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.

What’s on for June SMA

Here’s what is going on for June

1.  Our 5th Anniversary Party is Saturday, June 1 from 6-8pm.  This is a casual drop in event.  Join us for some cake and a look back at the last  5 years.  Click here to RSVP

2.  T-shirt season starts JULY 1.  Students may wear an SMA official white t-shirt for the summer months beginning July 1 – August 31. No sooner!!!

3.  Escrima Training – Saturday, June 9 from 1-3pm.  This class is open to all students age 9 and up and all tournament team members.  Click here to register.

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4.  Bootcamp – starts Saturday, June 8!!!  Don’t miss out – limited spots available.  See Mrs. Morris for more details or book online today.

5.  SMA Sweatshirts are available for pre-order.  Zip and Regular Hoodies in youth and adult sizes S – XL.  We do not order extras so if you are interested please see Mrs. Morris.  Sweatshirts can be customized with the students name.

6.  SMA Beach BBQ is confirmed for Saturday, August 24 from 1:30-5:30pm at the Mahogany West Beach.  This is a Pot Luck Event – invitations to follow.

7.  Fall Tournament Schedule is available on the website under “Detailed Schedule” if you are planning to compete next year.

What’s on for May at SMA

The year is going by in a flash!! We are wrapping up our tournament season at the end of May. It’s been a busy season!  On April 6, we competed at the 2019 Calgary Open Martial Arts Championships at Bearspaw Christian School.  This was a tremendous tournament – over 300 competitors – the top martial artists in Alberta were out and it was spectacular!  Team Summit did an amazing job!  We are so proud of each and every one of you.

Alisha – GRAND CHAMPION (age 8 and under) AND Gold for Forms, Silver for Sparring
Team Summit – Bronze for Team Forms
Zosia – double Gold for Sparring and Forms
Oliver – Gold for Forms
Jayden – Bronze for Sparring
Rylan – Silver for Forms, Bronze for Sparring
Sebastian – double Silver for Sparring and Forms
Brody – Silver for Continuous Sparring, Gold for Sparring, Silver for Forms
Chaney – Gold for Forms
Mikko – Silver for Forms, Bronze for Sparring
Aidan – double Bronze for Sparring and Forms
Marcuz – Gold for Forms, Silver for Sparring
Finished the day with an EXCITING Team Fighting Division where TEAM SUMMIT TOOK HOME THE GOLD!

 

We would like to congratulate Bo Kyo Sa Bernardo for being promoted to 1st Dan. You have shown your true dedication to the martial arts.  You have shown that the journey is not over when you get your black belt, it is just the beginning.

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Our final 3 tournaments are PMA Tournament of Champions April 27, the 2019 High River Martial Arts Championships on May 11 and the 2019 Western Canadian Karate Championships on May 25. Please join us and support your fellow SMA athletes at any one of these tournaments – more details can be found on our FB page

SMA will be celebrating our 5th Anniversary on May 13th!  Stay tuned for celebration plans once tournament season comes to an end.

Private lessons are now available on Fridays and Sundays for those wishing to get in a little extra practice  You can book online or in person.

 

2019 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary- Official Nominee!

Fall has been a busy time around SMA. We are heading in to official tournament season, training has started for students on Friday nights, a new JIT team is well underway and we have been officially nominated as 2019 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary. We are thrilled and humbled to accept this nomination 3 years in a row!  Thank you to all our loyal and dedicated students and their families, you have shown us such tremendous support and love over the past 5 years.  We can’t thank you enough.  Please take a minute to click HERE and vote for SMA!  Please share with all your family and friends.  Let’s show them what our little school is made of – ALL HEART!

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Check out our Tournament Team sporting their new pants……….new uniforms to be unveiled at the first tournament at the end of November.

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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.

Fall Registration, Bye Bye Summer!

Well, summer went by in a flash!!!  Thank you to all our students who submitted pictures of their summer practice!  We loved seeing you working on your techniques all across the world!  There is still a few days left if you have not been featured, you can email or text photos and videos until the end of August.

A few exciting things for fall!  We are pleased to announce the formation of Team Summit – our very first official Tournament Team.  As with our Junior Instructor Program, we hand selected our team based on the following factors:

  • adherence to the 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do
  • student must be of sound moral character
  • student must exhibit self-discipline, respect and a level of maturity when faced with adversity or defeat
  • proven track record of consistency in tournament training attendance
  • proven track record of commitment level to training
  • prior competition experience

We encourage students to compete as it is a valuable experience. ALL SMA students can compete in any tournament, you do not have to be on the team to compete. There will be several opportunities throughout the year starting in November.   Please see Mrs. M or Master Morris for more details on competition and training.

Starting in September, we will have a brand new JIT Team!!  We are excited to welcome the newest members of the Team.  We welcome Mr. Cutlan, Mr. Zeller, Ms. Bravo, and Brody.  We are happy to have you as part of the SMA Instructing Team.

Fall registration is almost full!  We are happy to see all our continuing students sign on for another season which left only a handful of spaces across ALL our programs.  We have enjoyed watching all of you learn and grow as martial artists.

Bootcamp has 3 spots left for the September 8 start date.  This is a high intensity, MMA style interval class.  All fitness levels welcome.  Open to everyone – bring your friends!!  See Mrs. Morris for more details on how to register.  Can’t wait to see everyone out!!!

REMEMBER:  we are back to full uniforms on September 1.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!!

Stay tuned for the unveiling of our NEW website……

Summit Martial Arts website is currently under construction!  Stay tuned for the launch of the new site very soon!  The new site will be mobile friendly, responsive and have a fresh new look.  You will be able to download the current schedule right to your phone and see our events calendar for the entire year!

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We are working hard to get the new site up and running by the end of the week.  If there is any thing you would like to see on the new website, please let us know!  We appreciate the feedback.  Enjoy the sneak peaks!

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There are a few other exciting things we are working on………..

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Thank you to Lightscope Films (Dad of 2 SMA students) for their awesome photography.

 

Our 2017 comes to a end – what a GREAT year!!!

As we finish out 2017, we take a look back at all the amazing times we’ve had.  From tournaments to belt tests, a Black Belt Test (1st one since 2015), to being voted 2017 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary and ALL the fun we had around the school and outside of it.  Friendships are made, skills are mastered, with all your hard work, blood, sweat and tears left on the mats.  We are thrilled to have such an amazing group of people in our school.  We consider ourselves very blessed to have all this love and support surround SMA.  Here is a look back at our year……….in case you missed the Christmas Party.

We are extremely proud to have been nominated for a 2nd year as the Top Martial Arts School in Calgary.  Voting closes on January 2 –  CLICK HERE TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR SUMMIT MARTIAL ARTS!

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Our 2018 schedule is now up on the website.  We have a lot of exciting opportunities for those interested in tournaments – see the detailed schedule for training days.

We have 3 spots available for January 15 in our Little Monkeys class (ages 4-5) and 2 spots our Little Dragons (ages 6-7).  Our Warriors class is currently full.  Please call the school to get on our wait list for ages 8-12.

Our next belt test is scheduled for Saturday, January 20.  Invitations to grade will be sent out 1 week prior to the test.  Make sure you are getting your practice in at home if you are hoping to grade.

We would like to THANK YOU – our SMA families for making SMA such an amazing place to train.  Here’s to an incredible 2018!!!

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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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