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  • Writer's pictureSpencer Bennington

Happy Black History Month and Welcome Back!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the new and improved . Over the years this site has changed, grown, and moved in different directions, as we all do. But, no matter what, Rhetorical Roundhouse remains committed to both the academic study of Tae Kwon Do as well as critically-reflexive martial arts training, especially for traditionally marginalized or oppressed communities.

This is why, last year, I announced my intention to create the Rhetorical Roundhouse Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing violence and increasing access to a quality martial arts education. Despite some slowdowns last year (to say the least!), I feel we are still on track to meeting this goal.

So, I enter 2021 feeling cautiously optimistic--I think this year holds a lot of exciting changes and improvements for us all (even if we don't see them yet). One change that I'd like to discuss actually has to do with this blog. A goal I have for myself this year is to slow down and to focus more on the fundamentals. In terms of Rhetorical Roundhouse web content, that means producing less with the intention of improving quality and consistency.

You can still expect to see a new blog every month. I'll try to offer a mixture of topics in each post now so readers can always enjoy a balance of academic research, training resources, community activism, and personal howdy-doozits.

The blog isn't the only thing I'm scaling back on--I'll begin producing more episodes of Good Black Friday this month. I'm super excited to get back to work on these because I love highlighting the good work of local businesses. But, because I want to begin producing these at a higher quality, I need more time to work.

The first episode of Good Black Friday: Season 2 will be released this month, but it will likely be the only one. My plan this year is to release only one new episode every month. I wish I could keep a weekly pace, but I'm in my 30's now so...

In the meantime, I wanted to celebrate the beginning of Black History Month by taking a look back at some of the businesses I've had the pleasure of discussing and reviewing so far on Good Black Friday. Here's the list I used when making the BEST BLACK FRIDAY video back in November:

If you want to learn more about these businesses, feel free to explore their websites (all linked above) or re-watch my birthday episode of Good Black Friday below:

If you're looking for some new businesses to support, check out this detailed list of black-owned retailers. This list comes courtesy of a reader--thank you Diana for sharing this!

I hope for the continued success of all small business owners in 2021, especially those in the field of martial arts instruction. Gym owners have had a rough time keeping their business afloat at a time when people are afraid to congregate in close quarters. Despite offering online, outdoor, or private classes, many of these businesses can still use a little extra support.

If you'd like to help out, please consider donating to Pil Seung Tae Kwon Do in Blacksburg, VA.

If you'd like to offer your support to a local martial arts school in a different way, consider checking out the brand new US Tae Kwon Do YouTube Channel. Like the videos, subscribe to the channel, and share with your friends. Our goal is to produce instructional videos to help our students learn at a distance as well as highlight the awesome work our demonstration and competition teams are going to do this year. Check out the trailer video below for more of an idea of what this channel offers!

So far this month's blog has given you martial arts training resources and many businesses you can support to help address racial wealth disparity. The only items left are some academic research and personal hody-doozits.

As far as research goes, be sure to check out this presentation I gave at the most recent iACT (International Academic Conference for Tae Kwon Do) conference at Youngsan University in South Korea. You can find lots of interesting discussions about Tae Kwon Do and other martial arts by subscribing to the Martial Arts Studies Podcast on YouTube or anywhere you listen to your podcasts.

As far as personal howdy-doozits go, all I'll say for now is that I'm working hard, staying safe and, overall, pretty content. I have some new academic writing that's in the works so, with any luck, I'll be sharing a bit of that next time.

Until then, I wish you all a very Happy New Year, a joyous Black History Month, and a wonderful day. Be sure to keep a close eye on the YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks so you don't miss a brand new episode of Good Black Friday.

Thank you all for your continued support.


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