Legacy Martial Arts is the North Shore Winter Club’s new resident, a martial arts chapter in line with an international organization developed beneath the guise of the Eternal Grand Master.
Operated by Stephen Craig and his wife Jenny, Legacy is gearing up for a busy season training individual enthusiasts, newcomers and team groups.
You need to meet Stephen, because there are top-secret black-ops he will tell you about (real life ninjas) that can’t be reproduced here.
In case that frightens you, read part 2 of our interview first.
Kelvin: How does martial arts help kids that play other sports? What’s the relationship between martial arts and athletics in other areas?
Stephen: These are things that make our organization so successful, our ability to incorporate other sports as well as the child’s academics, their home life and their Tae Kwon Do training under one learning platform emphasizing life skill training. In my opinion Tae Kwon Do is the ultimate form of dryland and cross training. Tae Kwon Do is all about hand foot coordination, balance and speed. Right from the word go you’re practicing all your movements. It’s almost like a meditation, it’s a moving meditation if you will.
Kelvin: That’s fascinating because hockey coaches always make the excuse that you can’t teach motor skills and motor control and a light bulb just went off in my head that that’s garbage. That’s an excuse.
Stephen: It is garbage. That is an excuse. It’s old programming and it’s a very limited view of the world. Kids can start at the age of four years old in our Martial Arts program and by the time they get to ten they’re phenomenal. You can’t even touch them, they’re on fire. Can you teach motor skills? Absolutely you can. Is everybody born with gifts? Absolutely, everybody has a certain gift but you can tweak and mould and shape and manipulate that into something great.
Kelvin: Something still better than what you started with. But it’s still just a better version of yourself.
Stephen: Totally, absolutely. I’m happy when I find students that are better than I am.
Kelvin: I know that feeling. It happens a lot to me too.
Stephen: You know what I mean? It’s great. Because I want them to be better than me because it’s going to be easier for them than it was for me. You know what I mean?
Kelvin: Oh yeah, I know that game.
Stephen: Like I said, at the end of the day, I just want them to be better.
Kelvin: Give me a typical day for you in here. What’s the best thing that happens to you on a daily basis?
Stephen: A typical day here is we come in, we set up the orientation room, this is where we book our appointments and run through the club programs. Before you enter the door of the actual Do Jo we always balance with our life skill themes so you come through that door, you leave your day at that door and come ready to train.
Kelvin: That sounds awesome.
Stephen: And then my wife usually runs the orientation and brings the group into the room and then we start class from there. I have my leadership team who helps me teach, helps hold bags, helps virtually with anything they can do, they’re in there doing it. So we teach classes and parents usually sit and watch to make sure they like what they see. I’m instilling values that they’re looking for. Because every parent that brings me a child is expecting something, either they want discipline or they want physical training.
They always come with their wish list as I like to call it. It’s really client-based, we ask specific questions like what is it that you want to achieve in this program? How can I help you? What are your goals? We guide them through that process.
Kelvin: And do you really tweak things to accommodate that individual?
Stephen: For sure, you try to accommodate but at the same time everyone wants their kids to be more focussed, they want their kids to be more disciplined. They all want their kids to be more respectful. My whole curriculum is based around that. So, do I have to tailor it to one person? No, I don’t have to do that. The curriculum encompasses all of that. So it’s not just, anything you tick off on that sheet, we’re going to address at some point. It’s almost like ‘don’t worry about your wish list, we’ve got it covered already. Just sit back and relax and let me help you.
Kelvin: You should put some skates on and come coach hockey. It’s you and your wife that run Legacy?
Stephen: Yeah, my wife and I. A lot of people can’t work with their wives but my wife brings a whole other dynamic to my business. She’s from the corporate world, she’s done it for thirteen years.
Kelvin: She organizes things? Keeps you on point?
Stephen: She’s organized, she keeps me on point and she keeps me accountable so that I’m not all over the place at any given time. She brings the discipline to the operation.
Kelvin: Is it a tough business? Is it a challenge cause it is still a business?
Stephen: At the end of the day this is still a business. I have a license from the organization, I have a business license from the district. All over the world we’re all individually owned. We just operate under one umbrella. This is the most rewarding job that you will ever have. What better job could you have where you get to exercise, maintain a quality of life, and give back to your community? Those are all the things that I was looking forward to growing up as a kid.
Kelvin: And everything is so based in putting positive energy back into the world.
Stephen: It’s so rewarding, every day, to see the process yield results. At the end of the day if you’re not excited about what you’re doing, then you’re not in the right business. I mean, I had no intention of opening a club again. I had done this once before, I trained, I had taught for my instructor, I ran his club, I ran his school and then I was out. I did my own thing and I got into the corporate world, and I discovered I was just not meant to be there. So then I came back to this. I don’t regret trying something else.
This is where I’m supposed to be so I was fortunate to find this location on the North Shore. We started out in the mall which was this small little room and it served its purpose. I’m grateful for that but then this came around and it’s like, yup, okay, I don’t care how much it is to start with, I’ll grow it.
Kelvin: What’s it like being surrounded with people who think a lot the same way as you? Are you, Steph, Romeo and Vanessa on the same wave length?
Stephen: Totally. absolutely. I mean this is what drew us here in the first place, we met with Steph and got a whole synergistic energy, this is what we offer, this is where we want to go, this is how we’re going to get there and we want you to be part of it. And then we were off to the races!
Kelvin: Into the fire, let’s go!
Stephen: Let’s go, that’s right!
In all my travels I’ve always found that when a team thinks alike the team accomplishes more than it should.
The team out-reaches its coverage, so to speak. Stephen is an important example of that, talking to this man and learning about his passion for making the community a better place is something that resonates deep within.
Next week we’ll wrap this series with a tight 1700 words on what the future holds for Stephen, Jenny and the entire organization behind Legacy Martial Arts.