are either going to fight back or you are going to allow these things to take you down.
Tana Amen: And I may not be able to control being attacked, but I can control my response. And I hate the word "Victim." I mean I hate it. So I started training really hard because that training for me is very symbolic of overcoming, of beating it, of being able to break through, and it's the day that I got that black belt, two days ago actually. You know I worked so hard, I was so focused, it was so intense and at the end of it, I got very emotional because I realized to find myself there when the truth is at one point, I was told never to practice martial arts again.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right, that your doctor said that you couldn't do that.
Tana Amen: "Do not do it." Because my heart rate was too high, I had all these health problems, and you always tell me that the best way to get me to do something is-
Dr Daniel Amen: Tell you not to do it.
Tana Amen: Right. So it means so much.
Dr Daniel Amen: I know what her brain looks like.
Tana Amen: And there are so many lessons that I learned which we will share with you as we go through this video.
Dr Daniel Amen: And for me, so I'm a psychiatrist, I started Amen Clinics 25 years ago, 26 years ago, and it's clear. I'm in a war for the health of not only my brain, but the health of my patients' brains. And so these concepts really go together and as I think of the war, everywhere you go, someone is trying to shove bad food down your throat that will kill you early. Someone is trying to pour a toxic thought in your head, there's chronic stress everywhere. I love this concept because it's owning the truth. You are in a war, and we are helping to arm you so that you can win the war not only for yourself, but for those you love.
Tana Amen: Can I touch on two things that really became crystal clear for me in this process of getting my black belt? Even with everything I have gone through, everything I know, the knowledge I've gained, I found myself at one point being very intimidated by the process. Where I trained, I know what those tests were like. They're not kidding. And so I became intimidated. I thought, "Oh, can I really do it with my health background, with everything going on? Is it possible? Can I actually do this?"
Tana Amen: I find that the people that we coached have that same thought process about what we're teaching them. They become intimidated. They become fearful that they can't really do it, they can't actually get through it. And here is what I learned. When I actually found myself going through the test for real and finishing it, and getting my black belt, not only was it such an incredible feeling and such an accomplishment but here is the thought that crossed my mind. The fear of it, the intimidation, the thought of doing it was far worse than actually doing it and that's something that I always tell people, and yet I found myself struggling with it. The thought of doing it is worse than actually doing it.
Dr Daniel Amen: One of the interesting things that you say, so [inaudible 00:04:56] trains was actually some very high-level karate people, is that when they really want to get healthy, they become actually afraid of you. What did they say?
Tana Amen: I had one police officer who said, "I'm afraid of you. I know what you're going to tell me is going to be too hard." And I just laughed. I'm like, "I'm sorry. Wait. What?" Okay. No, getting your eighth-degree or ninth-degree black belt, that's hard. Going through medical school, that's hard. Being sick, that's really hard. Doing what I'm going to teach you is not hard. It's just a paradigm shift, but it also is actually the next tip that I want to talk about, the next thing that I really learned going through my journey, it's about having the right community because I came to really be bonded to my Kenpo community, my tribe if you will.
Tana Amen: I couldn't have done it without having that tribe for support, really pushing you, teaching you, and guiding you through that journey. I would not have been able to do it. And it's the same thing that we have found. People who have a tribe going through this journey, this health journey, are the ones that are successful. People who have those groups that they turn to because if you are turning to the outside community out in the world, studies show that the people you hang out with, people who are not only contagious, literally, they've shown that happiness is spread through groups and so is obesity and illness.
Tana Amen: The people you hang out with are contagious. In fact, your longevity is determined by the tribe you choose. So that is how important it is. I would not have been able to get my black belt, no questions asked, if I hadn't had this tribe. Every time I got a minor injury, or I was struggling, or having doubts, they're right there going, "Are you kidding me? Look, you're awesome at this. It's not that hard." I mean they're just pushing you all along the way.
Dr Daniel Amen: So you need a community if you really want to become a brain warrior and get really healthy both mentally and physically. One of our goals is to create a community that you can belong and get the information, and support that you need.
Tana Amen: In fact that was the secret sauce in the Daniel Plan, was the small groups. That's why people were so successful. You've got to have a community.
Dr Daniel Amen: So they may not know what the Daniel Plan is. The Daniel Plan is this program that Tana and I helped developed for Saddleback Church along with Pastor Warren and Mark Hyman where 15,000 people signed up the first week over the first year they lost a quarter of a million pounds. Thousands of churches are doing it now, and one of the secret sauce, in fact if you did it in a group, you doubled your weight loss, and so we've created our own Brain Warrior community. If you go to Brain Warrior Course, you can actually get three free videos of us talking about The Brain Warrior's Way. We are here to support you. If you like this content, subscribe to our YouTube channel, leave comments below, that's where we get a lot of great information. Thanks for being with us.
Donny Osmond: Thanks for listening to today's show. The Brain Warrior's Way. Watch ahead over to That's,, where Daniel and Tana have a gift for you just for subscribing to the show, and when you post your review on iTunes, you'll be entered into a drawing where you can win a VIP visits to one of the Amen clinics. I'm Donny Osmond, and I invite you to step up your brain game by joining us in the next episode.