(Long Island, N.Y.) I’m always so afraid to try something new because if there’s an unwritten rule, I’m sure to break it. I’m THAT girl who would say “Gesundheit!” on the first day of “The Silent Retreat” and get sent home. Always feeling a bit paranoid I’ll offend or do something really dumb, I usually steer clear from trying exciting new things.
I was always intrigued by martial arts, so I thought: Why not just ask? And that I did. I went to Andrew Stiglaino who has been involved with martial arts for over 30 years. Andrew holds the title of “Shihan”, which means High Level Teacher at United Martial Arts Center located in Suffolk County.
Long Island Exchange: I’d like to know about martial arts etiquette. Is there such a thing? What’s the least I need to know if I plan to take a class?
Stigliano: Martial Arts is all about etiquette, manners and protocol. But all one would need to know if they were to start training is to make that first step and enter the school with an open mind and a positive attitude. The rest is easy!
Are there any other “unwritten rules” that you wouldn’t find in any handbook that you can tell me about? It is true there are many customs, rules and regulations that are not listed in many handbooks, but they are based on communication, team work, respect, safety and plain out doing the right thing. For instance:
• Never turn your back on anyone, think about it, if it is an aggressive person they might seize the opportunity and attack you. You would never turn your back on someone you care about during a conversation for it is selfish and displays a lack of respect, and people will remember that. Also as a metaphor turning your back is a symbol for many things and its all negative.
• In the martial arts the more you give — the more you get! If you work hard, you advance to Black Belt quicker. If you love to help others, others will certainly help you! If you show loyalty toward your school, the school, the teachers, and the student swill be loyal and supportive!
There are so many things – but that is why I truly believe in the Martial Arts, and its incredibly infinite positive attributes!
I’ve always felt a bit intimidated to sign myself up—perhaps fear of the unknown. Can you tell me a little about what a “beginner class” might entail? WOW, great question, we get that all of the time. And we have never let anyone down. Our school, the staff, and the class curriculum is especially designed for YOU! We tailor it to the individual, our program builds self esteem, as you learn. A beginner will be EMPOWERED with their new knowledge. Everyone is coached and guided every step of the way, you would learn the essentials of martial arts, fitness, and self-defense.
What would be one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to martial arts classes, and how do you address that? The biggest misconception is that martial arts teaches violence, and the idea that hitting people is OK. We here at UMAC teach the opposite, hitting is not ok, and we educate to all of our students the repercussions of such and act. We use the term “Warriors of Peace”. We are all strong and knowledgeable, but we are all about peace and harmony!
The other misconception is that martial Arts is just a hobby, or an activity! It is not! Good martial arts training is truly all about self development on all plains: mental growth, physical growth and inner growth. No other sport or activity can offer a person all of that! Martial Arts training is a the best thing you could do for yourself, or you child.
We all have to begin somewhere. What is a very first class like—as a student?
We here at UMAC will warmly welcome you in, show you around, introduce you to some people. That would be our first step! Then we would guide you through the class Step by Step! We have our own special formula to ensure your success and lead you on a path of excitement and empowerment. You will instantaneously feel like a WNNER! At the End of the Class you will certainly want to experience it all over again!
Kids always seem to have a blast in class. What about parents? What can they get out of signing up?
Parents will feel all of the same excitement, and empowerment, as I have been explaining, however they will also feel like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders as their stress melts away. They will loose unwanted weight, as they tone their bodies in a fun and easy manner. They will build self esteem as they conquer new goals, and realize that it is never to late to start a martial arts program. The feeling that one can handle themselves against an aggressive person is very comforting. It is the best choice for any adult, and the benefits are grand: better flexibility, more energy, increased focus–AND IT IS EASY!
For someone who may be undecided if martial arts is something they would enjoy, do you offer any trial classes? How does it work? We here at UMAC firmly believe in the martial arts and our wonderful curriculum, that we would offer anyone TWO full Weeks of training–totally free No Obligations or hidden fees. If some decides not to join our awesome school, then we feel that it was better to meet and share than to not have met at all! IT IS ALL GOOD! We love what we do!
Many schools here on Long Island hold an open house to give interested families a peek at what they can offer. Do you have any upcoming events? OH YES…. We have our Annul open house coming up on October 15th…It is a Sunday from 12:00pm until 4:00pm. We welcome all to attend. There will be a Live DJ, a Bouncer for the Kids, a great magician, Games, face painting, plenty of food, and most of all great KARATE DEMONSTRATIONS! Everyone has a great time. We also have raffles, and giveaways. And again it is free and we welcome newcomers to share this great community event! Also we do a free Halloween party on OCTOBER 28th, that is a Saturday from 5:30 -9:30. A great safe way to celebrate this unique day! Again plenty of food snacks, prizes and FUN!
If you’re at the open house and happen to see a woman with long brown hair chasing around two small children, trying to desperately not to break any unwritten rules while keeping her kids from running with their sneakers on the mat—that just might be me!
If you want to check out UMAC, here’s more info:
United Martial Arts Center
600 North Bicycle Path- Unit D
Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776
(631) 474-0844 or visit: www.united-karate.com