The leadership techniques and skills in this course have been taken directly from top professionals in the field and are directly applicable to becoming an EMA Instructor. The course also teachers you invaluable teaching skills and a greater understanding for martial arts in general. It’s our goal for our students in the course to become integral part of the EMA organization, which may also lead to a part of full time job. Students who graduate this course may also wish to pursue the opportunity of becoming a school owner.
I was born in Burnaby BC and we moved around the lower mainland, until my family finally settled in Mission when I was 6 year old. Growing up in Mission I grew to appreciate the feeling of a small community. The neighborhood made you feel as if you knew everyone. It was that same feeling that drew myself and my family towards Excel Martial Arts. My father trained in martial arts back in his homeland of Kurdistan. He knew the value of the training and what it had taught him in regards to discipline, patience’s and persistence. He wanted to instill those same traits in his children. As we were making our way through the curriculum and ranks of martial arts, working toward our goal of becoming a black belt, it helped create unity within our family.
As a child I was very timid and lacked confidence in myself so I would get others to speak or answer for me. When I did my very first martial art class my instructor told the class us to shout as we perform our technqiue. It felt like a safe place to be loud and express myself! As I gained my skills I became more confident and I was invited to be a part of the leadership program and eventually the instructor academy.
When I received my yellow black stripe I told my instructor that I wanted to teach martial arts and eventually own my own gym just like him. He suggested helping out with classes and joining the leadership team. After graduating all three levels of leaders I joined the instructor academy and realized I really enjoy teaching children and youth, setting goals and watching them achieve those goals.
I look back to all my accomplishments and I wouldn’t have achieved any of them without all the support I gain from my Instructors throughout the years, especially Mr. Brent Janzen. He believed in me and supported my goal of one day being a Chief Instructor. Since then I have taken the lead to train other instructors and in the process win Grand Champion at our Annual Martial Arts Championship. It really felt like EMA was an extension of my own family with the friendships I have built along the way.
My passion for martial arts was really tested when my family decided they wanted to move to the Okanagan. I didn’t want to leave the martial arts and everything I had worked so hard for, so at the age of sixteen, I decided to stay behind to finish my schooling and see where martial arts could take me. I was fortunate that Mr. Brent Janzen ensured that he would take care of me and let me live with him until I was able to live on my own. I’ll be forever grateful for that and I learned a lot from living with the Janzens. To this day whenever I need help, they are always there for me.
Today I am the head instructor of Excel Martial Arts Mission. I’m currently a 4th degree black belt and have been training for 11 years.
My parents and I moved from Surrey to Mission when I was seven years old. Moving to a brand-new city and not knowing anyone was way out of my comfort zone. After moving I became really shy and quiet, I kept to myself a lot. My parents worked all the time so I went to multiple different childcare programs, but none really stuck with me. Until one day my mom found out about Excel martial arts I quickly joined their before and after school program and instantly felt at home.
I would go there early in the morning, go to school, get picked up go back to excel and train, then leave later in the evening it was like a daily ritual. Even during summer, I was there every day. I instantly grew a bond with my instructor thinking of him as a second father figure.
I would train every day and was determined to become a black belt one day! As I went up the belt levels, I became a leader helping out with the different classes. I always wanted to be on the mat learning new techniques and helping out with classes.
At 12 years old I went for my first degree black belt. It will always be a memorable day for me, I remember the moment when my name was called and Mr. Janzen tied my black belt around my waist. In this moment he was telling me that I did a great job and he was proud of me, he then gave me a hug and I started to tear up.
I started doing tournaments and helping out more, then at 13 I joined the Instructor Academy. When I graduated IA I started working being an assistant instructor. Helping with classes and leading the warm ups.
Eventually I joined Instructor Academy level two, learning how to be a full instructor. I started teaching classes and working in the childcare program I had once been in.
It’s been eight years since I first joined, and I’ll be going for my fourth degree in May 2023. I’m currently in grade 12 and have been working every day after school for the past couple of years now. Trying to reach my goals of becoming a head instructor and opening my own gym one day!
About nine years ago I started one of the longest journeys of my life, to date. I was getting bored of soccer and baseball and needed to find a new sport. I had always enjoyed watching movies such as Karate Kid, Kung Fu Panda, and Star Wars. There was just something about these cool fight scenes that I found so awesome. Thus, giving me a reason to look to martial arts for my next sport.
