Often we are asked how you can be a part of the STORM Team, and how does it benefit you.  This article will answer those questions.

The STORM Team, or Special Team of Roles Models was created with the intention of taking any Martial Artists who wanted to lead in class, and giving them the opportunities to do so.  At the same time, it would teach practitioners how to teach and later become senseis.

I started my journey as part of the STORM Team many years ago.  I was a purple belt at the time, and after a grueling 4 hour test I was invited to join.  Tests and requirements are different now, and these change depending on wether you are a child, teen or adult, but the concept is the same.

Students who are at least 5 years of age and at the very least Orange Belts, can be part of the team.  Marissa, the mother of one of our team members shared that “being part of this team has really changed him [her son]  He now has a better reason to show his dedication to Karate, plus he has to show real responsibility, and of course he enjoys showing off”

When being a part of this special group you are required to be a leader and a role model in every way.  You have to keep good grades in school, listen to your parents at home as well as show dedication to training at the studio.  Most importantly, you have to follow the Code of the Black Belt at all times.

At the beginning you will be allowed to help during class and be used as an example setter.  Over time, and as you get older, you will be allowed to lead certain part of the classes as to being responsible for the group.  And as time goes on you will be considered for graduation to another level of the Team, we call these the Red Belt Levels. This is the time in which you are given a red belt and the responsibility to teach other people.  The first red belt, known as a Junior Assistant can be anyone who is a STORM Member and holds the rank of Blue Belt or higher, and is at least 8 years of age.  We expect these ranks to assist in the class during training times.  The next level, called Assistant Instructor, can teach a person for a short period of time during a private lesson, and will assist  during group lessons also.  The one after that is called Junior Instructor and this is the first time the candidate can teach lessons on their own.  This does not happen often and in all cases they are being watched by a Senior Sensei.

It is key that the more you are exposed to this, the more confident you will become leading others.  Leadership is difficult sometimes, and it does not come naturally to everyone.  It is a learned skill, same as the Martial Arts. 

It can even be hard to stay engaged. One of our STORM Members shared an experience when he got started:  “At the beginning I thought it was exciting, I could be in front of the class, and I could tell people what to do, but I quickly realized that standing in front of people was scary, and so I stopped.  Sensei talked to me about how when we make commitments we have to keep them. I felt like I was not ready, but Sensei was with me the whole time and showed me how to do it.  After a while, it got easier, and I feel very happy that I reconsidered my decision of leaving the team.  They are my friends and bothers and sisters in the Martial Arts”  This same student, turned STORM, Assistant, and finally Sensei is now one of our most precious instructors and teaches regularly with all of us.

“Leadership is difficult sometimes, and it does not come naturally to everyone.  It is a learned skill, same as the Martial Arts”

Sometimes it can be scary, and we do not force anyone who does not feel prepared to jump into teaching like we do.  However, we do recognize that there is great value in getting rid of fears, specially the fear of public speaking.

How do we become a part of it? Simple, request your Sensei to be considered for the ranking. If you are under 18, you will be required to share your grades in school, and the Sensei will meet with your parents to determine worthiness.

There are Open Enrollment times that you can use to be considered, and please note we do not test people every month.  If you ever have questions about Open Enrollment for STORM or anything about the team in particular, feel free to email sensei@karatemv.com