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Instilling discipline through martial arts
“Discipline comes over a period of time with maturity. As they grow older they realise their mind and body are more effective as weapons, but it also helps them to become humble,” revealed local Tai Kun Do master, Leeroy Bruce, who believes that discipline is built on focus, and has dedicated his life to teaching children the virtue through martial arts. Bruce teaches the Black Belt programme at the Silver Dragon Institute of Discipline Foundation at La Romaine and Penal.
Bruce said focus was more spoken of than taught, and has taken an initiative to render his expertise as a master of the art. This programme of discipline and deep concentration, he said, assisted in the achievement of a clear understanding of any subject. “This in turn will help them to be focus in many other aspect of life. This discipline and focus comes with constant practice and that is what my foundation is all about” he said. According to Bruce, at a time when crime and violence was prevalent, the art could help students to defend themselves, while simultaneously learning that their skills should not be used to harm people.
He started his study of martial arts in 1977 at the age of 16. With long hours of training and determination under Master Kenrick Elton Baptiste of the Thunderbird Martial Arts Federation, he earned his first Black Belt. In 1986, he began his training programme and graduated over 50 students. He has now devoted much of his time to community service for the youths in the southern regions, and believes the discipline he practises can only enhance the lives of young people. He said his inspiration to teach came from former T&T’s High Commission to Canada, Robert Sabga. He also recalled the work of American activist, David Toma, whose life work sends a positive message to youths about the use of drug and alcohol.
“I try to instill these teachings into my students with the aim of helping them to become well-rounded men and women of society.” Bruce was inducted into Action Martial Arts Magazine’s Hall of Honour on January 21 at a function in New Jersey. He said he was honoured to be in the presence of top celebrities such as kick boxer Cynthia Rothrock, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace and movie star Michael Jai White.
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