THREE ARTS, ONE DOJO METHOD
Dojo (“Place of the Way”) is a place where one practices Martial Arts. More importantly, it is a place where a person learns to navigate their path. In our Dojo, we combine three arts: Martial Arts, Performing Arts and Visual Arts. we use the practice of Martial Arts to establish a foundation of core values that teach students to respect themselves (Self Values). Then, in order to accommodate different learning styles and interests we rely upon the three arts to teach the student how to respect the world around them (World Values). This is the “Balanced Life Skills Way”.
BLS CORE VALUES
|Self Values||World Values|
Martial Arts is woven into our performing arts and visual arts curriculum through physical and mental exercises, classroom management techniques, system of advancement, and student teaching. Each discipline develops its’ own curriculum, subject area competencies, and methods for achieving fluency in the shared competencies of: Bullying Prevention, Anger Management, and Productive Life Skills.
Operation: BuddyPack was a huge success! Thank you to every student and family who contributed for the backpacks to be filled with toiletries, school supplies, and games or toys to pass the time! Thousands of children in the New Jersey and New York area are without homes and all of the comforts that a home usually brings. Thanks to you, 10 additional children have been given a backpack full of practical supplies, and comfort. Mr. Joe and I cannot express the gratitude we have for all of you – the families at BLS – that helped put a smile on those children’s faces. We owe a very special ‘Thank you’ to Caroline S. and her family for bringing Operation: BuddyPack to the studio. And another special ‘Thank you’ to Max and Joey P.’s family for providing two completely filled packs to our collection!
It has been very heartwarming to see how quickly our students and parents were ready to sign-up to go out of their way to purchase and bring in brand-new supplies! I got so many replies, “Is that all?” from families that were so willing to donate more. Hurricane Sandy left behind a path of destruction, but in that wake, our Mid-Atlantic region has been able to witness the power of community connection!
I want give a BIG THANK YOU to all of the families who contributed to my run in the Tough Mudder this past Saturday — Over $500 all together! Not only did you show your support to me, but you donated to a fantastic cause called the Wounded Warrior Project. This project ‘s mission is to reintegrate injured soldiers into society through therapy, treatment plans, and the provision of medical equipment. A person’s service to our country is a huge sacrifice – those deployed give up their family, a lot of their freedoms, and sometimes their lives – to ensure that we have ours. Thanks to all of our service members (police, firefighters, military members, and more) for all that you do!
So let me tell you: 11 miles through the mud, obstacles, and a severe thunderstorm was… Tough! Crossing the finish line was only possible with the use of Teamwork, Courage, and Discipline — All characteristics that have been discussed at BLS as Word of the Month.
Teamwork is integral to the very foundation of the Tough Mudder course. “Teamwork and camaraderie before my course time” and “I help my fellow mudders complete the course” are some of the phrases pledged before and throughout the course of the race. The Mud Mile was an obstacle of a dozen steep slopes of muddy clay separated by deep trenches of muddy, clay water. It takes teamwork between all participants to push and pull one another over the slippery slopes to continue trudging through the mud. At the end of the 10th mile when you think all of your energy is spent, the Everest obstacle requires you to sprint with no hesitation up a quarter pipe ramp then leap upwards with all of your strength, and at the last second grasp hands with another mudder who pulls until you’re able to clamber over the edge. It really takes everyone working together to cross that finish line.
During the competition, I witnessed amazing displays of courage by some of the participants. It is a common understanding that the Tough Mudder is “not a race, but a challenge” and mudders commit to “overcome all fears.” Samantha, a teammate of mine, took a leap of faith plunging 20 feet down into cold and muddy water below. Although she has faced bigger challenges before, it always takes a renewed sense of determination to overcome a fear. Seeing so many injured soldiers participate was truly inspirational! The most courageous act I saw was from a fellow competitor making his way through the course on two prosthetic legs that he acquired after a deployment over seas. I struggled to keep my legs moving — I cannot fathom the internal strength and determination it took for that man to overcome those challenges.
All 24,000 Mid-Atlantic runners (a record registration number!) showed a great amount of discipline. It takes a lot of mental grit to complete that race. The promise of Tough Mudder sponsor merchandise and hot food at the finish line does not motive a person enough to push through 11 miles of rain and mud going over, under, and through a series of 16 obstacles (5 got closed down). As so eloquently relayed on signs posted along the path, Mudders “do not whine…” It takes a great deal of mental and physical discipline for each person to push themselves to the finish line – I watched my dad limp through over 8 miles on a bad knee without a word of complaint and smile on his face at each obstacle to overcome. That type of discipline is a commitment to yourself, which gives you the strength to is push a bit further. Internal discipline is putting mind of over matter, so you get done whatever it is you need to do.
Anyone who is interested in testing out their teamwork, courage, and discipline should consider registering for the Tough Mudder on April 20 & 21, 2013! Our military men and women serve, protect, and sacrifice for us; what are you willing to do to give back?
Sunny and breezy, with beautiful mid-70 degree weather… this past Saturday was a terrific day to spend outside. Instead of hanging at the beach or lounging in a downtown coffee shop, I arrived bright and early at a build site in Baltimore City to partake in a house demolition and reconstruction job!
Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity has been a dream of mine, but taking off for a week to build a house abroad just never seemed feasible with work and school. Who knew that Habitat for Humanity has local chapters that allow you to volunteer for day jobs (about 7 hours) during the week and/or weekends? I didn’t!
That is, I didn’t know until I came across Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake during a routine internet exploration. Registration is a breeze, and the site offers information about lots of different volunteer opportunities. If you’re not interested in labor-intensive work, maybe volunteering in the office will suit you better! You can request to do gardening and landscaping, or offer up your muscles for power tool duties. Either way, as long as you’re 16 or older, there is a job available for you!
The local chapter, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, has about 6 different sites in Baltimore city that they are focusing on over the next few months. In addition to novice volunteers (like myself) at the sites on build days, there are Red Hats who are veteran volunteers that have gone through additional safety courses and commit to two build days each month, Americorps members who are on job assignments with Habitat for 11-month contracts, and site supervisors who are employed by Habitat for Humanity and provide volunteers with wisdom, friendliness, and tasks!
I had a WONDERFUL experience getting to know other volunteers and spending the day ripping out old windows and frames, and reconstructing the exterior walls! The experience was so wonderful that I have already gone online and signed up for four more jobs over the next two months! If you, or anyone you know, have an interest in volunteering in your community, I highly recommend Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.”