Brooklyn, NY 11211
We are so excited to announce that we have two Students of the Month for February: Julia and Xavier from our Little Dragons program!
These two have been students since the opening of UMA. Just recently they got promoted during our last belt test. They are exceptional class leaders and we are so proud of their progress.
Julia is 12 years old and in the 7th grade. I got the privilege to hold pads for Julia during her testing and her kicks are no joke! She has great form and she strikes with intensity and accuracy. She says that her favorite art is Kali, and she wants to work hard to improve her BJJ techniques.
Sifu Phil says Julia is wonderful with the younger Little Dragons. She is always giving them words of encouragement and positive reinforcement. She is a natural leader and the first to help her teammates if they are struggling. Julia told me that she loves UMA because it feels like a family. Julia helps make UMA feel warm and welcoming because of the energy that she brings towards others during class.
Julia said that one of the biggest lessons that she’s learned from martial arts is something that Sifu Phil and Sifu Anthony tell the Little Dragons all the time: there is always room for growth. She recalled a lesson from Sifu Phil and Sifu Anthony about how even though they are Black Belts, they are White Belts or beginners in something else. They might be “experts” in the arts that we teach at UMA, but even at Black Belt level, they know there’s always opportunities to improve. Julia said this is an important lesson for her because she now understands that there is “no mountaintop” (like Sifu Anthony likes to say). Growth is a never-ending process.
Julia’s favorite subject in school is history and politics. She finds it fascinating that as humans, we are constantly learning from our mistakes to try to make the world a better place. She said the martial arts has helped her become more focused in school and her grades have improved. When I asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up, she said that it changes everyday, but currently she wants to become a surgeon! We know that whatever Julia decides to do, she’ll do it with focus and compassion towards others.
Xavier is Julia’s younger brother. He is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. UMA is his first experience training martial arts although he said that he’s always been interested in karate. His favorite art is BJJ (which he likes to help his sister with), and his least favorite part of class is the testing! He gets nervous, but then said that “his hard work pays off.” And it has! He did such a phenomenal job during the belt test. His form was crisp and clean.
Sifu Phil says that Xavier is always focused and attentive during class. He follows direction and is a young tactician. Sifu Anthony says that Xavier has an exceptional ability to pick up new drills quickly. Xavier works diligently and the proof is in his progress.
Xavier likes that martial arts has helped him become stronger. When I asked how he helps the younger dragons during class, Xavier said he gives them words of encouragement like: “You can do it,” “Practice makes perfect,” and “Never give up!” He urges the younger students to stay focused. You’ll see him showing his teammates how to do a technique and he often demonstrates in front of class.
Xavier’s favorite subject in school right now is math. He’d like to be a “soldier pilot” one day when he grows up. With his hard working attitude and his quick ability to pick up technique, Xavier will no doubt be a fast learner in anything that he does!
Congrats again to our young leaders Julia and Xavier! You’re role models to both the younger dragons and to us older dragons too!