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!!

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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An Essay for our Junior Black Belt Test: May 2017

Black Belt by Aidan Bernardo

For some people they think of a black belt as a way of showing people that they are better than others but for me, a black belt means to never give up and to always finish what I started. In my years 7 years of dedication there were many times in my belt tests that I felt I couldn’t do it. However in that time I kept going no matter what because of all the support of my family and friends gave to me, and that I wanted to prove to my instructors and myself that I deserved the belt that I was being tested for. Never giving up means having the courage and the mindset to keep going even though it’s hard, and that’s what being a black belt is truly about.

In addition to this a black belt also means following the tenets of Taekwondo which are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and Indomitable Spirit.  Those tenets help me become the person who I am today.  It help me be more respectful and honest to others, and to encourage me to keep going.

Lastly, a black belt means being disciplined. Throughout my journey I know that without discipline it will be hard to follow the rules of Tae Kwon Do and if you don’t you will fail in your techniques.  Being discipline to me is another way of living life because without it we wouldn’t be respecting others and following the rules.  All of these important values are the ones that got me up to this moment.

If I am to get my black belt, I would give back to the community by being loyal to my school summit martial arts and making more time to help assist and more so to teach a class. I would also be a role model, a champion to other kids. With my experiences, I can teach them how to be disciplined and responsible so they can respect other people and to be honest. I would also give back to the community by helping out whenever they need me. The last thing that I can do to give back to the community is that I can show my fellow students and to my brother Angelo, how to have Indomitable spirit in them and to teach them that no one can overcome their spirit because one day they might test for their black belt, and that they will know that there is nothing to fear about even though there will be obstacles along the way and that through persistence one can reach a goal.


In conclusion, I would like to say thank you to God for guiding me and giving me strength, and my school Summit Martial Arts, because without them I wouldn’t be saying this.  I’d like to say thank you to my family because they are the ones that make me keep going  and motivate me when I’m feeling weak.  Thank you also to Marcuz and Mikko for being there in this journey, the fun and actions we shared in each of our classes and the support they gave me.  Lastly, I would like to give special thanks to my instructors Master Morris, Kyo Sa Nim Chernichen and Kyo Sa Nim Bernardo for pushing me to this moment and inspiring me to keep going.  Finally, thank you for teaching me how to be a good MARTIAL ARTIST!

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What it means to be a Black Belt

The meaning of a Black Belt and my purpose of being one

Written By:  Marcuz Bernardo for his Black Belt Test on May 27, 2017

What does a black belt mean to me? I had to ponder this question a lot during my training. Being a Black belt, is not just a rank or a belt, it’s a way of living discipline, so we can bring good to the world. We all can get belts and achieve ranks. But discipline is more than all of these, showing us how to be a better martial artist. Kicking and punching are only techniques we can learn easily. Even a bunch of bullies and thugs can do that. When discipline comes in, we learn how to control ourselves not only in a fight, but also in the world we are in.

We have school to attend to, and everyday is that control that we need. Our tenets of Taekwondo: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit, are there for the purpose of being a good person. Even Master Morris said himself, that we can have the best kicks, hand techniques or whatever, but he will never test us if we show that we’re missing one of the tenets in our life. Even the slightest bit of giving up or dishonesty, will bring us down. Without all the tenets, we’re all just kicking and punching.

A black belt is the white belt who never gave up. That is a quote I will never forget. I started taekwondo 7 years ago. My mom had enrolled me to taekwondo so I could get involved in the community. She wanted to see that Mikko and I were happy to take part in self-defence. I never really understood its full purpose in my young age. But when I was going up the ranks, it was getting harder and harder for me to test. It was the most work I’ve done in my life, pushing to get my belt. Even when I participated in tournaments, I couldn’t see how I could ever compete against my competitors. There were great victories, big hardships, and tremendous losses. I never thought I could be this far in my journey.

But practicing those tenets, were commandments to helping me push through no matter what the outcome was going to be. I showed courtesy for those who taught me. I showed integrity by doing my training even at home. I showed perseverance by never giving up on my mind and on my body, but pushed further. I showed self-control by controlling my actions, emotions and thoughts each test, so that I wouldn’t be fussy and give up on myself. And I showed my indomitable spirit, by saying in my head, I will get this belt, I will excell in this test. I can do it!. So with all of these tenets, I know I’ve shown the courtesy for my instructors, integrity in my hard training, perseverance in getting this far, self-control over myself, and the indomitable spirit, knowing that I can excel this test. When I get my black belt today, I will know that I did my best, and that I earned it. As a black belt I will move forward with these tenets as my guide.

Knowing that there is still much to explore, I won’t stop chasing for it. It’s not the rank, or the belt that I want. It’s the discipline, and challenges to overcome. Moo-Duk-Kwan has helped me learn our world today. There is more evil in the world, than there is good. Stepping up to show what is good, is the least we can do to make the world a better place. Whatever door I have to open, whatever path I have to choose, and whatever obstacle comes through, I will push through knowing that I cannot be conquered. I will fight for the good of all. This is what a black belt is all about to me.

