Jr. Instructor Highlight: Ms. Chaney Mowat

Meet Ms. Chaney Mowat:  Blue Belt

Ms. Chaney has been with Summit Martial Arts since March 2015.  Chaney has been training in martial arts for 6 years. She completed her Junior Instructor Training in 2017 and has been assisting in our children’s classes for 3 years.

We asked Ms. Chaney some questions, here’s what she had to say……..

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

My most memorable moment was when I was SMA’s 1st Athlete of the Year in 2018, it was huge turning point in my martial arts career. I realized how much of an impact you can have on people’s lives and it was a huge honour.  I cannot thank SMA enough for providing me with this award. I am very proud to be a part of the SMA family, and I’m so proud to represent them.

A few other of Ms. Chaney’s proudest moments are winning her first Gold medal in 2015, and earning a Bronze and Silver in an all-boys division in 2017.  In May 2018, Chaney was chosen as CTV Athlete of the Week for Outstanding Performance and Athletic Ability.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is based on what I feel are important qualities for a martial artist to have. I feel that every martial artist needs to have a strong foundation built on respect, discipline, and confidence. To me, martial arts is not only about striking and fighting it is about living by the tenants of Tae Kwon Do in my everyday life. Martial arts has helped shape me as a person, it has made me physically and mentally stronger.

Why do you love SMA?

When I was competing at the 2014 TAFISA World Martial Arts Games, one of the Team Canada instructors was from SMA.  When my own instructor (from a different school) did not show up, the SMA instructor took me on like one of his own students. At my trial class, I was welcomed and immediately felt like a part of the SMA family. They have always pushed me to be the best martial artist I could be.  They have supported me from day one and have taught me the most important lessons in life.

Outside of the martial arts, Ms. Chaney is an accomplished show and performance horse rider.  This July, she (and her horse Vicky) took home top honors for winning Provincials 2019 Top Youth in Alberta!!!!! A talented young lady we are proud to have as part of our team. Take a minute to congratulate her on this awesome achievement.

Chaney loves working with kids, she enjoys watching them progress and improve their techniques. Through her martial arts journey, Chaney has learned a lot about discipline and responsibility. Assisting in our classes has helped her learn the importance of proper movement and mechanics.  Teaching has helped her grow immensely in her own journey – allowing her to perfect her techniques.

We are very proud to have this young lady as part of our school.  She has been a tremendous help over the past few years.  Thank you for your dedication to SMA!

Jr. Instructor Highlight: Ms. Danielle Bravo

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Bravo – Purple Belt
Ms. Bravo started her journey at Summit Martial Arts in December 2016.  She graduated our Junior Instructor Training Program in July 2019.  Ms. Bravo achieved her Red Belt in ITF Taekwondo before coming to train at Summit.
We asked Ms. Bravo some questions, here’s what she had to say……..
How did you become involved in martial arts?
Looking back, martial arts has been indirectly part of my life. I grew up with uncles and cousins practicing combats as part of their courses in school.  Also, I practiced Krav Maga during my mandatory IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Service.  These early martial arts influences developed my love for the sport.

