Jr. Instructor Highlight: Mr. Brody Morris

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Brody Morris

Red Belt

Brody began his martial arts journey at the age of 5.  His early experiences took place in the basement of his home under the instruction of Master Morris.  If you didn’t know, Brody is the son of Mrs and Master Morris and brother to Riley.


Before the opening of SMA, Brody achieved his yellow belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do.  Brody has been training at SMA since it’s inception in May 2014.  He has competed in numerous local and provincial tournaments, taking home Gold in Forms, Sparring and Bo Staff.  Brody’s proudest moment was at the 2019 Western Provincial Open in Edmonton when he qualified for the World Karate Commission Provincial in Sparring.

Brody enjoys assisting in our youngest children’s classes.  He is dedicated to giving back to the martial arts as it has taught him many lessons that he applies to his daily life.  Brody has set a goal for himself and hopes to test for his red with black band belt this coming September.

Most recently, Brody attended the 2019 MVA Martial Arts Camp in Halifax, NS to hone his skills and learn from top instructors in our organization.

In his spare time, Brody enjoys biking, hiking, camping and walking his dog Maui.

Brody has been a tremendous help in the children’s classes over the years.  He assists in Little Monkeys and Little Dragons classes.  We thank him for all his hard work and dedication to the school.

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Jr. Instructor Highlight: Mr. Richard Zeller

Mr. Zeller began training at Summit in October 2017 after watching how much his two children had enjoyed their training.  Mr. Zeller loves the challenge that every class brings.  He is a firm believer in the 5 tenets of TKD and the lasting impact they have on students and instructors alike.  The physical and mental strength gained through training at SMA is something that he embraces each and every day and is always looking forward to the next chapter of his journey.  Mr. Zeller is extremely honored and equally excited to be part of the JIT team and is looks forward to helping other students learn and have fun through their own journeys.

We asked Mr. Zeller some questions, here’s what he had to say……..

What is your teaching philosophy?  I try to make sure everyone is engaged / having fun, but at the same time pushed to achieve their potential.

Why you love martial arts?  To me it’s a combination of honing & perfecting body, mind and spirit.  Being able to apply what has been learned to achieve your goals.

Why you love SMA?  SMA embodies a passion for martial arts.  Your achievements are earned through hard work and dedication which makes your journey that much more fulfilling.

What is your most memorable / proud moment in martial arts ?

As an Orange belt there was one Kicking class where we were practicing our Jump Front Snap Kicks, and one of the instructors came by, took the clapper pad from my partner and held it higher than I’ve ever kicked before.  In fact, I thought it was ridiculously high / and near impossible.  He told me he believed in me, to get into a good stance and really push myself.  I ended up kicking the pad much to my surprise, and after a solid high five from the instructor I realized just how far I can go if I put my mind to it.

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Mr. Zeller graduated the Junior Instructor Training program in July 2019.  He is an key member in our team.  His dedication and passion for the martial arts can be seen in every class.  Thanks for being part of OUR journey!!

How to choose the RIGHT martial arts school for YOU?

We originally published this is 2015!  After some recent discussions with parents, we decide to revisit this topic as we want students to LOVE  the martial arts.  Getting off on right foot is crucial to a proper martial arts education.  Do your homework!  It will be worth the extra effort in the long run.

How do you choose?  Taekwondo, Karate, Hapkido, Jui Jitsu……it can all be a little overwhelming.  There is certainly no lack of martial arts schools out there.  If you are in a big city, there is literally one on every corner.  However, not all martial arts schools are created equal.  It is important to do your research before committing to any school.  You’ll be happy you did.  This is especially true when children are involved.  Choosing the wrong school can turn the child off the sport forever.  With that said, there are many reputable schools out there that practice what they preach and have an excellent program in place.  Here are a few tips when looking for a martial arts school.

1) Decide what you would like to gain from learning martial arts.  Are you to improve your physical fitness?  To learn Self Defence?  Would you like to compete in Tournaments? Are you interested in the philosophy/character building part of martial arts?  Or go the long haul and get your black belt? These are all important considerations when deciding on a school. Writing down your goals can help you tremendously when searching for the right school.  When you call/email for information, have these ideas in mind and ask questions.  It is important to know this up front before committing.

2) Shop Around.  Look at a number of different schools in your area, if possible.  If the school offers a free trial class, go check it out.  Was it fun and enjoyable for you? Also, check out reviews online.  What are people saying about the school?  Do they participate in social media – check out their pages.  The school that most closely aligns with your goals and values is your best bet.

3)  Find a qualified instructor.  Take the time to read about this person’s credentials.  Ask questions:  how long have they been teaching?  How long have they trained in the martial arts?  How often does the head instructor teach? Just because the head instructor is an accomplished martial artist themselves, it does not mean they are a good teacher.  A great instructor takes time to explain why and how the techniques they are teaching are important.  Moreover, how those techniques can be applied in real life situations.   One key point is to make sure the instructors correct improper technique.  This is especially true in the case of children.  If you are going to pay for someone to teach you, make sure they teach you right the first time.  Sometimes paying a little more or driving 5 minutes longer are worth it.  You come away being a better and more well rounded martial artist.  Quality instruction is worth it.

