Summit Martial Arts 101 – Etiquette & Guidelines for Training

Summit Martial Arts 101

We love the martial arts and we want to instill that love in our students. If you are brand new to the martial arts, or just brand new to our school, martial arts etiquette and school rules can be a little overwhelming. We want you to feel comfortable to ask us anything. In an effort to make things easier, we’ve put together a parent “cheat” sheet to help you in these beginning months. We will start from the beginning.

When you enter the building – also called a “dojang” for Tae Kwon Do.

• Students should arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before class.  Do not be late.
• We highly recommend bringing your uniform to class and changing here
• Please remove your shoes at the door. Families can share a cubby.
• Please be quiet when entering the building as there may be other classes in session
• Hair must be tied back and all jewelry must be removed for class
• Coats may be hung up on the coat hooks

There is no gum allowed in the building and no food allowed in the training area

Before your class starts:

• Don’t forget to sign in for your class – attendance counts!
• Student should bow when entering at the edge of the training mats
• Please ensure students use the bathroom before class starts
• If a student needs to use the bathroom during class, simply raise your hand and ask
• Children should not climb on the training bags or touch the mirrors
Always bring sparring to class – for boys, groin protection is mandatory on sparring nights and should be put on BEFORE class
• Don’t forget to bring your water bottle and take it home when you leave

What to call your instructor:
• Master Morris is our head instructor. He is called “Master” as he has earned his 7th Degree Black Belt
• Mr. Stronge and Mr. Bernardo Sr. are our Assistant Instructors.  They are referred to as Mr. by all students – they are both 1st degree Black Belts.  All our Junior Assistants are referred to as “Bo Kyo Sa……….insert last name” – example, Bo Kyo Sa Bernardo.
• All other Adult staff should be referred to as Mr. or Ms. For example, Mrs. Morris works at the front – Ms. Bravo and Mr. Zeller assists with kids classes.
IMPORTANT: when a black belt enters the room – ALL student should face the door and bow. The highest ranking student in the room will say “Face the Door” to get everyone’s attention.

For a full list of instructors, please visit our website to read about their journey.

A few things of note:
• In Tae Kwon Do, the uniform is referred to as a “dobok”
• It is very important to have a clean uniform. A meticulous uniform and belt is a symbol of your pride and dedication to the art. A sloppy, wrinkled, dirty uniform shows disrespect to your school and instructor. Show pride in your appearance by coming to class dressed appropriately.  Check out our video on how to tie your belt properly.

• Students should remain quiet when they are waiting for their class to start
• Please refrain from videotaping during class, pictures are allowed
• Please be respectful to all other students, staff and instructors
• If you have any questions about anything, please do not hesitate to ask.

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.

SMA-1-15c

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: Mr. Brody Morris

Meet Bo Kyo Sa Brody Morris

Red Belt

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


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

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

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

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

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

IMG_4308

How to choose the RIGHT martial arts school for YOU?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Meet Mr. Max Stronge – Instructor

Meet Kyo Sa Nim Max Stronge

Black Belt – 1st Dan

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_2473

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

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

IMG_2486

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

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.

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!

65305367_696895397398112_2122379357996449792_n

Jr. Instructor Highlight: Bo Kyo Sa Marcuz Bernardo

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

Marcuz began his martial arts journey at the age of 7.  He has been with Summit Martial Arts since it’s inception in May 2014.   He completed his Junior Instructor Training Program training in 2017 and has been assisting in our children’s classes for 3 years.  

On May 27, 2017, Bo Kyo Sa Marcuz along with his brother and cousin tested for their Black Belt.  In his essay, what it means to be a black belt he talks about what the 5 tenets of Taekwondo mean to him:

“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 excel 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.”

After 4 gruelling hours of push ups, crunches, forms, kicks, self defence, hand techniques, warrior crawls and sparring – he came out a certified Black Belt in our organization.  A lifetime achievement.


Marcuz believes that being in the martial arts has helped him be a better person. He tries to make sure that everyone has a positive learning experience, while having a little bit of fun. I can also relate to kids in a matter where they understand me, and can follow my lead. 

Marcuz’s most treasured moments were earning a Gold for Forms and Silver for Bo Staff at the 2014 TAFISA World Martial Arts Games and taking home Grand Champion at the 2019 41st Annual Western Karate Championships. Check out their story on Global News.   Being a black belt, Marcuz feels honored to serve our school and help grow our community.  He is a top member of our Tournament Team, competing extensively throughout the year.  Bo Kyo Sa Marcuz represents our school with pride and the utmost sportsmanlike conduct.  Always willing to lend a helping hand and support SMA in what ever way he can.  Marcuz is an wonderful example to all our students.  

We look forward to having him around SMA for years to come.

Summer’s ALMOST Here! How to keep up with your training.

Summer is finally here!  This is the time of year when lots of our SMA families take vacation or break from their training.  After working hard all year, you don’t want to lose your momentum and start over in September.  Here are some tips for keeping up your training over the summer months if you are away.

  1.  Push ups and Crunches as always can be done at home all year long.  Try doing sets of 25 when you first wake in the morning and again at night before bed.  Or try doing sets of 10 during commercials while watching your fave television program.
  2. Keep up your stretch!  This one is crucial – losing your flexibility can lead to injury and will effect every part of your training when you return.  Kicks and stances can be greatly improved by regular at home stretching.
  3. Take your workout outdoors – at the park, camp ground or on the playground – simple exercises can be done any where.  A few effective exercises – squats, lunges, push ups, chin ups on the monkey bars, sprints, dips on a park bench, knee tuck ins off the bench – simple and a great workout any one can do!
  4. Get the whole family involved – parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters – a healthy family is a happy family!
  5. Sign up for a Team race – summer has a lot of fun, family friendly races – Spartan, Tough Mudder, Color Run – get a team together – train together – Team Summit is training for the Spartan!
  6. Make it fun!  Exercise should not be punishment – it releases endorphins which help with stress and overall health.