Jr. Instructor Highlight: Mr. Richard Zeller

Mr. Zeller began training at Summit in October 2017 after watching how much his two children had enjoyed their training.  Mr. Zeller loves the challenge that every class brings.  He is a firm believer in the 5 tenets of TKD and the lasting impact they have on students and instructors alike.  The physical and mental strength gained through training at SMA is something that he embraces each and every day and is always looking forward to the next chapter of his journey.  Mr. Zeller is extremely honored and equally excited to be part of the JIT team and is looks forward to helping other students learn and have fun through their own journeys.

We asked Mr. Zeller some questions, here’s what he had to say……..

What is your teaching philosophy?  I try to make sure everyone is engaged / having fun, but at the same time pushed to achieve their potential.

Why you love martial arts?  To me it’s a combination of honing & perfecting body, mind and spirit.  Being able to apply what has been learned to achieve your goals.

Why you love SMA?  SMA embodies a passion for martial arts.  Your achievements are earned through hard work and dedication which makes your journey that much more fulfilling.

What is your most memorable / proud moment in martial arts ?

As an Orange belt there was one Kicking class where we were practicing our Jump Front Snap Kicks, and one of the instructors came by, took the clapper pad from my partner and held it higher than I’ve ever kicked before.  In fact, I thought it was ridiculously high / and near impossible.  He told me he believed in me, to get into a good stance and really push myself.  I ended up kicking the pad much to my surprise, and after a solid high five from the instructor I realized just how far I can go if I put my mind to it.

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Mr. Zeller graduated the Junior Instructor Training program in July 2019.  He is an key member in our team.  His dedication and passion for the martial arts can be seen in every class.  Thanks for being part of OUR journey!!

How to choose the RIGHT martial arts school for YOU?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Find a Training Partner and CRUSHING your goals!

Training for the long haul can be a daunting task.  Students can often lose motivation and drive somewhere along the road to black belt.  What makes the journey special is finding out what you’re made of during these rough patches in the road.  One thing that can help you stay motivated and on the path is having an accountability or training partner.  The potential benefits to this relationship are too strong to ignore.

Check out what makes this relationship so amazing, how it can impact your training and what things you should look for in a potential training partner.

Here are the top reasons a training partner/accountability buddy is beneficial.

1) They can help you achieve your fitness/martial arts goals – having a partner with similar goals can help elevate your training to the next level, it increases motivation, helps with keeping intensity level high, keeps you accountable, and increases your commitment level

2) Help with form – having a partner there with you during training sessions can help ensure you are keeping proper form and training safely.

3) Safety first – with a training partner, you can feel safe and secure knowing you will have someone there if you need help.

4) You can try new things- bounce ideas off each other – keep things fresh. Having a partner can prevent workout boredom and keeps your training from getting in a rut.  It also keeps the FUN in your workouts outside of the dojang.

5) Helps with accountability – knowing you have someone waiting for you keeps you on track and disciplined.  

6) Helps eliminate distraction – The perfect partners will keep each other from getting distracted during workouts.

7) Having a partner – either in person, by text, or online – can be hugely beneficial for motivation. Stanford University found that simply receiving check-in phone calls/texts from a partner increased the amount participants exercised by 78% (even after 18 months).

The Perfect Training Partner Checklist/importance

✔ Challenges you during your workouts and vice versa – having someone there to push you for that one last push up, or to keep sparring when you want to give up – keeps you kickin’ butt!

Choose someone with similar goals – if your goal is to get to black belt, then find a partner who is interested in the same.  Partnering with someone who is training for physical fitness isn’t the greatest fit if you are looking to do the long road to black belt.

Choose someone with a like-minded attitude – positive energy is infectious!

Motivation – the perfect partner is there to lift you up when you feel down and help keep you going when you want to throw in the towel.

Helpful – look for a partner who is helpful and not overly critical.  You want to walk away from your workouts feeling pumped, not defeated!

 Accountable – make sure you choose someone you can count on, a partner who is on time and shows up every single training session.

Similar Schedules – this one is crucial – finding a person who is able to work within your work/family/life schedule takes the stress out of planning and can get you on a consistent training schedule.

Healthy Competition – a little friendly competition never hurt anyone!  Keeps you moving forward!

Whether you are working on your home training or in the gym, having a training partner can make all the difference.  Keeping you motivated, keeping you accountable, keeping things fun and challenging you to push yourself to the next level.    Talk to your fellow students, see if any one is up for the challenge.  You won’t regret it!

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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.

SMA would like to THANK YOU!

Summit Martial Arts was named the 2017 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary by Top Choice Awards.  Again, we would like to thank ALL our students and ftopchoiceawards_logo_year_2017_colouramilies for their tremendous support over the last 3+ years.  We truly would not be here without all of you.  We pride ourselves on maintaining a high standard for all our students.  We believe that EVERY belt should be earned through hard work, practice and dedication.  We do not promote students simply for showing up – we believe giving students unearned promotions is doing them a large disservice both in the martial arts and in life.  We have built our school on an adherence to traditional methods of training and principals, a strong work ethic, treating our students like family, and a refusal to sacrifice our quality just to cram our classes full of students.  We believe in quality over quantity.  Our reputation for quality speaks for itself.  We are proud to say 80% of our students come to us by referral from current students.

As of March 2, 2017, we have 8 spots remaining over ALL our programs!  All our programs are capped to ensure our students receive the highest quality martial arts education.  Here is where we stand.  Our Little Dragons (age 6-7) program is full and accepting wait lists applications.  Our Warriors (ages 8-12) has 2 spots available, our Little Monkeys (ages 4-5) has 1 spot available immediately, 1 spot opening in April, and 1 spot in June.

We have also made important changes to our Belt Grading system for Warriors/Adults (green belt and above).  Effective immediately, we will run 4 belt gradings per year.  Dates are as follows:  March 11, June 17, September 23 and December 16.  Formal invitations to grade will be sent out 1 week prior to the belt grading.  Little Monkeys, Little Dragons, Warrior/Adult (white/orange/yellow) belt gradings will remain the same.  Please see your emails for specific requirements per program.

We are always working to improve based on our student feedback.  As such, we have made some additions to the website to help our parents/students be prepared for class.  As promised, we have included a “How to Tie Your Belt” video on the website.  In addition, we have added the detailed weekly student schedule for our current students.  No need to dig through old emails to find the calendar!  And, finally we will be working on getting our Forms filmed over the coming weeks.  The format for distribution to be determined.  Stay tuned!!!

If you would like more information about our program, please contact us through the form below or call 587-583-5425.

 

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!