Kids Martial Arts School

Kids Martial arts school training space are considered sacred – from the mats to the walls. Most martial artist (old school ones like me) will bow as a sign of respect to all that goes on there. The learning, the sweat, the blood, the tears and the laughter. It’s so special and our kids need to understand this more.  Kids are kids, without a doubt, but it’s our job as parents and teachers alike to teach them places are not theirs to own and rule. They belong to everyone, and we need to be considerate and keep them clean, follow the rules, and do our part so that they, and others, can enjoy the privilege of using them.

Libraries are not for trying out tap dancing or gymnastics, and we don’t start a game of tag in the grocery store. You leave a place the way you found it — or better. You must respect your surroundings.

At FightClub kids that come early to class should be warming up, or practicing things they learned before or even walking and talking with their friends. The same hold true for after class. I always encourage the kids to practice the things they learned – play time not some much. Remember the adult Systema class starts just after the youth and we all need to respect there training time.

If we don’t teach our kids how to do this, who will? We all need to lead by example and show them how important respecting shared spaces, and it needs to start at a young age. Hopefully, this will make it a habit sooner than later, although these teachings are not a one-shot deal. We teach, then reteach, then reteach again.

Children are the ultimate testers, even very well-behaved kids. They are always pushing the limits. Their frontal lobes (the part of the brain that controls impulses) are not fully developed, and it’s the job of the parent to take control and show them the way. And it takes way more than a few times — it is constant. It is hard work, but it is worth it and necessary.

With much respect,


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Archery has been a vital part of civilization for millenniums. Originating with our hunter- gatherer ancestors and passed down through time, what was one day a means to provide food and protection for one’s family is now a favourite pastime for both young and old.

Whether carved as petroglyphs on the walls of ancient dwellings or viewed worldwide at the Olympics, it’s easy to see archery has been around for a long time along and continues to be a pop culture phenomenon.

Made even more popular by recent Hollywood
films, there is little doubt archery is here to stay. This popular activity continues to provide today’s youth with both fun and valuable learning.

Archery is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing recreational activities among today’s youth. Regardless of age, this activity is attracting countless young people to become proficient at a very ancient tradition.

In both urban and rural areas there is a groundswell of curiosity in the fine art of archery, resulting in overwhelming growth in all aspects of the sport. Local archery clubs have continued to experience drastic growth in memberships and archery dealers have noticed the same trend in archery equipment sales.

The results are obvious. In 2012 one out of every 12.5 people participated in archery. This growing worldwide interest was exemplified during the 2012 Olympics, by the fact that archery was the most watched sport.

Made accessible by beginner archery lessons, after school programs and local archery shops, archery can provide lifelong value to those getting involved.


While some parents might be tempted to believe archery is a passing trend, think again. As a low-impact and lifetime interest, this is one pastime that will teach valuable lessons as well as provide entertainment.


Besides the fun of sending arrows downrange into a target, archery is also a teaching tool. Providing archery lessons archery is far more than ownership of a bow and arrow. So, what lessons can archery teach kids?


Archery may be considered a sport to most, but to those involved it is a series of precise movements learned by discipline. Archery teaches discipline by demanding proper stance, draw, anchor and release. The archer will quickly learn that with each shot there must be consistency and control. These are required basic fundamentals to make accurate shots.

More than just another sport, the bow and arrow will teach the shooter that being disciplined in small things always leads to greater success downrange.


Much like golf, archery requires mental focus. Learning to block out all other distractions is a must for accuracy. Allowing your mind to stray will mean a stray arrow will follow. Good archers focus on making each shot count. This requires a mind set on making sure of proper form and correct shot execution every time. In a world full of distractions, archery assists in establishing a laser like focus of the mind.


Archery is about repeating the same mechanics time-after-time. These small details can make all the difference between expertise and mediocrity. Repeatability of your anchor point, sight picture and release are key elements of archery. These may sound simple, but as every archer knows, they require practice. Getting your kids into archery will help them pay attention to appreciate the small things.


Archers understand that in order to improve, they must be persistent. The muscle memory required to excel will require regular practice. Not every arrow will always be right on target but there’s never room to quit. This is a valuable lesson for any young person to learn.


Hurry is not the archer’s friend. While today’s world may be in a hurry, archery forces the shooter to slow down and follow through. Rushing the shot will usually result in a lack of accuracy. Learning to patiently shoot one arrow at a time is a lesson that will provide great value for your kids in years to come.


Psychologists agree that confidence plays an important factor in child development. This confidence is strengthened when children can visualize their own personal skills. Archery provides visual stimulation to the child, making it possible for them to see the progression, development and possession of various skills. Few activities can give your child confidence like archery can.


Although archery can be leveraged as a team sport, it is very dependent upon the actions of the individual. The shooter will soon realize that any mistake or error is his or her own fault. In archery there is no one to blame if an arrow fails to hit its mark. This lesson is an important one for any youth to learn. Personal responsibility is a major player all through life.


The law of physics doesn’t allow cheaters. The archer will soon recognize that, in order to be consistent, he or she has to follow the rules. This may sound too simplistic, but it’s a known fact that most kids do better in school after participating in archery. The principal of understanding rules are necessary is an important part of a child’s character development.


Although each arrow is dependent upon a single shooter, archery is a social activity. Standing side by side with other archers will help to develop knowledge sharing skills. Few things can compare to watching your child sit down and help another child through a problem they are having. This is the result of spending time within the archery community. When your child begins to help another shooter with their shooting, you recognize these skills far exceed putting an arrow in a target.

