et us take a moment to introduce you to Satori Dojo! While there are many admirable youth and civic organizations in Phoenixville, including sports and fitness activities, service clubs, and educational programs, Satori Dojo is unique among them in that it combines aspects of them all. Created to strengthen communities through the healthy development of its citizens' minds, bodies, and spirits, Satori Dojo was founded in 1994 by Barkley teacher and Phoenixville native Joe Varady, as his way of giving back to the community. Our program is a thorough promotion of the PASD policy to "prepare, inspire and graduate students to meet the challenges of the future." Our successes come not only in the form of students who attain the coveted black belt, but also those who may only attend class for a short while but learn valuable life lessons such as how to overcome their fear of failure and realize that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
Over the past 27 years, hundreds of students and adults in Phoenixville and the surrounding communities have benefited from our program, not only from the physical activity normally associated with martial arts training but also from the sense of community we provide for our students and the tremendous personal growth in such areas as self-control, determination, modesty, and a having a non-defeatist attitude. Beginning with our youngest students (age 5), we teach social skills, such as the importance of being patient, friendly, courteous, and compassionate. We specifically teach how to avoid conflict and verbally de-escalate a potential confrontation, essential skills for people of all ages. Our core principle, modeled by each of our instructors, states that "Satori Dojo students should strive to improve themselves to serve the people, and to spread and develop these beliefs within the younger generation so that they, too, will be morally and physically fit."
Two of our chief instructors, Joe Varady and Madeline Crouse, each hold advanced degrees in elementary education and ensure that our instructors teach using the latest educational methodologies. These include promoting positive behaviors and developing self-confidence and self-esteem through hard work via engaging, encouraging, and challenging classes. Our established curriculum encompasses the physical techniques of personal fitness and self-defense and teaches students how to focus their minds and strengthen their spirits. Students learn and are tested on their knowledge of history and philosophy and must write essays examining and evaluating aspects of their personal growth. Our teacher/student ratio is such that we can offer very personal training and feedback to meet all our students' individual needs.
Finally, in a country with rapidly escalating obesity rates, Satori Dojo focuses on healthy living and encourages physical activity. We are one of the few community activities that adults and children can participate in together, making it the perfect family activity. Last year, in the spirit of community, our school-sponsored several students who could not otherwise afford lessons with full-tuition scholarships. We usually offer affordable, quality martial arts instruction to everyone in the Phoenixville community, asking monthly dues less than half of other martial arts schools in the area (including programs offered at the YMCA). We have entirely waived monthly tuition for entire families who found themselves in difficult financial situations in several cases. During these challenging economic times, our school is proud to bring top-notch martial arts instruction to those members of the community who otherwise could not afford such an opportunity.
Satori Dojo is so much more than learning to punch and kick. It is a beautiful example of a community-based non-profit organization to serve the whole person's needs, mentally, physically, and spiritually. We welcome the opportunity to share our program with all members of the local community.