The Japanese raise a tree called the Bonsai tree. It’s beautiful and perfectly formed, although it’s height is measured in inches.
In California, we find a forest of giant green trees called Sequoias. One of these giants has been named the General Sherman. It extends into the sky 272 feet and measures 79 feet in circumference. This tree is so large, that if we cut it down, it would produce enough lumber to build 35 – five room houses!
The amazing thing is that at one time, the Bonsai and the General Sherman were the same size. The both began as tiny little seeds. However, when the Bonsai tree started to grow, the Japanese pulled it from the ground and tied off its tap-root. This stunted its growth.
Unlike the Bonsai, the seed of the General Sherman was planted in the rich, fertile soil of California. If grew in environment that got plenty of water, nutrients and sunlight.
Neither of these trees have any choice in what they become, BUT YOU DO! Being a Black Belt is a choice. You can choose to GET a Black Belt, or you can choose to BE a Black Belt. What’s the difference = being a Black Belt is a lifestyle. It’s taking the lesson we learn in class, and living them outside the Dojo.
It’s being respectful outside the Dojo (not just here), it’s being Discipline outside the Dojo (not just here). It’s acting like a Black Belt all the time – not just here.
And it starts with a decision! Before you can BE a Black Belt, you have to make the decision; do you want to BE a Black Belt, or do you just want to get one? A real Black Belt lives it – not wears it.
Mr. Soares began training in the martial arts at the age of 13 and shortly after graduating High School he earned his Black Belt. Mr. Soares opened a small karate club in 1992. In 1999 he went to serve in the Massachusetts Army National Guard for ten years. During that time Mr. Soares was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a Flight Medic. While there, in addition to his duties, he also taught self-defense to soldiers in his unit as well as soldiers from other countries. In 2011 he opened Lance Soares’ Family Martial Arts Center in New Bedford and has since served as its director and chief instructor. Mr. Soares is currently an 5th Degree Black Belt in the Parker system of Kenpo Karate.