We have some great news to share from last weekend. Don Maurer was awarded his Black Belt in Mantis Boxing by my hand on December 3, 2016.
Don was one of our first students when we started this school. He has spent the past 12 years training with us, and is, in my mind, the epitomy of perseverance. No matter the setbacks life has thrown his way, he has found a way to stay the course and keep his feet on the path.
Don has always worked at bettering his skills, and bettering those around him. Some of you may even remember when he was helping run classes back in the mill. He is a tenacious martial artist, and always pushing forward through adversity.
I recall a story Don told me once from his childhood that I believe had a profound affect on his ability to stick with it when life tried to say otherwise.
When he was a child, Don's father came home one day with a guitar. He asked his father what the guitar was for, and his father replied - "It's yours. I signed you up for guitar lessons and you start next week." Don adamantly told his father that he did not want to learn guitar. His father's respons - "Too bad. You're taking guitar."
After a couple years, Don grew to love playing the guitar. Do you know what he still does to this day, some 40+ years later? Plays guitar. I have not personally heard him play, but I can tell through our discussions, and how he relates martial arts to music, that he is at a master level.
That same perseverance has paid off again. Now his level of understanding has evolved in Mantis Boxing. The ability to see the unseen, to know the intricacies, to connect the dots. To achieve something that cannot be taken away, or erased. A mark is left.
It is such an honor to be able to guide people to this level of the journey. Thank you, Don. I am glad Mantis Boxing is being passed down and I am grateful to be able to share the art with you.
photos by Max Kotchouro