Jr. Instructor Highlight: Ms. Elena Guo

Meet Ms. Elena Guo – Brown Belt

Elena has been training in the martial arts for 4 years, joining SMA in April 2016. Elena completed the SMA Junior Instructor Training Program in September 2018.  She believes the mental aspects of Tae Kwon Do are the most valuable lessons. These lessons have taught her discipline, perseverance, self-control and respect.  She understands that to succeed you must break through the mental barriers and never give up.

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We asked Ms. Elena a few questions, here’s what she had to say:

What is your most memorable/proud moment?

My most memorable moment in martial arts was after completing my brown belt test, Master Morris said that he and the Black Belt Board collectively agreed that my belt test performance was the strongest performance of the day and that he was incredibly proud of me.  The brown belt test was by far the hardest belt test I had done, and after having endured almost 4 hours of pushing myself to my physical limits, it was extremely rewarding to hear that praise.

What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is to ensure that students are having fun while learning. I am happy if there is just one thing that they can take away from each class, no matter how big or small that thing is.

Why do you love the martial arts?
I love martial arts because it is not a sport that only purely trains your physical body, but it is a sport that trains your mind too. Martial arts teaches you practical skills such as self defense, but more importantly, it teaches you respect, discipline, and perseverance.
While the physical skills are not something that I can use every day in my life, the 5 Tenets of Taekwondo are aspects that I apply in my daily life, helping me become a better person.

Why do you love SMA?
I love Summit Martial Arts because we get to know one another and eventually, we grow to become a family together. Everyone supports and helps each other to improve and become the best version of themselves.

Hobbies outside of martial arts?

My hobbies outside of martial arts include badminton, piano, and choir. I have completed level 10 Royal Conservatory of Music piano, and I am a part of the Festival Choir at school.

Elena believes that words and actions reflect who you are.  Showing respect to others is also showing respect to yourself.  Elena enjoys instructing because it allows her to pass on knowledge and experience to younger students. She believes if you can help one person improve it makes a difference in their lives. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge and skills through her martial arts journey.

Thank you for your dedication to our school and to teaching our young students.  We are lucky to have such an amazing group of young people at SMA!

 

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. Brody Morris

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Brody Morris

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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.

Jr. Instructor Highlight: Bo Kyo Sa Mikko Bernardo

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Mikko Bernardo

Mikko started his martial arts journey when he was just 6 years old.  He has been with Summit Martial Arts since it’s inception in May 2014.   He completed his Junior Instructor Team training in 2017 and has been assisting in our children’s classes for 2 years. To Mikko, martial arts is not just a sport, it’s a way of living. Mikko believes strongly in conducting his life according to the 5 Tenets of Taekwondo – Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control and Indomitable spirit. He works hard to apply these principles to his daily life. The Bernardo’s were featured on Global News as they prepared for their World Games.  Check out their story.   When Mikko is teaching, his greatest joy is seeing kids smile.   That alone makes his day.

 

Mikko’s proudest accomplishment was earning his Black Belt in May 2017.  He is the youngest SMA student to bestowed such an honour.  When asked what it means to be a Black Belt for his essay, Mikko said:

“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.”

Mikko also competed in the  2014 TAFISA World Martial Arts bringing home Gold in Forms and Pt. Sparring, Silver for Continuous Sparring, and Bronze for Bo Staff for Team Canada and taking home Grand Champion from the 2018 Calgary City Championships. Mikko competes extensively throughout the year and is dedicated to continuing his own training.  He was selected as a member of our Tournament Team in 2018/2019 and represented our school with pride.  We are very proud to have him as an integral part of our school.

Meet our SMA Family: Mrs. Morris

Meet Leigh-Ann Morris aka Mrs. Morris to all our students

Did you know that Mrs. Morris is a Librarian and holds a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario?

Did you know Mrs. Morris is currently a Top 10 candidate for Muscle and Fitness Hers 2019 Ms. Health and Fitness contest?  Did you know you can enter a free vote daily to see her be featured in the magazine?  Click here to vote!!!

Mrs. Morris has been active in sports her entire life from swimming, to dance, and gymnastics.  Her competitive gymnastics career started at the age of 5 and continued well in to her university career. Travelling around Canada and throughout the US, her gymnastics journey had a tremendous impact on her view of sports.   These early experiences set the tone for an active lifestyle that continues today.

As a competitive athlete, Mrs. Morris spent countless hours training and competing.  She has competed in numerous local, provincial and international competitions, capturing top honors.  She understands first hand the time and effort students dedicate to a sport they are passionate about.  

In 2014, Master and Mrs. Morris decided to open their own martial arts school.  Our humble beginnings in the Shepard Community Centre quickly turned in to a full commercial endeavor.  Mrs. Morris left her library career to run the school full time.   

