This Week at MRBBA

This Week at MRBBA
A New Semester!
Get ready to learn some new and FUN stuff.
We will be learning the Axe Kick, Self Defense against the Bear Hug and
this semester’s learning tool is the Bo Staff.

This Thursday we will hold a Special Halloween Class at 5:30 for all students. Come in your best costume. Be ready to have some fun.

Next week we will be starting two special classes!
On Mondays Mr. Wallaga will have a Padded Sword class and on Wednesdays, Master Randall will be teaching a super Traditional Form.
Classes start at 6PM. Please register on line for these special classes.
Simply go to, select the class on the calendar and register for the class.

OMG! It beeped!

IMG_3361We adopted Cooper the Wonder Dog (black lab and maybe a bit of something mixed in) a number of years ago from the kennel.  He was a transplant form somewhere, possibly a victim of Katrina.  In any case, his heritage and history are to remain a mystery (hey, that rhymes!)  Everyone in the family seems to adore him, with the exception of me.

Keep going, there will be a point to this story…

Cooper and I got off to a bad start.  Maybe it was the fact the when he first came to our house, he became overly protective of the kids immediately and wouldn’t let me in my own home.  Maybe it was that he would growl at me anytime I wore a baseball hat.  Maybe its that he barks at anything and everything all day and night.  Like Chuck Norris, Cooper never sleeps, he waits for the attack.  Maybe its that I’m allergic to dogs (though nobody cares) and he likes to get hair all over my favorite recliner.  Who knows?

After a short time, it quickly became apparent that Cooper was traumatized.  We suspect a large man with a baseball hat must have been involved in his previous life.  Cooper is afraid of all loud noises as well.  He wears a very stylish thunder vest during storms that helps to keep him from tearing up the house.  During one of his visits to the vet, it was noted that Cooper has a bullet lodged in his leg.  That could explain his fear of loud noises.  Being shot at has been known to do that to some people.  Can you say PTSD?

Without knowing what trauma this would cause, we installed an invisible fence so Cooper the Wonder Dog could wonder the compound freely.  During training on the perimeter walk, Mrs. Randall put his collar on and showed Cooper his kingdom.  The collar beeps when he is getting close to the border.  It seems the setting may have been a little too high, for when Cooper decided to push his limits, he got a shock that made hime do a spectacular backflip.  Nice form.  The judges gave him high marks, except for the judge from France.  Now Cooper has another fear to add to his list…that funny beeping sound now causes him to spasm, freak, and run for the hills.

Keep going, we are almost there….

This morning, the smoke detector began notifying us that it wanted a fresh battery.  To you and me that is simply annoying every 20 mins or so.  To Cooper that means panic!  It sounds remarkably like the shock collar.  So, at 2am, assuming that was the first beep, he started barking, freaking, and trying to escape from the room downstairs.  His domain had been threatened by a beep and he had nowhere to go.  Not knowing what to do, having nowhere to hide, and nobody coming to his rescue, the only thing he could do was poop in the corner.  This happens when thunder claps in the night as well. It adds such a nice aroma to the house.

My point to the story is this…we are all still members of the animal kingdom, even as much as we would like to think we have evolved past that stage into something better, called humans.  As human animals we are still plagued by beeps in our life, things that cause us to act, think, or believe in a certain way because of experiences in our past.  We walk around through our day being controlled by beeps that we are not even aware of.  Yes, we all do.

Don’t believe me?  Test it yourself.  When that certain someone gives you that certain look or tone of voice, what is your immediate reaction or thought?  When someone tells you they are voting democrat or republican, what is your first reaction or thought?  If you have had physical trauma in your past and someone touches you in a certain way, how do you respond?  Do you have certain beliefs about religion, politics, sex, dating, household behavior, money, work ethics, and other values that drive you crazy when other people don’t believe or behave the same way you do?

The real point to this story is that we all have these subconscious or unconscious beliefs, behaviors, thoughts, and responses that control us…until we make a concerted effort to identify there origin.  Only then can we choose to continue with this path or change it.

