Columbia, SC, January 22, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- 50,000 push-ups, jump ropes and crunches might sound like a lot of exercise, but to local Columbia martial arts instructor Chris Feldt, it’s only the beginning of a very challenging black belt test for this year.
Feldt has more than 20 other requirements to fulfill for his upcoming rank exam, including reading books, weekly journaling, environmental clean up projects, a 1000 mile walk, run, bike, or swim, and 1,000 acts of kindness.
Acts of kindness?
What happened to good old fashioned kicking and punching and board breaking? What do acts of kindness have to do with karate?
“Kindness is the ultimate form of self-defense,” says Feldt, who should know. He’s part of team of 16 other martial arts masters from around the world participating in a one year master teacher-training program called The Ultimate Black Belt Test (UBBT).
During the year long test, Feldt and his teammates will be responsible to collectively execute 1000 community-based projects in their respective communities.
“Think about it. If everyone in the world treated each other with kindness and respect, there would be no reason for conflict,” stated Feldt. “One of the goals of the UBBT, is to show people 'our life is our dojo' and we want to bring what we teach in the dojo, out into the world!”
The 1000 projects, which will include building a house this April in Greensboro, AL, for an elderly women named Ms. Georgia, raising money for local charities, and clean up projects around town, are the team’s tribute to a 73-year-old Grandmaster of the martial arts named Jhoon Rhee. Rhee, born in Korea in1924, trained with Bruce Lee, invented the first foam martial arts fighting gear, and has been teaching U.S. Congressmen and Senators for more than 35 year in his adopted hometown of Washington, DC.
The Team Coach for the UBBT, Tom Callos of Hilo, Hawaii, remembers that Rhee once told him, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an action is worth 1000 pictures.” Callos says this was the catalyst for the radical and action-oriented approach of the UBBT.
“The ultimate black belt test is about going beyond what you think your limits are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” Feldt said. “One of the cool things about this form of testing is that it’s so personalized. About half the test you choose what you want to do. I have created a test that will help improve upon my strengths, but more importantly, challenge my weaknesses.”
Feldt, who owns Samurai Karate Studio in Richland Northeast Columbia, SC, will be keeping an on-going written journal of his test on-line at www.ultimateblackbelttest.com. He is also looking for clean-up, repair, and service projects in the Columbia area.
“The is the first black belt test in the world that has taken such an all-encompassing approach to the practice of the martial arts,” says Feldt. “For me, it’s not just about kicking and punching, it’s about becoming a more complete, participative, and compassionate citizen and showing my community what the martial arts are really all about.
"The first time I participated on this test two years ago, it had a profound effect on me, both for my family and my karate students," commented Feldt. "It helped me become a better instructor and a better person!"
To contact Feldt, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about the UBBT, visit www.tomcallos.com.
Samurai Karate Studio teaches a traditional style of Japanese karate to children and adults, beginning at age 4. The studio is located at 2000 Clemson Road, Suite # 9, Columbia, SC, 29229.