What I can do to give back to my community once I become a black belt, is to teach and assist Master Morris, Kyo Sa Chernichen, and my dad. I show a passion for teaching, especially in the JIT program (or Junior Instructor Training) that was launched in September. Ever since the day Master Morris asked me to help him teach and assist, I never hesitated one bit. Teaching is a way of learning. I learned so much teaching the little kids, and helping out. It made me happy to see how kids were enjoying. I feel that I should share our style of Moo-Duk-Kwan Taekwondo and bring it to others. I want to make a school some day. It would be so much fun to be able to teach and help others with my own style of training. I see this as my future. And thanks to the help of my fellow JIT friends, we all can share our passion.

Finally, I would like to thank Master Morris, Kyo Sa Chernichen and my dad for helping me through this hardworking journey. I would also like to thank my mom for starting my journey and watching me grow in this community. I thank my friends and family who have supported me in all that I’ve been through. Lastly, I would like to thank Grandmaster Clark and the rest of the board for being here to evaluate the three of us. We promise you, we will push as hard as we can to excel in this test. Thank you so much for allowing us to test for our black belt. We will give our all.

How to stay motivated!

Black Belt JourneyMotivation simply defined is “a force or influence that causes someone to do something.”  Motivation is at the foundation of any accomplishment – in sports, in your career, in your personal life.  Desire and determination are key elements to achieving the goals you set out for yourself.  But, what drives you during the down times?  To become the best that you can be, you must remain motivated and do what ever it takes to reach your goals. Here are a few tips on how to stay motivated:

1. Set realistic goals – write them down, share them with your instructor, commit 100% to the process

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2. Reward yourself at milestones – celebrate with friends and family, go out for dinner, have a get together, share your success with others.

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3. Have an accountability buddy – having someone there to talk to goes a long way in keeping you motivated.  Feeling accountable to someone will help you stay on track for the long haul.

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4. Have a plan to work through plateaus and slumps – shake up your routine, sometimes small changes can push you through – like getting a new uniform or trying some new gloves.SMA Polar Fleece

5. Visualize your achievement – picture your dream coming true, imagine how you will feel wrapping that black belt around your waist……….all the blood, sweat and tears……….TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!   Remember the is tremendous power in positive thinking.

Inhale Confidence

6.  Reinforce your training values – remember why you started, write down the reasons why you are doing this, what it means to you to achieve this goal, choose to stay committed, to stay dedicated, not because you have to but because you WANT to!

Martial Arts Motivation

The power is in your hands – it’s up to you!  Whatever your motivations, your instructor/trainer/coach will show you the path but they cannot walk the road for you. Life will sometimes get in the way, work, kids, travel, you can get sick, or injured. Missing a class or two is not the end of the world.  Life will throw you MANY excuses NOT to train, it’s up to you to make it work.  You CAN do it!!!

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A Black Belt Story: Grand Master Michael Clark – 8th Dan

For those new to our organization, Grand Master Clark is Master Morris‘ long time instructor and the head of the Martial Virtue Alliance. The Martial Virtue Alliance was established in May of 2011 during a meeting of 26 like minded Black Belts from Canada and the USA.  The founding members of our organization are all associated by the teachings of Grand Master Michael Clark.  Grand Master Clark has been teaching Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do for 40 years.  His teaching philosophy is that of simple yet effective martial arts.  Grand Master Clark guides the curriculum and standards upheld by the schools in the MVA.  He adheres to the traditional methods of teaching maintaining the integrity of the art, respecting its traditions, martial arts etiquette, and ethics.

This is his story:

Grand Master Michael Clark began his martial arts training during his tour in Vietnam at the age of 20. He was stationed at DaNang Air Base on the DMZ of North and South Vietnam.

Danang Air Base

He attended training 6 days a week, 4 hours per day for 10 months with the Korean Masters.  The training was gruelling and brutal in its methods.

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At the end of the 10 months, Grand Master Clark made his 1st attempt to earn his black belt.  The test was to be 4 hours long with the fighting at the end.  To earn the coveted black belt, Grand Master Clark needed to knock out his challenger and physically remove his opponents black belt.  This was no easy feat.  His 1st attempt, he was knocked unconscious in the first minute of fighting.  He failed the test.  Over the next 6 weeks, Grand Master Clark tested 3 more times – all with the same outcome – failure.  He had one last and final attempt before being shipped home to the USA.  Grand Master Clark made a decision to NEVER be knocked down again.  On his 5th and final attempt, Grand Master Clark did what he set out to accomplish.  At age 21, he was able to knock out his opponent and removed his belt. Grand Master Clark had earned his black belt.

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In 1973, Grand Master Clark returned to the United States and started the first martial arts school on the Pease Air Force Base.  The school grew from 35 students to 125 within the first few months.  He remained there until his discharge from the military in 1975.

Pease Air Force Base

After the military, Grand Master Clark moved to Massachusetts started a family, worked for the US Postal Service and continued to train at a Kenpo Martial Arts school.  For the next 24 years, Grand Master Clark would train and teach future generations of martial artists.

Grand Master Clark believes strongly in adherence to traditional Tae Kwon Do practice.  This tradition is at the very core of martial arts and should not be forgotten. Over the years, he has had the honour to meet and train with many martial artists. Grand Master Clark holds all his black belts to the highest standards and is proud of all they have accomplished. Grand Master Clark is passionate about passing on his extensive knowledge and expertise to the members of our organization and looks forward to being involved in the Martial Virtue Alliance for years to come.

Grand Master Michael Clark – 8th Dan