The Shiawassee Martial Arts Center is a local organization operated by Martial Artists from the Shiawassee County and surrounding area’s. Owned and operated by Brian, Wenda Godfrey and Joshua Beck, the Studio has been at its current location since March 2003. Located in downtown Owosso at 204 W. Main Street (M21) in the block northeast of city hall, the Studio offers martial arts training for Students 4 years old and above.
Mr. Godfrey began his Taekwondo training in the early 1980’s at Lansing Community College and Michigan State University under the direction of Grand Master Jongoon Kim. In 1988 he supplimented his Taekwondo training learning judo with Mr. Don Vondrasek and the Owosso judo club. Affiliated with the MSU Taekwondo and Judo clubs, students are trained in traditional and competition Taekwondo and Judo.
Martial Arts and Competition
The two primary styles taught at the Studio are Taekwondo and Judo. Both styles are taught as a martial art and an Olympic sport. Korean Taekwondo (the way of the foot and the fist) focuses on competition and practical application of punches, strikes, blocks and kicks. Japanese Judo (the gentle way) compliments the curriculum offered at the Studio by covering grappling, throws, joint locks and choke holds.
Finding a Balance
Taekwondo and Judo both follow a structured belt ranking system. “Americanization of some martial arts has caused some styles to reject this system” states Mr. Godfrey. This is unfortunate because one of the main functions of the belt ranking system is to teach a child or adult how to set a goal, work hard and attain their goal. This is only one example of a lesson taught in a traditional based Studio that can be applied in real life.
At the Shiawassee Martial Arts Center we have structured our programs to achieve a good balance between physical and mental training. Through fun, interactive classes the Student exercises and learns the physical aspect of their chosen style. Taekwondo and Judo classes also focus on teaching the Student respect for themselves and others, personal responsibility, discipline and leadership skills.
In 1998 Mr. Godfrey developed a program for the younger students at his studio. This program was originally called the “Little Dragons”. Around the same time in Florida a similar program called the “Lil’ Dragons” was developed by Sensei Kimber Hill. A decision was made by Mr. Godfrey to purchase the Lil’ Dragons Curriculum and merge Ms. Hills life lessons together with his physical requirements which resulted in one of the most popular programs taught at the Studio. The program is open to children 4-7 years of age and teaches a combination of Taekwondo, Judo, basic tumbling, life and safety skills.
Another balance achieved successfully at the Studio is teaching children fun classes, verses training serious athlete’s effective martial arts. Competitors from the Studio have competed at the State, National and International levels of competition.
Expanding the Curriculum
In 2013 Mr. Joshua Beck a Kukkiwon certified 3rd degree Taekwondo black belt from California joined the SMAC team of instructors. Also a Hapkido and Kendo black belt, his involvement has expanded on an already diverse existing martial arts curriculum.
Students are tested and promoted under the requirements of two of the largest martial arts associations in the world, the Kukkiwon (Taekwondo) World Headquarters and the Kodokan (Judo) Institute. Black belt certifications are issued through the National Governing Bodies of USA Taekwondo and the United States Judo Federation. The Shiawassee Martial Arts Center has promoted and certified over thirty black belts in both Taekwondo and Judo over the past two decades who are recognized world-wide in their rank.