This past weekend my dojo, Ryer Martial Arts Academy, hosted our annual Spring Martial Arts Camp. We host these training events three times a year in Pittsburgh and every event features the instruction from Master Zach Whitson, the Founder of the Counterpoint Tactical System. This camp occurred on the exact month and year of Master Z’s 40th anniversary of formal martial arts training and we set out to surprise him with a very special gift. In addition to the gift, I wrote a short speech expressing my feelings about his great achievement. Though I could have winged it, I knew I would get emotional as Master Z means so much to me, to my academy, and to my fellow CTS family across the country. Here is the actual speech from the presentation…
“If you didn’t know March of 2015 marks forty years of formal martial arts training for Master Z. This is an incredible and inspiring commitment. In preparation for this presentation I started thinking what he has accomplished in forty years? To the best of my knowledge, Master Z has cross-trained in over a dozen different martial arts. He oversaw the establishment and operation of two schools in New Orleans. He has traveled nationally and internationally to teach martial arts. He has earned master level in not just one system, but two and a grandmaster level in Cacoy Doce Pares. At this point he has taught hundreds of students, if not more. And finally he has carefully devised and been recognized as the Founder of his own martial art, the Counterpoint Tactical System. This is a just a few of his accomplishments and I know there are more to come!
But what really moves me is that one man’s passion and drive in the martial arts has forged a community (some of which you see right here before you) of other like-minded martial artist who might not otherwise have met. Because of your continued effort, you have inspired others to pursue the arts and effectively change their lives for the better.
I don’t think a commitment like that should go unnoticed! With that being said, that community you have built has come together to present you this gift. We congratulate you on forty years in the martial arts, hope for another forty years, and we thank you for such a commitment!”