Martial Arts Students were prepared for Open House & Holiday Food Drive

Dec 26, 2018

A local holiday tradition continued on December 13 as the Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program opened its studio doors for its 11th Open House & Holiday Food Drive with an evening of martial arts action, raffle prize giveaways, and collecting food for local seniors.

Holiday Tradition

“This was our most impressive open house ever,” said MSMAP Executive Director and Head Instructor Chuck Buhs. “For more than a month, these kids, teens, and adults spent extra time on Sundays to prepare in the studio — and it showed. Everyone knew what they were doing and looked like bosses. It was quite an impressive display of leadership from 10-year-old Arielle Saryon to 16-year-old Elias Bell to 36-year-old — and 3rd degree black — Jesse Angelini.”

For Cecilia Aguilar, 10, “the open house was fun” while her brother, Hector, 9, added, “my favorite part was doing forms.”

2018 Open House :: Black Belt Fun!

According to green belt Amirra Funk, 10, “My favorite part of the open house was everything! I got to learn a new throw and a new form. I liked how well everyone worked together and practiced a lot. That made our performance better because we stayed in sync.”

“The open house was much better paced this year,” noted Amirra’s mother, Autumn. “The entire production was more informative and more entertaining, and there was just enough of everything to hold my interest for 90 minutes. MSMAP was also presented as more of a ‘community’ working together than in previous years and the camaraderie was obvious.”

The 5 S’s

“Our emphasis on martial arts training goes far beyond the recognizable physical and mental benefits,” explained Buhs. “Rather than another excuse to promote violence, it’s ultimately about cultivating key characteristics for lifelong self-improvement by following a conceptual framework developed by my instructor, Dr. Ken Min, professor emeritus at U.C. Berkeley, called ‘The 5 S’s’.

“Self-training is the first step in the process. As an instructor, my job is to provide the best training environment possible, guiding students throughout their progress while providing feedback as a tool for self-motivation. This helps instill self-discipline and the ability to manage distracting impulses. Putting aside things like prevalent electronic diversions enables participants to fulfill an essential requirement for productive training: focus.

“But, as any parent and educator fully understands, it’s leading a horse to water: some take a drink, others just walk away,” Buhs continues. “I always compare it to herding cats because people will do what they want when they want especially since we actively encourage expressions of their distinctive personalities.

“However, accepting the challenge to learn about ourselves and our capabilities through discipline builds the self-confidence necessary for effective self-defense. This is very important because defending ourselves is an uncomfortable, messy business — physically, verbally, and emotionally. It takes a very strong mind-set to take immediate action and address various attacks whether blatantly obvious or a bit more subtle.

“With these four S’s in place, we have a solid foundation — and a full capacity — for self-respect,” Buhs concluded. “Respecting ourselves as human beings ensures we can respect others on an equal basis without hesitation. This is the baseline for civilized society and democracy. With self-respect as the ultimate goal, we can nurture peace and harmony within ourselves as well as in relation to our community and environment.”

Happy & Focused

Parents witness these characteristics developing in their children first-hand.

“Amirra is a lot more confident because of martial arts and is more respectful of others,” says Funk, the principal at Castle Rock Elementary School in Castella. “I like that the older kids give the younger kids the same respect that the younger kids give them. Everyone matters and is treated respectfully.”

2018 Open House :: Yongmudo Line-up

“Taekwondo makes me feel happy and focused,” added Amirra, who trains in both taekwondo and yongmudo. “The more time I spend on the mat, the happier I feel. My favorite part of yongmudo is learning new pressure points and throws because I feel like I can defend myself. Sometimes I also like the meditating, and I always like all the laughing. The people in martial arts are good friends to each other and know how to laugh and work hard when it’s time.”

“I enjoy watching my children become more confident in themselves while learning various skills and discipline,” said Cecilia’s and Hector’s mother, Rosa Carillo.

