Dec 28, 2016
The Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program celebrated its 9th Open House & Holiday Food Drive on December 15 by hosting an evening of martial arts action, raffle prize giveaways, and collecting food for local seniors.
“This event continues to be a lot of fun,” said Executive Director and Head Instructor Chuck Buhs. “Martial arts, prizes, and collecting food for local seniors are each representative of what MSMAP is all about: putting our words and our training into action. Despite our struggles to make rent each month, in this season of giving, we give.”
The evening began with an energetic showing by the Tiny Tigers group of 4- to 10-year-olds demonstrating agility and strength exercises before moving on to forms.
Bill and Meghan Branch of Dunsmuir have two girls in the program, Lilah, 7, and Olivia, 5, who led the first form.
“I thought it was great that Olivia got to be honcho,” said Bill. “I think it is a testament to Chuck’s teaching that a 5-year-old could lead a group of older kids in a demonstration. Firstly, because it shows she knows the material, but also because the older kids listened to her despite her age. It’s actually pretty funny to watch her boss her older sister around.”
“The most obvious changes my wife and I see are their increased strength,” continued Branch. “Olivia has definitely gotten stronger physically while Lilah has picked up the 8-step exercise a lot faster than her sister. In class they are both more assertive than they have been in public prior to starting.”
Olivia’s favorite part is the somersaults and cartwheel races while Lilah enjoys “learning to defend myself.”
“As parents, my wife and I like the ‘ice cream van’ drills,” continued Branch. “It is a kid-friendly way of showcasing the unfortunate reality of abduction. Plus, Meghan likes seeing the kids come out of their shell.”
The Tiny Tigers were followed by the taekwondo teens and then seven people, ranging in ages from 12 to 52, demonstrated a few yongmudo skills including rolls, blocks, throws, and joint-locks.
Buhs explained that “yongmudo is a modern, effective training system for self-defense, competition, and all-around fitness. It’s especially ideal for men and women looking for an incredible workout while developing skills to defend against different attacks.”
Shane Klebig, training in yongmudo for a year while his two children, Taya, 7, and Tucker, 6, are in Tiny Tigers, added that “yongmudo is a way to release the stresses of life while learning self-defense and getting one of the best workouts possible. I have also gained some self-respect, confidence and am able to break out of my shy shell. Yongmudo has helped me to be able to control those nerves.”
Continuing a tradition begun at MSMAP’s 3rd Open House in 2010, Riley Witherell, 16, was honored for her significant leadership and volunteer contributions over the previous 12 months.
“Riley is exceptional,” Buhs said. “She works extremely hard: training four, sometimes five, days each week; helping with the Tiny Tigers every Monday; and stepping up big whenever a call for help is made. Our primary leadership lesson is, “leaders get it done.’ Riley is getting it done on the mat, in her theater activities, and especially in her schoolwork.”
“Martial arts is fun,” Riley explained. “I made a lot of friends through this program, and it’s helped me become who I am. I’ve learned self-respect, discipline, and how important support is. Not only am I in much better shape, I’ve grown as a person. I started this not really caring about where it would end, but somewhere along the way, I loved the feeling it gave me to accomplish things that I never thought I could do. I’ve done so much and want to continue improving my mind and body.”
“Both Lilah and Olivia have a lot of respect for Riley,” added Branch.
“MSMAP exists for people like Riley that are driven to achieve,” said Buhs. “And, success like hers is not accidental. MSMAP combines accomplished instructors, a progressive curriculum, and a state-of-the-art facility thereby providing our community with a safe, high-quality, age-specific training environment to develop some pretty cool skills. People that stick with their training achieve amazing results.”
The holiday food drive resulted in 10 bags of food being collected and subsequently delivered on December 21 to the Senior Nutrition Program run through the Mount Shasta City Park in time for holiday deliveries.
“Once again I would like to offer sincere thanks and appreciation to MSMAP for reaching out to our seniors during the holidays,” shared Mount Shasta Recreation & Parks District Administrator Mike Rodriguez. “We are fortunate to have the support of these fine young kids and their families who willingly put forth their energy and enthusiasm to make this annual holiday event a success!”
Over 30 prizes were given away for the raffle fundraiser compliments of local businesses and families.
“We are very thankful for this incredible generosity from the community,” said Buhs. “This help is critical to getting MSMAP off to a fast start in 2017 with promotion exams for both taekwondo and yongmudo, preparing for some spring tournaments, and offering a 6-week self-defense workshop for women in January and February. The workshop participants will learn some very effective skills and strategies. It's a huge first step to empowering women to effectively manage physical, verbal, and emotional violence.”
The Recreation & Parks District is the official provider for the senior meal program thru a contract with the CA Department of Aging and Planning & Service Area 2 - Agency on Aging. Year-round donations of food and money for the Senior Nutrition Program can be made by calling 926-2494.
MSMAP is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit. More information is available at www.MtShastaMA.org and on Facebook.