Well, hello. It’s been a few days since we’ve seen each other and this is because not much has happened in BB4L’s pre-opening roller coaster since the last post. But today, Thursday, November 6, was a defining moment day. This was a day in which three things happened that were new and one of them facilitated the defining moment status.
1. Drum roll…. The landlord has begun working on our buildout!
2. BB4L has erupted in a sea of color. The walls have been painted and they look glorious, if I do say so myself. I love the colors and I’m very happy with the finished look.
It was hard work, but I believe in hard work. There’s integrity in it. I believe that if you give something your all, put forward blood, sweat, and tears, that something will give it right back. BB4L is very happy with it’s new look. It’s ready, chomping at the bit to fill its meticulously painted walls with students young and old.
I must add a most humble and deep thank you to my father, Blair Van Orden.
He’s been in the studio almost every day helping in every way possible and will be there whenever I need him.
This whole endeavor would not have been possible without his never ending encouragement, support, and love. Thanks Dad. I love you.
And 3. (The defining moment) Josh McMillan (Mr. Mac) has arrived. Mr. Mac has been training in the martial arts for, well, ever. He began training in Florida just out of pre-school. He’s 26 now and he’s one of the best martial artists that I know and one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen. He has studied many styles that range from Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Kempo, Krav Maga, Brazilian JiuJitsu and Thai Kickboxing. He was Florida State champ in the KICK USA tournament circuit (a very competitive, distinguished, and incredibly cool Karate tournament) 3 years in a row and the national champion in 2001.
Most important, Mr. Mac’s many students throughout the years know him as an educated, caring, persistent and enthusiastic instructor. The children take so much of a liking to him because he is patient, understanding and an excellent communicator. The adults keep coming back because they love the intensity of his classes and the knowledge he brings to the martial arts. And I’m thrilled to team up with him because he believes in empowering peoples lives through the martial arts as much as I do. Yet, he’s also the yin to my yang. Where I deficit, he excels and vice versa.
Mr. Mac, like myself, has worked with many martial art schools throughout the country, teaching, consulting, even running the show. Crossing paths many times throughout the last few years, we were able to discuss at length the state of the martial arts community. During these discussions, we came up with an idea of how to create the perfect martial art school. This is how Black Belt 4 Life came to life. I will never forget the day I told him, whilst working with him at a karate school in Knoxville, TN, of my plan to head out west and start a studio from scratch that epitomizes what I believe to be the perfect martial art school. He began to add to my descriptions and agree with my analysis of our current situation and it was at this time he said, “we could call it Black Belt 4 Life.” …. There you have it. This was very hard for me to Divulge. Mr. Mac came up with the name Black Belt 4 Life…. Of course, it fit perfectly with my ideas and ideals and, at the time, I was adrenalized and proceeded to map out my plan in great detail. It wasn’t until later that I became a little jealous about the actual naming of our beloved studio….
So, BB4L emerged out of almost 20 years experience from EACH of us in the martial arts. It’s a product of our love of the life, the discipline, the tradition, and the confidence it instills in people of all ages. We’ve dedicated our lives (and our life savings…) to Black Belt 4 Life and we consider ourselves a couple of the luckiest guys in the world. We get to share Karate, Kickboxing, Self-Protection, and XMA to kids and adults every day. This is the beginning of something extraordinary.
The perfect Martial Art Studio.
I’ll talk more about what Mr. Mac and I believe to be the perfect martial art school at a later time. Better yet, come on down and see it for yourself. Black Belt 4 Life. Creating a better community one black belt at a time.
Enjoy your life, rest in its natural perfection. You deserve it.
Matthew (Mr. Van Orden)
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org