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Winds of Change

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eight years ago Lauren Kearney honored her fallen friend by donning a white gi for her performance on the nighttime stage at the 2003 Ocean State Grand Nationals. This year, 2011 and every day in between, she has continued to honor her young friend through the way in which she lives her life and in the way she shares her love and knowledge of the martial arts. Her greatest contribution to this art form, I believe, is in the way she has mentored and inspired others. This weekend is an example of that inspiration.

Tori loved the martial arts and aspired to reach the very top. She showed it through her approach to training and her approach to life. Even at a young age she showed the ability to lead. I clearly remember a time when only 10 years old, she was asked along with her brother to be a guest instructor at a summer training camp at a school in Massachusetts. She walked through the reception area and into the dojo with a confidence well beyond her years, looked her charges straight in the eye and began her lesson. She started by giving a short demonstration of a traditional form-saying as she performed-“traditional forms are about stances and focus and, having said that…let’s get started”. Unfortunately Tori was not able to complete what she started because of a choice of another.

The Winds of Change was about so much more than a free seminar. It was about what you CAN do, what you CAN be and what you NEED to do to get there. It was and is about the choices we make in life as individuals and about how those choices can have far reaching consequences, both positive and negative, so far beyond ourselves. It is how the choices you make in life dictate how those moments play out and how they will become either moments you long to relive or live to regret.

The Winds of Change is a moment to relive. It brought together individuals and entire teams to stand alongside one another and participate in something that celebrated a sport they love and supported a concept that when adopted, changes the future. It changes the future by ensuring that we as individuals will think through the choices we make and act in accordance with a positive outcome. It acknowledges there is a CHOICE in every MOMENT, celebrating the COURAGE found to make a difference and guarantee HOPE for the future of all.

John Paul Mitchell Systems and Macho Products Incorporated added to the success of our event with their support.

To the members of Change The Game-thank you. It is an honor to have met you and worked alongside you. Your commitment is visible through your thought, word and deed.
Team Paul Mitchell. We have always felt a special affinity throughout the years and now are forever bonded. You gave of your time, and of yourself-we are incredibly humbled and thankful to have had this opportunity to work together.

For 18 years, I have had the pleasure of knowing Don and Christine Rodrigues, the promoters of the OSGN and to be able to call them coach, Shihan, Sensei and friend. With all of the responsibility and commotion that engulfs them for months out of the year in preparation for this event they are always still able to be there for others when needed. They have been a great source of comfort and support for our family. And, to be able to host the Winds of Change at this event was incredibly meaningful. The OSGN, our hometown tournament, was always our premiere event, everyone wanted to win in their own backyard. This weekend we won big. To say thank you seems inadequate. To repay them is impossible. The OSGN, and its promoters, Don and Christine Rodrigues, are living examples of what we can accomplish when making choices in our lives that leave a positive impact on ourselves and others.

It has been incredibly gratifying to read the feedback of this event. People have shared how they believe the Winds of Change has changed their outlook on life. There seems to be a prevailing feeling of gratitude for the blessings bestowed on them in life and a conscious effort to not take things for granted. Life as you know it can change in a moment. Take a moment to make the change right for you and your future. Remember…, only you can power THE WINDS OF CHANGE.