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Little Dragon Belt Test – Thursday, June 8th at 4pm
Carlos Nunez is UMA’s June Student of the Month! We chose Carlos because he donated two months of training for a teenager to train for free at UMA. His generosity is a wonderful example how UMA members support each other, especially our younger students. Thanks so much for being awesome, Carlos! We are proud to have you as a member of the school! Learn more about Carlos’s martial art journey below.
Carlos is currently pursuing his degree in Forensic Accounting after working as a maintenance worker for New York City for 10 years. He started boxing when he was 15 years old because he wanted to learn how to defend himself in his local neighborhood and out in the world. He discovered that boxing was a positive outlet for him to release energy and it also kept him out of trouble.
Carlos has been training at UMA since it opened, but was a previous student of Sifu Phil Cruz. He says that he loves the quality of the instruction at UMA and how the instructors relate the skills they teach to real life situations. Most of all, Carlos says that it’s clear from the “family vibe” of the school that the instructors are authentic and personal, genuinely dedicated to each student’s growth. He says, “The respect everyone has toward one another, from the most experienced to the beginners, is without a doubt what makes UMA what it is.”
Carlos hopes that his martial art practice will shape him into the best version of himself so he can face any challenge without fear. His advice to other students is to love whatever they do and keep it fun or it won’t be worth it in the end. Each class that Carlos participates in, he puts in 110% effort. His is positive attitude and sense of humor make him a fun and awesome teammate.
In May’s Newsletter we learned about the special meaning and evolution behind UMA’s logo, the traditional Japanese helmet called the Kabuto worn by ancient Samurai warriors. These warriors also followed a honor system, called Bushido, that guided how they lived their everyday lives. At UMA, we believe that with our training comes great responsibility to care for others and our community.
This month, we want to highlight Jin, or compassion, one of the eight virtues of the Bushido code. Compassion is often a word that gets misinterpreted. It’s more than kindness, the quality of being generous and considerate. It’s also different from sympathy and pity, which sometimes has a feeling of “being better” than the person you’re feeling sorry for. Compassion is empathic, meaning it embodies the ability to feelwhat the other person is feeling. A compassionate act, therefore, is motivated to alleviate the suffering of others because it’s understood that anyone, including oneself, can experience the same type of adversity. Embodying a selfless type of service, compassion doesn’t look for anything, not even recognition, in return.
One of the most important aspects about compassion that we want to highlight is that it recognizes the intrinsic worth of the other person. The human experience of love and loss, no matter who we are or where we are from, is similar across the globe. An act of compassion demonstrates to someone that we are one human family. Treating others with compassion serves as a reminder of this simple truth. This virtue plays a huge part in the values that we actively cultivate at here at the school. At UMA, we acknowledge that each individual student comes to the school with their own life story. We’ve all gone through our own trials and tribulations that has molded us into the people we are today. We aspire to respect each student’s path: everything that we’ve done has led us here to practice martial arts together. With this in mind, we take this perspective to our everyday lives. Each stranger we meet also has their own personal history full of moments of joy, sadness, pain, success, and failure. As we aim to respect each other in the gym when we train together, we aim to infuse the moments we interact with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers with the same dignity and kindness.
At UMA, we hold each other mutually accountable to consistently work on becoming better versions of ourselves through our physical training. We also want to hold each other accountable for being better human beings to others outside of the gym as well.
There have been a few examples about how UMA students have been embodying the virtue of compassion. Carlos, our student of the month, freely donated two months worth of training to support a young person’s journey in the arts. Dee, another UMA student, watched a woman’s baby while the woman took our free Women’s Self Defense class. This woman had just randomly walked by the school with her baby in a stroller as the seminar was taking place and Dee kindly sacrificed her own training time so this woman could take the workshop. What an amazing team we have at UMA, and we couldn’t be prouder.
This month, when you pay salutations to your partner on the mat, think about the meaning behind that gesture. You’re honoring them as your training partner, all that brought them here to martial arts, and all that you’ll learn about yourself through your training with them. When you’re out in the world, try to infuse your everyday interactions with the same perspective. Infuse each interaction with compassion, acknowledging that the moment you have with this person is an opportunity for genuine connection. Often times acts of compassion aren’t big, grandiose gestures of generosity. They are often displayed in a small ways: a word of kindness to let someone know that you understand how difficult their day has been or a small act of service helping someone along their path.
Jin, or compassion, is just one of the virtues of the Samurai path. Stay tuned for next month’s Kabuto Corner to learn more about how UMA members consistently shine and highlight the virtues of the Bushido code!
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