By Larry Rea Special to Faith & Values July 22, 2006
"Our classes begin in prayer and the pledge to the flags (Christian and U.S.) and then end in prayer," says Robert Blackstone, with his sons Aaron (on left) and Ethan. At back is James Sylvester. Blackstone operates his business out of ForestHillBaptistChurch in Germantown.
Prayer, intent on a Christ-centered physical activity, animate this karate ministry
If you don't believe -- and believe has got to be one of Robert Blackstone's favorite, and most used, words -- Robert Blackstone's Karate Institute is based on faith, check out his Web site at blackstoneskarate.com.
You'll find faith everywhere; from the multiple use of Bible scripture to the closing line on each page: "Classes continue as long as the Lord provides."
For sure, this is a man of faith.
To participate in one of Blackstone's beginner class the student must sign a waiver and fill out a registration form. After that, students may participate in any beginner class "as a donation-only basis."
Students are encouraged to donate, but the amount is up to the student.
It's suggested that beginners make a $5 donation, but students "may give more or less and continue to train."
How's that for a faith-based business? Give what you can when you can.
It has been that way since Blackstone, a 1989 graduate of the University of Memphis, first developed his Shiloh Defensive Arts System in 1992.
"This ministry developed out of much prayer and a desire to see individuals and families participate in a Christ-centered physical activity while setting personal goals, getting fit and doing all of this as a family," said Blackstone. Born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., he moved with his family to Memphis and graduated from Kirby High in 1984.
"Our classes begin in prayer and the pledge to the flags (Christian and U.S.) and then end in prayer," said Blackstone, who operates his business out of ForestHillBaptistChurch, which is at 3645 Forest Hill-Irene in Germantown. He and his family (wife Alana, children Aaron, 14; Ethan, 12; Lydia, 7, and Asa, 3) are members.
Using Blackstone's Shiloh belt system, students advance from white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and finally to the coveted black belt.
"We have tied each belt rank to a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23," Blackstone said, which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Membership is required in order to obtain belt ranks, Blackstone said, with a one-time registration fee of $20 ($80 cap per family)
"This donation-driven ministry would not be possible if it were not for the leadership and staff of ForestHillBaptistChurch and their desire to see lives changed through the power of Jesus Christ," Blackstone said.
Class dates are Tuesdays and Thursdays from to (beginner) and (advanced).
Each belt rank is tied to a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians, says Robert Blackstone, with students Jonah Sidhom (left) and Joseph Poirier. Copyright, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN. Used with permission. (http://www.commercialappeal.com) Scripps Company