Black Belt Academy
4885 West Boulevard • Poplar Bluff Missouri 63901 • 573.785.KICK (5425)

According to legend, a young boy approached the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo and asked him why he was working so hard chiseling a huge block of marble. Michelangelo stopped his work and turned to the boy. "Young man, there is an angel inside this rock, and I am setting him free."

The young boy quickly realized the wisdom of the great artist’s words. If he kept at it long enough, the block of granite could, indeed, become a beautiful sculpture. It was a just a matter of time and perseverance. And indeed, it did. That simple block of rock eventually became Michelangelo’s greatest sculpture, David.

It’s Amazing What Time Can Do

We do the same thing here at our academy: We "chisel" and "mold" our students until a true masterpiece emerges.

Our "rock" should become a masterpiece by 18 years of age. But as the young boy who met Michelangelo discovered, it takes daily diligence and discipline to create a work of art. That’s where martial arts training comes in. Martial arts training teaches dedication and discipline better than anything else!

Seeing the Big Picture

You see, the big picture of your child’s martial arts training is NOT about learning how to throw a great side kick, winning medals or even becoming the next state champ. Those things are great, but they aren’t the end goal.

Our job as a teaching team - parent, child and instructor - is to create a successful masterpiece out of all our students, ready to take on future matter how tough they might be. Many people lose sight of this important fact.

As a parent, this work begins at home. But your effort is supported, reinforced and made stronger by the training at our academy. None of this comes easy. Instead, it is only attained through much dedication, discipline, hard work and of course, never giving up. Excuses aren’t part of the equation.

One of the Elite

What is your dream for your child? What is your child’s dream? Whatever it is, we’re here to help you achieve those goals and dreams. We’re here to create something extraordinary - something elite. A wise man once asked, "Do you know why it’s so lonely at the top? Because it’s so crowded at the bottom".

Our goal is for your child to be at the top in life. A leader in the community. Successful in academics. Successful in their chosen career and family. A success in life and a good human being. But challenges do exist.

Those Brick Walls Exist for a Reason!

Martial arts becomes an extreme challenge over time. This is especially true when the novelty wears off and you’re reaching higher and higher ranks. You face more "brick walls" along the way than you might expect. There is a good reason for this, as Randy Pausch revealed in his amazing Last Lecture:

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something".

Just think about the athletes who competed in the recent Olympics in Beijing. Have you ever noticed that almost all the scores were in the 9’s? You know why that was? It’s because none of the 8’s qualified. That brick wall kept them out. They didn’t want it badly enough.

See, when he was a kid, Randy Pausch had a football coach named Jim Graham who rode him hard every practice. One day, after a really tough practice, the assistant coach walked over to Randy and said, "Coach Graham was pretty tough on you today, huh? Well, that’s a good thing. Because when you’re messing up and nobody is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up".

Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care about you.

Students: we push you because we care. We hold you to your commitments because we care. We will never give up on you…even if you don’t believe in yourself at times. Why? Because we can see the masterpiece hidden inside you even at times that you might not.

Cry in the Dojahng, Laugh on the Battlefield

My job as your child’s instructor is to make your child’s training, practice and life preparation so challenging that the actual game - the "battlefield of life" - seems easy by comparison. We train and practice hard in the dojahng so we can laugh on the battlefield of life.

If we don’t create that environment, we won’t create somebody who is truly successful in the face of challenges. We uphold very high standards for our students for this reason.

This is serious life training. Martial arts is unlike any other sport or activity in this respect. And that’s why black belts hold such a coveted and elite status: because people KNOW it’s tough!

Earning a Black Belt

Parents, did you know you’re earning a "life skills black belt" right alongside your child? It’s true: you’re growing and developing as a person, too! You’re building those same skills alongside your child. Because on your part, it takes just as much dedication, discipline and perseverance to push your child to success as it does on your child’s part. Maybe more.

You cannot put a price on these skills. They cannot be bought. They can only be earned through sweat, tears, hard work and sacrifice.

One day, when you send your child off to college, you might be concerned: "Will they attend class? Will they do their homework? Will they make the right choices?" Well, believe me, if your child has earned a black belt in our academy by that time, you better believe they will! You’ll have nothing to worry about.

I Want Them to Thank You!

In fact, my secret goal is for your kids to THANK YOU for pushing them so hard. I want them to say to you, "Life is easy now. I didn’t always want to go to class. But thank you for pushing me and making me stick to my goals. Look where I am. All the other people in my college class are sleeping late, skipping class and turning in mediocre work. They don’t exercise or eat right, and partying is more important than achievement to them. Not me. I focus, don’t miss classes, get my projects done on time and get excellent grades. As for "excuses", don’t make me laugh: I learned a long time ago from Mr. Page and Miss Judy that excuses don’t work in the real world. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad."

Parents, stay committed and that day WILL come! And I guarantee it will be one of the proudest moments of your life.

Think back to the day you enrolled your child in our academy. Isn’t this at the heart of it? Wouldn’t you agree you’re on the right track? Wouldn’t you agree your child’s martial muscles" to achieve their goals in later life? I’m sure you do.

Remember: running from adversity and difficulty is the natural and normal state of most people. Look at the animal world: they meet resistance and run the other way. True greatness is when you meet challenges head on, blast through those "brick walls" and resist those natural instincts. Some are born with this ability, most are not. But with time and dedication, anybody can learn these skills. That’s a big part of what we teach here.

I look forward to the day that we – as a team – celebrate your child’s proudest moments in life. When they graduate from high school and earn their college degree. When they land their dream job…and start living their dream life. It’ll be a great feeling to know that together we set free the amazing masterpiece within your child.