Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Midwest Academy Soft Goods (Clothing): How to Order and Symbols Explained

As the Midwest Academy continues to grow, certain tasks that we used to preform “in-house” we have now opted to “out-source”. The ultimate reason for “out-sourcing” these tasks is to ensure that we are optimizing our time for the educational and training benefit of our students.

One task that we have recently “out-sourced” has been the distribution of Midwest Academy soft goods (clothing). All clothing items will now be available through an online “store” that is accessible through the Academy’s home page. As opposed to the Academy storing and distributing gear, you will now order items directly from the printing/embroidery company. Those items will then be sent directly to your shipping address.

In addition, the Academy’s Leadership Development Group hoped to use this opportunity to briefly explain some of the logos used on our soft good to people unfamiliar with them:

Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese writing system along with hiragana and katakana. Just like written English has various “scripts” (block writing/printing, cursive, etc.), kanji also has various “scripts”. The kanji that appears on Midwest Academy soft goods is a "cursive" script and reads as Seizan Ryu or “West Mountain School”. “West Mountain” is a historical reference to the origin and foundation of the primary Art that is taught and practiced at the Academy. A more detailed explanation is available in our student manual.

The term Ryu refers to “school” - not in the sense of a particular structure, but rather a philosophical root which governs the overall learning, practice, and teaching principles and methods utilized by “West Mountain”.

Mon or the crest is not unlike the Coat-of-Arms that once was prevalent and used by most Western families up until recent modern times. The Mon is seal script derived from the kanji for “West Mountain”; this seal is essentially the system’s “coat-of-arms”. It is sometimes referred to by Seizan Ryu practitioners as the “grinning cougar” due to its similarity in appearance to the face of a feline.

The “Combat Flag” or “reversed US Flag”, when used, appears only on the right shoulder of some of Midwest Academy’s gear. It
is an acknowledgement that much of the teaching method specific to the Midwest Academy has been influenced by various teachers’ experiences in the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism). That collective experience and subsequent related experiences have played heavily into the teaching approach of the Academy which emphasizes a utilitarian approach for both the physical skills and the personal development aspects of the art. Many people are unfamiliar with why the flag appears reversed.  If one thinks of the flag, not as a logo, but as a loose flag attached to an individual’s arm like a flag pole, then as the individual moves forward, the stripes will flow to the back (giving it the appearance of being “reversed”).

Sho-Chiku-Bai or Pine-Bamboo-Plum is a 3 circle motif  on some of Midwest Academy’s gear. This motif appears in traditional Japanese culture and is referred to as Three Friends of Winter; each item is representative of strength, flexibility, and endurance respectively, individually, and collectively. The meanings are connoted as these plants are able to survive the adversity of winter due to their intrinsic attributes. The Academy uses the motif as we believe the greatest personal growth and leadership attributes often develop in the face of adversity.

LDG Triangle (see ordering website for logo depiction) – The Leadership Development Group (LDG) is a subset of the Academy’s teacher cadre that specifically focuses on optimizing opportunities for the personal development and growth of our students throughout the course of their training. The triangle is symbolic of interdependent strength as each side requires the others to keep its shape. It also represents a compass needle pointing “north”; indicative of the personal code and integrity we expect from our students and ourselves. The number in the center of the triangle is indicative of how many years the Midwest Academy has operated at its current location. This run will feature the number "10".

For more information on classes or to schedule a visit to the Academy, visit www.TheMidwestAcademy.com or call (630) 836-3600.