Mr. Diabetes® Tackles Ultimate Black Belt Test™

Adds Martial Arts Challenge in addition to Wake Up and Walk® Tour

Madeira Beach, FL – Just in case anyone thought Andy Mandell – Mr. Diabetes®, was slacking off on his epic 10,000+ mile walk of the perimeter of the United States, Andy has announced that he is also tackling Master Teacher Tom Callos’ Ultimate Black Belt Test.

Defeat Diabetes Foundation Executive Director, Andrew P. Mandell — Mr. Diabetes® is known for The Wake Up and Walk® Tour, a 10,000+ mile walk of the United States’ perimeter, to raise awareness about the prevention of diabetes. His route goes through 34 perimeter states, moving clockwise through heavily populated coastal communities and distinctly rural areas; starting and ending in Madeira Beach, Florida.

To date he has walked 8,700 miles while meeting and sharing his message of prevention and hope with elected officials at all levels, diabetes research professionals, business and community leaders, school administrators and children, and the general public. His message has reached over 62 million people via the media and 60,000+ individuals through one-on-one contact.

“My goal is not to be ‘the best’ at anything but, rather, to be ‘my best’ at everything I tackle. As a 62 year old martial arts enthusiast and insulin dependent diabetic, the many challenges I face are with me 24/7 for the rest of my life. This is true for all diabetics – since there is no cure.” said Mandell. “How we meet those challenges, personally, can add a valuable and meaningful presence to the world around us that is important” he concluded.

Mandell, who holds a first degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate has relied on his martial arts training to meet many of the challenges associated with his life saving journey. It requires a peaceful mind, an appreciation for all things living and the environment, and a physical confidence that carries him through the extreme climatic and geographic variables that exist in the broad expanse that is our America.

When Mr. Diabetes® was introduced to Master Teacher Tom Callos and the UBBT (Ultimate Black Belt Test) by Jason Gould of Emerald Necklace Budo Martial Arts in Allston, MA he immediately recognized a kindred spirit with an interest in making the world a better place.

“The requirements of the UBBT are challenging, and what I love about it, was is that it takes us out of our comfort zone and introduces us to a place where we, as martial artists, can make a difference in our respective communities” said Mandell. “There is also a great opportunity to merge my message of a healthy lifestyle with the daily practice of the martial arts. It’s a natural fit.”

About UBBT (

The Ultimate Black Belt Test is about discovering that the magic of the martial arts is rooted in personal development. The style of martial arts one practices is inconsequential. What makes a master is not physical skill alone, but mental clarity, emotional maturity, and spiritual awareness. “One does not ‘become’ a master; what one does is practice ‘mastery’ on a daily basis. My goal is not to engage in the trivial pursuit of ‘mastery of the martial arts’, but to do what is much, much more difficult: to become a compassionate, conscious, participative human being” says Callos.

The challenges for UBBT are spiritual, personal and physical in nature. In addition to intense physical conditioning that includes 52,000 push ups, 52,000 sit ups, 1000 rounds of sparring, a 1000 mile run, 1,000 repetitions of a form, 20 hours with a professional boxing coach, and 150 hours of wrestling; each individual must also be responsible for initiating 51,000 acts of kindness, living a day in a wheelchair, a day being “blind”, a day being “mute”, completing writing exercises, a local environmental project, mending relationships, righting personal wrongs, and more. Duration of UBBT is 13 months and limited to 40 martial artists per year.

About Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Defeat Diabetes Foundation (DDF), is a nationally registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity dedicated to creating awareness about and preventing diabetes. The Foundation provides accurate, up-to-date and practical information on the treatment and self-management of the disease on their website, which houses over 2,000 pages of beneficial information and through a free monthly online E-Lerts™ newsletter. They support public information programs, including the KIDD Project, which has provided 3 million free Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test brochures to 5000 schools in all 50 states, the D.A.N. Project, in memory of Dan Kerner, which has produced Public Service Announcements and, The Mr. Diabetes® Wake Up and Walk® Tour, a 10,000+ mile walk of the perimeter of the United States by Executive Director, Andrew P. Mandell – Mr. Diabetes®. He also holds a 1st degree Black Belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate and is a former Martial Arts School owner.

For information on diabetes, or to take the free screening test to learn your risk factors visit:


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