Crystal Ball Moments: Combined School Trainings


What if you could see exactly what you could become if you put in the work and dedication?

The students at Master Sharratt’s new school get that opportunity every time we get the schools together and have a combined training session. 

As you may remember, Master Sharratt, a 4th dan black belt, opened her own school in 2022, after five years of teaching at our school, and a Tae Kwon-Do career that began when she was eight years old.

Currently, her students are all yellow belts and below. Which is why it is such an important opportunity for her students whenever they get the opportunity to train with my students.

They get to be a part of something much bigger than they expected when they signed up. Her students get to feel the power of Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do.

When I was coming up through the ranks, seeing higher belts functioning was really inspirational for me. So, for her students to be able to see red belts and black belts in action gives them what I like to call “crystal ball moments.” By working with my students, Master Sharratt’s students get to look into the future to see what they can become if they stick with Tae Kwon-Do and put in the effort to progress.

My students have a mentoring attitude toward Master Sharratt’s students. They want them to be good, they want to see them come along. So they tend to take her students under their wing a little bit. Our students are really good at being inclusive, so they are happy to go out and work with her students as opposed to just working with each other.

When we get together, we can tell them to pick a partner from the opposite school to work with, and everyone is excited about it. 

The combined workouts also provide the opportunity for in-house tournaments between the schools. 

We had one recently and it was phenomenal. Kudos to Master Sharratt for bringing over 3/4 of her student population. They got to experience something my students never really did. We had more beginner divisions (green belts and lower) than I have ever had in the 29 years I have been open. Usually we have maybe eight or nine beginner divisions.

This time, we had close to 20.

That combined tournament gave her students a great springboard into the tournament world, which is such an important part of becoming a well-rounded black belt. Also my lower belt students got to compete against people that were good. Master Sharratt’s students are very well trained and gave my students a run for their money. 

They all got to feel the excitement and camaraderie of a tournament. They learned how tournaments operate. There were so many parents here clapping and yelling. 

It was, for me, a very inspirational experience. 

The whole thing had much less of an “in-house” feeling than I anticipated. Holding tournaments at the school in the past has felt too “comfortable”. So having students from another school in our building helped lend itself to the tournament feeling more like the real thing, which is really healthy for all of the students that competed. 

All of this strengthens the bond between the students and the schools themselves. It also takes the students out of their comfort zones a bit by having them train with a perfect stranger at a different skill level as them. 

One of the hallmarks of Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do is that there is a huge sense of community. We truly are one big family here. When we get together for combined workouts, it has the vibe of a family reunion. 

We foster an atmosphere of friendship, but we also have a culture. Master Sharratt’s students are able to learn the culture better by being around my students, seeing how they act, seeing how they stand, seeing how they own themselves, how they answer “yes sir/yes ma’am”, etc. It also helps to ground my students and remind them what it was like to be a yellow belt. 

I think they also really enjoy bringing the best out in other people because they get a taste of what it’s like to be an instructor themselves. 

And as for myself and Master Sharratt, we love these combined trainings because it changes things up for us as instructors. First, it gives us the opportunity to teach together. 

Like two well-trained musicians, we are able to riff off one another. It presents two different teaching styles at once, which is something most Tae Kwon-Do students rarely get to experience. 

It also lets us do our “good cop/bad cop” routine. 

I can push her students harder than she can because I become sort of the tough, mean guy. She is a bit more bubbly than I am, so then she can get out there and give them a little relief. 

Sometimes, I’ll watch Master Sharratt and wonder if I should be a little easier on my students. But inevitably, she will come up after a combined workout and ask how she can be harder on her students, like me.

Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, visit the Contact Us page or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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