At the Center for Humane Living, our instructors and students are actively engaged in the community. Collaborating with other community outreach programs in the Phoenix metropolitan area, our members help support common causes with programs such as I-HELP, UMOM Events, and Feed My Starving Children events. In addition to these charitable events, we regularly participate in clean-up events, fundraising projects to assist in funding scholarships to Camp Chaos, and demonstrations at local events to raise awareness about our mission.
My Martial Arts and Combat Sports Journey
Eduardo Melo Valencia
I would like to share a bit of my history regarding Martial Arts and Combat Sports. From a very young age of 12 years old, I was passionate about Martial Arts and Combat Sports. In 1992 I started training for my first Combat Sport, American Full Contact Karate, which is also called American Kickboxing. In that same year I also started training for my first Martial Art, Muay Thai. Muay Thai is also called the Martial Art of the 8 limbs: fists, elbows, knees, kicks, and the clinch is also used. So, I ventured training and learning for 4 consecutive years, until the age of 16. I devoted much of my time, focus and effort to what would later become my life passion. I was passionate about learning Combat Sports and Martial Arts. I obtained a set and combinations of these in order to obtain knowledge of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Today I want to thank Grand Master Foley once again, for giving me the opportunity to learn and train for my second Martial Arts, Tang Soo Do Karate at the CHL Dojo. Grand Master Foley with his motivational talks encourages us to be better people in all areas of our lives. He has in-depth knowledge of Tang Soo Do Karate, and I feel very proud that he is my GRAND MASTER. I also want to thank all the Sa Bum Nims and the Sensei’s at CHL that help me to master the skills of this Martial Art. Thanks also to all the Red Belts because you are also my guide in improving myself.
The Martial Art of Tang Soo Do Karate has been for me a totally different style from the styles that I had practiced before. My analogy of Tang Soo Do Karate is that I look at it as a completely different terrain than the other styles. I am learning to walk within this terrain with strategic steps and different techniques, guided by the Sensei’s, Sa Bum Nims and a GRAND MASTER. All these teachers who train me to reach the other side of the field and thus have the correct path to be able to guide others one day. Thank you very much to The Center for Humane Living Community.
How CHL helped me become a Better Fitness Trainer
I've been a gym rat (I love going to the gym) for about 40 years. For a while, after I retired, I would go two times a day. When you're younger, you think that retirement is amazing because you can do whatever you want, for example sleep in, watch movies, golf, practice martial arts, etc. all day. But reality was, I got bored and realized I needed some more. One day, a neighbor of mine who was in his 60's and went to the same gym as me asked if I would help him work out. As it turns out, he knew the manager of the gym and told her what we were doing. She approached me and said they needed trainers and that if I got my certification, she would hire me. Fast forward I've been working as a fitness trainer for 4 years. When I started training clients I noticed that I would demonstrate and explain an exercise. When they performed the exercise many times they wouldn't do the exercise the way I showed them. I would demonstrate the exercise again and I noticed that many times it would take them at least 3-4 times before they would do the exercise correctly. I often wondered why it took 3 or 4 times when I was clearly showing them the correct form. Fast forward a year into my training when I met Sensei Dominick II at the gym. After meeting Sensei Dominick, I joined CHL and began my martial arts journey. The first day Sensei Dominick was demonstrating the importance of the stance and explaining Chu Ru Ra and although he showed me at least 6 times, I still couldn't do it correctly..........and then the light bulb went off in my head when he explained the “why” ...... I than realized I had performed the exercises I was showing my clients thousands of times over the 40 years in the gym; and I was expecting my clients to do the exercise correctly after showing them just a handful of times. When I started to explain to my clients the physical aspects (the “why”), combined together with my experience, it started to resonate with my clients and the results were transformative. Thanks to CHL, Sensei Dominick, and all of the other teachers I've had there the privilege to be taught by. I've learned to explain the “why” along with having patience for both my clients and myself.