Over the past few years, Mrs. Morris has developed a passion for fitness and training. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  She has earned the Certified Program Design Specialist and Sports Nutrition Coach designation through the National Sports Performance Association.  She is a certified MMA Conditioning Specialist and Youth Exercise Specialist.  Mrs. Morris also is CPR and AED certified. She is currently working on a certification in Corrective Exercise.

Mrs. Morris is dedicated to continuing education and lifelong learning.  She enjoys taking courses, attending conferences and training camps to expand her knowledge and to keep current on exercise science.  From 2017 – 2019,  she was an Ambassador for IFBB Fitness Pro Jessie Hilgenberg.  She traveled to Phoenix to learn about weight lifting, proper form, and nutrition and assisted in teaching women during training camps.  

Around the school, Mrs. Morris handles every aspect of the schools daily functions. From new student registration and orientation, SMA schedule, gear ordering, arranging belt gradings, school get togethers, designing SMA swag, she has got all the bases covered. She is your first point of contact at the school and handles the front of house on a daily basis. 

Mrs. Morris runs boot camps, offers personal training sessions and personalized training programs.  She is a certified Gymnastic and Trampoline Coach with 10 years experiencing coaching. 

Mrs. Morris is the social media manager and website designer for Summit Martial Arts and Martial Virtue Alliance.  

Mrs. Morris has enjoyed watching the students at SMA grow – both as young persons and as martial artists.  Some of our families have been with us since we opened our doors in 2014.   We are truly humbled by all the tremendous support and loyalty our families have shown us over the years.  For that, we are truly grateful.

 

Jr. Instructor Highlight: Bo Kyo Sa Aidan Bernardo

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Aidan Bernardo – Black Belt – 1st Dan

Bo Kyo Sa Aidan Bernardo began his martial arts training at the age of 6.  He has been with Summit Martial Arts since it’s inception in May 2014.  He completed his Junior Instructor Training Program Team in 2017 and has been assisting in our children’s classes for 3 years.

Aidan has competed in dozens of tournaments over the years including the 2014 TAFISA World Martial Arts Games earning a Gold Medal for Team Canada in Bo Staff, winning Grand Champion at the 2015 Shuswap Open Martial Arts Tournament.  In 2018, Bo Kyo Sa Aidan was hand selected to be a member of our tournament team.  He has represented our school at dozens of tournaments over the years.  He competes in Bo Staff, Forms, Sparring, Team Forms and Team Sparring.

On May 27, 2017, Bo Kyo Sa Aidan Bernado alongside his cousins tested for his Black Belt.  In his essay “What it means to be a black belt”, Aidan shows his gratitude for his martial arts journey:

“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!”

To Aidan, martial arts is not about becoming the best kicker or puncher, it is about being disciplined, helping others, learning to protect himself and others. He enjoys teaching because it is an opportunity to build connections and to learn new things and grow as a martial artist. Throughout his journey, he has learned how to defend himself by using different techniques and strategies, learned some awesome take downs and learned how to push his limits and set new goals.  Bo Kyo Sa Aidan credits martial arts for making him the person he is today.   We think that’s a pretty awesome person, we are grateful to have him as an integral part of our school.

On June 27, 2019, Bo Kyo Sa Aidan Bernardo was promoted to 1st Dan Black Belt.  Congratulations!

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Tournament Season is complete!

Well, that’s all she wrote for our 2018/2019 tournament season!  What a season it was!!  Team Summit attended 7 tournaments this year and represented our school with pride.  We would like to acknowledge all our students for their dedication to competition, giving up all their Friday nights and working extremely hard to improve on their skills.  This year, more than any before, we became a team.  One of the things that stands out in our mind most is the unwavering support of ALL our students and parents to each other.  You cheer loud and stay to the bitter end to support your fellow SMA students.  THAT IS AMAZING!!!

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Congratulations to our 3 Grand Champions this year – Alisha at the Calgary Open Martial Arts Championships, Oliver at the High River Open Martial Arts Tournament and Marcuz at the 41st Annual Western Karate Championships.

And, to ALL our competitors – there is a lot of work and effort that goes in to a tournament.  You should be very proud of yourselves as we are very proud of you.

On that note, we hope you have a restful summer and are excited to get back at it in September.  The Fall schedule is already up on the website.  A lot more going on in the fall this year – we look forward to our inaugural tournament the Summit Open Martial Arts Challenge on November 16.  The 1st tournament of the fall will be the Kids 4 Kids tournament in Beiseker on Saturday, October 5.  Tournament training is listed on the detailed schedule.

Train hard!!!  Go TEAM SUMMIT!!!