The story behind the new T-Shirt Graphic
One of the most important lessons I learned from Mrs. Grand Master Robinson was that Gentle East Martial Arts needed to be a positive force in our community. To fulfill that mission, over the years, we have taught free self- defense clinics for women; and it is why our annual tournament raises money for a cause or an ailment that impacts a student or a student’s family.
My work with Robert Hopkins and the athletes at Sportable RVA also helped me realize that far too often people with disabilities are not given the opportunity to participate in Martial Arts. This is why during this year, we have offered classes to disabled students at Robious Middle School and James River and Midlothian High Schools.
While International Taekwondo organizations have been striving for some years to increase opportunities for disabled students to participate in programs, few schools in the U.S. have been willing to modify their curriculum and adapt their programs to match the abilities of disabled students. My vision is for our school to be one of the exceptions, starting in the Richmond community.
The International Paralympic Committee has announced that Taekwondo will debut at the 2020 Paralympic games; with that in mind, I designed a logo based on the 5 Olympic Rings and Colors to graphically represent people of all abilities performing Taekwondo techniques. With the help of my brother-in-law Chris, a more talented artist than me, it evolved into the current graphic that appears on our T-shirts. When Master Fracker and I discussed a new T-shirt design for the summer, we realized that the new graphic applied to all Gentle East Martial Arts students and families. It embodies our motto of “Discipline the mind, The body will follow”; and the colors of the logo represent the colors of the Taekwondo belts
The new logo also supports our mission to provide an environment that allows students of all abilities to develop to their fullest potential. It is my sincere hope, that in partnership with Sportable RVA and the Chesterfield County Public Schools, we can add a world-class ParaTaekwondo program to the Gentle East curriculum. This will also provide Gentle East students the opportunity to learn how to work with and help people with special abilities.
Master Eric Rangel-Ribeiro