Posts Tagged ‘arts’

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Empowerment Through Self-Defence

It was “a lightning bolt moment” the first time Mehdi Saadati saw his uncle Master Ebrahim Saadati compete in Taekwondo. Mehdi was seven years old at the time and was instantly hooked; he knew he wanted to get involved in martial arts.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Master Erahim SaadatiMaster Saadati also began Taekwondo when he was seven. He earned his black belt when he was 12 years old. In 1989, he became a member of the Iranian National A Team and won first place at the International Fajr tournament. He continued to compete at national and international championships and in 1992 won a gold medal at the World Military Championships. In 1994 he won a silver medal at the Asian Games. In 1998 he became the Canadian champion in the welterweight division in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Taekwondo is the second most popular sport in the world (soccer is number one). Taekwondo is well loved because it teaches discipline while building self-confidence and both physical and mental strength. Mehdi points out how empowered students feel when they learn self-defence skills.

Mehdi moved with his family from Tehran to Vancouver in 1993. Master Saadati immigrated two years later. He started teaching Taekwondo at Kerrisdale and Sunset Community Centres in 2000 after he retired from competing. In 2011 the pair joined forces to work together at Third Eye Martial Arts Studio.

Master Saadati is the owner and head master and Mehdi is the general manager and head instructor. He describes Dunbar as “the jewel of the city.” What stands out for him is the strong sense of community; he really enjoys running into students and their families on the street. Although he doesn’t live in Dunbar currently, he has his eye on a condominium that would lighten his commute to a matter of minutes.

The first Third Eye Martial Arts Studio opened at West 8th Avenue (near Hemlock Street) and the large 5,000 square foot space serves as company headquarters. The Dunbar studio opened in 2013.

IMG_6393The smaller Dunbar space is busy seven days a week with over 300 students registered. Youth classes can accommodate 20 students and are taught by three instructors. Adult classes take place weekday evenings and weekends. All classes are co-ed although the demographic is slanted slightly higher towards female students for both kids and adult classes.

“Taekwondo is beneficial for everybody. It is not age dependent. It is something everyone can try.” Mehdi Saadati

Students from ages 3 to 72 attend classes at the Dunbar location as they work their way up from white belt through the rainbow of colours (yellow, green, blue, red) to reach black belt status.

Third Eye Martial Arts Dunbar Mehdi SaadatiMehdi says it’s never too late to begin this sport. He shares the story of a 70-year-old student who earned her black belt; she began at age 66. With admiration in his voice and a big smile he says, “She is the most tenacious woman I have ever met.”

As general manager, Mehdi manages the studios and ensures classes run smoothly. He specializes in teaching kids with special needs and autism; private classes are offered for low functioning students.

“The magic that happens when you make a connection is the most gratifying thing in the world.” Mehdi Saadati

If your child is looking for a kicking good birthday party consider Third Eye’s West 8th location. This is a great chance to introduce a group of kids to martial arts and you don’t have to be a member. Mehdi says many Dunbar families take advantage of these fun parties.

Another popular service is Third Eye’s after school program (also held at the West 8th studio). Instead of leaving your child with a babysitter or staying home alone, he or she will be picked up from school in one of Third Eye’s van and transported to the studio for Taekwondo training, homework and snack time. Parents pick their kids up before dinner.

Bullying is a subject close to Mehdi’s heart. He experienced being bullied as a child and says it can happen to anyone. Master Saadati, Mehdi and the other instructors are committed to children’s safety and security. Third Eye hosts a bully prevention program twice annually for all ages.

When a child is bullied Mehdi says, “It can feel like a dead end road.”

Third Eye’s workshop can also help parents identify the signs that aren’t always apparent. There is a physical aspect to the program run by three to four instructors and Master Saadati. Follow Third Eye Martial Arts Studio on social media (Facebook and Instagram) or refer to their website for further details.

Third Eye Martial Arts 4256 Dunbar StIf Taekwondo sounds like the sport for you or your child, consider Third Eye Martial Arts Studio’s special winter offer. From now until mid-March receive a one-month trial class and a free uniform for $49.95. You never know, your child may become hooked just like Master Saadati and Mehdi!

