Category Archives: Taekwondo

Second Home


Five years today we have owned this school.

This school that is most-of-the-time our second home full of family and a-teeny-bit-of-time our prison full of responsibility and limitations.


Construction. I made a video for my buddy Sara at the time with a tour of all of it.

This school that we often spend hours in after church on Sundays, exhaustedly working when we would rather be laying on the couch watching football (okay, napping for me) after a long week of actual work days.

This school that we run up and down with our little dog in when nobody else is there, laughing until our stomachs hurt.

This school that we fight in when nobody else is there, stressing until our stomachs hurt.


This school where we’ve seen kids living with Autism or other challenges thriving and where we’ve seen people come together to help others in need more times than we can count.

This school that would completely destroy us if it fell apart because our names are on the lease for years regardless of whether we’re in business.

This school where leaders are created and everyone is unquestionably accepted for who they are, not just by our staff but by the other students and parents.

First MurphyATA website

Forgive me, Internet. It was 2011. I didn’t know any better.

He texted to remind me of this anniversary today, and he thanked me for my part in it. Because he’s kind and thoughtful and he recognizes that building a business together takes two buy-ins, regardless of whether it was that partner’s dream or idea.

Because quite frankly, this wasn’t my dream. It was his. It was his dream since he was 12 years old, and it was clearly not mine by the time I was 19.

Our first actual class as business owners was in a ballet studio while our permanent school was under construction

Our first actual class as business owners was in a ballet studio while our permanent school was under construction

We are both comfortable with that fact; I have my passions, he has his. But it would be easier if we were a couple who ran the school together.

It would be easier for him; he’d have a full-time partner who could truly rock at helping run his business.

It would be easier for me; I could have one full-time job instead of one full-time job and two part-time ones. We’d have more home-cooked meals and a less cluttered house. We might have kids of our own running around the school by now.

It would be easier.

But it wouldn’t make me happy or fulfilled. And he would never facilitate a situation where I wasn’t. I cannot adequately express how grateful I am that he has encouraged me to do what’s right for me instead of boxing me into what is right for him.


We are not a couple who runs the school together.

But we are a couple who runs the school together.

And today he thanked me for that, for the sacrifices I have made to make this dream come true for him. Because he is kind and thoughtful. But what he doesn’t think about when he says that is all the ways his dream has helped me chase mine too.

Being a small business owner has made me more empathetic to my clients. Being a small business owner has made me understand my bosses and co-workers more. Being a small business owner has allowed me to not worry quite so much about what my own salary is when things are going well at the school.


Being a small business owner has given me the opportunity to live with someone who is truly happy to do what he does, and to fall in love with the way he uses it to change peoples’ lives.

We are the small business. It is as much of our identity as our own last name. It is interwoven into every piece of our lives and our marriage and our conversations and our responsibilities and our passions.

Five years ago today, we created a new home together. For ourselves. For his students. For their parents and for the relatives and friends who watch them achieve their goals. For this man, who has poured himself into every piece of it.


Here’s to the next five.

February 1, 2016

If mentioning tortilla presses makes good blog posts, this one is great.

It seems that living life has been getting in the way of documenting it, though I can’t quite pinpoint what to document at the moment. I mean, we’ve been traveling every single weekend forever and ever amen, but who doesn’t do that?

(To recap, January was Colorado, February was Houston, March was Vegas, April was Colorado again and College Station, May was San Antonio, June was Colorado AGAIN and Little Rock, July (tomorrow!) is Indiana, August is San Fransisco, and October is Orlando.)

(I am SO NOT complaining about that. I love traveling, and could not be more glad to be fully taking advantage of this time in our lives in which freedom exceeds responsibility (see also: CHILDLESS!) It’s just, that’s what going on with us right now.)

A few weekends ago, in yet another hotel, Jack looked at me and mused “I wonder what our house is like on Saturdays.”

Fortunately, most of these trips are so much fun, and though most are taekwondo (read: work!) related, it’s still really nice for Jack and I to get away together. We tend not to have any “normal” time together anymore. He is always working, whether from home or work, and if he’s working, I’m probably working too.

So I’ve probably missed documenting little things, or maybe little things haven’t been happening because we’re not together all the time. As always, an efficient means of catching up on all the inane things I usually blog about is, you guessed it – bullet point post!

