What do these words mean? Many organizations including our military and martial art schools have similar slogans or mantras on their banners but lack in the description of what the words mean and how does it tie to a schools identity. The words strength, honor, courage, commitment and discipline are the “core values” of the VEA Martial Arts Academy. Core values are those traits that don’t change overtime, already exist, and lie at the heart of organization. As a small group practicing the art of Diestro DeCuerdas Fighting Systems under GM Art Gonzalez and further promoting the art of Tenio’s DeCuerdas Eskrima, the word “Strength” personifies our schools dedication for maintaining personal health through vigorous exercises and anaerobic drills that will allow us the ability to better deploy the art we are practicing. “Honor” describes the way we carry ourselves and represent ourselves and style both privately and publicly, we also honor our founders and leaders of the art and we should never lose sight of the gift they have left behind. “Courage” is a core value we strive for and attempt to fortify through realistic training and by practicing under duress, it is the mental conditioning that we perform through our training to prepare for that day when we may have to utilize our skill. “Commitment” is the unwavering attitude that we must have towards our training and towards our brothers of our art, we are committed to helping each other grow and prepare for battle; if we are not then we are doing a disservice to our peers and ourselves. “Discipline” is perhaps the hardest of our core values to maintain, its enemy is procrastination and laziness; two formidable opponents looking to grab hold of us at a moment’s notice whenever we let our guard down. But through consistency and support from our peers and all martial art colleagues we can overcome setbacks and continue to persevere to become better than the day before. It is no accident that these core values were developed for the VEA Martial Arts Academy, they are the guiding principles for every student that enters our door and they can easily apply to life outside of the Dojo. In addition to the aforementioned core values, we also pride ourselves of our aspirational values which are humility and compassion. While we take great pride in our art and love its combat effectiveness we understand that we can always improve our martial art and that we should always maintain the mindset of a student regardless of our rank and or title. This is why we open our doors to all martial art styles and practitioners willing to collaborate and share ideas. So until next time, may you have strength, honor, courage, commitment, and discipline with every endeavor you pursue!