Since 2018, MAD - Making a Difference has used martial arts to help transform our students into pillars and role models for our local community.
1915 W. Houston St., Sherman, TX 75092
We were created to help martial arts schools leave a lasting legacy to their students and communities - a real legacy. We seek to recruit the movers, shakers, dreamers, and rebels within the martial arts world who are making a difference all over the globe, and who seek to elevate martial arts to a higher plane of purpose.
In Greek, the word simnos means honorable, and we are actively seeking out the honorable men and women within our community who are not simply motivated by financial gain, stripes on a black bet, or a hall of fame award, but who day in and day out strive to make the world a better place by being Servant-Leaders to both their students and communities.
Three years ago we were a small family of dedicated souls that decided to start uniting martial artists from all over the world who were committed to utilizing martial arts for a higher purpose. Now here we are, a strong network of global instructors who know that age-old martial arts traditions can be utilized as a powerful force for human and community development.
We are well aware that there are thousands of schools and instructors all over the world that are making massive contributions to the well-being of their students, communities, and cities, and those schools deserve to be recognized. In fact, they not only deserve to be recognized, but they also need to be recognized. As any instructor knows, martial arts are a powerful catalyst for transformation and self-improvement, and we wish to take that power and energy and begin dedicating it to issues outside of our dojos. We wish to recruit and recognize men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving others and highlight the valuable impact they make on those around them.
We founded MAD because of the need for martial arts values in our world. Many martial arts organizations just test and promote to higher degrees of Black Belt, but we are much more than that. We inspire, encourage, and cultivate our students to synthesize their mastery of martial arts with the virtues of being a Servant-Leader, and above all, we make them recognize that external self-improvement is absolutely meaningless without the internal self-improvement needed to help anchor and guide them throughout their lives.
This is especially true considering that they’re all on loan to us, and one day the majority of them will leave their parents’ nest, strike off on their own, and leave our school behind for good measure. All martial arts instructors should keep that fact in mind, and as teachers, we should ask ourselves two very simple questions. What should our true legacy be? Is teaching them how to fight and hurt people enough?
At the end of the day, MAD will never be just about kicking and punching, mastering weapons in combat, or inventing a new martial arts technique, and when it comes to the instructors and schools that we’d like to join our organization, neither the size or your dojo or the cost of your classes will play any part in your application process. The schools and instructors that MAD wishes to honor have a reputation for years of service, selfless dedication to others, and a love of community involvement that sets them apart from your rank-and-file school. In short, people are their passion, and that passion doesn’t simply stop once they exit the front door of their dojo.
Our ultimate purpose is to encourage as many schools and teachers as possible to elevate their instruction and instill a living legacy in both their students and community. What will you do with the “dash” that’s been given to you in this life? You do know the dash...don’t you? Whether you or conscious of it or not, it’s written on your tombstone, and it separates the year that you were born from the year that you depart from this earth. When it comes to your legacy as a martial arts instructor, will anything survive after the dash is finally set in stone?
with a strong emphasis in teaching and utilizing martial arts in order to cultivate strong character within our students, teaching them self-defense against bullying and harassment, providing support to needy families within the Texoma community, helping to counsel and rehabilitate children that have been physically and sexually abused, as well as utilizing the focus and self-discipline of martial arts to help transform our students into pillars and role models for our local community.
After dedicating nearly four decades to these causes, it was decided in 2018 that not enough was being done to give every child in our community a fighting chance. As such, the non-profit Making a Difference was started, which focuses on seven key pillars of Youth Development:
Helping to Finance, Promote, and Teach Anti-Bullying Programs and Campaigns
Helping to Protect and Counsel Physically and Sexually Abused Children
Helping to Provide Financing and Assistance to Children Who Are Mentally and Physically Handicapped
Helping to Provide Charity and Support to Children Suffering from Life-Threatening and Terminal Diseases
Helping to Provide Support and Housing for Homeless and Itinerant Teenagers
Helping to Provide Financing and Support to Widows and Children of both Wounded and Fallen Soldiers as well as First Responders
Helping to Provide Scholarship to Scholar-Athletes Who Study Martial Arts
The M.A.D. Martial Arts Manifesto for Youth Development A child with a genuine sense of purpose, who also has the strength, conviction, and addiction to self-improvement to act upon that purpose, is perhaps the most powerful force for good on the planet. We as martial arts teachers accomplish this by instilling within our students an addiction to Self-Improvement, a Warrior Spirit, as well as the conviction that the best way to lead is by taking on the mantle of a Servant-Leader. Talk is cheap. It’s through action that we both improve ourselves as martial artists, as well as inspire and encourage our students to walk a virtuous path that strengthens Body, Spirit, and Mind.
