Since this municipality became the City of Leduc on September 1st, 1983, many businesses have come and gone while others have continued to thrive and grow despite economic downturns. It is therefore exciting to share the 30 year history of Tiger Studio Martial Arts, located in Leduc’s downtown core.
As a twenty-year student of the martial arts, Norm Moreland opened a martial arts studio in the City of Leduc in June 1986, while he was busy with a successful career. Opening its doors with seven students and one instructor, the studio had a unique appeal. Its main instructor was not only teaching Taekwondo, but a mixture of all the martial arts he had been trained in.
According to historic documents, the original martial art is Pankration. In his office, Grand Master Moreland has a framed image of Pankration, an engraving found in an Egyptian temple dated at 3,500 BC showing two men wrestling in a prone position. What catches the visitor’s eye is a wonderful rendition of this, a green soapstone carving done by Rose Bardoel, a Tiger Studio student of nine years and Black Belt instructor since 2010. Through hard work and dedication, Rose is one of the few elite Tiger Studio Martial Arts students who have earned the coveted Black Belt, its symbol stitched in gold thread on her black belt, worn over the instructor’s black uniform (called dobak or gi).
Asked about the secret of his success, Grand Master Moreland does not hesitate to share, “The success of Tiger Studio Martial Arts is based on the quality of our instructors (after all, he trained them!), our firm teaching method and week-by-week schedules, all written in stone (he compiled them over a ten-year period) and the popularity of our Little Ninjas and Power Kids programs. Once kids are introduced to martial arts it’s difficult for most of them to abandon the fun and challenge of this sport.”
“Martial arts instruction is not a necessity on a family budget, it’s derived from an expandable income,” continues Moreland. “When students from 3 to 60 years of age get introduced to the sport, they can’t seem to get enough.” Several former Tiger Studio students have now become qualified instructors. After visiting numerous martial arts studios in the capital region, Jeff Luciow of Leduc came in to register his six-year-old son Kane to Tiger Studio’s Little Ninjas program in 1999 and one year later fascinated by all his young and eager son was learning, he signed up for lessons as well.
Now, Jeff and his son Kane Luciow are both Black Belts and instructors. Jeanette Giesbrecht, a long-time Leduc resident, came in for a few months training in 2010 and now five years later, she is a Black Belt and a Little Ninjas instructor.
Chance Berkholtz, a 16-year-old City of Leduc resident, got his black belt when he was eleven years old! He is now the youngest instructor ever at Tiger Studios. Grand Master Moreland quips, “Kudos are understandably offered to the parents of successful, athletic kids. After all, they pay for the training, drive their kids and must provide positive encouragement.”
To support his students grounded success, Grand Master Moreland keeps watch on their social skills and academic success through conversations with parents and the students themselves. This is a part of focused training in the martial arts, where the mind and all around fitness must be positive.
Martial Arts offer a training that results in physical fitness and stress reduction, life skills development and self-improvement. As for the sport’s affordability, some believe that Martial Arts are more budget-friendly than hockey, dance or even gymnastics. Tiger Studio Martial Arts list of disciplines includes stand-up Martial Arts like Taekwondo and Karate, grappling arts like wrestling and Jiu-jitsu, and weapons such as edged and blunt. Grand Master Moreland has combined them into Pankration, where it all started.
A native of Sault Ste-Marie, ON, Moreland moved to Alberta in 1981 for a great job opportunity. His passion for Martial Arts, his savings invested and jump into full-time in 1999, his teaching methods, his ambition to create one of the best martial arts schools ever. His hard work and vision in developing the 5,000 square foot studio brought him to this day, 30 years of teaching Martial Arts to local and regional youths and conducting classes in regional schools and community centres, and 50 years of being a Martial Arts student himself!
On June 27th, from Noon to 2pm, Grand Master Moreland and his instructors will host a two-hour Open House at the downtown studio, at 4913-52 Avenue in Leduc, entertaining all with demos. A private function for Tiger Studio Martial Arts students and parents will take place at Murphy’s Pub (5-7pm for youths). Celebrate, Grand Master Moreland & Team. You’ve earned it!