Tom Callos, my coach in the Ultimate Black Belt Test and founder of The New Way Network, has this saying: “Taking Martial Arts out of the Dojo and into the World”
I really like that saying. I really like that idea.
We are in the process of redefining what it means to be a Black Belt at Little Rock Martial Arts, what it means to be a martial artist.
January 10, 2009 was the first venture into Community Based Projects.
35 students, children and parents from LRMA volunteered at The Arkansas Rice Depot.
Let me tell you how this affected my daughter, Keely.
Keely is 6. She was not excited about spending part of her Saturday at something called the Rice Depot. She was less excited when I strongly suggested that she use $5.00 of her Christmas money to buy food for Rice Depot. I explained that she would be helping other kids that might not have food to eat. She was sympathetic, but not enough to feel enthusiastic.
I picked her up from school on Friday, handed her the $5.00 bill that we had set aside, and we went to the grocery store. She put her items in her child sized grocery cart, and put items in my cart. When we got to the check out counter, she handed over her $5.00 bill.
Austin Herrington, is one of our LRMA students and Chairman of the Board of the Arkansas Rice Depot. I’d told him earlier in the week about the $5.00 contribution Keely was making. When we showed up at the warehouse, he made a big deal about Keely using her money to buy food. You should of seen her smile and look of pride. Those words from Austin meant a lot to her. It reinforced how important words of praise from someone other than a parent are to our children.
We were at Rice Depot for two hours. We put together 750 disaster kits. Three year olds worked. Keely worked. And we all had a blast. What a great way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday. Keely did not want to leave. As we were walking to the car, she wanted to know when we could come back.
Studies have shown that when we can get outside of ourselves, connect with others, do something good for others, we are happier. I want that for my daughter. I want that for my students.
LRMA will be at Rice Depot every two months. We will be finding more Community Based Projects to challenge ourselves to make a difference in others lives, defining what a martial artist really is.