One on my good friends asked me to write something for the kids about determination, perseverance, and facing adversity. For those of you who know what I’ve been faced with past several months, one thing I can say is that Im glad Im a Martial Artist. Martial Arts has taught me about perseverance more than anything. When I first started martial arts, my instuctructor had me working every day from 9:00-9:00. My pay was a $349 car payment at the end of the month. I was told to get more students, and then I would make more money. As a green belt I began teaching alot of classes, and going to local tournaments. I was enjoying every second of my life, however most of my family didn’t support my decision in pursuing martial arts as a career. But I persevered and followed my heart. This is what I wanted to do. The first Christmas at the school changed my life, I couldn’t believe that the studetns actually bought me gifts. I recieved cards and presents from the parents for working with their children. They thanked me for teaching their children to be confident, they told me that what I was teaching was different than the other instructors. This is when I decided that I wanted to open my own school.
Things were tough, my instructor was not around that much as he traveled to tournaments all over the world. But this was great for me, because I was basically running all the classes, and learning from the mistakes that I made. I started looking for locations, shortly after recieving my black. This was another tremendous learning experience, my lease in Echo Plaza was 52 pages long, and I knew nothing about lease negotiations. So I bought a book so I knew the terminology. It felt so good to actually know what the lawyers and landlord were talking about.
After signing the lease, I opened in Washington Twp. I was so excited, the grand opening was a success, we enrolled 52 studetns the first month. I spent the entire month of August giving out door hangers to every developement in town. Things were moving, and I was growing. After spending five years in that location, I faced another challange. I bought land and had the new location bulit, I was out of Echo plaza, and I owned my own building. I was the only person in the orgainization to ever do that, and I did it on my own, no help from my parents, my friends, just my incredible staff. They helped me so much, they were running awesome classes while I was meeting with the planning board, contractors, laweyers, environmental, buliders, electricians, and anyone else you could imagine. The stress of the buliding process was very tough on me, every day something was going wrong, however I just focused my energy on how great it would be when it was over. It was suppose to be done in September, however I ran my first class in January. One thing I’ve learned is that you have to wait for great things, be patient and it’s more special when you accomplish it.
Then from there everything was great, right? Wrong! The classes and the school was great, but I made some decisions that I learned so much from and have made me a better person. Most people might say, I made some mistakes. But mistakes are learning experiences. Ant that’s where Im at today. The new Champions Way of Life is a new beginning, a clean slate. When I was going through rough times, it was two key people that helped me through it, they told me to follow my heart! Do what my heart is telling me, the complete opposite of former mentor. And that’s my advice to my students, follow your heart, do what you love, and success will follow. If your not happy, make your move, life is to short to settle and live a life of unhappiness. Surround yourself around people you love, you do have a choice! And no matter how bad things look, your attitude and determination will get you through anything. So for some of us, we need to change the way we think! It’s the power of positive thinking!
I would like to thank all the parents and students who have supported me along the way. Our black Belt candidates who have been loyal, and stuck by the instructors that have shown them them martial arts, shown them life skills, shown them effort and determination, and have taken them to Black Belt. We appeciate your support, and the new Champions Way of Life Black Belt will symbolize having the heart of a Champion. Please have your children read the blog, so they can see that everyone is faced with challanges and adversity, and so they can remember, the first time they are faced with a life changing decision. I hope that they have the confidence, and that they can follow their heart, when faced with a tough decision.
In closing , I would just like to say thanks to my friend, Frank Baccare. Frank is a great father, a great husband, and a great friend. His son Frank is a direct reflection of him, he has a great attitude, great spirit, and will be a great Black Belt on the 24th!
I owe everything to the martial arts,