As the school continues to grow, so does our talented and dedicated group of Black Sash Instructors. On March 18 we officially welcomed Sifus Ayra, Liam, Sammy and Spencer to 1st Degree Black, as they successfully completed their probationary period. Less than two months later, on May 14, after much training and a reasonably long grading, Sihing Benny and Sije Serena became sifus. Congratulations to everyone in that grading! It was a very positive day and their preparation was very evident. The Academy now has 24 active and teaching Black Sashes! From my experience in the martial arts, this is a rare phenomenon and we are very fortunate to have such a great team!
This gives me a lot of confidence as we head into the future. I am pleased to officially announce that I just signed a new ten-year lease! In addition to being blessed with exceptional instructors, students, and families, we have a wonderful kwoon. We originally moved to our present location in 1992 and it’s really something to think that we will be here until at least 2026!
March to June is usually the busiest stretch and that certainly proved true in 2016. In addition to our regular grading schedule, the Demo Team was selected and resumed weekly practices. Thank you Sifu Sydney and Anne for running another successful March Break Camp and Teen Conditioning Classes. We hosted a much anticipated Knife Defence Seminar on April 10th taught by Sifu Robin and Sensei Rob. Our 19th Annual Shiai held on April 16th was a lot of fun and ran very smooth, especially thanks to the efforts of everyone that volunteered!
Under the guidance of Sifus Cory, Greg, Lorna, Mark and Spencer, our Competition Team had a terrific season! Thank you so much to everyone that supported the team and to these dedicated coaches who put a lot of time, expertise and energy into making sure those involved had a positive experience.
The annual CKKA Convention was held in Vaughn this year on April 23/24 and we had our strongest participation to date. I’ve been attending this event since 2007 and this year was the proudest I’ve felt about our Academy. In the tournament and seminars, our students’ actions spoke volumes. We had the largest contingent at the banquet and our Lion Dance team put on their best performance to date! Sifu Robin was honoured with a lifetime achievement award acknowledging his 40+ years in the martial arts. The Performance Team also wowed the crowd with a show that even surpassed what they did at our banquet! Epic.
Clearly the WKFA is a vibrant and active community! To help keep it this way, Carey Fontyn joined the administrative team in March. She has been a very welcome addition, and is already off and running in her role within the office and store. This allows me to spend more time on the floor teaching the students which is what I love the most.
Remember that other than our one-week shutdown at the end of July, we run all regular classes throughout the summer months. While some consider cutting back training during this time, I suggest that doing the opposite makes more sense, especially for kids. With the demands of school and other activities lessened, the summer is a great time to develop skills and have some fun! We have our last Youth/Junior grading before the fall on June 18th. One of our largest Adult Novice II gradings will be held on June 11th.
On May 29th, eighty of our Leadership Team members and families are headed to Toronto to see the Blue Jays. The annual Board/Cement Breaking Seminar is planned for June 20th and our Summer Picnic at Kiwanis is set for Aug.28. See you at the Academy or one of these upcoming events!