Monday, July 09, 2007

UBBT Alabama / M Project UPDATE

One of the Most Interesting, but underrated accomplishments of the Ultimate Black Belt Test Team 4 (with help from other teams, as always and as it should be) is its work in Alabama with Pam Dorr, the Rural Studio, and in preparation for John Bielenberg and his PROJECT M.
The teams raised $40,000 to partially renovate two historic buildings in Greensboro, Alabama --structures to be used to launch art programs for local youth --AND to house the amazing PROJECT M.

I don't think most team members realize what we did --and who it is impacting.

It all began with our relationship with Pam Dorr --who I contacted because of my interest in the great teacher Sam Mockbee.

Then I read a story about Mockbee's influence on another amazing teacher (in another field), John Bielenberg. Project M --a radically different sort of training program for graphic designers, artists, writers, photographers, is in part named after Mockbee.

I e-mailed John about our work in Alabama --and asked if he'd like to participate in some way --and that lead to conversations with Pam Dorr --which lead to our plan to renovate a place for visiting artists, groups, etc. to come to in Greensboro --which lead to Project M actually coming to Greensboro.

Oh, and let me tell you a secret: I want to be a teacher like Mockbee and Bielenberg --in the martial arts world.

So, in part, because of our work in Alabama, we have formed a bridge between some seemingly disparate fields (architecture, art, design, martial arts), and become a part of a large family of dynamic people who are, in the end, all doing the same kind of work:

Inspiration; education; awareness; creativity;
community activism; leadership training ---which, in my mind, all point to a very sophisticated and essential form of self-defense.

Good work Teams. Thank you to everyone who worked, raised money, fell off roofs, made films, and generally got down and dirty for this vision. Thank you to Jason and Claire, who came all the way from the UK to help. Thank you to Nancy for her amazing films. Thank you to all the schools who raised money. Thank you to Hal for his engineering advice and work. Thank you to Pam Dorr for allowing us to participate. Thank you to all the Mom's and Dads, Hal and John Miller, and Chris Natzke, and all that I've missed, for bringing your children into our work --they don't know what they played a role in, yet.

Thank you to everyone on the team who helped do something remarkable --without much praise, with very little fanfare, and with some healthy bumps and bruises. We left a mark there --thanks to you!

The links below talk a bit about the project --and show some pictures of the houses:

Tom Callos

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