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.

The 5 Tenets of Taekwondo

5 Tenants of Tae Kwon DoMartial Arts is steeped in tradition and principles.  People are often drawn to the practice based on this adherence to a high moral code of conduct.  Students are expected to follow this moral standard both inside and outside the dojang.  At Summit Martial Arts, we ask all our students to conduct themselves in a way that is becoming of a true martial artist.  It is not enough to simply learn the movements, one must embody all the tenets of Taekwondo that have been taught for generations before them.  Our instructors consider each student’s ability to follow these “rules” when determining readiness for belt promotion or leadership training.  Today, we will discuss the 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do and what it means for us as martial artists.

Black Belt Test at Summit Martial Arts

1. Courtesy

Courtesy by definition:  The showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behaviour towards others.

What does this mean for our martial arts practice:  It means showing respect to your instructors and fellow students by being on time for class, bowing when entering and leaving the dojang, bowing to black belts as they enter and leave the dojang – you are showing courtesy and respect for their earned rank, standing at attention when speaking to a black belt, always listening to your instructor when he or she is speaking, always addressing instructors with the appropriate title (Master, Mr. or Mrs – please ask if you are unsure), being respectful to your senior ranks and courteous to your junior ranks, it is important to be patient and kind to our junior ranks – you set the example for them, do not interrupt or talk when an instructor is speaking, being respectful of your fellow students training time and the instructors time, be polite – always.

 

2. Integrity

Integrity by definition:  The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

What does this mean for our martial arts training:  the best way to think of integrity is to always do the right thing.  If you are asked for 25 push ups, you do 25, not 23. If you commit to something, see it through.  Always be honest with yourself and others, dishonesty is never rewarded.

For Summit Martial Arts, maintaining our integrity is of the utmost importance. Our students are a representation of what we teach.  We take this seriously.  We teach our techniques properly before we move on, we do not promote unless a student is ready, we do not reward ego or unsportsmanlike conduct, we set the example.

 

3. Perseverance

Perseverance by definition:  Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

What does that mean for our martial arts training:  this tenet can be applied to any goal a student would like to reach both inside and outside the dojang.  If you are looking to achieve your Black Belt, you must persevere to achieve this milestone. To persevere means pushing yourself when you feel like quitting, pushing yourself to practice when no one else is watching, doing what ever it takes to achieve your goals.

 

4. Self Control

Self Control by definition:  The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations

What does this mean for our martial arts training:  Self control is extremely important inside and outside the dojang, whether conducting oneself in sparring or in your own personal life. A loss of self control in sparring can cause great harm to both student and opponent. Senior students should control their ego and not feel the need to dominate or “show up” less experienced students.   As Lao Tzu says ““The best fighter is never angry.”

 

Self control in one’s own life can be crucial at home, at work and in public. Controlling our emotions is a skill – one that can be honed with practice and determination.  Remember, Tae Kwon Do is an art based in self defence and should only be used as when absolutely necessary.

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

5. Indomitable Spirit

Indomitable Spirit by definition:  a spirit that cannot be subdued or overcome; unconquerable

What does that mean for our martial arts practice:  any martial artist must possess an indomitable spirit in order to develop their physical, spiritual and moral character.  This spirit helps you to persevere through seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it keeps you going, it pushes you through mental and physical exhaustion, it cannot be crushed, it tells you to try again if you fail, to pick yourself up when you are down, to keep practising, and it pushes you to face your fears.  This indomitable spirit will push you to be the BEST you can be.

 

What do the 5 Tenets of Tae Kwon Do mean to you?  Think about this as you go about your daily life and be mindful in your training.  We should spend time reflecting on these principles as they are the most important part of being a true martial artist.

Black Belt Journey

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.

 

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!!

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.

 

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!

Nominee 2018 - Nominee Badge 2018

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.

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.