Try this exercise, the next time you have a strong thought or reaction to a situation, stop and ask yourself, “Why did I do that?”  Then ask it again, “No, really.  Why DID I do that?”  Then ask, “Is this from my experience or did I get this thought/behavior from someone else?” Trace the path back to the first time you felt that way, reacted that way, or thought that thought.  Chances are you will find that the original thought was not your own.

Since this is an election time, you may be surprised to find that something as simple as the party you vote for, was not really your original belief, but rather your parents.  Or, it may have come from a trauma in the past.  Political trauma?  Yes.  Were you ever denied something because a certain party voted against it?  Were you part of a down-sizing that happened and everyone said it was because a certain party caused it.  Were your parents from the Great Depression era and decided that it was all the fault of a certain party?  Did your parent tell you the Vietnam/Korean/Middle East wars were the fault of a certain party?  Did your teachers teach history with a particular slant to the story?  Are you from a minority religious rf ethnic group that was raised to believe a certain party is better for your future and the future of your whole culture?  These thoughts or beliefs that cause you to vote a certain way may not be of your original design, meaning they were given to you, you didn’t choose them through reasoning or research.

In Cooper’s case, his trauma is from original thought or first-hand experience.  Loud sound from gun equals great pain in leg.  Beeping sound equals shock to the neck.  If Cooper was a human, he could think back and tell himself that he had many, many experiences where the loud sound did not cause pain and the beep did not cause a shock.  Then he could choose to think, feel, and react differently to those sounds and hopefully not poop in the corner.

How many of us humans spend our whole lives gun-shy, missing out on opportunities and experiences because we are afraid of the dark, afraid of loud noises, afraid of scary places, afraid of airplanes, afraid of taking chances, afraid of being afraid?  How many of us live like Cooper, are afraid and not even aware of why we are afraid?  Or, worse yet, we know what caused the trauma and we are afraid to let go of it?  We use that trauma as a banner, and wave it around saying, “Look at me. I am a victim.”  Or, a shield, to protect us from ever experiencing that trauma again. Or, an excuse, to keep us from fully participating in life.

How many of us hold onto beliefs caused by trauma to other people then passed on to us.  I once had a young girl testing for black belt who was a very good student and would have performed well on the test.  Her mother, on the other hand, had an extreme fear of public speaking.  When she learned that her daughter would have to perform a pattern solo on the exam, mom immediately removed her from training and the daughter did not get to test for black belt.  Do you think that has an effect on the beliefs the daughter will grow up with concerning public performance?  This will become her trauma causing her to think, believe, and behave in certain ways until she realizes that it did not come from original thought and she has the power to choose to let it go.

On the same vein, there are many examples of courageous people who have faced horrific trauma and have chosen to deny those feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that would hold them back   They have looked fear in face and challenged it.  They used their experiences to strengthen them, not prevent them from becoming the person they are truly capable of being.

Follow this logic and give it your best effort:

  • Why did I do that/think that/feel that/say that?
  • When did I fist experience these thoughts?
  • How have these thoughts effected my behavior?
  • What is it costing me to hold on to these behaviors?  What am I missing?  Who am I hurting?
  • Do I want to change the way I feel, think, or behave in this situation?
  • What might I gain from changing this behavior?
  • What will it take for me to change?

It takes a seriously brave person to do the self-examination required to look in the mirror and trace the roots of behaviors we may or may not want to keep.  I have seen some people go through this exercise and it has changed their lives.  One person I know, quit her job and changed careers.  Another changed political parties.  Another dumped her boyfriend.  Another became a motivational  speaker.  And, I seen many overcome great fears on the way towards becoming black belts.

I am just a traveller on this planet with you, doing my best to recognize the roots of my behaviors and make a conscious effort to accept or change them.  With great focussed effort, I hope to become a more aware and enlightened human animal.  I thank you for your patience while I am a work in progress.

~Matthew Randall, KwanJang-Nim

If you have any fears around your personal safety or the safety of your family, why not try some martial arts classes?  Don’t let fear hold you back.  Discover how much personal power you really have.  Give us a call at 603-743-6500 for 2 free lessons?


