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619 Carl Ave
New Kensington, PA, 15068
United States


Traditional Martial Arts.  Real Self Defense.  Proudly Serving the Community Since 1977.

Taekwondo-Ameris Blog

Taekwondo-Ameris Blog

Tae Kwon Do's Self-Reliance Training

Philip Ameris Jr.

One of the distinct  advantages of training in Traditional Martial Arts is developing Self Reliance.  In order to achieve rank and perfect technique, each student must take individual responsibility and put in the time and effort.

As an instructor, I want all my students to reach their goals and use Taekwondo to improve every aspect of their life.  It is my goal that every student is healthy, confident, and becomes a better version of themselves through the training they receive at our Do-Jang.  However (as with anything with value) there must be a price to pay.  My father used to tell me, “ there is no free lunch -  if you want something, YOU must work to get it “. 

Over the years, one of the mottos for our Do-Jang has been that "the standard is the standard".  When that saying is broken down, it can simply be interpreted that each student must rise to that standards that have been established and those standards cannot and will not be lower to accommodate the students.  

How Traditional Tae Kwon Do Training Re-Enforces Self-Reliance

Setting Defined Goals:  The belt system is set up for students to reach both short and long term goals.  In order to to achieve those goals, students must take ownership of their own development.  Often times, this requires people to take an honest assessment of themselves in order to do what is necessary to reach their goal. This may mean getting up earlier or going to bed later to train.  Other students may have to squeeze in a workout during their lunch breaks at work.  Traditional Tae Kwon Do forces students to not make excuses, improvise, and improve.

Teaching Perseverance: Life changes - in good times and bad, everyone has both high and lows (physically/mentally/socially) that can make training either easy or difficult.  By elevating the level of expectation in your students and encouraging them to work through obstacles - good instructors are teaching perseverance.  This non-quitting spirit is essential to students to get over the hump in perfecting their techniques on the mat and offers carry over into every day life by establishing a baseline of success in tackling obstacles.  Always remember, its ultimately the tough times when people grow.

Encouraging Consistency:  As Grandmaster Hee Il Cho often says "even a small drop of water will penetrate rock over time".  There is no quick fix in learning Taekwondo.  There have been dozens of students that have walked on the mats with less physical ability than some of their fellow classmates.  And many of those same students, who were simply consistent in their training, eventually passed up their more "gifted" classmates by regularly outworking them.  Consistent hard work beats lazy talent on nearly every occasion.  Your training should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint.

Requiring Personal Pride:  Often times outsiders confuse Traditional Martial Arts requirements as dogmatic - that should not be the case.  At our Do-Jang, we require students to have clean uniforms and equipment.  The reasoning is 2-fold.  First, it's a matter of hygiene and sanitation.  Secondly (and equally as important), it requires students to take pride in their appearance.  This not only shows respect and discipline for their Do-Jang, Instructors, fellow classmates, but also - respect for themselves.  To quote NFL Hall of Fame Defensive Back Dion Sanders, "when you look good, you feel good - when you feel good, you play good!"  

Creating a Positive Learning Environment: As part of our advanced curriculum, students are encrouraged to read a book and write a brief essay on how it relates to their training.  This encourages students to keep an open mind.  Students should be encouraged to ask questions and realize that their perceived "mistakes" are simply learning opportunities.  Think about the first time you practiced a Front Kick, you only did it "wrong" until you knew how to perform the technique correctly.

Ways Parents Can Re-Inforce Self Reliance Training at Home

 Let your child make mistakes, we will be there when they need help. 

Let your child tie their own belt, they won’t learn if you're always doing it for them.

Let your child put their own sparring equipment on.  Show them how to do it and ensure it fits at home but when they arrive at class, let them do it by themselves

To further encourage individual responsibility, make sure your child packs, carries, and takes home their own bag to every class.

Remember the motto,  “the one who works the hardest will be the best". 

If your child does not want to come to class, explain to them that without commitment they will not be able to reach their goals.

If they do not test , please reinforce our teaching that they have to earn everything and work hard

Do not compare your child to other students, everyone is judged individually 




Author: Grand Master Philip Ameris (8th Degree Black Belt, AIMAA Technical Director)


Beyond the Belt

Philip Ameris Jr.

