2010 EMAA Formal Awards Night Speech

A few students approached me after our Formal Awards Night last year, and said you were affected/ motivated in some way by this speech.  I thought perhaps those people might appreciate being able to read it here. Osu. Sempai Kiley

Firstly Let me thank Daniel for his speech, the introduction and his kind words. Thank you really isn’t a good enough word to express my and my family’s gratitude for Daniel and his help and kindness that heshows us on a repeated basis. I hope however from the bottom of my heart that you know you are loved and appreciated. That’s all for now on that matter….Grazie Daniel.

So, welcome to the second annual Eltham Martial Arts Academy Formal Awards Night.

I thank you all for coming along tonight to be a part of this special event ; students, partners, family and friends.Special thanks to those that traveled, especially Shihan Cameron Quinn for coming all the way from the Sunshine Coast.  Thanks for your support, and for investing your time and money into something that you believe is special and worthwhile.

As a person, the investments we make on a daily basis are those things that make us who we are.  I am sure we are all aware of the big picture……Investment of our money gives us many things we have, the clothes we wear and thus our outward image…..the things we own…..the cars we drive…..the house we live in……the list goes on.

Investment however, is not limited to things of monetary value. The way we spend our time too is also an investment. Each choice we make on a daily basis affects our life in small and sometimes major ways. Our health by every thing we put into and onto our bodies and whether we exercise or live a sedentary life. Do we spend too much time at work and invest our time, energy, skills and intelligence for others and their profit…or do we devote most of ourselves to our family and contribute to it’s growth and wellbeing. Yes….we need money to provide for our families…..but how much really?

These things are not foreign concepts. You all know them. Sometimes we blatantly ignore them, other times we get caught up in the rat race and forget but my partner Bernard recently went to a seminar and came back with a great quote. “There are the things we know we don’t know, and then there are those we don’t know we don’t know “  . I think this is an important quote as it reminds us of our need to keep our eyes, ears and minds open on our journey.

For a while now (perhaps even all my life) I have been moving closer and closer to what I feel is the right path for me. It’s not always been a direct route….but a general direction that leads to a destination. Not sure where the final point is, but it definitely has to do with health and wellbeing and about getting back to basics. About the world becoming a better place for my family and generations to come.

I am sure many of you have the same goals. In part that is why you are here tonight.  It’s a reflection of your choice to invest your time and energy in training at the dojo, and also in your health and fitness, or just to support your friends and loved ones in their efforts.

I believe with all my heart that we the human race are a pivotal point of existence.

I am not sure I believe in global warming but I do believe we are not looking after the world like we should.

I do believe that we need to live more sustainable and more in tune with nature.

I think a lot of our problems can be traced back to our absence of contact with mother earth. Did you ever wonder why it’s called that?

I don’t have much faith in our current health systems. No…I am not talking about our hospitals and ambo’s and surgeons and all the fantastic work these people do. I am talking about a general lack of real knowledge about how to maintain health and vitality and an ever increasing incidence of “new” diseases and conditions and the array of “drugs’ to go along with them.

I don’t believe that the media cares about me or you nor should they be our source of knowledge. To simply “hear’ something is not to know it. Neither is a picture these days the truth. Camera’s and the technology surrounding them can …and do lie.

I don’t believe we live in a ‘real’ democracy but I am aware of how lucky we are in Australia in many ways. However, if you don’t believe me….try to have a different opinion than the government about how to raise your child.

I don’t believe that money is the root of all evil. The people that control it are.

I don’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist….but I do think we should always remember there are two sides to every story. Which one are you getting and what vested interest is behind that version?

I don’t think we should always take authority for gospel. By who’s authority are these people in a position of authority anyway? (of course this comment excludes mum’s and dads as we are and they were…..pretty much always right. Right? )

If you agree with anything I have just said then great. If not…that’s cool. Lucky for you that life has ‘choices’.

With the state of the world at the moment I think it is imperative that we are all conscious of our “investments”. Sometimes we see the world and think that the problems are too many and too great and we are too insignificant to change them. Wrong. It’s not even complicated. Just make an investment in your future and decide how you want it to be.

A simple example is food.  Every dollar you spend on your food is an investment. An investment in your health and your family’s health. Are you eating whole foods grown from mother earth?

If you are healthy…you will go to the doctor less which puts less strain on our medical system. Plus….you won’t have to spend money on medications and lotions and potions and thus support big pharma and their legal drug pushers. Eating whole foods means less production. Less energy went into processing and packaging and producing and transporting that thing you are eating.

Eating organic?  Health benefits plus sustainable farming practices. Again support the industry you want to survive.  Are you buying locally grown where possible? Support local farmers, and you not only support that industry but you support the environment by saving on fuel to transport goods interstate or overseas.

Ask yourself what happens when the large supermarkets and conglomerates kill all the small local grocery shops, deli’s and fruit and veg markets?  Perhaps you choose them for price now….but support that industry and you shall have no cause for complain when they eventually have control and monopoly over the market and watch what happens to prices then.

Could you grow your own food? Pass on some knowledge to your kids. Eat seasonally like nature intended and reap the health benefits. Save some money?  Savour your food as you appreciate what it takes to grow it.

( At this point I read a quote from a wonderful book that if you have the inclination i recommend you read. It is titled ” The Conscious Cook ” by Giselle Wilkinson. More than a cook book, this has loads of information regarding better food choices for you, your family and the earth ) 

“ Be the change that you want to see in the world “ Ghandi.

So that’s my short version of what I wanted to say to you tonight. You might be sitting there wondering how it’s all relevant to a martial arts awards night?

In reality it’s not. Or is it?

I feel very privileged to be standing before you tonight. To see so many vibrant, healthy and motivated people and think that in a way, the investment of my time throughout the year and intensely over the last few weeks and months that goes into organizing tonight is worth it.

It also makes me believe that my being able to stand here…and pass on to you a message that I think is valuable is possible through the passage of the dojo and martial arts. I have no doubt this wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for my stumbling into a karate class back in Oct 1994.

( Now, a Summary of the achievements of the dojo thus far in 2010 including tournaments, Gradings, Thailand trip, addition of new classes inlcuding the Judo and upcoming changes for the upcoming year 2011 )

So;  now to the real reason why we are here.

Tonight is a celebration of the achievements of everyone who has trained with us during 2010.

Just turning up to class is a major part of the battle. If you can get yourself there….you’ve already won!

It’s difficult each year to look at all of you and have to pick out exceptions; however there are those students throughout the year which perhaps go the extra mile, or show a quality that we value. It is those students who we shall award tonight.


Kiley Baker.

The Images placed within this article are photo’s of awards that I personally hand made painted and presented on the night. I hope you like them. [slideshow]