  • I’d like to start this bullet-point post by saying that the new Train CD is fantastic. You should probably buy it immediately.
  • And while you’re buying things immediately, also buy this, this, and this
  • Jack won second in the world in weapons last weekend at World Championships (he actually tied for first and lost the tie-breaker), and then at the new season’s competition he won second in forms, second in forms, and third in combat weapons sparring. 
  • You know, the usual, right? Everybody’s husband is a big winner, right? Right? (Well, mine is.)
  • In case you’re not familiar with combat weapons sparring, picture, if you will, two competitors holding big padded sticks, and then using said sticks to BEAT THE EVER LIVING CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER.
  • Jack finds it really, really fun. As evidenced by the fact that he is usually smiling during the entire match.
  • Fun fact: in that video I just linked to after randomly searching for a combat weapons competition on YouTube, one of the judges is one of Jack’s best friends. We call our guest room “TJ’s room,” because he stays with us every time he comes into town, and also he never, ever throws up, no matter how much he drinks, which means that he and I get along very, very well.
  • I stumbled upon this blog about real food, and that plus my friend Candy convinced me to try it. Real food. No preservatives. No boxed stuff. Basically everything from scratch. It sounds like a lot of work, and I guess on some level it is, but I feel like the benefits outweigh the work. Plus if you plan ahead it really isn’t different than normal cooking. And fresh food? Um, lots better. I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns and tortillas, plus granola and all kinds of other good stuff this week. There’s nothing like fresh-from-the-oven bread. 
  • I also got a tortilla press! Haven’t tried it yet but I am very, very excited.
  • It’s the small things. (See also, my life is kind of small.)
  • Jack, upon hearing the news that I would be cutting out processed foods/white flour/refined sugar from my cooking (for the most part – I’m still having some trouble getting rid of all refined sugar in sweet baking), was VERY UNHAPPY.
  • Jack, upon eating this week’s meals, was VERY HAPPY. Or at least, very happy in relation to how much he thought he was going to hate it.
  • I lost a grey striped tank top, a turquoise cardi, some black shorts, and a pair of blue underpants. That’s nearly a whole outfit! I mean, sheesh. 
  • If you see them, please text me.
  • How do I lose clothes so often? I am not nearly slutty enough to lose this many articles of clothing this often.
  • We are FINALLY getting landscaping! The landscaper already drew a pretty pretty picture of everything they’re going to plant and I am SO DARN EXCITED that we will no longer be the white-trash house in the neighborhood. They’ll put it in in the next week or two.
  • Sadly, no sunflowers in the plans. But I suppose that’s okay. I do get hydrangeas and roses and crepe myrtles and all kinds of other pretty stuff.
  • They did already put in a sprinkler system though! Maybe I’ll kill less plants now. Fingers crossed.
  • I’m leaving for the airport in less than 14 hours and still haven’t finished my laundry or started packing. So, I guess I should do that. I also still have to hem my bridesmaid dress tonight. Yeah. Haven’t done that quite yet. 
  • Don’t tell Ellyn.

Vegas and peanut butter, I guess.

  • Every time my dad opens a jar of peanut butter, he smells it. Because he really, really likes the smell of peanut butter.
  • Sometimes he opens peanut butter for the express purpose of smelling it.
  • That didn’t have much to do with anything except that I was opening a jar of peanut butter today to spread it on celery and I smelled it. 
  • Yep. Still smells like peanut butter.
  • My mom used to spread peanut butter on Saltine crackers and put them in chicken noodle soup.
  • I know, I know, it sounds disgusting. But it’s awesome. Just try it. I dare you.
  • No, seriously. It’s good.
  • I was going to actually write about something other than peanut butter today.
  • Vegas! We went to Vegas!
  • We went for a takewondo tournament. Jack won first in forms and second in weapons in the Master’s division. 
  • He is annoyingly good.
  • Vegas is kind of gross.
  • I know, I know. A lot of people like Vegas. But I had reasons for not liking it.
  • It was Spring Break week. Therefore, a lot of drunk college kids. A LOT of them.
  • I didn’t even like drunk college kids when I was in college.
  • And Jack got us a hotel suite. It had a little living room and everything. And the bathroom was the size of our living room at home. 
  • I just wanted to stay in the aforementioned hotel suite at all times and read my book and look at the pretty, pretty view. Because I am super-cool like that.
  • (I am not super-cool. Like, at all.)
  • But he didn’t let me stay inside the room! He wanted me to, like, LEAVE and stuff! And walk down the strip and look at things and eat at restaurants and things!
  • WHY would you ever want to do that?
  • What a weirdo.
  • During one such discussion about me not wanting to ever leave any room ever, I asked him if he wished he didn’t have such a lame wife. He said “yeah, kind of.”
  • At least it’s just “kind of.”
  • We also went to see Jersey Boys in Vegas. Oh my cow. So good. Definitely worth leaving the hotel suite for.
  • So, I got the tablet so that I could get a Kindle app so I could read my Kindle books on something bigger than my phone. And the Jack packed approximately 84 paper books in his carry on because he makes poor decisions.
  • And then they made me turn off my tablet during takeoff, so obviously I stole the paper book that he was about to read.
  • And darn it, it’s really good. So now I am, once again, a slave to a paper book.
  • I’m sorry, trees, it’s not your fault. In fact, I guess you’re on my side on this one.

