Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thunder Bay Martial Arts April 17th
Northern Michigan never disappoints! Since I was just a little kid I've visited, spent vacations, holidays, and summers in northern Michigan. My mother grew up in Onaway and she's always made sure I was in touch with my roots.
This past weekend I was given the great honor of performing, speaking, and doing a seminar for Alpena's Thunder Bay Martial Arts. They have several school outlets across northeastern Michigan and Saturday those schools met in Hillman Michigan for the Thunder Bay Martial Arts Tournament.
Several months ago I received an email from Sensei Dan Schackmann and Mrs. Schackmann inviting me to come and share my love for the arts with everyone. Of course, you know what my answer was! I couldn't wait to get back up north. I am always excited and grateful to be able to reach out to other young people in hopes of inspiring them to believe in themselves and do great things. I hope that they will see themselves in me and know that I'm not special or gifted. I'm a regular kid from a small town. I'm one of them and I'm proof that with hard work, motivation, and determination, dreams do come true.
It was such an honor to be able to meet and speak to all those kids who have worked so hard and share my passion for the arts. I saw amazing families supporting their kids and grand kids and giving them hugs and praise and support, win or lose all of which are priceless and I say that from experience. I saw parents and students who truly understand that winning isn't everything. Loving what you do, and doing what you love is! I even got to hang out with some of my favorite fans! Zack and Raena!
Mr. Schackmann opened the tournament by saying only "WATCH THIS." That was my cue! My first performance was to Evanessence ~ Bring me to life. Fun! Not too wild, a nice ice breaker to get everyone pumped up and ready to compete. I spent the day meeting lots of fun people, taking pictures and signing autographs. At noon I got to rock the house to Motley Crue! This one was fast paced and lots of fun. Got to swing my swords, break some boards, and even broke out my sticks! Later on we went back to the dojo and spent a couple hours doing basic Eskrima stick drills, teaching some terminology, and fundamentals of Filipino martial arts. It was a great seminar. I truly enjoyed myself and the opportunity to share just a little of the art that I have come to love so very much. I thank my Grand Master Bong Jornales for sharing his skills, wisdom, and love for the art with me. I am grateful and honored to give others just a peek at what I have been so blessed to have been given. I look forward to a return visit and seeing everyone again! Thanks for a wonderful day!