‘Mojo From The Karate Dojo’ a handbook for life

Black Press publisher draws from personal experience for book of insightful life lessons

Langley Times staff members presented Dwayne Weidendorf with a bobblehead doll depicting him in his karate gi, complete with black belt. (contributed photo)

Langley Times staff members presented Dwayne Weidendorf with a bobblehead doll depicting him in his karate gi, complete with black belt. (contributed photo)

Dwayne Weidendorf may hold a fourth-degree black belt in karate – but he’s the first to say that his latest venture, as author of Mojo from the Karate Dojo, is about a lot more than his successes in martial arts.

In the 162-page book – available online in kindle and paperback editions – the Peace Arch News/Black Press publisher has focused primarily in passing on life lessons that are universally applicable, no matter what readers’ individual passions and interests may be.

The principles he talks about are relevant to anyone building a pathway to success, whether one is an athlete; an artist or musician, a business owner or entrepreneur, or, indeed, in just about any walk of life.

“Karate is a lifestyle I built my life around,” explained Weidendorf, who has proudly achieved the rank of Sensei (or teacher) in the karate community, adding that the dojo of the title refers to the training place for students of the martial art.

His clear, concise and on-target writing style – and brief, highly-concentrated chapters – make for a book that’s a smooth and swift read, but containing much down-to-earth wisdom about finding one’s individual path through life; advice that will likely stay with readers and prompt frequent revisits to its pages.

“I enjoy writing and I enjoy reading,” said Weidendorf, a Langley resident, who has dedicated Mojo from the Karate Dojo to his wife Lorraine and their son Drew, 18, and daughter Bree, 15.

Ironically, he said, when he began writing he wasn’t aiming at creating a book of advice for the general public.

“This wasn’t meant to be a book,” he said. “I was trying to put a memoir together for my two teenage kids, so they could understand who their dad was, through his martial arts and publishing career.”

Weidendorf acknowledges that the project, some four to five years in the making, was shaped by three of his Black Press newspaper editors – Lance Peverley (former editor of PAN), Surrey Now-Leader editor Beau Simpson and former Langley Times editor Frank Bucholtz, who with his wife Bonnie, ultimately became the editors of the book.

“I’d asked all of them, ‘read some of this and tell me what you think’. The answer that I got back was that it was really good information that would be helpful to share with other people.”

But the toughest test, he acknowledged, was whether it would pass muster with Lorraine.

“My wife is my biggest critic. We’re polar opposites, but she’s a great reader – and I was relieved when she said ‘this is pretty good’,” he said.

And he’s pleased that his intended audience – Drew, a gifted soccer player, and Bree, whose interests run more towards musical theatre – have both been able to relate to the advice he’s offering, he said.

“They’re very supportive,” he said. “And they know that karate has been part of my life for over 30 years.”

There’s a general misconception, Weidendorf noted, that karate – as a martial art – is all about fighting, or that, in perfecting skills, the only intent is defeating opponents.

As he explains in the book, he is a follower of karate-do – based on a combination of Chinese characters representing kara (meaning empty), te (meaning hand) and do (meaning ‘the way’ or ‘the path’).

People with no knowledge of the underlying philosophy behind the ancient discipline may well be surprised to find a chapter titled ‘Refrain from Violent Behaviour.’

Many, too, are caught off guard by Weidendorf’s answer when they ask, somewhat skeptically, if he ever gets to use his black belt training.

“I tell them I use it every day,” he said.

While he chuckles at the frequency of the question, he’s not joking about the answer.

As he writes in Mojo From The Karate Dojo, “karate has given me valuable lessons throughout the years that have led directly to the successes I have had in my professional and private life…throughout my professional career as an executive, I have had the opportunity to work with several different successful business owners, high-performing executives and athletes. I have found there was a direct correlation between successful people and the core life lessons I have learned through karate.”

He uses his experiences in karate to explain such relatable principles as the power of positive thinking and the need to conquer fears; the use of repetition, focus and discipline to perfect techniques in whichever realm you’re striving to succeed; and the desirability of having confidence – but without hubris or ‘cockiness.’

There are also chapters emphasizing the importance of continual development and dedication, of giving back, being open to learning, of having a willingness to listen; of being aware of one’s surroundings and having a connection with nature; of being able to keep moving, while staying in a relaxed, loose state; and the need to be a able to take “a step and a half back” when faced with confrontational situations.

Weidendorf, who grew up in southern Ontario, would seem to be no stranger to success. He was only 24 years old – and a recent graduate of Laurentian University – when he founded a thriving weekly entertainment magazine that he sold, at a significant profit, just five and half years later.

At 29, he became the group advertising director for the Fairway Group and was only one month into the job when he was offered the position of associate publisher and general manager, subsequently overseeing eight community publications very successfully for the next seven years.

In 2006, when he expressed an interest in relocating to B.C. (a keen skier, he had fallen in love with the province during winter visits), corporate connections between the Fairway Group and Black Press smoothed the way.

Starting as publisher of the Langley Times, he now oversees PAN, the Surrey Now-Leader, the Cloverdale Reporter and the North Delta Reporter, as well as the Yukon News and the chain’s Vantage Way press facilities in North Delta.

But he still remembers vividly the seemingly insuperable challenges he faced growing up.

“I came from a broken family – a really broken family, very messed up,” he recalled. “As a teenager, I was on my own – essentially homeless, on the street. I learned to be a street fighter, to work two jobs so I could go to high school and pay my way through university.”

As a youngster he was athletic, but also undersized, he said.

When he saw the film The Karate Kid in 1984, he was “instantly inspired” to study martial arts to defend himself.

Karate changed his life, he said.

“Without it, there was no way I would have made it in life,” he said. “I would have been down a one-way street – and it would have been the wrong way.”

Bitter early experiences gave him the resolve to succeed – but also a desire to help others, he said.

“I do like helping people – that’s my goal,” he said.

“We all have challenges in life, and maybe this self-help book will help others meet their own challenges. If somebody can read this book and just get one or two things out of it that helps them find their own path, then I’ll be happy and I’ll have succeeded.”

Mojo From The Karate Dojo is available from amazon.ca ($6.56 kindle, $14.43 paperback) or amazon.com (US$4.93 kindle, US$10.99 paperback).



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Surrey is currently working through the initial phase for a park that’ll be built at 72 Avenue and 191 Street in Clayton. (Image via City of Surrey)
New park to be built in Clayton Heights

City of Surrey asking for feedback from Clayton residents

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Sources team members (left to right) Carrie Belanger, Abby Gemino, Tatiana Belyaeva, Yasmin de Joya-Pagal cheer during the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year event. This year’s event will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Sources photo)
White Rock’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser goes virtual

Annual walk raises funds for variety of Sources programs and services

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read