We had a terrific time at the annual Fall Tourmanent today. Everyone competed with Fall Tournamentperfect discipline and respect. Thank you to our staff and all the volunteer judges. The event ran very smoothly because of you.

There were many people who commented on the incredibly sexy MRBBA ties that our staff wore. Yes, they do make you look thinner, younger, and more handsome than ever. If you want to get your own, so you can look as sexy as our staff, they can be found on our apparel site at


While you are there, pick up an MRBBA hoodie for this cold weather. Everyone at work would be so jealous if you showed up with an MRBBA coffee mug. You can stand at the watercooler and wear that smile that says, “Ya, that’s right. I can kick your XXX”. MRBBA doggie shirts are all the rage right now for small breeds. MRBBA baseball hats are never out of style. An MRBBA mousepad would let your computer know who’s really in charge.

Show your MRBBA pride with cool looking apparel from our exclusive online shopping center. Your friends will be so jealous.


Dear Amazing Families at MRBBA,

First, congratulations to all of students who tested and promoted this week. I was impressed with the intensity you showed. In conversation with our staff and ITP, we agreed that the level of motivation and discipline has improved just since this summer. I also noticed a general improvement in the quality of techniques. Keep up the great work.

Thank you to all of our students and parents who participated in our discussion afterwards about ways to improve the academy. Your input is truly valuable. I learned quite a bit and have some ideas we can experiment with. The challenge is how to make all of this happen without your training becoming a full time job or turning the academy into a boarding school. ;-)

Second, we will introduce some changing roles for our staff. Sabum Dobson will be the lead instructor for most classes while Sabum Wallaga will take on the new role as beginner coach. You will also begin to see more of our ITP members as I create more opportunities for them to practice their leadership skills.

Third, read all the way to the bottom to learn how to earn $100 or more!!!


I miss having an active demo team and am grateful that many of you are interested in recreating the team. Give me one week to work with our staff on some changes, then beginning in November I will personally work every Tuesday evening at 600pm with those interested in being a member of the demo team. This will take place during the weapons forms class and will still count towards class credit and testing.

What to expect – you will learn forms at a higher level, create fun skits, and learn stage presence.

Requirements – Yellow belt and above, you must be willing and able to perform at public demonstrations; assist the team in finding venues to perform.

How to sign-up – attend first practice on Tuesday, November 4.

Fee – no fee or extra tuition, special demo team uniforms and equipment may be required.


As a former World Champion, Gold Medalist, and Team Captain for the USA TaeKwonDo Team, I am very passionate about creating more champions. I have trained 1 world champion, and many national champions. If you are serious about learning to compete in tournaments, then starting in November, I will personally work every Thursday at 600pm with students interested in being part of a serious competition team. This will take place during sparring class and will still count towards class credit and testing.

What to expect – we will pick a tournament circuit to compete in, learn the rules, and focus exclusively on those rules for sparring.

Requirements – Yellow belt and above, you must be willing and able to travel to tournaments throughout New England on a regular basis. Parents must be willing to train as ring coaches for the team.

How to sign-up – attend first practice on Thursday, November 6.

Fee – no fee or extra tuition, special competition uniforms and equipment may be required.


We have a great group of staff and future instructors who work out with me every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 730pm-800pm. We have just 3 spots open for students who may be interested in becoming instructors. This is open to all students who are Yellow belt and above, any age.

Opportunities – possible part-time jobs, possible full-time careers, or the possibility to open a branch school. I had my first business owning a martial arts club while I was in college. My training throughout high school laid the foundation. ITP is great college application material as it shows leadership experience. ITP is also great resume stuffing for the same reason. Many adult students have credited their training in ITP to helping advance their careers. There is no downside to learning leadership skills.

What to expect – intensive extra training in physical skills, leadership skills, and insider advantages in helping to plan curriculum.

Requirements – Yellow belt and above, ITP classes, ITP collar testing, practicing leadership skills by leading portions or modules of classes.

How to sign-up – attend ITP tryouts on Tuesday, November 4, 730pm.