Raffle Prizes

In addition to the martial arts demonstration, the open house again included several raffle prize giveaways.

“The raffle fundraiser was a stunning success,” said Buhs. “21 people won 30 prizes including an incredible runner-up prize and the ‘Winter Extravangza’ grand prize. From the many local merchants donating prizes, to all of our participants getting out and selling tickets, to the parents actively contributing to both, everyone worked extremely hard ensuring that MSMAP keeps going strong heading into 2019.”

“My favorite part of the night was the raffle drawing,” said Carillo, whose friend won two prizes.

“Words fail to fully express our appreciation for the generosity extended to us by our friends and neighbors in the local business communities in Dunsmuir, McCloud, Weed, and Mount Shasta,” said Buhs. “Their support, year after year, is absolutely amazing. It’s one more facet of the responsibility we feel on a daily basis to continue providing an amazing volunteer-based learning and training experience to our community.”

Gift of Food

“This training process is all about the journey rather than the destination,” continued Buhs. “Every time on the mat is a new lesson whether a beginner white belt or a 6 degree black belt with 30+ years experience. And, many of these lessons in discipline, confidence, and respect lead directly to leadership skills that can be applied in many other facets of our lives.”

2nd degree black belt, Vitaliy Tveritin, 17, describes it simply as, “The community helps us, we help the community.”

“Our holiday food drive is all about stepping up and doing something — right here, right now — for others in need in our community,” according to Buhs. “Especially at this time of year, clientele in the Senior Nutrition Program can use some added cheer through the gift of food.”

After Frank Cortese, 36, and Tveritin delivered the food donations to the Main Lodge at City Park on December 20, District Administrator Mike Rodriguez shared that "it's heartwarming to see the students and families of MSMAP reach out to our seniors this holiday season thru the annual canned food drive. Our seniors appreciate the kindness, and we commend those who contributed and helped make the food drive a success. Our community is richer having these dedicated youngsters committed to their martial arts training as well as having the heart to share with others in need.”

A Lot More

The dedication that Rodriguez highlights is noticeable by Funk who observes that her daughter “is learning a lot more than martial arts on the mat. The entire system is designed to foster cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills. She can respond physically to some degree, but more importantly, a lot of the learning that takes place is actually centered around conflict resolution.

“She is learning words and ways to advocate for herself and to be inclusive, kind, and reflective,” continued Funk. “She is learning how to interact with people of different ages and that, although timing is important, her voice matters. I like that when an issue arises the kids are encouraged to find ways to solve the problem and move on.

“Lately, it has become clear to me that while Amirra enjoys all sports, martial arts will be a lifelong passion for her, and I feel great that she is making connections with people on the mat who have what it takes to be positive role models.”

“It’s an excellent program,” agreed Carillo.

More information about MSMAP can be found on its website (, Facebook, email (, or by calling 530.859.2024.

More Information

Senior Nutrition Program
The Recreation and Parks District is the official provider for the senior meal program thru a contract with the California Department of Aging and Planning and 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.

“Since 1974, there has been a hot lunch program for senior citizens at the City Park Recreation Center...55+ meals are delivered to homebound seniors in the South County (Home Delivered Meals). Transportation to and from the Mt. Shasta lunch site is also available...The Senior Nutrition Program strives to not only meet the nutritional needs of its senior participants, but also recognizes the importance of socialization and life enrichment. Informational programs, special events, and other activities are a regular component of the senior lunch program schedule.”

MSMAP's Open House
Each December, MSMAP hosts an Open House & Holiday Food Drive to celebrate the holidays with a unique, martial arts-based event of action, prizes, and food donations. First held in 2008, it is a chance for participants to display their growing skills and help those in need.

In The News
Recommended Resources
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Dr. Ken Min

A Pioneer of Martial Arts
A professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Min’s leadership and vision paved the way for taekwondo and martial arts in the U.S. and around the world including the Olympic Games.