Friday, August 28, 2009
But as I described our focus on community service and the environmental and peace-education components of our martial arts curriculum, I felt an unusual surge of passion and confidence: Our dojo is truly a unique place. No, these items weren't just "talking points" or a clever marketing strategy. They were evidence of the true character of our dojo. We walk our talk, and I was simply speaking our truth.
I'm grateful for the UBBT experience — it has helped to draw these elements out and bring them to the foreground. They were always there, but now they are sharp and clear.
Friday, August 21, 2009
After more than five years of consistent physical practice — and after more than a few bumps and bruises — Angela Dwyer, 40, of West Roxbury, Greg Mudarri, 28, of Andover, and Joe Polcari, 50, of Natick have each earned the right to wear the coveted Black Belt, a rank which karate instructor Sensei Jason Gould says marks "the true beginning of their martial arts training."
Dwyer, Mudarri, and Polcari are the very first students to earn Black Belts at Emerald Necklace Martial Arts, which first opened its doors in October of 2003. To earn their belts, the three had to do more than demonstrate proficiency with kicks and punches: they also had to study karate history and philosophy, explore peace education and learn skills for nonviolent conflict resolution, become CPR certified, and organize community service projects to demonstrate their compassion and leadership ability.
"The study of karate is certainly a physical endeavor," says Sensei Gould, "but there are also academic, social, and spiritual aspects to our training. At our dojo, we don't want to just develop martial artists who possess skills for self-defense. That is important, but we really aim to develop Artists of Life — people who have the life skills and the will to make a positive difference in the world."
"I'm very proud of Angela, Greg, and Joe," Gould continues, "and I know that they'll continue to be great role models for others to emulate."
The evening ceremony recognizing Dwyer, Mudarri, and Polcari will consist of a brief karate and kobudo (weapons) demonstration, followed by Black Belt presentations and the awarding of Shodan (first-degree Black Belt) certificates. For more information, please contact Sensei Jason Gould at 617-230-1973 or Jason.Gould@karateinboston.com.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Our two newest members told me that our dojo's emphasis on community service and our online project portfolio truly set us apart from other martial arts schools. It's apparent that the service projects that we do as part of our training make a big difference in the kinds of people that we attract, and it's a big part of why those people stay with us.
No one seems to care too much about how our students perform at tournaments, even though we more than hold our own in competition. Because of what we do OUTSIDE of our dojo, we have a GREAT reputation in the neighborhood and the city — and man, does that feel GOOD.
So people don't join our dojo because they want to side-kick a mugger in the throat. And I'm OK with that. (Now, I'll try to teach them to do exactly that while they're here, but apparently it's not the thing that gets people to walk through the door for the first time.
I love my art. In the dojo, I'm a real stickler about tradition, etiquette, form, timing, generating power, and the proper application of technique. The stuff we do has to MEAN SOMETHING, and it HAS TO WORK. But at the end of it all, I'll take 50 students who are committed to changing the world over 50 kata & kumite champions — every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. And if I happen to make kata & kumite champs out of them along the way, well that's a bonus I can live with!
Friday, August 7, 2009
The mills started out OK, but after about 25 on each side (switching sides every 10 reps), I started to compensate for my weakening grip by moving my body and the Clubbells differently. This took the whole exercise out of flow, and it quickly became too painful to continue. The double swipes weren't so bad, but already being tired from the mills made doing more than 20 in a row impossible.
I didn't even try the hammer swings.
Sweet. No where to go but up, I guess!
Putting on my white belt – again.