Sunday, May 20, 2012

John's First Community Leadership Project

This is John’s first community leadership project to advance to the rank of green belt.  John is age 10 and currently a blue belt at Epic Martial Arts in Sag Harbor N.Y.

Waste kickers
My project is a beach clean up. With this project, I am trying to stop littering by removing waste and trash from Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. I am trying to encourage others to be active in their community by discovering that cleaning up the beach can actually be an enjoyable experience. I am trying to influence friends and others to continually clean up their environment and remain active in their community.

My inspiration for this project was my love towards sea life and to prevent them from getting harmed. You hear many stories of sea animals dying because they end up eating trash. Turtles in most cases confuse plastic bags as jellyfishes and end up dying because they cant breath. Dolphins get stuck in nets and ropes that people throw in the ocean. These are few of the many animals out in the ocean that get harm because people don’t treat beaches with respect and don’t take their garbage with them.

So on Mothers day, May 13th 2012, my cousins Alex and Christian and I, along with Sensei Michelle and my big sister Johanna went to Indian Wells Beach to clean up for an hour. I didn’t realize how much garbage we picked up. Between my two younger cousins and I, we filled a big white bag full of plastic bags, balloons, cans, bottles, and diapers. I was surprised to see how much garbage we picked up in such short amount of time and we only cleaned a small part of the beach. I do have to admit that I had a great time along with my cousins picking up garbage. I plan to keep doing this type of things in the future along with my family and friends. 

By John Saldana- Green belt candidate 5/18/12

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Press Release For Epic Martial Art's Kick A Thon

Sag Harbor, New York, April 26th, 2012-

Sensei Michelle Del Giorno and the children’s karate students at Epic Martial Arts-EAST are participating in a “Kick A Thon” on Friday June 1st at 5 pm.   This charity event is to raise awareness and donations for their Swim Across America Team. 
Sensei Michelle, her students and their parents are expecting to complete 10,000 kicks with a pledge goal of $1,500.00!
 The mission and purpose of Swim Across America is to raise money and awareness for cancer research, treatments and support.  Students, parents and instructors of Epic Martial Arts will participate in a ½ mile open water swim on Saturday July 7th in Gardiner’s Bay in Amagansett.
“This project is an example of how the children of our community can make a difference by participating in acts of kindness,” says Sensei Michelle. “ We are teaching our young children that they can be leaders in our community. Our students learn the value of helping others by raising awareness and donations to fight cancer.”
Epic Martial Arts is participating in the Swim Across America event in memory of Alex Koehne, a young Sag Harbor resident who passed away from cancer in March 2007.  The students are dedicating their swim to Wendy Tarlow, a parent of one of Epic Martial Art’s youngest students.  Wendy has been courageously fighting her battle with Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I heard about this Hamptons swim shortly after my first chemotherapy treatment in 2010,” says Wendy.  “I had no idea this was a national organization that had events all over the country with most of their proceeds going directly to cancer research.”
Sensei Michelle conducts children’s karate classes for ages 3 and up and self-defense, martial arts and kickboxing classes for teens and adults.  The students at Epic Martial Arts-EAST regularly participate in community service projects as part of their black belt training.  For more information please visit the website at or call 631 725-5425.  If you are interested in sponsoring a student donations for the Kick A Thon can be made at Epic Martial Arts-EAST, 75 Main Street in Sag Harbor or to Swim Across America at

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Martial Arts and Bullying

Sadly millions of our children are bullied each year in the United States.  Children are committing suicide from repeated bullying from their peers.  In today’s society children are being harassed in and out of the classroom.  Social media has become the new venue for bullying as children are subjected to harmful videos, text messages and Facebook posts.  These harmful incidents have long lasting effects on children who are the victims of bullying. 
As parents, we can help protect our children from bullying by enrolling them in a Martial Arts program.  A Martial Arts program is unlike other sports as it teaches children to respect others through kindness and empathy.  The philosophy of Martial Arts builds character from the inside out.  Martial Arts students develop the mental strength to be leaders in their community.  The moral compass that is developed by Martial Arts training not only protects children from being bullied but gives them the super-hero strength to stop bullying when others fall victim to such cruelty.  Martial Arts students develop an assertive attitude that builds their self-esteem.  Children in Martial Arts training manifest the philosophy of the Martial Arts-courtesy, respect, focus, concentration, self-discipline, self-control-and apply them to their community and the world.  Children in Martial Arts training learn to overcome their fears by persevering and facing challenging obstacles. The Martial Arts is not about kicking, punching and throwing. It is about building a more peaceful world. This philosophical training builds the skills that parents want to see in their children.  Martial Arts is the best training for a child that goes far beyond self-defense; it protects our children by developing skills to stop bullying.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sticking to My New Year's Resolution

I have completed my first month of 2012 by following my New Year’s resolution.  I heard on the radio recently that on average, people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by about the 17th day of January.  I am sticking to this one for the whole year of 2012.  I am not purchasing anything new for myself that I don’t really need.  No new shoes, no new coats, no bathing suits and no new karate uniforms.  If I need something, I am only buying it second hand at the thrift store or on Ebay.  It definitely came up a few times this month, but I just asked myself, “do you really need this” and of course the answer was “no”!    The point is that we waste so much and I am trying to challenge myself to be more conservative.  Of course I am saving myself some money at the same time, so this is another “win/win” challenge.
Of course the winter in New York is a great time to get a handle on over spending.  I am an avid snowboarder, but I have to tell you I really do want those new bindings for my board that I have had my eye on since last season.  The thing is, I have a new board and bindings all set up, and I am actually thinking of buying new bindings to put on an old board my son gave me.  All I have to do is just switch the bindings over to the old board and that would take me about 20 minutes to assemble.  When I think about how lazy that would be to waste the money on new bindings, I can’t believe that I actually have considered purchasing a new set.
My karate students all know about my challenge.  We speak often about setting goals and taking our knocks along the way.  The other day in class, we started a discussion on Wii games and how there are different games that are physical and challenging.  The students said we should get a flat screen tv in the dojo, so we could have a movie night and also a Wii game night.  Great idea, until one student pointed out that Sensei Michelle couldn’t make any unnecessary purchases in all of 2012 and that she doesn’t really NEED that flat screen tv.
Constant reminders of this challenge come up everyday.  I can honestly say that the only purchases I made were for a notebook and a day planner.  I guess those items would be hard to find used.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Karate Lesson in Self-Defense on a Typical Snow Day

Yesterday was a snow day.  Well, it would have been had there been school on a Saturday.  I opened the dojo at 9:30 am and prepared for the 10 am class.  It was great to see that some of our students were up early and ready to train in spite of the 5 inches of snowfall.  A few students expressed how excited they were to get out early, get some karate training in and then head out for a day of sledding.  This sparked a discussion on self-defense.  Last year there were two serious accidents in our area on a local hill here in the Hamptons.  It is a very popular hill for the kids in our area to get in some sledding. Because of the accidents last year, we discussed how staying focused and paying attention can help to keep us safe.  We went on to chat about how we can turn a fun activity in a dangerous situation by sledding off the trail or carelessly sledding off snow piled jumps.  The kids understood the dangers of piling too many kids on one sled, or sledding into a group of people. We continued to discuss some important safety rules for sledding as the students contributed to the discussion.  I am very proud of my students as they continue to be safe and aware in all situations and their everyday lives.  This is our self-defense and by continuing the dialogue with our karate students-this is how we avoid potentially dangerous situations.