On Route 202 in the Village of Pomona, a group of men and women leave a storefront and briskly walk into the cold night air to their waiting vehicles. A lone individual remains inside. He turns and begins to straighten up the area. Thick rubber mats cover the floor of the martial arts “kwoon” or training hall, where one is instructed in the techniques of Chinese Martial Arts.
Lao Shr Mike Reynolds moves a few more chairs into place and reaches to turn off the lights after another long day of teaching Shaolin Kung Fu at the Elite Chinese Martial Arts Academy.
Lao Shr Reynolds grew up in Orangeburg, NY as one the six children raised by Thomas and Darlene Reynolds, who still live in the area. Reynolds, like many boys, was influenced by the unbelievable strength and power demonstrated by the television and movie star, Bruce Lee. He began training at 12 years old at the Romains Kung Fu School formerly located in Nyack and displayed a clear and unmistakable affinity for the art form.
After a short time, Lao Shr was invited to a special class which prepared him to become an instructor. He was a natural in front of the classroom and gained the respect of both the children and the adults quickly. He decided at that time that he wanted to have his own school.
When asked why, he replies, “I wanted to be able to go to work every day and really love what I did.”
Through the martial arts training, he is able to instill a sense of confidence and personal worth to all of his students.
“Too many people lack the confidence or the courage to actually pursue what they are capable of achieving,” Reynolds said.
The motto of the Academy is “Unbreakable” and it is written in Chinese characters on the sides of the school shirts. While there is of course, a need for students to improve their physical strength, emphasis is also placed upon the cultivation of an “unbreakable “spirit.
“We may bend but we do not break.” Reynolds recites
Reynolds was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. During this time, he decided to pursue a doctorate in Martial Arts Philosophy. He wrote and successfully defended his thesis in October of 2012 and received a Ph.D. from the University of Asian Martial Arts Studies.
A martial arts instructor, just like any other teacher, must have an effective curriculum and continue to work on perfecting it every day.
“We teach leadership.” Reynolds says. “So it is imperative that I lead by example. My students must trust and respect me.” He also believes that the students must know that everything that is being taught is for their benefit.
“My students know that I care about them.”
The goal of the Elite Chinese Martial Arts Academy is to empower children and adults by the structured development of leadership skills through martial arts. The programs were designed to help each individual reach his/her fullest potential. He adds “We want to reach out to as many people as possible to make a real difference.”
On Saturday, February 16, at 9:00 a.m. the Academy invites the community at large to a free Open House to showcase different martial arts such as Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Chin Na and Chinese Kickboxing. Children and adults are welcome to attend to learn more about the benefits of Martial arts. The schedule of events is listed on the website.
The Elite Chinese Martial Arts Academy is located at 1633 U.S. 202 in Pomona, NY 10970. For more information call (845) 364-9200 or email to info@eliteChinesemartialarts.com. www.elitechinesemartialarts.com