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Stephen Craig & the Legacy of Martial Arts | Part 3

03/09/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

"Otherwise my face would be punched right now..."

Kelvin: What does the future look like? What’s the next step?

Stephen: My next step for here is to grow it. I’m going to grow this.

Stephen Craig is the master of Legacy Martial Arts, the North Shore Winter Club’s own martial arts training Do Jo. With his wife Jenny, Stephen is slowly but surely making a name for himself beneath a proud international banner: The Organization.

Here’s the final post in my interview with Stephen. 

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Kelvin: Client-wise?

Stephen: Client wise. I’m trying to re-tweak the schedule here so that we can accommodate  more for the North Shore members. We’ve done that pricing-wise but time-wise I’m still coordinating with the other main events here going on and where we can fit in. Minor sport is so schedule-dependant, he’s got hockey at this time, she’s got tennis at this time, how can we incorporate all of this into a detailed training regimen that takes care of everything? 

Kelvin: How tricky is it to manage your personal schedule?

Stephen: I’m in the community as well so I’m also working out of schools. I teach bully prevention as well in our curriculum. I teach that for free at schools, right now I’m at Lions Gate Christian Academy. I taught some bully-prevention classes there and they loved it. They’re presenting it to the rest of the school board and I suspect that that’s going to go very well.

Kelvin: So they’ll hire you to come and do other schools and stuff?

Stephen: Absolutely. 

Kelvin: Are you prepared to get busier here? So come September, say a bunch of coaches like me want to set up sessions and stuff like that with the whole team, is that a possibility?

Stephen: Absolutely. Honestly, I see it growing to the point where they’re going to have to put these classes somewhere else, I’m going to run this five days a week.

Kelvin: There’s room. There’s the new fitness centre downstairs where the Giants train. There’s the Jim Graham room and we’re tearing out a whole entire curling rink just to make more room.

Stephen: My goal, my aspiration is to grow this to five days a week and to be able to do that so hockey coaches or tennis coaches or whoever wants me to do seminars for the kids and I can do that, I have that flexibility. I’m planning to grow this probably by another sixty students by September. I’ve had a few parents stop by to look at some programs, we went over all the schedules and programs we have to offer.

Kelvin: So if my team wanted to start doing sessions at 5:30 every Tuesday, that would work?

Stephen: Sure, yeah, that would be fantastic. It will be fantastic! It’s all a matter of sitting down with our team here, laying out the plan for what we want to do and then making it happen. So that’s my goal. My goal is to grow this to five days a week.

Kelvin: Okay, one last one for you here. Someone like me that doesn’t know anything about Martial Arts at all or the organization, what’s the biggest benefit for people to get into something new like this, to train themselves in a different way? On the mental side and the physical, what kind of advice would give people like me?

Stephen: Oh wow, a loaded question. 

Kelvin: Yeah I know, that’s how I roll, man.

Stephen: There’s no way I could give you one sentence that would encompass all of that.

Kelvin: Hey, that’s cool. This is recorded, this can be as long as you want. Just tell me why you recommend people get into Martial Arts?

Stephen: Why do you recommend kids take swimming lessons? 

Kelvin: To not drown?

Stephen: One day they are going to encounter water, and one day they are going to have to be able to swim. One day they are going to encounter a problem, one day a teacher is not going to be there to help them, one day their parents are not going to be there to help them. 

The overwhelming confidence that that gives a person, that when a situation arises they can say to themselves, “I can defend myself,” or they can defend others. There are no words for that in my opinion.

Kelvin: And you’re referring to the mental strength as well as physical strength?

Stephen: Mentally as well as physically, they are going to encounter things in their lives where it’s difficult and the only way to achieve is by training beforehand.You can live through trial and error but so much is trial and error already. Why not prepare them for an already difficult life? Why not? 

And for sure, the physical benefits are great. Flexibility, endurance, strength, coordination, balance, speed, agility. I mean it’s all broken down for us. When I teach something, I teach it from a, b, c. The first week it’s all about eye contact and direction.

Kelvin: What’s the reason for that?

Stephen: Well, you didn’t run before you walked. 

Kelvin: I tried to but I fell on my face a lot. 

Stephen: So that’s why we break it down. I love when people walk straight up to us with no experience, because that way they don’t have bad habits, I don’t have to fix anything. You’re new, fantastic! So that’s why we do it that way. 

This week it’s proper joint set up, the beginning and ending position so when we chamber, full chambers reaching all the way back, the body contact we worked on the first week, full chambers and rotation ending position. Beginning position, ending position, shoulders are squared off, balance, speed, power, everything is there.

Kelvin: It’s so broken down.

Stephen: It’s so broken down so that when we get to a high rank of black belt, you look and say, yeah he or she is a black belt, they’ve got the foundation. The foundation is important, you built your house, there’s nothing going through it. That’s why it’s done this way, right? That’s the physical side and the mental side is while you’re going through that training, the whole time we are working on life-skill themes, whether that’s discipline, whether that’s courtesy, respect, honour, integrity; those are all life skills that we address each month. Each month we teach two life skill themes.

Kelvin: Which even seems like a small number.

Stephen: It is.

Kelvin: Only two but it’s because it’s about the quality, not the quantity.

Stephen: Totally. And we teach it, teach it, teach it, teach it until it becomes like oh my god we’re doing this again? Yeah, we’re doing it again.

Kelvin: So you don’t forget.

Stephen: So you don’t forget. You don’t want to. You teach something until it becomes a habit. And after it becomes habit I don’t have to think about it anymore. So somebody throws a punch, I don’t think about what I’m going to do, my body is just going to do it.

Kelvin: It’s a good thing I learned that otherwise my face would be punched right now. 

Stephen: It’s a good thing I learned that, right? Otherwise…

Kelvin: Otherwise I’d have a bloody nose right now.

Stephen: I’d be busted up right now, right?

Kelvin: Awesome.

Stephen: Those are the physical benefits of training. For other sports they’re going to improve their speed, their agility, their accuracy, their timing, their balance, their power. I’ve had other students who played baseball or soccer and they’ve all come back and said they’re winning games, they’re feeling better about themselves and that’s the reward for me. That’s why I do this because at the end of the day, I don’t really care about the money, I don’t care about any of that, that’s going to come later. When you have a passion and you love what you do, that stuff comes later.

Kelvin: You’re building better people at the same time.

Stephen: You’re building better people at the same time. When I have a mom who comes to me and says ‘I don’t know what you’re doing’ because she doesn’t stay and watch classes but she comes to me at the end of a testing cycle, every eight weeks, When a mom comes to me and says I don’t know what you’re doing but her school has improved, her homework is getting done, she’s doing things without me asking her, 

The testing is such a huge part of that, they learn that life is a test. I bring in a panel of judges and they watch my students and say okay, Mr. Craig, you’re doing a great job, you can fix this. 

And thank you, the mom will say. That’s it, just thank you. I’m going to continue to send her to class. Great, tell her to bring a friend! That’s our biggest reward.

Kelvin: Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen: In essence, we get to change the world one black belt at a time. 

Kelvin: Let’s leave it at that – change the world one black belt at a time.

Stephen: It’s not even mine, I wish I could ---

Kelvin: Nope, too late, it’s yours.


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