FMK Karate’s 25th Anniversary

April 7, 2014

April 1st marked our school’s 25th anniversary. We have never marked our Dojo anniversary with huge celebrations or parties. We are proud we have lasted this long, but we are also committed to just moving on instead of stopping to brag about our years in operation. I thought I would explain some things about why we opened and why we operate the way we do.

I competed all over our continent, seeing different schools and Sensei along the way. I mentally noted all the things that seemed to inspire and motivate people, and all of the things that seemed to discourage and hurt people both mentally and physically. When I finally decided in 1989 to open a school I pledged to myself to only do the things that made people feel better about themselves and their practice. We opened April 1st with six members, only one of which, Jerry Kocik, never leaving us entirely. We grew slowly but steadily. We attracted members from other schools who had heard about our quality of instruction and positive treatment of our members, many of whom were black belts.

We never sacrificed our quality just to increase our membership. This has made it difficult to continue without constant worry because many of the tactics and business practices to attract retain members used by schools all over the world, while good for business, totally lose a personal relationship with members and honesty in practice. These things are antithetical to our philosophy so I would not incorporate them into our school. Our first international recognition as a Dojo came in 1998 when I was inducted into the World Karate Union Hall of Fame. Since then we have been recognized and awarded in over thirty World Martial Arts Halls of Fame, serve on the Board of Directors of three Halls of Fame, authored numerous articles for publication in Martial Arts magazines and appeared on four sets of Martial Arts Masters trading cards. For nineteen consecutive years we have been giving free summer classes in the City of Binghamton Parks. This provides us with an opportunity to practice outside and introduce our art to hundreds of people who might otherwise never have the chance to experience it.

What I am most proud of though, is you the members of this school. We treat our members better than any Dojo in the world, I am not bragging when I say this. I have said that our members would never quit if they were required to spend six months in another Dojo first. We also try to go beyond what is expected or required to operate. We keep our school spotless, and I thank every person who does or has spent time helping with that. You will also find things here that you will not find anywhere else. Learning and retaining skills happens best when people are relaxed in their school experience. A negative atmosphere results in nervousness and intimidation, no one learns well under such circumstances. The military is perfect for what it needs to be. We are not that and we do not pretend to be. Seriousness and discipline are still important while still appreciating your presence in our school and educating you well.

Extras are all you will find here. Ask members who have been at other schools before they joined here and they will tell you that we are different. We have self-discipline in its truest form- we allow you to put your own effort into class- we do not make you try. I am very proud of our school, and you should be too. We have made a lot of skilled Martial Artists while making a lot of very close friends at the same time. Many of you have met people here that now mean a lot to you. That is a wonderful thing.

Thank you for sharing any part of our twenty-five years that we have existed. Please know that we put a lot of effort into making sure that you have a safe and clean place to change your life in, and to keep you and your family safe.

Sensei Frank Kushner