BLS Students @ West Annapolis Elementary School

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Last year Megan O’ Rourke put on a demonstration of her martial arts skills at her school. This year she was joined by 6 of her fellow classmates; Kaeo, Kalani, Matthew, Zach & Maggie. They worked hard the weeks prior to the show to come out and show their best. I was very happy to be there to support them. Here is a video of their performance and an after show interview!

Kids and Creativity

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I have included the word Art in our tag line, first because what we are teaching is an art, but only one art among so many.  I happen to believe that art is one of the most important things that we have as a society.  It does so much for us as humans and especially our children, that when I see it being short changed in the education system, I know that the harmful effects are more than we can imagine.  Here is a short talk that really nailed it on this subject.  
Finally there will be more about our first art show at the studio, that I know I said was off, but I am putting it back in again.  The story on that will be told soon.
 
I have put this under Peace Education.  I believe that before peace can happen in the world or in our lives, we must know how and be allowed to be creative in our approach to solving conflicts.

Compassion for those we do not know

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The Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias Sanchez, once said, “The effect of one good-hearted person is incalculable.”  When we use our words and actions in helping someone in need or who is in pain or suffering it does make a difference.  Mother Theresa once said that she showed her love and cared for individuals one at a time.
While it is great to help our friends and family to feel better, there are others who we do not even know that are suffering that we may be able to help.  We may have that nice warm bed and a nice family, plenty to eat, yet some people do not have these things.  What can we do for others, even those we do not know?  When we see someone who is homeless are we willing to look at that person as a person and offer them a smile.
Last year when we hosted the National Coalition for the Homeless, that was one of the things that I really came away with.  The need individuals have to not feel as if they are invisible.  If you saw the video on Pam Dorr she talked about this a little.  How do you think it makes people feel when we are able to give them something that they need?  Have you experienced this?  Even something as simple as a smile is so important as a part of showing compassion.

Intermediate Test

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Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to watch three of our intermediate students test into their new belts. This was a very good moment for our school because these three students showed us that the standards we set for these students could be met and even surpassed! If you ask any three of them, I am sure none of them will tell you that they got where they are now with only minimal work or purely by themselves. Each of these students worked very hard to get where they are at now and it showed. We (as instructors) are very careful not to call it a test because no single day effort can determine whether or not someone earns a belt. Every day you must continue to earn the belt you wear across your waist.
Each student had strengths and weaknesses in certain areas that the others did not but together they all pulled through and had one amazing show. More importantly they did everything we asked of them, without hesitation or questioning. This amount of trust from these students, and more importantly from their families, was the single most important contributing factor for their positive growth. If their families and themselves did not believe that they could get where we wanted them to be, none of this would be possible.
I’ve been told I seldom give out complements, but for that day, I was smiling even before the test had begun for I had already known that these three students already had earned their new belt. We are proud of all our students but we are very proud of these three young ladies for believing in us, their fellow students and themselves.
Mr. Doug

Living Hero: Pam Dorr

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I would like to introduce you to one of my living hero’s, Pam Dorr. I have attached a video that is a brief description of the work she does in Alabama after a completely different career. This year I was not able to attend the UBBT event that is held one time per year in Alabama, but after reveiwing how I felt about missing this event, I have promised myself not to let that happen again.
The opportunity to work with such visionaries is so inspiring that it is not something I can afford to miss from a personal level. If anyone would like to join me next April in a trip to Alabama please let me know.
The video you are about to see was filmed and created by one of our UBBT members.

Compassionate Actions

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“If you want others to be happy…practice compassion.  If you want to be happy…practice compassion.”  Dalai Lama
There are some very positive things we can do to demonstrate our compassion, as simple as a hug or a card / note, a small gift or other larger action when we fix a broken situation.  Other actions have just the opposite effect.  When someone hits, pushes ignores, roll their eyes or just refuses to recognize the pain of another, these actions are just as hurtful even if no words are spoken.  Have you ever seen someone suffer because of another’s action?  What did you do?
While words can be very harmful, so can our actions.   And an inaction can be just as harmful as action.  As a compassionate person our words and actions have power.  It has been studied and shown that in schools where there is a process in place for ‘bystanders’ to report or who stand up to bullies, the bullying problem is reduced.  Standing by and watching someone be hurt by words or actions with out taking a stand has an effect on others.
Have you ever done something for someone else that made them feel great? Has anyone ever done something for you that made you feel great?
Positive words and actions have a big effect on others and ourselves.