Thursday, July 27, 2006

Team 4 Instructions

From Team Coach Tom

First off, I’d like to personally thank you all for having the guts to step up to the plate like this –and serve as role models for the martial arts industry. For some of you, serving as a role model for other martial artists is not a concern, as you have other reasons for participating. But, from my perspective, it’s a valuable thing that we get to help ourselves –while doing good things on a larger scale.

On that note, I find my inner-dialogue saying, “Isn’t it right for each of us to stand up as role models for every man, woman, and child on this planet? Wouldn’t my heroes, my best teachers, ask this of me? Don’t the people I admire the most do this –at least on some level? What kind of life do we lead --what kind of thinking do we do, what kind of mental and spiritual evolution do we undergo with this kind of thinking?”

Of course, you’d have to be a real “master” to think this way.

Lately teams (ok, during my entire career), I have been on an exploration of the why and what of the martial arts. As you may know, I work in the “industry” of the martial arts –and so I’ve been looking and trying and analyzing business concepts for, literally, years. I have studied things school owners could do, could embrace, that would help their business and keep them sane and growing. Out of all this has come the work I do now.

So the UBBT’s about business –but then, it’s not just about business.

I’ve coined a new phrase: “The master’s work.” The master’s work is the work we do after we’ve done all the necessary survival-based jobs. The master’s work is where the “master” focuses his or her energies. The master’s work is in creating, mobilizing, cataloging, teaching, and promoting ideas, beliefs, “causes,” and so on. Ernie Reyes, Sr. works on the martial arts and performance –it is the master’s work. Emil Farkas is contemplating the creation of a new “martial arts encyclopedia” –this is the master’s work. Bill Kipp seeks to arm people with the knowledge to turn fear into power –this is the master’s work. Keith Hirabayashi is making a film about the martial arts and peace –this is the master’s work. Dave McNeill founded his Keep On Pushin organization and heads his own martial arts association –the master’s work. Mike and Karen Valentine have spearheaded an environmental self-defense program in their school –the master’s work. Charles Chi gets things done, with his students, in his community…and on an extraordinary level –the master’s work. Dawn Barnes is writing educational stories that hundreds-of-thousands of children are reading –the master’s work.

Well, regardless of your age, experience, or rank, the UBBT is the master’s work. Only you, with your attitude and commitment, can take this on and MAKE it important, make it real, make it a tool for your own personal transformation, the transformation of your students, your community, our industry –and, if we are very diligent in our work, we have a chance to make an impact on the world. Yes, we do.

This is the master’s work because it’s so big –it’s so unbelievable –it’s so out of the ordinary. Participate in the UBBT, play full out, “go the distance” and beyond –and you have taken the heroes journey. You will, by your very example be a teacher and leader extraordinaire.

Now for some details:

On Quitting
Look over the Team 3 roster, look over the journal entries, and you will see success stories –and people who can’t find the self-discipline to follow thru on their commitment. On Team 4, we only want successes. We want fully participative people who won’t allow ANY difficulty, ANY obstacle, ANY challenge to sidetrack them. Yes, it’s going to be hard –maybe the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Well, damn-it, GOOD! Aren’t you just sick and tired of mediocrity? Isn’t the condition of people’s thinking and commitment and apathy just disheartening? The UBBT –and for that matter, the rest of your life (I hope) is a way to DO SOMETHING about all of that mediocrity and ignorance. And even if this has already been your path, this project is about re-committing yourself to “the way.” Your way.

Don’t quit. Don’t embarrass me by not-journaling and not trying. Don’t allow any excuse to keep you from participating in all events –and in any way. And, my friends, EXPECT bad things, unexpected things, hard things, to get in your way. EXPECT failure. EXPECT changes in direction. EXPECT the unpredictable. EXPECT the catastrophe –as those who apply themselves in ANY way to this program will have to deal with it all.

If you can’t commit yourself at least 100 times more than you ask of your students, then, quite frankly, you don’t belong here. You see, I’m not out to get your money –and I’m not out to run a “program.” I’m out to change the world –and I need your help.

If you can’t do the UBBT ---you’re still a good person –and I hold no opinion of your value. But if you commit to it, I have HUGE expectations of you –and your ability to show the world what this crap we call “the martial arts” is supposed to be about (Excuse my French…did you know I was bilingual?).

On Filming a Movie
This is one complex son-of-a-gun. So much so, that even Nancy, an Academy Award winning filmmaker, can’t always get her head around how to proceed. I love it. Our first step, before you do anything on camera, is to prepare a variety of “pitches” to the industry. If the industry buys the rights to our project, we have a show–in-the-works. If they don’t, we’ll have a lot of home footage and a lot of memories. The odds are VERY good –but the way the story is to be told, that isn’t necessarily up to us. So, for your information, we are working on a pitch. In the mean time, you work on yourself. If and when you go on-camera in the UBBT, BE an example of the ultimate black belt, period.

On Our Events
Ultimate Black Belt Test TEAM 4 Special Events

Team 4 - Required Event 1

March 2007
Alabama House Building Project with Pam Dorr / The Hale County Housing Authority and the Rural Studio (

Team, we are in the midst of crafting something extra-extra-ordinary here for this year's Alabama mission. More to come.

Team 4 - Required Event 2

July 5, 6, 7, 2007
Testing, events, and performances at the Century / MAIA Super Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The UBBT teams will perform their physical martial arts tests in front of more than 2000 professional martial arts teachers at the largest gathering for teachers in the nation.

Team 4 - Required Event 3

October 2007
Final Test - New JerseyMaster's Weekend and Final Test, to be held in New Jersey, hosted by UBBT Members.

The first event is going to require us to raise funds for the project. It’s going to be a BIG deal –and we will be looking for all kinds of help. This should be our greatest event ever –and major educational project. This project will, most likely, be a once-in-a-lifetime event where we will mix with the most amazing people –for an extraordinary cause. More to come.

The second event is crazy-intense –as we are going to be performing in front of EVERYONE in the martial arts business industry. Don’t think I don’t expect you to be UNBELIEVABLE. How? Practice Baby! Practice and training and due diligence.

The third event will be an amazing homecoming of emotion and completion –in and around New York City. More to come.

How to Proceed
Well, honestly, treat this test with 100 times the respect you want your own students to treat YOUR testing process. Do that, and you’ll ace this –and it’ll kick your school into high gear. START TRAINING. Go over the test curriculum with a fine tooth comb. Call me with questions. I’m here to help.

The UBBT Binder
You will be keeping your stats and blog on the test on-line. More to come.

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