Ryer Academy’s June 2015 Word of the Month

The Word of the Month at Ryer Academy for June 2015.
The Word of the Month at Ryer Academy in Shadyside for June 2015.

Every month for the last several years we highlight a word that we discuss during our Kids’ Martial Arts classes. We write the Word of the Month (WOM) on the whiteboard in the main lobby of the academy accompanied by a quote that carries some significance. In the past we have discussed words like respect, passion, and patience. The words are chosen to inspire and make the students think. More importantly, we encourage the kids to apply the word’s meaning throughout the month. The word of the month for June 2015 is “Continue”.

Last month Mr. Joel recommended that I should outline my thoughts about the WOM each week, so I’d like to give some direction to our conversations this month.

Week 1: What does the word continue mean? Why are we talking about it?
During week one, we will get to know the word continue. The definition of continue is to persist in an activity or process. The reason I’d like to talk about the word continue is because some of the kids made a commitment of respect in May. I wonder how many would continue doing it and who would not.

Week 2: What happens when we continue to do something?
During week two, we will talk about the benefits and the drawbacks of continuing to do something. We will highlight what happens if you continue doing something good as well as what happens if you continue doing something that is bad.

Week 3: What are things that we should continue to do and not do?
During week three, we will ask the children about some individual things they should continue to do and also if there is anything they should not continue to do.

Week 4: What have we learned about the power of continuing something?
During week four, we will review what we have learned and the power to persist in a certain activity or process.

Be sure to continue to follow us here on my blog and learn more about the words of the month at Ryer Martial Arts Academy!

Ryer Academy’s June 2015 Word of the Month

Master Zach Whitson’s 40th Year In The Martial Arts

Pittsburgh 2015 Spring Martial Arts CampThis 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!”

Thank you again Master Zach Whitson for all you have done and continue to do! To view a video of the presentation, please click here.

Master Zach Whitson’s 40th Year In The Martial Arts


My name is Joshua Ryer and this is my first (of hopefully many) postings on a personal blog that I’m titling “The Way of Ryer”. The term “way” is often used to signify someone’s direction in the martial arts. For anyone who knows me; knows martial arts are everything to me. It is the lens that I see life through. For several years I have been an avid writer in my own journal and recently I’ve wanted to take my writing online to share with others. The goal of this blog is to share my thoughts as I find my way balancing my practice, my academy, and my family. I hope you enjoy!