"About 1971, I had the opportunity to take a karate class at Carnegie Mellon University. The class was exhilarating, physical, and I liked it. The class was full of enthusiastic students with white, green, brown, and the rare black belt and they were impressive.
I wanted to achieve a black belt. I did, my first around 1975. I also became one of the black belt instructors at both Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh in the later 1970s and again in the mid 1980s. Some of my students have gotten their black belts, a few - multiple black belts.
Forty five years later, I ask: what did karate mean to me and how has it affected my life? Initially, I became fit, with greater flexibility and certainly physically stronger. I learned combat skills but more importantly, it taught me discipline which greatly helped me to accomplish academically, and I experienced my first significant personal accomplishment, a black belt. This demanding achievement gave me improved confidence including knowing I could persevere when life was challenging and a better ability to concentrate. An enduring gift from karate practice has been a more successful life.
Karate is known for teaching effective combat skills and it does. This is not enough. It is a way to live and to be the best one can be in all aspects of one's life.
Importantly, karate is also an art and this is my attraction today, at age 65. I am very lucky to have as my teacher, Mr Sadaharu Honda. Mr Honda is highly respected internationally as a leading martial artist and he is here in Pittsburgh. He has recently committed to teaching us some of the less understood, finer points of Mumon karate. Mumon karate is strongly influenced by the original master, Master Funakoshi, as well as other martial arts and martial art masters, of which Master Honda associates. My goal today is to continue to learn from Master Honda, polish my skills, and to stay mentally and physically well.
Mr Honda in turn wishes that we, his long time black belts learn this refined understanding, then pass this knowledge forward to new generations so that it will never be lost. We will do this by developing new black belts I feel very lucky to have access to him teaching me.
Who am I. I am a periodontist that has practiced periodontics and implant dentistry for 35 years in the Northern Suburbs of Pittsburgh, the proud husband of a wonderful wife, the father of two grown children and lucky father in law to their spouses. My wife and I presently reside in Fox Chapel with our dog, Lucy.
Thank you Mr Honda and my other black belt friends for your instruction, these opportunities and your friendship."
Dr. Mark Weingarden