Third Eye Martial Arts Studio
4256 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2E9
Telephone 604-428-4256
www.temartialarts.com

Elements Academy of Martial Arts

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Mysha_Dewar-McClelland_Elements_Dunbar_Life

“Champion of Dunbar Village”

Giving back to the community comes effortlessly to Elements Academy of Martial Arts business partners Mysha Dewar-McClelland and Emma Hamilton. They share the common value that Elements is much more than a neighbourhood business.

Dunbar reminds Dewar-McClelland of Lindsay, Ontario, the close-knit rural town where she grew up. She feels fortunate to work in this special neighbourhood; therefore it is part and parcel to invest in the community where Elements’ members live and attend school.

“We encourage our students to not only build community within our studio but to embrace and give back to our larger Dunbar community.”

Mysha Dewar-McClelland

For a number of years Dewar-McClelland volunteered and subsequently was employed at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW). She attributes the personal satisfaction she derives from volunteering to the time she spent assisting the rape crisis centre. WAVAW is one of many organizations that benefits from the excellent fundraising work Elements regularly undertakes.

Dewar-McClelland had no experience with martial arts until she was 27 years old. That was when she was introduced to Hamilton who persuaded her to attend a class. She trained with Hamilton and has been working as an instructor and the studio’s administrator since Elements opened in 2009.

She wishes she had discovered martial arts when she was a teenager. The girls’ programs have special meaning to her. “I see myself in them. It is inspiring to see young women taking pride in their physical ability,” she says.

Hamilton is the only female owner of an independent martial arts studio in Vancouver.

As role models for girls of all ages, she and Dewar-McClelland like to offer the gift of empowerment through self-defence and kickboxing training whenever possible.

A few years ago Hamilton connected with KidSafe Project Society and volunteered to train Grade 6 and 7 inner city girls. Subsequently, she discovered KidSafe’s GEMS (Girls Exploring Motion and Self) program, which assists girls at Florence Night-ingale Elementary on Vancouver’s eastside.

Elements_Academy_Dunbar_Life_Harvest_FestivalElements held a fundraising Kick-A-Thon at the studio to benefit GEMS. Elements’ members of every age (kids, youth and adults) collected pledges and participated in different categories to demonstrate their ability and technique and to see how many timed kicks they could accomplish. They were ecstatic to raise over ten thousand dollars for GEMS, far surpassing their goal; the extraordinary accomplishment provided the girls’ program with funding for a year.

Other Elements fundraisers have benefited WAVAW and Big Sisters. This year the martial arts academy (in partnership with Vancity Buzz) offered four free self-defence workshops for women, including one held at Musqueam. Over the years Elements has run numerous community programs at the Musqueam Community Centre.

Dunbar Apartments recently invited Dewar-McClelland to talk to residents about self-defence and safety in the community. It was so well received that she plans to return to offer a self-defence workshop.

Elements can also be found participating in Dunbar Village Business Association’s (DVBA) events such as the Harvest Festival and Salmonberry Days. Another way Dewar-McClelland gives back is through volunteer work as a DVBA board member.

After two terms as Dunbar Village Business Association’s secretary to the board, Dewar-McClelland has recently been appointed as vice president.

elements_academy_dunbar_life_exteriorShe says, “Since taking my place on the DVBA board I have become even more integrated into the Dunbar community. It is a source of pride knowing my business neighbours and being able to say hello to many familiar faces when I walk up and down Dunbar. I love it. It’s a stepping stone that connects me to the community.”

McClelland believes the assorted ways Elements contributes to Dunbar nurtures the community. Relationships develop both inside the studio and out and ultimately connect people from all walks of life.

Hats off to Elements Academy of Martial Arts, this champion of Dunbar, for leading by example and showing how a small business can accomplish great things.

Elements Academy of Martial Arts, 4465 Dunbar St, Vancouver BC   Telephone 604-568-3441  www.elementsacademy.com

4Cats Arts Studio

Monday, June 10th, 2013

The Best, Most Fun Art Studio Ever.

