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. 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.

LSF00221

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.

Meet our SMA Family: Mrs. Morris

Meet Leigh-Ann Morris aka Mrs. Morris to all our students

Did you know that Mrs. Morris is a Librarian and holds a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario?

Did you know Mrs. Morris is currently a Top 10 candidate for Muscle and Fitness Hers 2019 Ms. Health and Fitness contest?  Did you know you can enter a free vote daily to see her be featured in the magazine?  Click here to vote!!!

Mrs. Morris has been active in sports her entire life from swimming, to dance, and gymnastics.  Her competitive gymnastics career started at the age of 5 and continued well in to her university career. Travelling around Canada and throughout the US, her gymnastics journey had a tremendous impact on her view of sports.   These early experiences set the tone for an active lifestyle that continues today.

As a competitive athlete, Mrs. Morris spent countless hours training and competing.  She has competed in numerous local, provincial and international competitions, capturing top honors.  She understands first hand the time and effort students dedicate to a sport they are passionate about.  

In 2014, Master and Mrs. Morris decided to open their own martial arts school.  Our humble beginnings in the Shepard Community Centre quickly turned in to a full commercial endeavor.  Mrs. Morris left her library career to run the school full time.   

Over the past few years, Mrs. Morris has developed a passion for fitness and training. She is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  She has earned the Certified Program Design Specialist and Sports Nutrition Coach designation through the National Sports Performance Association.  She is a certified MMA Conditioning Specialist and Youth Exercise Specialist.  Mrs. Morris also is CPR and AED certified. She is currently working on a certification in Corrective Exercise.

Mrs. Morris is dedicated to continuing education and lifelong learning.  She enjoys taking courses, attending conferences and training camps to expand her knowledge and to keep current on exercise science.  From 2017 – 2019,  she was an Ambassador for IFBB Fitness Pro Jessie Hilgenberg.  She traveled to Phoenix to learn about weight lifting, proper form, and nutrition and assisted in teaching women during training camps.  

Around the school, Mrs. Morris handles every aspect of the schools daily functions. From new student registration and orientation, SMA schedule, gear ordering, arranging belt gradings, school get togethers, designing SMA swag, she has got all the bases covered. She is your first point of contact at the school and handles the front of house on a daily basis. 

Mrs. Morris runs boot camps, offers personal training sessions and personalized training programs.  She is a certified Gymnastic and Trampoline Coach with 10 years experiencing coaching. 

Mrs. Morris is the social media manager and website designer for Summit Martial Arts and Martial Virtue Alliance.  

Mrs. Morris has enjoyed watching the students at SMA grow – both as young persons and as martial artists.  Some of our families have been with us since we opened our doors in 2014.   We are truly humbled by all the tremendous support and loyalty our families have shown us over the years.  For that, we are truly grateful.

 

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

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.

56652762_2256256251079779_4419828558004748288_o

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.

 

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.

2019 Top Martial Arts School in Calgary- Official Nominee!

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

tcaNominee2019_badge (1)

 

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

IMG_1604

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.

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:

IMG_2378

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.

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 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.

IMG_2471

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.