Martial art as ministry?..well not exactly. I guess in many ways a good Guru or “guide” will instill some sense of morality and faith in their students but the story of how our group at Affinity Martial Arts ended up with the cross on our logo has as much to do with a tradition in the Filipino martial arts as it does with my faith as an individual.

Not that long ago I was asked by my good friend and training partner Seth Clemens to corner him in an upcoming MMA fight. It was an honor to be asked and although being a corner person is not really in my comfort zone I supported my friend. We trained early mornings at four and five A.M. or whenever we could to get him ready. I took on a different role as a trainer, rather than training partner or teacher and did my best to help him reach his goals.

A week or two before the fight Seth asked me if he could represent the school along with the other gyms that he trained at. Once again, I was honored and did not know what to say but thank you.

We needed a logo and we needed it quick. All I could think about was my friend going to battle in a cage and I wanted him to win of course, but more than that I just wanted him to be safe.

One of the traditions of many Filipino Martial Arts was the concept of Anting-Anting (with many different names and spellings, of course). Anting-Anting was an amulet or stone that was sometimes blessed by a shaman or elder of the tribe and this amulet was to protect the person holding it by way of more powers (or perhaps physical attributes in this case).

I asked my friends at Hip Pocket Designs to come up with several logos, some with crosses, some without. The Affinity family went through them and we settled on what we use to represent ourselves today.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer but I don’t push my beliefs on others. We are all on a journey but our paths won’t all look the same. Many won’t even see the path until they arrive, but as long as we keep moving forward we have a chance to grow and find our way.

At Affinity we are using martial art to grow mind, body, and spirit. We are a community of people just trying to better ourselves and have fun in a positive manner. We are trying our best to be both the warrior and the scholar, or Yin and Yang, however you choose to view it.

By the way, Seth has won his last two fights in under forty seconds, I think we are doing OK….

Instructor Jamie Sparling