Explanation of the Crest

by Stephen LaBounty (2007-10-26)

I am often asked the symbolism of my crest. Here is a short, but accurate explanation of my thinking on this design.

First, the three lines of the patch represent the various stages of learning and progressing. The first is the embryonic stage, the very raw beginning where the student's first steps within the art are realized. The second is the mechanical stage, where the art is performed as it was learned, by rote, and the reaction of this stage is much the same---higher than the embryonic, but not quite at the next level. The third level is the sophisticated. While this does not denote mastery, it does have the comfort of understanding the project before the student, and the fact that this is but a journey to mastery.

Secondly, the broken circle. Similar to a Mandala, a symbol that represents the birth and rebirth of all things, this circle is important to the student for here lies the mastery of the art. Knowing the beginning again, but with sophistication and spiritual awareness and waiting for his/her rebirth in the art.

The colors represent the levels that the student attains while in the art and it becomes part of their life as well. The Reddish brown of the bottom part is the earth and fire of the beginning student. Raw and forged with many strokes of the teacher's hammer. Impetuous and anxious, full of wild energy with no form.

As the student progresses, the blue adds the softness and flexibility to the art that is needed to understand the components of battle.

Passing the symbol of mastery, the color blue becomes dominant as the student reaches the "heavenly" mind of the warrior. Once here, he/she is ready for rebirth, now understanding that there is no end, that the circle never closes, it only provides new and fresh students to continue it's existence.