UMOM TOY DRIVE
For Eduardo Melo Valencia’s Red Belt Project, he hosted a holiday toy drive for the children at UMOM. During the course of 4 months, the CHL Community came together and donated two large storage containers full of brand-new toys! Eduardo delivered the toys to UMOM on Saturday, November 19th - providing UMOM with plenty of time to sort and divide up the toys for their resident children prior to the holidays. Thank you to Eduardo for keeping his message of giving alive and thank you to the CHL community members who donated toys to make the holidays for the children at UMOM just a little brighter.
The Importance of Being on Time (Katelyn Su and Natalie Su) Managing your time wisely and efficiently is a very crucial skill to have in life. This skill ensures that you are able to be on time for any occasion, such as school, work, and karate. Being on time is essential because it gives the people around you a better impression of yourself. This helps you become a more successful person. More importantly, this proves how you are prepared, respectful, and have the skill of time management. Whenever you have an event to attend, it is always best to arrive early. For example, in Karate when you arrive early, you can take advantage of the time to stretch, prepare, and for the teachers to plan the class. Furthermore, this is so that you don’t slow down the people around you, and they don’t have to wait for you. Finally, being early for classes and planning out will get rid of the stress of rushing, and prevents the last-minute hustle we all try to avoid. There are many ways to ensure that you’re on time. One way is to arrive early. It can be helpful to aim to arrive earlier than you mean to because you have to consider any unexpected situations, such as traffic. In Karate, you need to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before class so you have time to prepare yourself, and the teachers can prepare for class. It is important to plan ahead to get to events on time, especially when you have a large family or group of people. Some tips include setting a time for everyone to wake up, and a time for when everyone has to get in the car. Planning time wisely can help reduce a lot of time wasted, especially in waiting for late risers to scramble out of the house. It’s also very important for people to help each other out. For example, on Saturday mornings, my siblings and I help each other out. We make sure everyone has their karate clothes on, their hair tied, and has eaten breakfast. With teamwork, getting on time to Karate gets a lot easier and reduces the morning chaos. Managing your time is important because it impacts both you and the people around you. When you’re on time to Karate, it shows that you appreciate them, and the valuable time they’re using to teach the class. Overall, it’s a fundamental skill in life that makes you feel confident, prepared, and ready.
When my mother passed away several years ago, I found the memories and thoughts that other mourners wrote about her to be such a gift to me. It provided me with a glimpse into who my mother was outside of being my mother. Co-workers, past patients, and people from the community all provided me with this insight that I found intriguing and interesting as if I was learning about someone I didn’t know at all. Years later when my friend and college roommate died, I wrote her son a letter about who his mother was to me as I wanted to give him the gift of knowing his mother from another point of view – just as so many had done for me when my mother had died. I did the same when my good friend Pam passed away unexpectedly. Pam had never married and had no children, so I took the time to write a letter to her siblings. Then last year my friend Sue was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. During the months that she battled her disease, I got to thinking about my past letters. This time I had ample notice that my friend’s life would soon be over. This time, I had the time to tell my friend what she had meant to me instead of memorializing her in a letter to her family. Below is the letter that I gave to Sue while she was still well enough to read it. I hesitated with the entire idea as I knew it would also be one more reminder to her that death was near. I was not exactly sure how it would be received, but I wrote from the heart and then let go of any expectations. This is how the letter went: Dear Sue, when my mother passed on, people wrote many different memories about how she had touched their lives. It was something that really moved me and gave me a greater insight into who my mother was as a person and not just a mom. It also led me to wonder if they ever told my mother any of those things. After that, when someone close to me passed, I would write a note to their children or family members to let them know what that person meant to me and how they touched my life. Again, I wondered if those who passed knew what I thought about them or was it something I only shared after they were gone. With that in mind, I don’t want to wait until your funeral to say things about you that you may never hear. Now I have no great insight into the life after this one, but just in case you won’t be at your own funeral, I thought I’d share my thoughts now. I can’t remember when we met exactly, but