There is no cohesive way to title this post.

You know how you ask somebody how they’re doing, and they’re like “I’m SO BUSY.” Or, even worse, when they say “I’m tired.”

I find that irritating. Everybody’s busy. Everybody’s tired. It’s called “life.”

But, you know, if you were wondering why I never blog anymore, OH MAH COW I AM SO BUSY.

See what I did there? Annoying, wasn’t it?

But, true, nonetheless. So, I present to you, bullet-point post. Yay!

  • I turned 26 on Sunday. I’m supa-old now. For my birthday, I asked for BikeMS donations and I’m linking to that once again because I am intensely shameless.
  • What I did not ask for but TOTALLY GOT was the Kitchen Aid mixer that I tweeted about a while back. Just showed up at my door a few days later with the note “Happy beautiful appliance birthday, mofo.” That kind of super-sentimental note can only come from my brother and sister-in-law. I texted him that he spent too much money and he texted back “I Grandma Barbara‘d your ass!” Haha. So true. So true.
  • I made banana chocolate chip muffins and I think the Kitchen Aid and I are going to be VERY HAPPY TOGETHER.
  • I have been working from home twice a week. It is so ridiculously awesome. I’m a very big fan of the “roll out of bed, walk to dining room, start editing” thing. A very big fan indeed. Plus, I’m at least 50% more productive at home on account of not having friends to play with here.
  • I miss my workie friends. But it’s still not worth putting on real pants to go to work and see them on my work from home days.
  • Jack has started running. He’s all “I want to be in shape, and healthy.” What a weirdo. And you know how the only thing worse than running is listening people talk about running? He and I used to agree on this! What is happening!? Who is this man??
  • However, he runs on the mornings that I work from home, so I have been enjoying watching the show. He gets up, gets into his running clothes, spends about 20 minutes telling me he doesn’t want to run, plays on the computer, and then sings the Rocky theme song for a little while, then finally leaves. It is quite a process.
  • The first day he came back from his run, he collapsed on the floor and sang the Rocky theme song. Now he asks that I have it cued up on my computer for when he comes back so he can do the Rocky “arms up in the air prancing around” thing when he gets home.
  • I took a video of it Tuesday. He would not like me sharing that here. But he probably wouldn’t like that I’m telling you any of this anyway.
  • No really, I’m not posting it here.
  • (He’s so darn cute though.)
  • My nephew, Devin, arrives in about 3 weeks. This is SUCH A BEST CASE SCENARIO. My mom gets her grandbaby, I get to play with and spoil one, and I do zero pushing to make it happen. SCORE. Yay, Cassandra!
  • The other day at dinner, Jack and I started listing off all the trips we have scheduled, and I realized why people are always like “You travel ALL THE TIME!” March is Vegas. April is Colorado. May Jack has Little Rock. June we have Little Rock again. July I have Indiana. August we have San Fransisco. October we have Orlando. Holy wow.
  • Five out of seven of those trips are takewondo-related.
  • The school is going well. People ask me that sometimes – “how’s the school going?” And I’m like “THERE ARE SO MANY STUDENTS.” Because there are. Which is supremely awesome, especially since every one of them are super-nice and amazing. We currently have the largest ATA school in Texas. I mean, woah.
  • So, uh, BikeMS is happening in less than 2 months. I don’t want to talk about it.
  • Speaking of BikeMS, I was scheduling my hotel room for that weekend, so I logged on to Jack’s Marriott account to get his Marriott number, and I saw his upcoming scheduled hotels – one for this weekend. That I didn’t know about. That coincides with my previous weekend’s birthday and the next weekend’s anniversary (4 years, yo!). So, I plan on acting very, very surprised when he tells me to pack a bag this weekend and whisks me away for a relaxing birthaversary celebration. Surprise!!
  • Mah husband rocks.
  • I’m sorry you had to read that last bullet point. And the eleventh one too. That one was gross too.

A karate wife

When Jack bought the taekwondo school, I had a picture of what it would look like.

He would do his thing, I would do mine. I love my full-time job, and we need both incomes. I’m sure he would ask me my opinion on some things, but for the most part life would continue as it had before we owned the business.

When Jack became a Master, I had a picture of what it would look like.

He would show up in his Silks or Blues to his black belt testings or tournaments, the room would be brought to attention and bow. I would be watching proudly from the audience or possibly from a corner of the gym with a camera. I would be wearing a very cute outfit, perfect just-applied makeup, with not a hair out of place.

