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Happy 50th Birthday To Shihan Alex Koprowski!
“A Black Belt is someone who never forgets that success is on the other side of fear.” -Anonymous Dear Friend, I trust this blog finds you well. As you know, our Dojo is packed with incredibly dedicated students. TCMA is attractive and appealing because of every student’s commitment to uncompromising high personal standards. It is impossible to get on the mat with the Black Belts and walk away uninspired. Their accuracy, intention, and mindfulness, have a powerfully influential affect on anyone who gets around them. Our Black Belts are leaders, because they embrace the responsibility of being role models. They live by their principles, and never settle for mediocrity. TCMA Black Belts understand that leadership is all about service. Shihan Alex Koprowski, the highest ranking member of our Dojo, is an extraordinary Martial Artist. It definitely shows in his skill level, and in his ability to articulate the nuances of every aspect of TCMA, and his primary focus over the last 2 decades - Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He can "walk and talk" our entire curriculum. He always enjoys seeing new students on the mat. He knows how much courage it takes to overcome fear. He knows how rewarding it is to move toward a worthwhile goal. He does it himself - as a way of life - all of the time. That is why he continues to improve. Alex Koprowski does not hide in a comfort zone. He does cower at the prospect of a possibility called perfection. Shihan Koprowski is always developing two things; his flexibility and creativity. How could he be a world class Martial Artist if he did not? In order to achieve our full athletic potential we must be flexible. If not, we rob ourselves of the physical possibilities available to us. In order to reach our full intellectual and artistic potential, we must be creative. We must use our imagination. Alex is always cultivating both qualities. Our success as Martial Artists is built on our ability to "see things before they occur." It isn’t sorcery, it’s simply a matter of mindfulness. It is why we are able to continually achieve our objectives while preventing problems, and developing effective strategies to repair damage when it comes. When a person cultivates flexibility, they do not fear movement, because their body is prepared. They can recover without harm, and are therefore capable of making things happen. When a person is creative, they can imagine an outcome before it actually occurs. They have a tremendous advantage. Think about it. Martial Artists believe things before they happen. A sure sign of a serious practitioner is physical flexibility and intellectual creativity. You have an abundance of outstanding role models at the Dojo. Shihan Koprowski always comes to mind, because he is often on the mat. While he takes total responsibility for his training, he certainly gives all of his classmates, an enormous amount of credit for his progress. Above and beyond my admiration for his Martial Arts knowledge and skill, Alex Koprowski is an outstanding family man. We have trained together for nearly 30 years. Our time together has afforded me a glimpse into his personal life. His devotion to Dana, and their children; Annabelle and Alex, is inspiring and unwavering. As matter of principle, I rarely attribute anything to luck. However, I find it difficult to find a reason why Alex Koprowski has endured the failings of my influence for 3/5ths of his life. I will simply consider it a blessing. I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo. Respectfully, Kyoshi Thomas Clifford PS. Happy 50th Birthday to Shihan Alex Koprowski!