10. FUN 

No one can simply hand you archery skills; they must be earned. But, once received, there is great reward for the time spent earning them. Life isn’t all work and neither is archery. Life is enjoyable and rewarding when work is put in its proper perspective. So it is with archery.

Archery is both fun and rewarding. And the harder you work, the more rewarding it is. As kids learn this, they will understand that work can be fun.


A recreational specialist recently wrote, “Archery is the only sport I’ve seen that is this structured. Kids learn to wait their turn, follow directions, set goals and challenge themselves. Once they’re instructed, hardly any of my students cause problems. Archery develops character, and these students will benefit the rest of their lives.”

Archery isn’t just another hobby, with time and encouragement your child will develop skills that will last a lifetime.

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Systema – The Entire Arm

Hey FC Crew,

Here is a quick video from last weeks class where I showed how to ‘work’ from the entire arm. The idea being that you try make one arm work like two arms. As you will see in the video the work is quite gentle for both me and my partner. There are a lot of people in the martial arts world that will criticize this stuff – maybe even I did years ago.

If we condition ourselves to respond to any movement with maximal tension we will begin to respond to all things with maximal tension – disagreements with our spouse, conflict with a coworker, road rage, negative self-talk, the list goes on and on.

Han Suyin wrote: “There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.”

Do not mistake gentleness for weakness. We must learn to apply appropriate force to each situation.

When we practice selective tension we practice gentle strength. We learn how to discern the appropriate force to resolve whatever situation is at hand. This teaches us how to prevent force escalation, and how to overcome hardship without making it more difficult than absolutely necessary.

Yours in Systema,


toronto systema training

Recurve Archery Technique – The Elbow


It may seem obvious, but I recently watched someone shoot many arrows, wondering why all his arrows fell short until it finally dawned on him that the string was ‘catching’ on his shoulder. (If you habitually shoot in a heavy jumper, now might be the time to move to t-shirts.)

If the string connects with the shoulder of a bulky garment, or the flapping sleeve of a t-shirt (always a problem when shooting outdoors), it will be slowed down by a random amount. The arrow will similarly be slowed down, and it will be impossible to get a consistent vertical group – often it will be impossible even to hit the target.

The solution? Wear a light top, preferably not too loose-fitting. A chest guard (roughly a tenner from your friendly archery suppliers) will also help hold your clothes in check. Rolling up an awkward t-shirt sleeve can be useful.

A related (but infinitely more painful) problem can occur if you have a nobbly elbow that sticks out into the path of the string. Many are the hideous bruises I have taken home from a shooting session. But this need never happen! This problem is caused by locking the left arm, in the belief that this will (a) hold the bow steadier or (b) get a longer draw. Actually, (b) is true enough, but any benefit is thoroughly outweighed by the disadvantage of the string hitting the elbow.

The solution? Relax the left arm a bit and rotate the elbow slightly clockwise, so it sticks out to the left a bit. You’ll probably find that it’s harder to stay at full draw in this position, but your muscles will soon adapt to the increased strain.

See you on the archery range today for a mini-tournament!


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FightClub celebrates its 15-Year Anniversary

For Immediate Release – April 29th, 2019

Contact: Emmanuel Manolakakis

FightClub Martial Arts and Fitness Training Ctr Inc.



Press Release

FightClub celebrates its 15-Year Anniversary

FightClub Martial Arts and Fitness Training Centre is celebrating its 15th anniversary on May 11th, 2019. Everyone is invited to come train, eat, drink and celebrate!

FightClub is located at 401 Donlands Avenue. The celebration starts at 10:00 am with a one-hour, fun-filled kids training session. The festivities continue from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm, with a special adult training session. Following the session, everyone is invited to enjoy food and drinks.

FightClub has a dynamic and refreshing approach to learning self-defense. Classes teach the importance of protecting one’s self, loved ones, and physical fitness. At FightClub, you learn practical, functional, modern martial arts skills and the value of staying healthy. Regardless of your age, or how out of shape you are, FightClub delivers a way for you to train your body and mind through work CNCTEMA – Russian Martial Arts.

FightClub owner and head instructor, Emmanuel Manolakakis explains how the incredible journey began:

“Fifteen years ago, I had an idea to open a small martial arts club close to my home in East York and to further my martial arts training. Traveling to my instructors’ school, north of the city was becoming a long commute. Faced with the obligations of a growing family, I found myself thinking about opening a local club to continue my education in the fascinating and unique Russian martial art known as Systema.

Rewind to 2003, FightClub was a group of fewer than 10 men training, two nights a week, in the basement of a 700 square foot room.

Fast forward to 2013, FightClub has now grown to over 200 students – men, women, and children. Offering 20 classes per week, including day and evening sessions, adult and youth classes, archery classes, fitness, and personal training classes. The training gym is over 3500 square feet of space. What a difference time makes.

As a school and business, FightClub is involved in keeping our community safe, healthy and strong. FightClub’s ultimate goal is to empower its students with the ability to ‘fight the good fight’. The moment you walk in the door, you can feel the good it offers. Come and see your yourself”.


For more Information, contact:

Emmanuel Manolakakis

FightClub – Martial Arts & Fitness Training Centre Inc.

401 Donlands Ave, Toronto, M4J-3S2


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