I want to thank everyone who participated and supported the Pandamonium this year. It can be difficult to get people to recognize the value in community engagement so I appreciate the extraordinary effort many of you put into this project.
The reality of the outcome of our efforts is disappointing as we did not make it to even half of our $20,000 goal. It is my failing as the head of this organization in not being able to adequately convey the value of empathy training. I am disappointed but not discouraged. I know none of you wish to create a world where we all look out for number one. I know we all realize that Kung fu is more than just kicking and punching. We recognize that the value of the art lies in the quality of the journey, not the destination.
I was greatly encouraged by those of you who aspired for the Pandamonium to be something other than the ordinary this weekend. Mr. Helm, your dunk tank idea proved to be the biggest draw of the day. Your initiative accounted for $2000. Thank you for bringing a fresh approach to our event, it really paid off. Mr. Bjorkquist, thank you for your bottle drive efforts. I believe that after the dunk tank, it was the biggest contributor to the Foundation and its ability to continue to financially support our charities. Mr. Sand, thank you for going above and beyond to allow us to send extra money to Rahul in Nepal. He is at ground zero trying to help people rebuild their lives after the devastating quakes that have devastated the country. Thank you to everyone, there are too many to name individually, who carry so many of us along through your efforts and inspiration. Spending the day with you was a spectacular experience.
As always, the efficacy of the Pandamonium Project is not measured by the funds we were able to raise but rather the awareness we have been able achieve. Parents don’t want their kids to learn how to fight, they want them to learn how to defend themselves. There is a big difference between those two ideals and that difference is defined by those less tangible skills and attributes that kung fu helps us develop. Empathy, compassion, discipline, respect, humility, leadership. These are only buzzwords if we do not have the curriculum and the gumption to back them up. The Pandamonium is a big part of that curriculum and I thank those of you who got it and put your ideals into action this weekend.
“Yes, in many ways, sticking to the practice IS (I think) what one learns from the practice of the martial arts ---not so much something you can hold, but something you revisit, constantly, as a practice ----and that's where the benefits are derived ---primarily anyway. Likewise, practicing one's mission-based language IS the school's marketing, in part, not the statement finally declared. (me thinks)” - Tom Callos (b. 1959)