One of the many roles that a martial arts teacher has with their students, especially children, is that of an athletics coach. If this role has been properly synthesized with the concept of a Servant-Leader, then a winning coach, when asked what or who is responsible for their victory, always remembers that they are a mirror unto their students. The coach never refers to themselves, but only about the hard work, commitment, and dedication that his students put forth (nor should a good coach forget the support and encouragement from parents!).
A good coach remembers that everything is on loan. Everything. They only have their students for a very short period of time, and their ultimate goal is to institute life lessons that will help guide, strengthen, and fortify them throughout their lives. Students might forget what you said, they might forget what you did, but students will rarely forget how you made them feel, especially the joy, self-confidence, and sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering martial arts. Our ultimate lesson is to teach them that the joy and sense of accomplishment they feel didn’t just come out of the blue, but was the inevitable end product of their self-discipline, focus, self-motivation, a strong work ethic, and if we’ve done our jobs properly, strong personal character.
History has proven that those who are willing to take risks are the ones that make a difference and that taking a risk sometimes also requires sacrifice. Building outstanding
community leaders is a crucial part of our MAD movement, and for many schools and instructors, it might require them to step out of their comfort zones and take risks.
Yet does this not sound familiar to any martial arts instructor? Your new students do it every time they first step onto the mat. That initial risk is transformed into increased confidence, boldness, and a desire to learn more, is it not?
We also understand that each martial artist has developed his or her own mentoring style and that there is no cookie cutter approach when it comes to cultivating strong leaders. Bruce Lee advocated utilizing his fighting philosophy of Jeet Kune Do to create an individually-tailored fighting system that both minimized your weaknesses and magnified your strengths.
We advocate the same philosophy when it comes to mentoring leaders in MAD. Some are great speakers, some are great organizers, some are great fundraisers, some are great networkers, and all of these skills are necessary if we want our MAD Coalition to succeed. But regardless of your mentoring and leadership style, mastery does not come without....
You won’t survive in the martial arts world without dedication and commitment. No matter what you’ve mastered in martial arts, the Sacred Path is a journey that demands that you keep moving forward and continue mastering new knowledge
This means that not only must we be committed to MAD’s mission, but just as important, we must keep up-to-date on the ever-evolving world that technology is creating. We are committed to being a “state of the art” community that doesn’t shy away from new ideas, platforms, and technologies. We honor and respect the age-old traditions within martial arts, while also recognizing the new generations’ ideas and needs.
We completely understand that there are great schools and instructors out there who might not be too versed in technology, and that’s perfectly ok! We go back to the lessons of Jeet Kune Do, and one of the principal reasons that MAD was created. Each leader has their own strengths and weakness, and we’re creating a community that can help us strengthen our individual styles. We know there are “old school” instructors out there who don’t like technology, and that’s perfectly fine.
But if that same instructor were to view that aversion through the lens of martial arts, is it wise to ignore your “ground game” or not learn how to land a kick on an opponent? The same principle applies to technology. The world is changing, and if we wish to be effective within our communities, especially with Youth Development, then we must change with it. The youth are incredibly savvy with technology, and it is a medium that we must master if we wish to succeed.
From our own school’s perspective, if we have learned anything over the past 35 years of operation, it’s that professionalism is the hallmark of an elite dojo. For us personally, we believe God has set a standard of excellence, and His plan governs the conduct of our school.