What is your most memorable / proudest moment?
Aside of each belt test, my most memorable and proud moment in martial arts was last December 2018 where I received the SMA 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do Award. Whenever I think of it, I get mixed emotions; pride and yet humbleness.
I have also competed in a few local ITF tournaments.  My last competition in 2016, I won  Gold in forms/patterns and Bronze in sparring.
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Why you love martial arts?
Since starting martial arts, I’ve been trying to exemplify the 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do: Courtesy, Integrity, Self-control, Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit. I wanted to show that taekwondo/martial arts teaches more than physical lessons.  Most people immediately think martial arts is learning how to “fight”. I find this is the most common perception surrounding martial arts – but it is much more than physical training.  It embeds a moral code of conduct to all it’s athletes – teaching them to live by the 5 tenets in all aspects of life.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My current teaching philosophy is: “Teach attitude and skills with actions rather than words”  I find this has become meaningful to me especially when I started assisting with the children’s classes.  It has pushed me harder to practice self discipline and self progress in order to get a good grasp of my skills and techniques so that I can be a good example to my peers.
Why do you love SMA?
I love SMA for the sense of community. For me, SMA has created a very welcoming atmosphere; from the moment you enter their door you become part of the family and for them, ones success is everyone’s success. They help you create and reach your personal goals, they push you to lead by example through their actions and dedications. This past year they’ve taught me that being strong is not just physical but also mental. Knowing your limitation is a strength not a weakness and giving up when you are tired or in pain is not an option.  They will work with you around your limitations and find a way in achieving your goal; as long as you want it they are there for you.
Things you didn’t know about Ms. Bravo:
Outside of Martial Arts Background:
– I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Israel and living life in Canada.
– I fluently speak 3 languages Hebrew, English and Tagalog.
– I am a valedictorian nursing graduate with current focus on the health and technology systems.
– My main hobbies are working out and practicing martial arts but when I don’t do either of these you’ll find me trying to escape a locked room, travelling or enjoying food trips.
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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.

2018 Comes to a End……..

As 2018 comes to a close, we take some time to reflect on the amazing year we have had.   We are humbled and extremely grateful to have such supportive and dedicated students and families.  SMA is truly one big family – you can feel the camaraderie the minute you step through our doors.  The support of our students shows at belt tests and tournaments when everyone cheers on their fellow SMA training partners.   It is truly a wonderful thing to be part of.  Mrs. and Master Morris would like to thank everyone who is involved with our school – we wouldn’t be where we are without ALL of you!!!

Let’s look at 2018:

Kicking off 2018, SMA was voted Top Martial Arts School in Calgary!

Tournament Grand Champion for Bo Kyo Sa Mikko Bernardo

All our hard work around the dojang every single class

All the hours of practice for our belt gradings

All the dedicated students who came out for tournament training on Friday nights

All the tournaments!!!!!  And there were a LOT!

All the amazing displays of good sportsmanship and encouragement

A tremendous honor for Ms. Chaney who was named CTV Athlete of the Week

A BIG congratulations to Mr. Stronge for achieving his Black Belt

A pretty cool summer camp held in Truro, Nova Scotia

A BIG BIG congratulations to Master Morris for his promotion to 7th Dan

A brand new Junior Instructor Team was selected

A Tournament Team was hand selected to represent TEAM SUMMIT

All the students named Most Improved and Most Dedicated at our annual Holiday Party

And of course, the 5 Tenets and Mrs. Morris award going to Ms, Bravo and Lorenzo!

Our special awards including Athlete of the Year going to Ms. Chaney

And, ending the year with being an official nominee for the 2019 Top Martial Arts School (don’t forget to vote and share!!)

Check out our 2018 Year in Review – it’s pretty amazing!!  Click here to watch the video.

Congratulations Master Morris!

As many of you know, Master Morris flew out to Halifax, Nova Scotia in August for a weekend long training camp with Grand Master Clark and the members of Martial Virtue Alliance.  It was a weekend filled with seminars on weapons disarming, Bo Staff, sparring, cardio kick boxing and review of our entire curriculum.

The members of SMA and MVA believe strongly that the journey does not end when you get your black belt, it is just the beginning.  All our instructors are committed to life long learning.

The highlight to the weekend was Grand Master Clark (Master Morris’ instructor for the past 28 years) honoring Master Morris with his promotion to 7th Dan.  We take our Black Belt promotions very seriously.  Even our instructors have to demonstrate they have earned their rank with hard work and dedication.  Master Morris trained for 7+ years in between promotions.  His knowledge, dedication and commitment to the martial arts has remained strong for the last 26 years.  He continues to inspire and ignite passion for the martial arts in his students.  Congratulations Master Morris.  We are all very proud of you.

A Black Belt is a white belt that never gave up……..

