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: 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.

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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.”

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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 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.”

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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 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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2018 Comes to a End……..

As 2018 comes to a close, we take some time to reflect on the amazing year we have had.   We are humbled and extremely grateful to have such supportive and dedicated students and families.  SMA is truly one big family – you can feel the camaraderie the minute you step through our doors.  The support of our students shows at belt tests and tournaments when everyone cheers on their fellow SMA training partners.   It is truly a wonderful thing to be part of.  Mrs. and Master Morris would like to thank everyone who is involved with our school – we wouldn’t be where we are without ALL of you!!!

Let’s look at 2018:

Kicking off 2018, SMA was voted Top Martial Arts School in Calgary!

Tournament Grand Champion for Bo Kyo Sa Mikko Bernardo

All our hard work around the dojang every single class

All the hours of practice for our belt gradings

All the dedicated students who came out for tournament training on Friday nights

All the tournaments!!!!!  And there were a LOT!

All the amazing displays of good sportsmanship and encouragement

A tremendous honor for Ms. Chaney who was named CTV Athlete of the Week

A BIG congratulations to Mr. Stronge for achieving his Black Belt

A pretty cool summer camp held in Truro, Nova Scotia

A BIG BIG congratulations to Master Morris for his promotion to 7th Dan

A brand new Junior Instructor Team was selected

A Tournament Team was hand selected to represent TEAM SUMMIT

All the students named Most Improved and Most Dedicated at our annual Holiday Party

And of course, the 5 Tenets and Mrs. Morris award going to Ms, Bravo and Lorenzo!

Our special awards including Athlete of the Year going to Ms. Chaney

And, ending the year with being an official nominee for the 2019 Top Martial Arts School (don’t forget to vote and share!!)

Check out our 2018 Year in Review – it’s pretty amazing!!  Click here to watch the video.

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.

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.

We close our 2016 season with a bang!

There is always something happening at Summit Martial Arts, from belt tests to tournaments to SMA celebrations.  Let’s take a look at November and December around the school.

Our November Belt Tests gave our students an opportunity to showcase their skills.  There is a lot of hard work and dedication that goes in to preparing for the test.  At home practice is a must as you advance through the ranks at SMA.  Our Warriors and Adults tested on Saturday, November 19.  As you advance, the tests become increasingly difficult.  Not only does it test your skills but also your mental fortitude.  Congratulations Vench, Mrs, Chernichen, Spencer, Xander, Mr. Cutlan and Mr. Morin. Be proud.  Our tests are not easy, you earned those belts.

Our Little Monkeys and Little Dragons Belt Tests are just as difficult.  A student must be deemed ready to test.  Readiness is not simply for showing up to class regularly, it must be earned.  Students must show a mastery of skills and display an attitude becoming of a young martial artist.  Listening, courtesy and respect are just as important as the physical skills.

Congratulations to all our Little Monkeys who were promoted in November and December!  You did a great job, we are proud of you.  Look at those smiles!!

And congratulations George, Tyler, Christian and Evan!  Excellent display of all your hard work.  Check out those forms!

We also had another Pop Up Boutique from KSL Actionwear in November.  Thanks Jessica for showcasing 100% Canadian designed and made athletic fashions.  We love having you visit!  Don’t forget to check out their website.   We love supporting Canadian business owners.

On November 27, we attended the Kicks Open Martial Arts Tournament in Calgary, Alberta. Team Summit had a great showing!   We came home with 5 Golds, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze! Our students commented on the pride they felt for representing Team SMA, having fun and doing their best, despite the fact that there were no awards or trophies. We’d say that speaks volumes about the character of our students!  They represented Summit with the utmost sportsmanlike conduct, we are very proud of each and every one of you. Thank you to parents for sending photos while we were busy judging and keeping score.

FINALLY, our 3rd Annual Christmas Party was held on Saturday, December 17.  What a great turnout!  The school was filled with students and their families. Thank you to all the families for coming out and bringing such amazing dishes for our pot luck.  Congratulations to all those students who received awards this year.  We presented awards for Most Improved, the Mrs. Morris Award, the 5 Tenants Award, Most Dedicated to name a few.  We watch all year long to see who has demonstrated both physical improvement and an attitude that truly embodies what SMA stands for.  We hope you all had fun and can’t wait to do it again next year!  If you missed the party, you can still check out our Year in Review on Youtube.

Our next tournament is on Saturday, February 4.  Let’s make 2017 something to remember!

We are off to the races – tournament season begins!

On November 5, 2016, Summit Martial Arts attended the LMFA Open Martial Arts Challenge in Okotoks, Alberta. The Summit Team came home with 8 Bronze, 4 Silver and 4 Gold medals for the day.

Rylan wowed the crowd with his awesome form and kick butt sparring in the ages 4-6 division (white belt) – no awards were given for this age category.  This was Rylan’s 1st tournament, he did an amazing job!

Next up, Brock and Tyler competed in the ages 7-9 category (yellow stripe belts).  Brock brought home silver for sparring and bronze for forms.  Tyler took silver for forms and bronze for sparring!  Great job boys!

Vench was up next in the boys age 9-11 category (white belt).  Vench brought home a bronze for sparring!  Awesome showing for his 1st tournament.

We moved on to our seasoned students – Mikko brought home the gold for sparring in boys ages 10-12 (red with black band belt) – what a match!  Great job Mikko.

Chaney was up next in girls ages 10-12 category (green belt).  Chaney had a great showing receiving a bronze for forms and taking home the gold in sparring.  Great job!

Aidan and Marcuz competed in the boys ages 13-15 category (red with black band), Marcuz brought home the bronze for sparring and Aidan took home silver for forms and silver for sparring.  Way to go!

Next up was Max in the boys age 15-17 category (red with black band).  Max took home double gold for sparring and forms!  What an exciting sparring match – great job Max!

Both Val and Dan competed in the senior women (white belt) and senior men (green belt) divisions.  Val took the bronze for forms and Dan took a bronze for sparring.  Way to go!  It was a great day for Summit.

We would like to thank LFMA for inviting us, this was a well organized and professional tournament.  We would like to acknowledge the high level of respect and courtesy all the schools showed for each other.

If you are interested in competing in tournaments, please see Master or Mrs. Morris for details.  Our next tournament is coming up on Saturday, November 26.