June 27th Belt Test

On June 27th at 12 noon, many of our students will be testing for their next color belt.

  • It’s a good idea to eat 1 hour before test starts (so you don’t run out of steam)
  • Show up 30 minutes before the start time (11:30 am)
  • Bring water (a portion of the test may be outdoors)
  •  Full uniform is required (see uniform standard)
  • Were shoes to test ( you may need to go outdoors and sandals, flip flops and bare feet are not exceptionable)

The following students are invited to test

Yellow Belt

  • Kelland A
  • Kylie A
  • Kaleb A
  • Naeem B
  • Saafir B
  • Kyle C
  • Ronan C
  • Quinn Hall
  • Isaella H
  • Brook G
  • Xshque Lin
  • Jacob M
  • Leila M
  • Gabriella N
  • Victoria N
  • Jonathan R
  • Jeremiah K
  • Jaxson W

Orange Belt

  • Jovon G
  • Rebecca Hopps
  • Ceighleb L

Purple Belt

  • Dominik G
  • Dakoda G

Blue Belt

  • Lincoln D

The Black Belt Fraternity

In 1989 I got my first degree black belt (shodan) in Shaolin Kempo Karate. I remember the culture in those days, when you got your black belt you entered into a brotherhood. Of course non gender specific brotherhood, although woman black belts in our group at that time were rare they shared the same respect and comradery. My challenge here is describing a feeling, the members of the black belt fraternity were a group of people you could count on to look out for your best interest. Our organization has schools all across the country so there were many members who shared a bond yet never met. When meeting a black belt from across the country or neighboring state the connection (trust, respect, familiarity) was instantaneous. The instructors were the  upper echelon, the elite of the club. A good instructor serves the students, so becoming a member at this level was a responsibility not taken lightly. The non instructor members understood that and would go out of their way to assist the instructors in any capacity they could. This created a paradoxical relationship because, in the martial arts and life we are all students from our first day to our last.

In the 27 years since the day I was initiated, I have seen a dilution of this bond. There are those who abuse the culture with their inflated ego’s. Forgetting that it’s their place to serve subordinates, not to be served. Even the ugly face of greed has found it’s way into the mix. Many stop training and plugging in to the group, isolating themselves. This just fosters discontent and becomes part of the problem. Because of the nature of the admittance there has been is no method to ostracize the abusers of the culture. How do we move forward? How do we rekindle the fire of the brotherhood? Is this bond a thing of the past?

Last weekend I took one of my assistant instructors to the Utah tournament. Besides judging he would be fighting in the instructors division for the first time. During the 5 hr road trip to Sandy Utah form Las Vegas the discussion focused on his inexperience fighting in that elevated division. I explained to him not only was he ready for the challenge but at his level it’s not about the outcome it’s about being a part of something much bigger than a plastic trophy (the brotherhood). On the trip home he started the conversation, with an excited tone he said “I get it, I just met those guys and I feel like they are my brothers”.

Is it that simple? Is all we need to do is move forward, continue to do the things the way we’ve always done them? I believe the answer is in the Shodans. Give them the same opportunity’s we had. Guide them to get involved with group workouts, tournaments and clinics. That elusive culture comes from the common sacrifices we made on our individual paths that lead us to the start of the path after black belt. That’s the bond that created the fraternity, all we need to foster the culture is to be in it.


Martial Arts And Fitness


What is the core?

The core muscles consist of the lower torso region including the abdominal, obliques and lower back. Developing a strong core prevents injures by providing stability in the lower back and torso (relating to the , bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and spinal discs). Core strength adds power to a variety of movements, jumping, twisting and everyday activities. A solid core is the starting point for any fitness program including bodybuilding, weight loss, team and individual sports.


Learn more about the muscle groups involved in your core training:



Core developing exercises

Does Martial Arts Develop Core Strength?


Martial Arts by its very nature develops core muscle strength. As the body stabilizes itself during a sequence of movements, be it kicks punches or kata, it utilizes the core muscles to do so. Core strength brings power to punches, kicks, throws and adds protection during falls and slap outs. Competence and coordination in any given exercise is directly connected to core strength. This being said, it could be concluded that martial arts training doesn’t need additional core developing exercises; nothing could be further from the truth. Martial arts training teaches us to break down and focus on the specifics. To truly develop a overall fit body requires focus on the components that determine fitness. Core strength and Stamina being at the center of that focus.