Fee – no extra tuition, ITP collar test fees, special ITP dress uniform required


You asked for it and we will bring it back! Starting November 14th, we will return to hosting PNO’s on the second Friday of the month. Start telling your friends!  The could be worth $100!  Keep reading.


A big THANKS to those students and parents who raised their hands to volunteer to be on committees to help improve the academy. It is not easy to ask for help, but we do need it. There are 3 areas of immediate concern that we would like some assistance. I promised that this would not become a huge time drain for you and I meant it. I believe that much can be accomplished by meeting just once a month during class time. We have the meeting space. Let’s use it.

Party Planning Committee – Meets every first Tuesday of the month – 530pm.

I don’t think it’s a secret that our events, such as tournaments, graduations, holidays, etc., are lacking some excitement. Many of these events could use food, decoration, music, demonstrations, and more to make them better. Our staff, me included, admittedly is not great at party planning as we have our focus in too many other areas. If our instructors can continue to focus on teaching, while the party committee focuses on the fun stuff, I think we can have much better events. November 1st marks our 27th year in business. We should have a holiday/anniversary party to celebrate.

Community Service Committee – Meets every second Tuesday of the month – 530pm.

Our staff is very passionate about community service. We have many ways in which we can serve our community, but we have not had time to organize. Often the Chamber of Commerce and other groups ask us to participate as a business in events, and again, we have not been good at putting that together. We dropped the individual requirement for community service on belts test and made it a voluntary exercise for extra credit and recognition. I think we can think bigger, but we need your help. This committee’s function would be to help us identify opportunities and mobilize the academy to do meaningful community service work or charity projects as a group.

Marketing Committee – Meets every third Tuesday of the month – 530pm.

Getting the brand out. You may have noticed that we don’t do traditional advertising; radio, newspaper, television, etc. Most of our new students come through referrals. We admit there needs to be more, but the budget is very tight. We have the resources to get out in the community and do more public awareness campaigns and I feel these are much more impactful. Opportunities such as after school programs, demonstrations, classroom presentations, public seminars, and other performances are available through our networks with the Chamber and local schools. With our new demonstration team, we can gain great exposure if we have a committee who can find these opportunities and make the connections. Some of this would cross over between the Community Service Committee and the Demonstration Team, so communication will be important. If anyone is good at writing, we could get some press releases out for events, etc.


Another thing we haven’t advertised well lately is our referral program.

You may know that you can earn a Victory Patch for introducing a friend or family member to our classes. With our new class format, it’s easy to bring them with you. If your friend is a child, make sure their parent comes, too! They can’t get on the floor without a signed waiver

You may not know that we have 3 stages to rewards for referring.

First, the new student you introduce must be new to the academy. Let’s be fair. The same friend you have brought to 10 PNO’s doesn’t count as a new referral.

Stage 1 – earn your Victory Patch for bringing a friend to class.

Stage 2 – if this friend is new (not yet in our database) then we will credit your account with $50 that you can spend on anything at the academy, including tuition.

Stage 3 – if your friend enrolls in our beginner program, we will credit your account with another $50. For this stage your old friends that have been here a zillion times will count towards credit when they enroll.

THE GROWTH CHALLENGE – ends December 31, 2014!

We need some new students quickly. Advertising is slow, so the easiest way is ask you to talk it up with your friends and bring them to class. Referrals are normally our best new students.

Here is the challenge – we want 25 new students by the end of the year.

Benefits – If we hit that goal, then we are in a position to open up another full class schedule on Mondays and Wednesdays. We will not cannibalize our current classes to make that happen, it has to happen through growth.

Rewards – Read very carefully – there is money involved…every student who refers a new student between now and the end of the year will receive all the referral benefits listed previously, for a total of $100 each referral. In addition, for working as a team, if we hit our goal of 25 new students by 12/31/14, then each student who has referred a new student will be awarded an additional $100 on their account.

Do the math…that’s $100 for each friend you enroll, plus $100 bonus for hitting the team goal.

OK, that’s enough of War and Peace for now.

With your help, we can grow into a new and more exciting academy than ever before.

Thank you for being amazing,