Walking into the Dojang at Cornacchio’s Martial Arts Centre (181 Gore Street), you see and hear the commands of discipline, respect and leadership.
“We give the kids respect. We teach that and expect that back,” says Master Tracy Cornacchio.
She is working with the youth and teaching them self defense, self respect, honour and leadership.
“The dream has been to help kids focus… give them a path to set in the community.”
And that’s exactly what she sees returned when parents come in with thanks for how her and Grand Master Peter, her husband, are doing to enrich the lives of our youth.
Grand Master Peter is in the background teaching his students and is bashful, wanted the story to stay with the youth.
“He taught me to be a leader and I try to pass that on to the students,” says Master Tracy as she was once a student of Peter’s herself.
Grand Master Peter has been working with youth and adults for 44 years in the community on a bare-bones budget because he believes so much in the work that he does with his wife Master Tracy.
And even outside the community, their lessons are rubbing off on the authorities who have seen the good that comes out of the school. So much so, that members of parliament have asked them to open a school in North Bay.
“We have programs that get people off the street,” says Master Tracy. “Some of them come in with so much anger and we teach them where to direct that anger” and diffuse it.
“Then they have fun because we teach teamwork too.”
Everyone has a buddy at the school so they are not left feeling alone and their motto is “all for one and one for all.”
“They need to have an outlet. They need to be taught the self respect and the discipline… positive reinforcement.” And not just for the youth, that positive reinforcement is taught to the adults too.
They have programs for bullies and those who are bullied, teaching the bullies how their actions affect others and teaching those that are bullied self respect and self defense.
There are eight different character building skills that are taught to the 3 to 4-year-olds in the Little Tiger Program.
Also through Autism Ontario they work on socializing the students with autism and teach them team building skills.
They also help those with physical and mental disabilities one-on-one and try to build confidence.
“We want the kids to know there are still many things they are capable of doing despite their disability.”
These programs are designed to meet their needs.
They also have P.D. Day-camps and teach ladies self defense classes for various organizations around town to help empower women.
Hap Ki Do, and I was taught this by Master Tracy, is a blend a three martial arts: Akido, Jujitsu and Taekwondo.
They are located at 181 Gore Street.