On Saturday, June 2, 2018 our very own Mr. Stronge tested for his 1st degree Black Belt.  For those of you new to our school, our black belt tests do not come around often.  A student must show their dedication, tenacity and mastery of their martial arts techniques to even be considered for this opportunity.  Is it hard?  YES!  Do our black belts feel satisfaction and pride knowing they EARNED their belt?  ABSOLUTELY!  As a part of their journey to Black Belt, potential students are asked to write an essay about what it means to be a Black Belt.  Here is Kyo Sa Nim Stronge’s essay:

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The Black Belt

I owe everything I am to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

When I was four years old, I watched that show on TV every chance I got. I was drawn not only to the action, and the ninjas, and the monsters, but to the quiet moments. When the turtles sat in their lair, and practiced. They trained. They honed their techniques. They meditated. They lived by a code. That television show exposed me to a side of the martial arts I’ve never let go of – these arts aren’t just a fighting style, but a lifestyle.

My mother signed me up for a martial arts class that same year, and I’ve been hooked ever since. In that whole thirteen year period, I’ve never taken more than three weeks off. I’ve been to more tournaments than I can count. I have no memory of what my life was like before I was a martial artist. Training has sculpted me, physically and mentally, into the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that has ever supported me in this journey.

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 endeavours 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 unparallelled 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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Thank you.

THE JOURNEY IS NOT SIMPLY ABOUT KICKING AND PUNCHING OR PUTTING YOUR TIME IN, IT IS A WAY OF LIFE.  CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT KYO SA NIM STRONGE.

 

Find a Training Partner and CRUSHING your goals!

Training for the long haul can be a daunting task.  Students can often lose motivation and drive somewhere along the road to black belt.  What makes the journey special is finding out what you’re made of during these rough patches in the road.  One thing that can help you stay motivated and on the path is having an accountability or training partner.  The potential benefits to this relationship are too strong to ignore.

Check out what makes this relationship so amazing, how it can impact your training and what things you should look for in a potential training partner.

Here are the top reasons a training partner/accountability buddy is beneficial.

1) They can help you achieve your fitness/martial arts goals – having a partner with similar goals can help elevate your training to the next level, it increases motivation, helps with keeping intensity level high, keeps you accountable, and increases your commitment level

2) Help with form – having a partner there with you during training sessions can help ensure you are keeping proper form and training safely.

3) Safety first – with a training partner, you can feel safe and secure knowing you will have someone there if you need help.

4) You can try new things- bounce ideas off each other – keep things fresh. Having a partner can prevent workout boredom and keeps your training from getting in a rut.  It also keeps the FUN in your workouts outside of the dojang.

5) Helps with accountability – knowing you have someone waiting for you keeps you on track and disciplined.  

6) Helps eliminate distraction – The perfect partners will keep each other from getting distracted during workouts.

7) Having a partner – either in person, by text, or online – can be hugely beneficial for motivation. Stanford University found that simply receiving check-in phone calls/texts from a partner increased the amount participants exercised by 78% (even after 18 months).

The Perfect Training Partner Checklist/importance

✔ Challenges you during your workouts and vice versa – having someone there to push you for that one last push up, or to keep sparring when you want to give up – keeps you kickin’ butt!

Choose someone with similar goals – if your goal is to get to black belt, then find a partner who is interested in the same.  Partnering with someone who is training for physical fitness isn’t the greatest fit if you are looking to do the long road to black belt.

Choose someone with a like-minded attitude – positive energy is infectious!

Motivation – the perfect partner is there to lift you up when you feel down and help keep you going when you want to throw in the towel.

Helpful – look for a partner who is helpful and not overly critical.  You want to walk away from your workouts feeling pumped, not defeated!

 Accountable – make sure you choose someone you can count on, a partner who is on time and shows up every single training session.

Similar Schedules – this one is crucial – finding a person who is able to work within your work/family/life schedule takes the stress out of planning and can get you on a consistent training schedule.

Healthy Competition – a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!  Keeps you moving forward!

Whether you are working on your home training or in the gym, having a training partner can make all the difference.  Keeping you motivated, keeping you accountable, keeping things fun and challenging you to push yourself to the next level.    Talk to your fellow students, see if any one is up for the challenge.  You won’t regret it!