Beyond the Belt is a short Documentary Film chronicling Grand Master Philip Ameris' journey through the Martial Arts.  The film features vintage stories from Grand Master Ameris' students, family, friends, and instructors - directed by long time student and AIMAA Black Belt, Stephanie Trainer.

Fit 2 Fight: FREE Home Training Program

Philip Ameris Jr.

HOW TO USE:  This 4 Week Conditioning Program can be used as a Stand Alone Method to get in shape, supplement additional Strength Training, or provide a some what "stop gap" for current Fit 2 Fight Participants.  The only equipment needed is a Jump Rope and Kettlebell.

We suggest participants Train 2X Per Week + Friday Night Kickboxing Class.  We encourage participants to keep a workout log (simple notepad and paper) with them to track progress.  Be sure to note rep counts during circuits and timed exercises* when appropriate. - this will provide a baseline of where your current fitness levels are and where they can be.  

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"Tune Your Technique to Fit Your Physique"

Philip Ameris Jr.

Below is a downloadable article from Black Belt Magazine featuring Grand Master Ameris, Mr. Jacob Cho, and Mr. Philip Ameris Jr.  "Tune Your Technique to Fit Your Physique" offers up expert advice on what techniques and strategies work best for varying body types.

Author: Sara Fagan

Publication: Black Belt Magazine (2002, Vol. 40 No. 9)





Fit 2 Fight: Holiday Holdover (2 Week FREE Workout Program)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Each week consists of 3 workouts.  We recommend that you take at least one day in between training sessions before performing the next workout (ie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday - or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). If you complete all 6 Days, feel free to repeat.

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The 3 Principles of Stand Up Fighting (Sport)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Stand Up Fighting, like any discipline, takes years of development. Over time, practitioners will cultivate their own style based on what works best for their body type, ability, and the appropriate rules of engagement.  But what should a student or competitor look for when seeking to improve - that's when invoking a "fighting principle" comes into play.

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Black Belt Testing (August 7)

Philip Ameris Jr.

Every year, around the end of summer, our Dojang conducts Annual Black Belt Testing. This is one of, if not the biggest event in our schools's calendar year. Black Belt Testing signifies everything that is taught through Martial Arts and displays the many years of hard work, commitment, and sacrifice made by all of its participants.

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Whats the Secret to Getting Into the Best Shape of Your Life? Sweat.

Philip Ameris Jr.

When it comes to health and fitness, everyone is fighting for something.  Whether that's losing a few pounds, returning to athletic glory,  or simply getting out of a rut - our 12 week "Training Camp" can be your gateway to kicking through the doors of fitness boredom while learning the stress relieving, confidence building techniques of real martial arts.

Our process is simple: Hard Work Equals Results.  The secret lies in the sweat.  Check out the short film below to get an idea of what Fit 2 Fight is all about.

Directed by Stephanie Trainer.

Interview with Grand Master Denny Shaffer

Philip Ameris Jr.

I'll finish with this. If you have been teaching the same thing for the last 30 plus years, then you haven't learned anything in 30 years. Every early master took what he knew and went a step further with it. It got better with each augmentation. But you know, Americans are great innovators and teachers in their own right. The first time someone threw a forward pass, football changed forever. The first jump shot and dunk change basketball forever, and so on with each sport. People are afraid of change. It takes work and it takes admitting you don't know everything. A fate worse than death of some of the Masters, or Grand Masters, some like to be called. You can't hide what you don't know in the street.  Martial arts is not a religion, or to be treated like one.

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Beyond the Belt Trailer

Philip Ameris Jr.

Beyond the Belt is short film by AIMAA Black Belt and independent film maker Stephanie Trainer, documenting Grand Master Philip Ameris journey and evolution as a Martial Artist.

Details for purchasing information available shortly.

The Foundation: Self Improvement

Philip Ameris Jr.

The foundation is and always should be self improvement.  That may sound simple in terms but in practice can be much more difficult.  Self improvement serves as the foundation of all martial arts training (regardless of style). 

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