Good morning everyone! After much difficult contemplation it is with great sadness and equal disappointment that I must announce that effective at the conclusion of August, Tyr ITF Taekwon-Do will be closing its doors forever.
A 21 year journey as a martial arts school, we began our club as a West End location for Phoenix Taekwon-Do before transitioning to our own independent school as Orion Family Martial Arts in 2002. In the summer of 2014, I proudly continued the legacy of the school, renamed it Tyr ITF Taekwon-Do, and had the highest hopes and the burning desire to grow our school and to maintain the unshakable integrity with which I was raised in martial arts. Over our club's years of operation, we have gotten to know many wonderful people, changed many lives, and been pillars of our community. We have produced many successful black belts, as well as produced many world champions. Our members have become pioneers in industry, and professionals others look up to due to the values they gained in martial arts. We have also made notable charitable contributions, giving back to the community during our annual "Board Breaking Week" events . We have become a family that is almost as close as our own flesh and blood. We have had great times, great successes, and built memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. For that I am very grateful and that will make the closing sad.
Ultimately, however, the time commitment, financial costs, and costs to the development of my own personal life which I have neglected for years while running Tyr side-by-side with my law enforcement career far outweigh my perceived benefits for continuing to run the club. With many individuals over the last few years, the endless chase for monthly due payments, endless demands for special treatment, having to battle for people to actively take part in special events like "Board Breaking Week", tournaments, seminars, etc., and dealing with the increased disrespect shown towards the role, rank, and experience of the team of world renowned black belts our club had at its disposal is equally complicit in this decision and has been eating away at the joy that I once had in teaching. Participation in our modules, videos, and live classes during the four month COVID-19 lockdown was minimal and something of an eye-opener as well, with sometimes as little as one person taking part despite hours of my personal time sacrificed coming up with free lessons to keep members engaged in the great art of Taekwon-Do. When the Government of Alberta allowed for martial arts and fitness schools to finally re-open in early July, despite the West End Senior's Activity Centre being hesitant, I persevered and spent countless hours negotiating and planning to come up with a safe and feasible re-opening plan that would allow us to return and look out for the health interests of both ourselves and the WSAC. This was once again done purely for Tyr's members and not for me. Extra training hours were also added to accommodate the yearly members and to make up for our months of lost time. When it came time to re-opening, the response was completely demoralizing with well over 50% of our total members MIA or announcing that they are quitting for one reason or another. Many long-time Tyr members ceased communication with us since the COVID-19 lockdown in March, and many have given little to no support when we needed it most upon re-opening. In a member-based industry, members' support is the sole thing that keeps a business alive. With the costs associated with running such a school beyond simply paying rent, along with our club currently losing hundreds of dollars a month with our low numbers on pace for our worst year in our entire club's history, and also with the uncertainty of student numbers and lack of committal from members for the upcoming season which would have been set to begin in early September , It is simply no longer sustainable to keep Tyr Taekwon-Do in operation. I no longer have the fire in me to gamble hundreds if not, thousands of my personal dollars on another advertising campaign that may or may not produce the numbers needed to pay the club's fees.
Having said all that, we will be conducting a final testing on Monday, August 24 so that those loyal members eligible and who attended during the summer are able to leave on a high note with their next ranks and so that those three loyal black stripe members who have been with us for so long and who have completed their Instructor Development Program modules can take the test and potentially leave as black belts. Having spoken with Master Mageau with Paladin Taekwon-Do last night, he has always said nothing but positive things about our members, our instructors, and our club's knowledge and with my support, he told me that he would welcome you into his club in St. Albert with open arms should you decide to continue your training once we shut our doors.
Our last regular training will take place on Thursday, August 27 with a brief goodbye event and equipment/supply sell-off open to the public during our operating hours on Monday, August 31 (price and item list to be uploaded online at a time TBA).
We thank you for a great 21 years, and hopefully one day, our paths may cross once again!