I started my martial arts journey in September 2012, it took me two trial lessons before I decided I was going to commit to martial arts. From then on, I haven’t looked back. I have had days where I felt bored or lost at martial arts, but I have since come to realize this is because I was learning too much too fast that I was running out of things to work towards. I always had my eye on a black belt so that kept me going for a while. It took a lot of hard work and dedication on my behalf through my journey because none of my friends at school understood my passion for martial arts, and some people picked on me asking for fights because I knew martial arts. This was tough not because I wanted to fight them, I had no desire to, but it was hard to connect with people who didn’t have the same passion. However, I made lots of friends through martial arts, yet none of them seemed to stay very long in the beginning days of my journey. There are instructors and black belts that I learned from and trained with that some of you will never know, and I think that is unfortunate as many of them were amazing people. Although so are all our current and upcoming instructors I could not have asked for better people that I have met here at Excel.
In Fall of 2015 I achieved my First Black Belt. Once I realized I could accomplish such things it led me to work harder for the next thing, joining the Excel Martial Arts Instructor Academy. I was part of the first group of Instructors to complete the EMA Instructor Academy. This was a lot of hard work and dedication, but I loved and still love the impact I make on everyone’s Martial Arts journey and their daily lives. This is the main reason I continue to work and train at EMA, I love the family atmosphere and having an opportunity to change so many lives.
I currently hold the rank of Third-Degree Black Belt Instructor here at EMA Mission, one which I have great pride for everyday. My current plans as an Excel Martial artist are to test for my Fourth-Degree Black belt in November 2022 and continue to work with our leadership team to help prepare them to become our next instructors. I also want to continue to improve all my martial arts skills, one hopefully being able to do backflips.
If you do not already know, I am currently studying to become a Mechanical Engineer at British Columbia Institute of Technology, in Burnaby. My decision to continue school was not a hard one, I have always wanted to grow and improve so it was very clear to me I wanted to go to University or College after high school. I am studying Mechanical Engineering because I enjoy learning how the objects that shape our daily lives work and how I can help to improve them to work towards a brighter future. I am not too sure where my future will lead as things are ever changing but I am excited to see where life takes me and hope to be here to learn and grow with all of you as long as I can.
My journey begins like many others; I was just a young girl, whose parents were forcing her into a sport. I was a quiet, sensitive child who had a tough time making friends. Team sports were difficult because I had a challenging time working with others. I tried individual sports such as dance and gymnastics. They sparked my interest, but martial arts was something different. It was not until Mr. Bryan Janzen came to my school, in 2009, and introduced martial arts to my life. I took my first class in 2011, and that was all it took to get me hooked.
Achieving my first-degree black belt was difficult, there were many days where I was filled with doubts and if it were not for my instructors, Mr. Bryan Janzen, and Ms. Valirie Peligrino, I would not be where I am today. Ms. Valirie Peligrino would spend extra hours after classes helping me. Mr. Bryan Janzen would constantly push my limits to see how far I could go, not just physically but mentally. They both taught me how to make things happen for myself and encouraged me with their words and actions. If it wasn’t for their patience and dedication towards me, I would never have gotten as far as I did.
Over the course of 10 + years I have accomplished remarkable things such as Grand champion, instructor demos, and of course my black belts. However, I take most pride in my mental accomplishments. The emotional growth I have gained from my training is life changing.
How to handle and learn from failure, healthy goal setting, how to earn what I desire, and most importantly, how to value and appreciate myself. I am proud of all my accomplishments, but my greatest accomplishment is myself.
Currently, I am a fourth-degree black belt, working towards my fifth degree. I continue martial arts because I have grown close to many friends, friends who I now call family. I do not think I would have gotten as far as I am, had it not been for my instructors who I look up to, my friends who always challenged me to improve, or my parents who always supported me even when I did not believe in myself. Martial arts will always be a part of who I am, it has changed me in the best ways.
Assistant Instructors and Leadership Team
These are instructors who graduated from the leadership team and is now part of the Instructor Academy Level 1. Their role in the gym is to support the Head Instructor and take on small groups to help build the foundation of martial art.
Purpose of Leadership Program: While any EMA member with an interest in the program can be involved; the primary purpose internally is to create a funnel for high quality individuals to enter Instructor Academy level 1. By learning some basics of what it takes to be a martial arts instructor, they will have a more complete understanding and thus understand the work involved in Instructor Academy.