This concept came about through my experience of participating in the Ultimate Black Belt Test under the direction of Sensei Tom Callos.  While lots of martial arts is about kicking, punching, and competing, a bigger side of martial arts should really be about who we are as people.  And through the process of the UBBT, that is what we are charged to do.  To find a way to document our journey of becoming that martial artist who not only trains themselves, but finds a way, through action or otherwise, to build a world-wide community of others who are also dedicated to becoming that greatest expression of themselves.

Trying to find an answer to that question was the most difficult part of this journey.  I can work out, eat right, compete at the highest level, train every day even when I don’t want to… teach awesome classes, you name it.  That’s the easy part.  But figuring out how to influence the social consciousness of everyone around me, even those not participating in the martial arts??  What a challenge that is!  I spent the last 12 months trying to find how to express this through searching the internet, watching people I admire and aspire to – looking at all the great things they were doing.  And attempted to copy them to do something big too.  I pushed a couple of things, and nothing really felt authentic.  I felt like I was still swimming out there without direction, and not really feeling like I was doing much of anything other than bragging about my ability to compete and do pushups.

Sitting in my backyard with a fresh piece of paper, a vibrant blue pen, my dog, and a cup of coffee, I decided to update my bucket list.  What things do I want to accomplish and can mentally commit to doing so.  One thing on my bucket list – getting my PTSD triggers at bay for an entire month.  Another was to start a service project website.  And from there, I realized what I’ve been missing all along.  Looking at myself.  I thought the answers would come from outside – but really – they came from sitting with myself, thinking about what I want to accomplish, and take immediate action on that which felt inspiring to me.  So I had missed the whole time that true SERVICE comes from being in 100% alignment with who we really are, and taking daily action to be there.  To be in that peaceful whole place, without guilt, stress, or anger toward our life, circumstances, or past experiences.  To understand where we came from and to “unhook” from the things that no longer help us to be the best expression of ourselves.

So this will be the way I will do that.  I’ll outline my experiences with finding myself.  And then you can share with me your experiences and personal goals of how you are also working to find yourself.  And then we share it with everyone we know.  And they see it, and get inspired.  And they work to find themselves.  And then share it with everyone they know…… and boom.  We get this done.


Martial arts back ground: Tamara Leonard is a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate under master instructor Joe Stronsick.  Tamara also trains jiu jitsu, holds rank of purple belt and actively competes.  She is also an Apprentice Instructor in the Israeli Krav International (IKI) Krav Maga affiliation under founder Moshe Katz.  Tamara teaches martial arts and fitness kickboxing classes at Adventure Mixed Martial Arts in Parma, Ohio.  She also runs a thriving nutrition and wellness coaching business through the center.

Academic Background:  Tamara Leonard holds an undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University as a psychology major (Bachelor’s of Science).  She also has a Master’s in Education (M.Ed). and Educational Specialists Degree (Ed.S) from Kent State University.  Tamara is a licensed school psychologist.  Tamara has also undergone the coursework to be a Certified Wellness Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach, and MMACA Strength and Conditioning Coach.