(Donato, our Budokon Academy Master Teacher and Expert at Standard Miami)
The Standard Miami is proud to be named International Headquarters for the Budokon Academy. But what is Budokon exactly? We caught up with Sensei Donato, The Standard Miami’s Budokon Academy Master Teacher and Expert.
The Standard: What is Budokon?
Donato: Budokon, is more than just a workout or a way of moving your body, it is a living arts system. It’s made of the combination of the beneficial aspects of Yoga, Martial Arts and Meditation. Most people enter the practice by curiosity and wanting to learn the very graceful, fluid and controlled way we do Yoga. Others really like the way we move as Martial Artists, because it is very agile and animal-like. After coming to a couple of classes, students begin to discover that the graceful movements they learn are simply a reflection of our philosophy of fluid living. It’s the mind science that really hooks students to Budokon. We emphasize on helping the student reach their highest physical potential and emotional and mental happiness and abundance.
What brought you to the Standard? How long have you been teaching Budokon?
I came into the Standard shortly after I began teaching in 2006. I picked the Standard because I believe that a practice special as ours deserves a special house, like the Standard is. Both attract a very special group of individuals, who enjoy practicing and retreating with their whole being, not just their bodies. Since we’ve grown here so much, now our International Headquarters is located here too, so many of our teacher trainings and immersion trainings are held here.
How did you learn about Budokon?
The creator of Budokon, Kancho Cameron Shayne, always travels doing workshops so one day he was doing one in South Beach and I attended out of curiosity, since I grew up doing Martial Arts and was getting serious into my Yoga practice. After that one workshop I knew that I had to help spread this art form. Kancho recruited me for his Teacher Training program right there and then, so I started the next day!
How is Budokon different from other types of Martial Arts or Yoga systems?
It is not that different in the intention, it is very different in how we approach this intention. All martial arts and yoga systems are created to develop the practitioner’s character through dedication, work and discipline. After years of practice, you get stronger, more flexible, more agile, more alert, more aware and conscious of your surroundings, your environment and your life. In Budokon, we emphasize the internal mental and emotional work, the integration of the whole being and the direct relation between practice and life. The physical movement is only a small portion of our system. The main focus of the practitioner is to aim for the highest human potential in every field of endeavor in every class.
What are the benefits of practicing Budokon?
Physical benefits include increased flexibility, agility, control, flow and strength, which come from similar qualities developed in the mind and the spirit. Budokon really has the power to change the way you think and you see your life into a more positive, graceful, organic way, simply by asking you to be aware of every movement you take on the mat. The change in outlook is, to me, the biggest benefit.
Do you have to already be fit to join Budokon?
No! But I will not lie; is it a strong practice! Your mind has to be ready to open up and accept a whole new challenge. We can modify each technique for anyone’s physiological challenges. We got people of all weights, sizes and with all kinds of physical conditions that are total rock stars in Budokon!
Your logo is really cool, what does it mean?
It’s called the “Tomoe”, and it’s a Japanese crest that symbolizes the synergy between the 3 forces of creation in our planet: heaven, earth and man. We wear it as a symbol of our continuous dedication to the preservation of this organic order. Also, within it we find 6 points that represent the pillars of our system: thoughts, emotions, relationships, environment, nutrition and fitness… A lot in that little thing, huh?
Can you explain the belt system?
We adopted the belts to honor our martial arts tradition. They go white, red, blue, purple, brown and black. We use them simply to show how much work you have put in to serve yourself through the practice. Me having the highest belt available in the system so far, purple (except for Kancho’s Black belt), doesn’t meant I am “better” than anyone else… simply that I have put in a bit more time, that’s it.
What has Budokon brought to your life?
Wow… Budokon has given me a lot. It gave me the ability to integrate my passions for Yoga, Martial Arts and intelligent movement in a non-competitive and very sustainable way. I feel stronger, more flexible and more aware of my movement and life than I have ever been. The Zen philosophy showed me a new way to look at life and to do things, helping me remove limiting beliefs, fear and suffering, which has elevated my living experience. It also has introduced me to the most incredible people in the world; open minded, hard working, compassionate, brave and always willing to help and protect each other. We attract a pretty cool crowd, what more could I ask for?
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes! That I invite everyone to come and experience one of our classes at The Standard Miami, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm so they can experience the art. I cannot put into words what this system is all about. Feeling it is the best way of understanding it. The Standard and its beautiful facilities is simply the best place to do it!
If you are ready to experience a whole new way to move, workout, think and live, Budokon is for you. If you are a seasoned practitioner (yogi, martial artist, dancer, athlete, etc), I promise Budokon will take your practice to the next level. And if you are a beginner, this is a great way to take your first steps into the path towards your highest potential.
For Teacher and Immersion Trainings, check out the Budokon Website.
Budokon Classes are every Tuesday and Thursday, Budokon Flow 7:30 – 8:30pm and Budokon Academy 8:30 – 9:30pm. All levels are welcomed. Join for a free introduction to Budokon class on Saturday June 18, 2:00– 4:00pm. RSVP to Spa Desk.