those early days of Body Buddies and trips to Mexico were some of my favorite times. Getting that many women moving in the same direction was comical enough and I always remember that you added additional levity and of course fashion to any of our gatherings. I know I had an immediate connection to you as a fellow nurse, Midwesterner, and independent woman. Each year at the annual Body Buddies Holiday Party, I so looked forward to your antics during the gift exchange. You made the party so fun and once again glamorous and fashionable. You were the entertainment!! Of course, after I left La Camarilla I lost touch with most everyone. I guess the best thing about this cancer is that you and I reconnected on a much more frequent basis. I’ve treasured our visits and lunches and I’ve so enjoyed baking for you – even when it was a flop. Through it all you have remained a dear friend and the woman who could don the cover of any magazine with your style and beauty. ... 7 Your bravery and your willingness to be vulnerable throughout this past year is something I so admire and hope that I have learned from. Bravery is not the absence of fear, but rather the courage to face something even when we are afraid. You have faced all of this in a way I could only hope to emulate. Along the way, you shared your pain and your fear which was a true gift of trust and friendship. Although we don’t share the same religious beliefs, I have always respected your devotion and commitment to your faith. I realize we all have our own journeys and our own lessons to learn, but I am grateful that you have been part of my journey and that you have shared a piece of yours with me. I love you Sue and I will feel the void when you are gone. Your Friend Always! Gloria, I share this letter not because it is some well written piece of literature, but as an example of how taking the time to write a simple letter from the heart can be the greatest gift that you can give - not only to the receiver, but also to yourself. This letter provided me with the opportunity to feel at peace with Sue’s death. When she slipped into a coma on those final days, I felt a great deal of calm just knowing that I had already shared my thoughts. I was at peace that Sue knew how I felt about her and that peace helped me to feel a sense of closure with her passing. Sue’s funeral was on Veteran’s Day and interestingly enough, the poem that she chose for the back of her prayer card was the following: Love Me Before I Die Sharina Saad When I am dead, your tears may flow, but I won’t know, cry for me now instead. When I am dead, you will send flowers, but I won’t see, send them now, instead. When I am dead you will say words of praise, but I won’t hear, praise me now, instead. When I am dead, you will forget my faults, but I won’t know, forget them now, instead. When I am dead, you will say I was great, if you tell it now I will feel proud. When I am dead, you will come to my grave and whisper “I love you, why did you leave?” but I will not be able to feel you in my arms, don’t wait if you have to express, tell that now, instead. So please don’t wait, tell that now, instead. Often times, we cannot quite find the words to say to those we love, appreciate, or respect. Writing a letter can provide that much needed space for thoughtfulness, reflection, and sharing. You don’t have to wait until someone is ready to leave this world as we really never know when that might be. You don’t have to wait until you have the letter perfect, just write from the heart and send.
LEVEL 2 TEST
Three CHL candidates tested for their Blue Belt promotion on Saturday, December 3, 2022. The candidates included Katelyn Su, Stu Wolman, and Natalie Su - all pictured below. The Black Belt Board included Sa Bum Nim Dr. Lisa Dado, Sensei Diana Padilla, and Sensei Karla Zych. Facilitating was Dr. Mohan Belthur. It was a great opportunity for students to push themselves physically and mentally, but it also provided an opportunity for bonding, support, and community spirit. Congratulations to our new Blue Belts!
The Scottsdale Dojo is Growing!
The Scottsdale Dojo is Growing! (Sensei Dominick Nardone II) There has been a lot of activity at the Scottsdale Dojo this past year as many new students have joined the Wednesday night classes and several have been promoted. Congratulations to all the students whose dedication and commitment continues to grow our CHL community.
Students promoted to white-belt in June: Richard Rea, Casey Maples, Carter Jones, Jayleen Wolman
Students promoted to white-belt in July: Gina Cameron, Jones, Alma Banuelos
Students promoted to white-belt in November: Alci Angelo, Tiger Jones
McDowell Mountain Ranch Community Center Classes:
Wednesday nights from 6-7:30 pm
Instructors - Sensei's Dominick II & III with support from Sensei Lisa and assistance from the red belts.
6:00 - 6:40 pm Family Class (Children and Adult levels, with a focus on teaching younger students "Little Dragons" and no-belts).
6:40 - 7:30 pm Adult Class (All Adult student ranks with specialized breakouts from time to time along with advanced rank training). Students from blue belt through red will have opportunities to teach during the first class and can also participate; and the red belts will be working with Sensei's Dominick II & III and Sensei Lisa in the breakout’s sessions.