I would watch him run his testings or tournaments as I visited breezily with parents, doing my part to help the taekwondo school by being a fantastic, well-put-together karate wife who showed up for every event to watch.

“Gosh,” the parents would say to one another “That Mrs. Hornbuckle is so sweet and supportive, and they have such a wonderful marriage! He’s lucky to have such an alarmingly beautiful woman by his side.”

Stop laughing. You guys are supposed to be my friends.

Over the last few months, though, I have really been learning what a karate wife is.

A karate wife leaves her job every night and comes to his. She files and makes websites and writes black belt curriculum and formats documents and makes charity baskets and does bookkeeping.

A karate wife starts cooking dinner at 10 p.m. after she gets home from her 14-hour work day. She probably doesn’t have time to go to the gym, uh, ever, but at least she’s pretty sure the automatic payment that goes to them burns some calories, anyway.

When there’s a testing coming up, a karate wife may not find out what is needed until the last minute, which will mean a week of hell as she scrambles to try to get everything together that they need.

She will arrange flowers, iron table clothes (that will later be forgotten in the wrong vehicle and therefore unused during the event), print extra scripts, and put together sound files and music.

She already will be running late to that testing, having had a video shoot at real work that day and absolutely no transition time to change her clothes, do something with her awful matted-down hair, or reapply the makeup that wore off hours ago, when she will get a call that the staff is locked out of the facility they have rented until the last minute so they haven’t been able to set up as early as they needed to.

She will help set up tables and chairs, audio equipment, candles, rocks, and tea. She will send people out to get things she forgot at the very last minute, and she will THANK GOD for those people. She will run sound for this event with no rehearsal, all while being very, very nervous something will go wrong.

She will get sent out to the truck last-minute to get a CD after the event has already started, so she will calmly walk out of the gym as people watch, and then RUN WILDLY across the parking lot to get back faster because SHE HAS TO GET BACK IN TIME TO CLICK THE “GONG” SOUND EFFECT IN ABOUT 45 SECONDS.

She will be ripping that CD (because she needs to play it for the ceremony that starts in 10 minutes) while simultaneously paying attention to testing so she can fade sparring music in and out at the appropriate times.

After the event is over, as her husband takes pictures with new black belts and visits with parents, she will help the staff pack up equipment and put tables back, and pick up tiny pieces of trash (and put them in her pocket because there isn’t a trash can around and she’s so classy like that.)

She will go to dinner afterward to visit with the students looking not-at-all like the lovely arm-candy she was hoping to be. She will be disheveled instead of put-together. Frazzled instead of rested.

But then he will look at her, with the look of a man who has been pulled out of the water seconds before he would have drowned, and says “I don’t know what I would do without you.”

And this disheveled karate wife will be so ridiculously proud and honored to be the girl he says that to.

Tonight, tonight, won’t be just any night

I’m sitting at this big arena, waiting for the Mastership Inaguration to begin. All week, I have been trying to figure out what to write about this. This night, this ceremony, this one moment, has been my husband’s dream for his entire life. Or at least, it’s been his dream for my entire life.

Nothing this significant has ever happened to him.

And instead of the running dialogue I usually have going in my head which tends to become my blog posts, I’ve got nothing. No words. Only joy.

I have been smiling, beaming, really, because he is beaming. I have been following him around in a daze, because he is wandering around in a daze. I have been saying “thank you” to congratulations because he is doing the same.

It is wild, pure, unadulterated JOY. There is really no other way of describing it. I am indescribably proud of my husband.

And we are soaking up every moment of it.

Worlds 2011 – We’re back and it’s better than ever

Currently, Jack and I are in Little Rock for the taekwondo World Championships. I flew in yesterday, and Jack has been here since Monday, completing his training for Mastership.

Cliffs notes version of Mastership: Once you earn your 6th degree black belt, which Jack did last year, you start the training for Mastership if you meet certain requirements (number of students testing every year, etc.). The training lasts an entire year, and requires participation in rigorous physical training with the Chief Masters and Grand Master at all the National tournaments, as well as writing more than 30 papers (both book reports and papers on various topics important to taekwondo Mastership).

This week was the last part of training, which included a multi-day fast, combined with all-day workouts and several ceremonies and rehearsals. Saturday night is the official Mastership Inagural ceremony, where he will be dubbed a Master by the Grand Master. After this, Jack will officially be called “Master Hornbuckle.”

(It’s kind of a big deal.)

So, that’s what we’re doing this weekend.

Today, Jack will be competing for World Champ again in forms and weapons. Oddly enough that’s secondary to the Mastership this year, but I’m still optimistic about his chances to medal (even though he’s low on energy from having fasted all week.) I’m hoping to share some good news with you in just a few hours!

Stay tuned!