But aside from our own personal views, we believe any school worth their salt probably also recognizes this virtue, especially when it comes to the quality of instruction, cultivating a strong connection with your students, as well as the overall operation of a dojo.
If we are to succeed, then professionalism and respect for each MAD member is a cornerstone to success and engaging with the public, a dedication to impeccable professionalism is one of their surest ways to leave a positive impression with other fellow community leaders and stakeholders.
This pillar reminds us that each decorated member of MAD must complete a 21 question application and is recognized as an “honorable” martial artist. A thorough background check, letters of reference, a detailed resume, and testimonies of your years of service are also required.
Martial artists that present themselves as MAD members are not only representing themselves but the entire coalition of schools and instructors who have come together to help our communities. This role should be embraced with a sense of honor and integrity, especially when questioning any type of behavior that might reflect poorly upon MAD.
This pillar takes us back to our roots because we created MAD to challenge the status quo. In an industry where black belt degrees are often favored over integrity, MAD demonstrates the ultimate rebellion by demanding elite performance as both a martial artist as well as a Servant-Leader.
A martial artist who displays skill within his school, but does not practice the skills of a Servant-Leader within his community does not need to bother applying to MAD. Furthermore, being that one of our Pillars of Youth Development focuses on teaching Anti-Bullying Programs, a martial artist who enjoys physically hurting innocent people has absolutely, positively, no business applying to MAD.
We’ve been in this business a long time, as have countless other schools and instructors, and every instructor worth their salt knows exactly what we are talking about. We are drawing a line in the sand by stating that fighting skill that isn’t anchored upon honor and a higher sense of purpose will not be tolerated within the MAD Coalition.
There is a dualism embedded within this virtue. On one hand, we wish to recognize both elite schools and elite martial artists all around the world in order to give them praise and attention, but we wish to recognize them as much for being Servant-Leaders to their communities as we do their fighting skills. This is a different honor that most martial artists aren’t accustomed to, and it’s an honor not grounded upon braggetry or grandstanding, but on the virtues needed to become a Servant-Leader.
Being a true Servant-Leader takes humility. It means that often you aren’t the center of attention, or to be more accurate, perhaps you are the center of attention, but the goal is to be a mirror unto your students, supporters, and communities. They look into that mirror and see the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, and it inspires and motivates them to follow your example when improving their communities. Ego and self-aggrandizement give way to the desire to leave a living legacy within your students and community long after your dash has been set in stone.
Any elite martial artist that’s walked the Sacred Path knows how important humility is when cultivating yourself as a fighter. When ascending through the belt system, it’s a constant game of defeat and resurrection. An instructor might thrash you in a contest, but it was necessary if you truly desire to get better. No student will improve if they continue to spar against students at their same skill level.
As such, humility is needed within our coalition when discussing what works and what doesn’t work when making a difference within our communities. We must commit ourselves to a path of constant self-improvement, and this cannot be accomplished without humility.
This virtue reminds us of why we were put on this earth. As a faith-based organization, we believe it is a divine commandment to help as many people as possible. We make a difference through open hearts, a selfless love for our communities, and by being mirrors unto them so that they might see and experience the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, each MAD member has a both a servant’s heart and the martial arts skills to sacrifice and take risks, to be dedicated to improving the lives of those around them, to be professional when presenting themselves to the public, to have honor when dealing with others, to have the courage to speak truth to power, and to have the humility that is needed to walk the path of the Servant-Leader.
Together we can transform lives. When you join us, you will grow with us as a member and increase your ability to positively improve the health and well-being of your family, students, and community.
After spending generations in the martial arts industry, we have seen these transformational changes occur countless times firsthand (as we’re sure you have as well). We have also witnessed the decay of age-old martial arts traditions, and we see the need for specialized training and a new coalition to help turn the tide.
We are 100% certain that we cannot accomplish our mission without your support, and it’s martial artists like you who will help transform MAD’s vision into a reality. Take the first step in helping to elevate martial arts to a higher plane of purpose. Join us!
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