A few years ago, I organized the Kick Drugs Out of American Foundation. It is and organization designed to work with high-risk, inner-city children. The idea is to teach the kids martial arts, to help raise their self-esteem and instill discipline and respect for themselves and others. Many of the kids, boys as well as girls, come from broken homes and are having trouble in school and in their lives in general. I'm pleased to say that the program has been working phenomenally well. Most young people quick adapt to the philosophy of the martial arts.
After more than thirty-five years in the martial arts, competing and training thousands of young people, there is one story that is engraved in my memory. It was told to me by Alice McCleary, one of my Kick Drugs Out of America Black belt instructors. One of her young students showed up for karate training without his purple belt. Alice rememnded him that part of his reponsibility as a student was to have his karate uniform and belt with him at all times.
"Where is your belt?'' she asked.
The boy lookeds at the floor and said he didn't have it.
''Where is it?''Alice repeated. After presiing the boy to answer, he quietly lifted his head and looked at her and replied, ''My baby sister died and i put it in her coffin to take to heaven with her.''
Alice had tears in her eyes as she told me this story.
''That belt was probably his most important possession,'' she said
The boy had learnt to give his best, unselfishly.