 

4)  Does the school have metrics for progress?  Do they have a written curriculum?  Are there belt grading guidelines?  Do they participate in mandatory belt grading?  Or is it earned through mastery of skill and attendance?  Does every student who grades pass regardless of their proficiency?  A martial arts journey should be unique to the individual.  A school who is invested in teaching proper technique will not be handing out belts simply for showing up.  Ultimately, martial arts is about protecting yourself.  Giving children a false sense of skill by handing out belts only does them a disservice.

5)  Some final things to consider:  take a look at class size – is the class size capped? what is the student to teacher ratio?  Do they use student assistants?  Do they have age appropriate classes?  Take a look at the students in the class.  Are there a number of intermediate and high ranking belts?  This may indicate that the school motivates students to stay. If the students are all beginners, that may say something too. Or are there an unusually high number of black belts?  Or Dan rank black belts under the age of 12?  This could speak volumes about the program.

6)  Goal Setting.  A good instructor invests in YOU and is interested in YOUR goals.
Watch a class, is the instructor motivating?  Or preaching? Sit down, talk about your goals, ask questions.  Find out if they have a written curriculum. You deserve the best instruction available.

These are some general tips on how to choose the BEST school for you and your family.  The RIGHT school is out there – do your research, be diligent, don’t be afraid to ask questions.  It’s your money.  It’s your time and effort.  You deserve to get the most out of your martial arts education.  It’s a great sport for the entire family.

Meet Mr. Max Stronge – Instructor

Meet Kyo Sa Nim Max Stronge

Black Belt – 1st Dan

Mr. Stronge started training in the martial arts in 2004 after being inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Mr. Stronge has been with SMA since 2014, shortly after our opening day.  He has been training in the martial arts for 14 years in various styles and has competed in countless tournaments. In July 2016, he was chosen as CTV Athlete of the Week for his Outstanding Performance and Athletic Ability. Later that July, Mr. Stronge competed at the 2016 WOMAA World Martial Arts Games in Essenbach, Germany, bringing home two silver medals in the point and continuous fighting divisions.

Mr. Stronge graduated from the SMA Junior Instructor Training Program in September 2017.  Mr. Stronge has spent several years under the direct supervision of Master Shane Morris, honing his teaching skills and assisting in tournament training.

After almost a decade in the tournament scene, Mr. Stronge has now found a new passion – teaching. His greatest accomplishment has been passing on his love of the martial arts to others.  He is dedicated to learning and improving his skills both as an instructor and a student. Mr. Stronge hopes that everyone he has the pleasure of instructing can find the same joy in the martial arts that he does.

Mr. Stronge earned his first degree Black Belt on Saturday, June 2, 2018.  In his essay what it means to be a black belt, he wrote:

“I’ve come close to the black belt twice before. When I was ten or eleven, I became a junior black belt at the first school I ever trained at. When I was thirteen, I was a black stripe at a different school, and my black belt test was within reach for the second time. Looking back on where I was, and what I was, I wouldn’t have measured up to our green belt standard. That’s why this black belt, and this organization, is so meaningful to me. When you test for a belt, you know that you have earned it. The level of prestige associated with the black belt is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in my martial arts experience, and I’m glad that this is where I’ve chosen to spend my time.”

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“To me, the black belt is the difference between training in the martial arts and being a martial artist. When a student is a red belt or black stripe, it should be expected that the fundamental, physical aspects of the discipline are mastered. The black belt test, the one I’m about to undergo, is the last true test of physical aptitude. After that, once the black belt is attained, the journey becomes more of a mental one. It is the end of one part of the journey, but the beginning of another. A black belt embodies the tenets of taekwondo, their own personal code, not only on the mats and in training, but in every aspect of life. They are courteous – kind and respectful to everyone they encounter. They have integrity – they operate with truth, and honor, and hold themselves to a high personal standard. They persevere through any challenge or obstacle. They possess a sense of discipline, of self-control, of both their actions and their emotions. And they refuse to let their unbreakable, indomitable spirit be defeated. In my view, the difference between a red belt and a black belt has nothing to do with kicking and punching. The difference is in those tenets. We learn them on the mats, but we adopt them in endeavors unrelated to martial arts too. We develop the ability to regulate our emotions, our feelings of anger, of recklessness, of doubt, of fear. We interact with our peers with a sense of respect, and of fairness. We refuse to give in easily when faced with adversity. That is what makes a black belt a true ambassador of the martial arts.”

“Over the last year, I’ve caught another martial arts bug, and learned more about a whole other side of all this. I had the opportunity to start teaching kids. I never thought that I would be much of a teacher: the idea of standing in front of a class of students and talking to them terrified me. But as I’ve watched them grow and improve over time, I’ve realized that I’ve wanted to do this my whole life. It’s not a cliche to say that teaching is the most fulfilling job you can have – the sense of pride I have in my students when they break through barriers and improve is unparalleled by any other feeling I’ve felt. I’m going to keep chasing that feeling as long as I can find students that want to learn from the experience I have.Teaching martial arts is what I was meant to do, and I hope I can give back to the organization that has given me so much by continuing to be a part of training the next generation, and I hope I can do that for a very long time.”

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Mr. Stronge is an integral part of of the SMA Team.  He brings a level of excitement, energy and passion for the martial arts to every class!  Our students come out of class with big smiles and enthusiasm for learning – what more could we ask for!  Thanks for being an awesome part of the Team Mr. Stronge.