The Shr Thing

Lao Shr Mike Reynolds is teaching kids and adults how to fend for themselves and walk upright in the world

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

DSC_0963Pomona – Elite Chinese Martial Arts, a local karate school on Route 202 in Pomona, has distinguished itself recently for not only its technical expertise, but also for its all-encompassing approach to problem-solving and personal discipline.

The school is run by Lao Shr Reynolds and Jiao Lian Minervini, two longtime kung fu enthusiasts who use a philosophy which prioritizes confidence and good attitude. The program emphasizes a concept called “sustained motivation” wherein students are taught to support and affirm each other.

In this way, both younger and older students are given constant positive feedback and a positive attitude they can take with them when they leave.

“What they do is not only motivating the class but also motivating themselves,” Reynolds explained.

Motivating students takes many forms, from the use of affirmations and motivational quotes to frequent progress checks with both students and parents, who can report positive improvements in their children’s attitudes and offer feedback to instructors.

However, this is a martial arts school, and physical training is definitely a strong component in the curriculum. After initial conditioning exercises, the class focuses on students based upon levels of expertise. Depending on the skill level of a student, a class could focus on basic striking and blocks, stances and katas, transitions, sparring and self defense or preparations for a black sash, the highest skill level offered.

In addition to the programs offered through the school, instructors have also taught Bully Safe and leadership workshops through various organizations. Using the same principles of self-confidence and assertiveness as they incorporate in class, they instruct children on how to handle bullying situations and diffuse conflicts.

The school also recently began a new program known as the Special Winning Attitude Team (SWAT) which focuses primarily on life skills and personal development to build future leaders and instructors, with less emphasis on martial arts technique.

Adult self-improvement programs are also available. Classes instill many of the same attributes as children’s programs, but more oriented toward activities such as work obligations. Included among these activities are projection training, handshakes and introductions.