Learn more about our core developing exercises:


Greek marathon runner

Stamina and Cardiovascular health


Will Martial Arts Increase My Endurance?



When discussing stamina you will find reference to mental and physical stamina and how one or the other may be developed. I will argue you can’t separate the two. When your running a marathon and your lungs are burning, legs are heavy and your cardiovascular endurance is spent your mental attitude plays the key role in your successful completion of the race. If your studding for finals and surviving on little to no sleep for days at a time, your mind struggles to focus because your fatigued body continues to require more attention just to stay upright.

Cardiovascular Endurance is Your Choice With Every Workout

Developing endurance is all about attitude, it’s putting in full effort. I’ve seen two people participate in the same workout, at conclusion one is drenched with sweat and completely spent wale the other has had a mild workout. I’m not saying you should put every once of energy, in every move you make during a workout; oh wait a minute, yes I am! Now, I will proceed that statement by saying if your just starting a program to get into shape, start slow. The biggest mistake beginner instructors and practitioners make when starting a fitness program is attempting to jump into an advanced session. This subjects the beginner to two main problems, 1) discouragement, inability to complete the routine with good form puts the focus on failure. If we feel we failed at a task over and over it’s difficult to stay motivated. 2) Injury,   when the body is not prepared for the exercise to much strain could be put on the joints, ligaments and mussels causing injures. Success comes from small consistent achievements, start you fitness program with 30 to 40 minutes of moderate activity and build from there.

Check out our fitness curriculum

Martial Arts for special needs kids


At United Studios our teaching method is individualized. All our students enjoy a personal training session each week. These sessions are formatted to guide students to accomplish their goals. In the group karate class setting the children work together to develop skills and complete activity’s.  Our entire student body is encouraged threw incentive programs to assist each other. This has created an atmosphere of encouragement and caring. Because our focus is on the individual, children are empowered by focusing on what they can do not what they can not.  Kids with special needs regardless of the disability, have very individual ability’s. We have worked with children with a verity of issues. Asperger’s, Autism, downs syndrome, Blind, Deaf to name a few. Martial arts training shapes character and develops self esteem by building on small accomplishments. As students progress in their training they learn how to use focus and discipline to set and accomplish their goals.


Entering into a new environment like a dojo can be intimidating for anyone, multiply that by 2 for most children and by 10 for a child who feels different then everyone else, this is why communication is so important. People communicate in a variety of ways, visually, verbally, kinetically (movement) and by touch. Discovering the preferred method for a student could be as easy as asking their parent,#martial arts #karate #kung fuor by using a multi method approach until you establish rapport with them. Patience is the key here, our job when working with special needs children is not to attempt make them into someone they are not, but to help them discover their abilities to set and achieve goals. For in this lies the secret to moving mountains.


What you see is not always what is meant. For example you’re 10 year old daughter comes home from school and says “their is a boy at school that tugs on my hair when i’m not looking”. Now this is your little angle, i’m not going to give my opinion on how this should be handled. My Question is do you think he’s trying to hurt her, or is it a crush? Kids behaviors are often confusing if you don’t step back and look at the big picture.  Special needs children often feel misunderstood or like they don’t fit in, this could come out in their behavior. One way I’ve found effective is the buddy system. The children that have been in the studio for a longer time have developed confidence in themselves make great partners for someone just starting. This is a method that must be watched over closely so the buddy doesn’t become frustrated or abused.

Brandie Aguilar Photography 229BE CONSISTENTLY POSITIVE

When working with children consistency and attitude is everything. On numerous occasions I’ve had students that were not able to stay on task through an entire class 30-45 minute class. In the beginning I let them take part in the portion of class that they want. When they want to step out they have the option of going to the back area of the studio as long as they don’t disrupt the class (strictly enforced). During class they get lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement, when they step out they have alone time. I’d prefer they have a 10 minute success then a 45 minute failure. It doesn’t take long before they realize the benefits participating for the full class.  My job as a instructor is to motivate my students. I do this by recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments.


The greatest accomplishments of our world have been less of a testament to brilliance but a demonstration of discipline and perseverance. It’s my hope that all the students under my instructions have life changing take always. I want them to know the meaning of tenacity, to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments, but most of all to dream dreams that they know they can make come true.