A Connected Community
Recently I was enjoying a beautiful New England weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. After a day of touring the historical mansions, and a great seafood dinner, I went in search of Professor Nick Cerio’s dojo. At the time of his passing in 2008, his dojo was in Warwick, RI. I had never been to his school before, but I was honored to have met the Professor at the Independent Karate School in the mid-90s.
The GPS brought me to what I believe is a graphic design company. I later learned that after the Professor passed in 1998, his dojo carried on for a time before his successor moved moved and joined Professor Bill Chun Jr.’s dojo.
As we transition from the Independent Karate School to the Independent Martial Arts School, it seems to me that we have a duty to both our heritage and our successors to stay connected. (I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Sensei James or the Professor’s organization!) But it hit me that maybe a few years from now, a former student driving through Nashua on a Saturday morning might try to drop by the dojo for a visit. It would be a loss if they drove by and wondered what might have become of the karate family they remembered.
The martial arts are about more than self-defense. Kenpo, Jiu Jitsu, and karate classes are the basis – but the real program was always taking the youth of southern New Hampshire, building their character through community service, self-discipline, and focusing on school. By maintaining an active presence on social media (Twitter: @imasnh.dojo / Instagram: imasnh.dojo / Facebook: imasnh.dojo), and by staying connected to our fellow black belts, students, and families through old fashioned face-to-face conversations whenever possible – we must stay close. We must stay connected. I treasure my time training with the Professor for the brief time our paths crossed. And I have nothing but the highest respect for his organization. He was a critical cog in our history as a school, and his part in our lineage holds a place of honor. But I hope my future hypothetical black belt driving by the old IKS dojo can have fond memories of their time there as they set their GPS for our current dojo.