- The outer-most black ring
The outer-most black ring represents the circle that holds us all together. A community of varied disciplines that co-exist within the ring, we live in measured harmony. Of course when so many martial warrior practitioners meet there always remains the possibility of a conflict. The focus of AWA is to forge new dialogues between all factions without the lengthy start up time it usually takes just a few to do so. In this AWA universe, we each have the freedom to communicate with our peers and the peers of other schools of thought and them with us. Thoughts and questions can flow like water, due to a platform based on mutual respect and honorable intent. In this way, members from completely different backgrounds and studies can network together because we have all become willing participants in a global learning community. It is continuous and unending.
The color is black. Black represents the void of knowledge that needs to be filled. It also represents the dark/martial part of all of our arts. The beauty of black’s purity is in its execution with no malice. Never for glory or gain but for the art itself.
- The first royal red ring.
This royal red ring holds the name of our association. It is of royal color and represents purity of intent and love of the arts.
This also represents the first step toward personal enlightenment through our respective arts.
The words ATERU WORLDWIDE ASSOCIATION are in white. This color represents the light/beauty of our arts. It stands for honor, humility, truth and fairness. It is the opposing force that keeps our martial life in check. It is goodness.
- The second black ring.
This ring represents the chains we must break as we dig ever deeper and question the reasons and purpose that we are really here for in this life. It is the insurmountable hill we must climb; it is the protective boundary of what lies within the inner circle.
It is the delineation mark that separates the master from the teacher, the teacher from the student, and the fool from the wise man. If you venture beyond it you become accountable for far more than you may have signed on for.
- The second royal red ring.
This represents the fruit of learning. When personal gain becomes secondary to the progress of the whole. It is that level of introspection that can be attained after decades of consistent hard work and an open mind. It is not a braggarts badge but instead a pillow that the tree of true martial family rests its head upon.
- The third and final black ring
This is the thinnest black ring and the hardest of all to get past. It is the deceptive EGO. To get beyond this ring will take all the focus you can muster. Although small in size it is as deep as a cavernous crack in an Alaskan glacier. So deep that you cannot see the bottom but for the beautiful blue ice that surrounds it. To truly be egoless in combat you must live each second and die each second. In connecting so many lifetimes together during battle you become the battle. You are in Samurai mind.
- The Bonsai Tree.
The White Bonsai tree stands as a testament to the deep roots of our respective arts. The strength of these roots is what we fight to protect and nourish. We water these roots with our daily sweat and feed them with the dedication we carry for them. It is because of these roots that we, ourselves, may survive and flourish in our martial walks. Out of these roots stands the beautiful Bonsai that may be appreciated by all, not just the martial ones.
- The water and waters edge – the waves and the sky.
The waters edge beckons us to enter. Like a child we go slowly and as we feel more confident, we proceed with reckless abandon.
The water is deep and if we have not trained hard enough with a good and fair heart, the water will swallow us. We cannot tread water for eternity so we must learn on our journey to know the proper direction to go: in the water, in life, on the dojo floor.
The waves represent the water within us. We are either still like a motionless pond or raging like the perfect storm. Our goal is to unleash a martial tidal wave when it is necessary while remaining within ourselves, the motionless pond. Not a ripple or distortion in the reflection is to occur on the inside while the raging storm is going on. That is the true NOW of battle and is most important.
The white sky surrounds the sun and gives it a place to rest. The sky is like a smile that has no target but for the happiness it brings.
- The red sun.
This is the burning heart of martial knowing. It glows and resonates like a note. It warms us with radiance and burns us if we approach it too fast. However, if we walk ever so slowly toward it we may some day enter it as a warm pool on a cool night. Bathing in the knowledge for knowledge sake alone. It is the most intimate level of martial life. One we may never attain but always focus on and march slowly toward.