The urge to release the artist within is unleashed the moment you set foot inside 4Cats Dunbar Arts Studio. The walls are filled with colourful and joyful artwork, and with tempting art supplies all around, you feel inspired to sign up for a workshop, pronto.

Doing what you love for a living is something many of us dream about. Mel and Scott Baker, the duo behind 4Cats Dunbar, are the artists/curators/owners who have found a perfect environment to work together and fulfill their dreams of being involved in the creative process on a daily basis.

The affable couple are so at ease with one another that they complete each other’s sentences. They began dating in 2001 and married in 2009. They report that many of their dates involved creating artwork, which is how they still like to spend their time outside of the business.

Mel Baker began working at 4Cats in 2009 as an employee. She jumped at the prospect of purchasing the franchise when the opportunity presented itself in February 2010. Initially she was drawn to 4Cats because she is passionate about working with children, and with an undergraduate degree in child psychology she thought 4Cats would be a perfect place to work.  It didn’t take long for her to realize that she had merged her two interests, children and art, under one umbrella.

Scott Baker always dreamt of a creative job. He is a self-trained artist who has been putting pencil to paper for 30 years. He finds his work at 4Cats extremely satisfying thanks to the happy and vibrant environment. He is grateful for the opportunity to help others and at the same time to have the outlet to progress as an artist. His favourite artist is Picasso.  Mel Baker adores the entire Group of Seven; she narrows down Lawren Harris as her top pick.

The concept of 4Cats Arts Studio began in 2005 when founder and CEO Joey Simon first offered 4Cats classes out of the basement of a beautiful character home in Victoria. She chose the company name 4Cats to pay homage to 4Cats Cafe in Barcelona, Spain, which is where Picasso went with artist, poet and philosopher friends to discuss art and life and to make and show great art.

A mere eight years since its inception, 4Cats Arts Studio now has head offices in Vancouver and Toronto. With 58 franchises across Canada (Alberta, B.C. Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec), 4Cats Arts Studio has now gone global with locations opening in Australia, Mexico and the United States.

Who are 4Cat Dunbar’s clients? While children certainly are their key demographic, they also offer adult and family workshops.  The Bakers report that the five to eight year old classes tend to be the most popular, however, artists as young as two years old are enrolled in parent participation classes.

When Mel Baker is asked what she finds most satisfying about her work she immediately responds, “It’s the giggles.” Giggles come frequently in this creative environment where children have the liberty to experiment with a variety of art supplies, and explore different mediums. The laughter also results from the freedom to make a mess (which is not something that all children can do at home!), with the understanding that they will also help clean up afterwards, and that appears to go over well.

Inspiration for art classes is often drawn from the works of famous artists with a medium that corresponds, for instance, a Picasso class may utilize acrylic on canvas to produce cubist paintings and ceramics, while a Frida Kahlo class may use paper-mache and paint acrylic on canvas to create self-portraits.

In addition to creating art, some age-appropriate art history is offered to complement the class. Curators tell captivating and inspiring stories in a fun and humorous manner about the life and work of the artist. For example, did you know that Georgia O’Keefe loved nature so much as a child that she used to eat dirt? Scott Baker’s favorite class is the drawing class while Mel Baker enjoys the artist focus class. She says, “It’s always different as the projects change with each artist and I get to tell stories. It’s also really fun watching the kids’ paintings coming together each week, and to see the way each child interprets a painting differently.”

Beyond art classes, 4Cats Dunbar also offers birthday parties, as well as Pro-D day workshops and summer camps (which are open for registration now).

In any business what it really comes down to is customer satisfaction, and the following story is an endearing snapshot of their devoted fan base. A little boy and his family moved away from Dunbar to the Main Street area yet he adamantly refused to go elsewhere for art classes, and insisted on commuting to Dunbar 4Cats for two years.  Now that’s customer loyalty!

4Cats Arts Studio
4293 Dunbar Street
Vancouver BC V6S 2G1
Tel 604-569-2426
www.4cats.com/dunbar