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Farewell Mr. Chernichen & Goodbye Summer!

As many of you know, Mr. Chernichen will be taking on a new job in a new city at the end of August.  Join us in wishing him all the best in his new adventure.  Mr. Chernichen has been a dedicated, loyal and influential member of the SMA Team since DAY 1.  He was there for every class when we started out at the Sheppard Community Centre in 2014 and took on a greater teaching role when we moved in to our new 40th Street home in 2015.  We certainly would not be where we are if it was not for his tireless efforts and dedication to the school.  We would like to take a look back at all the memories Mr. Chernichen has created here at Summit Martial Arts.  Mr. Chernichen – we thank you!  You will be missed!

In other SMA News:

Summer went by in a flash!  Usually summers are pretty quiet around SMA but not this year.  We were impressed by the tremendous dedication and hard work all our student put in over the summer.  With our upcoming belt test on September 16, students are pushing themselves to get ready.  Only a few short weeks to go, keep up the hard work!

Our 3rd Annual Beach BBQ was held in August – despite a cool morning, the sun came out and we were able to enjoy the day.   Students and their families came out to enjoy some good food, great company and fun in the sun!  Despite the cooler morning temperatures, some of the kids jumped right in the water showcasing their TKD kicks!  Way to go guys!  Thank you to all the families that came out.  Can’t wait until next year.

REMINDERS:  Our new schedule starts Tuesday, September 5 and we are back to full uniforms.  Please check the website for class times to ensure you are not late.

What does being a Black Belt mean to you?

Junior Black Belt Test Essay by Mikko Bernardo written May 27, 2017

A Black Belt isn’t just a rank or a belt it is yourself, your life. A person with a Black Belt should bring good to our world. We all got our white belt, orange belt, yellow belt, so on so forth to reach a new beginning. The tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit are not only what a person with a black belt holds but also what a true martial artist holds. Master Morris has told us many things but the one thing that I can’t forget is that “A BLACK BELT IS A WHITE BELT WHO NEVER GAVE UP”. Discipline is also a big part of having a black belt because without discipline you will not be able to control yourself, you will just do whatever with the title of a person with a black belt. When Master Morris asked me what a black belt means to me and what I will do to give back to the community… I had to think… a lot.

A black belt is my family. Although my mom Ydelle isn’t in the community of Taekwondo, she has been so supportive to us. Even from the beginning, at the age of 7 and 6 when my mom enrolled us to do weekly lessons at the clubhouse in our community. My mom did this because we were hyper… all the time and she wanted our energy to be drained so that we could sleep early. When Aidan came to visit from Toronto, my mom enrolled him as well so that the three of us can bond because we didn’t know each other at that time. When the program ended, the instructor wanted to build his own school, and that is when we started to go up the ranks and do tournaments. 4 years later, the school that we were in got hit with trouble. My dad told us that we were gonna move schools so that we could continue our journey.

A black belt is also persevering.  Persevering is a big part of preparing and doing the test. I have to persevere because I just can’t keep up with my brother and my cousin so I have to persevere in my training, not just for my black belt but also reaching this point. So to me, a Black belt is my family and perseverance.

What I will do to give back to the community is teach( if I passed the Junior Instructor Training Program (JIT)), assist and help the students. I will do this because I feel joy when I help people. When I taught my first class I felt happy because I am teaching the students what I learn and when I see them smile it makes me happy. I will also do this because my parents would be happy to see me teach or just lead a warm-up or help a student with something they are struggling on. When I see my parents smile when I assist, lead a warm-up or teach makes me happy.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Master Morris, Kyo Sa Nim Chernichen and my dad Kyo Sa Nim Bernardo for allowing me to test for my black belt and helping me along the way. I would also like to thank Mrs. Morris for everything she has done to arrange this test. I would also like to thank my mom Ydelle for starting my journey and watching me grow in this community. Last but not the least I would like to thank Kwan Jang Clark the rest of the board for flying out here to evaluate the three of us. Thank you so much for allowing us to test for our black belt!

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