Probationary Black Belt essay by a Cornerstone student:

I walked into Cornerstone Martial Arts Studio for the first time in August of 2005. I nervously looked around at the instructors and students wearing their colorful uniforms while mine was solid white. They were all impressive with their form and knowledge, and I didn’t have a clue. Even kids younger than me had awesome skills, and the advanced students were doing things I thought were impossible for me to ever learn. The one thing that impressed me was everyone’s welcoming attitude and willingness to help me get started on this new experience.

Although I was only 10, I was smart enough to realize this was something that would take plenty of time and dedication. I had that Hollywood ninja side in me when I started and decided it would be a priority in my life. I can still remember the countless times when my friends wanted to hang out, or I got invited to do other things. It seemed like every night I turned down plans for class, I always learned something new and it was worth it in the end. Therefore, I have no regrets.

One thing that really got my attention with Cornerstone was the devotions we had every night. I always liked the fact that we do devotions before we actually start class. This is a testimony that we are not coming to class just to work out and learn how to defend ourselves, but to also learn about the most important thing in our short lives, Jesus Christ.  He is the whole foundation of our school, and if you ask me, that’s a great foundation to have!

All of the students in class throughout these many years could not have been more helpful when it came to making me feel comfortable. Clearly, Master Hansley hasn’t made one mistake with teaching his senior belts! Because of the warm welcome from virtually everyone, I was easily able to adjust myself to the environment and make lifelong friends.

To me, Taekwondo means so much and has been a huge part of my life. Cornerstone Martial Arts has been with me during the most difficult times of my life and during good times as well. I have learned discipline, what it means to really support others, respect for authority, helping others less senior than myself, and following Biblical truths. Taekwondo is definitely not something you learn so you can show off by being Jackie Chan for a day. It is used as a defensive art that can save your life and even other people’s lives if necessary. Yet at the same time, we need Jesus to help us on the way. Just like the name says, Cornerstone Martial Arts College fully relies on Jesus Christ, because He’s our cornerstone. Without Him, our training would mean nothing.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about one thing that really got me hooked on this place. A few years after starting when I was older, I realized just how blessed we were to have Master Hansley. To have a fourth-degree black belt take the time and effort to teach countless junior belts their techniques was absolutely unbelievable. I also loved how Master Hansley truly cared and loved his students. This was something that really got to me because you don’t see many teachers out there like that. He’s not here to teach his students while looking forward to pay-day. He’s here dedicated to teach us how to defend ourselves against all the things the world throws at us. I know for a fact that he sincerely loves all of his students, no matter what rank. I’ve never seen him give up on anybody. He speaks truth and is loving. I don’t really know how to thank him, but I love both him and the Instructors with all of my heart. It makes me so happy to see
 people fully dedicated to others with no excuses. They are not doing it for the money or to make themselves look good, and they are not like many people who do something good for others for money, popularity, or just to scam them. Master Hansley and the Instructors do it for God, and that’s why I never made the wrong choice for a school. He’s touched my heart many times, especially when he didn’t even realize it. I’m not usually the emotional type, but what Master Hansley and Cornerstone do reminds me there is good in this world, and it is the real kind of good. Master Hansley truly reminds me of Jesus, there’s no doubt about it.

I would like to thank God for my physical and mental strength, my Dad for taking me to class even when he was tired from long days at work, and my brother and mother for supporting me 100%. It has not always been easy for my family to plan around Taekwondo. I would also like to thank Master Hansley, Senior Instructor West, and Instructor Beaudoin for their help and wisdom. They never failed to encourage and love me while pushing me to be my best, and they always gave God the glory. When things got hard and I got down on myself, they helped me to move on and get back up again. I definitely want to thank my fellow students for their friendship and support.

I don’t know exactly what my plan for the future will be. I hope someday to be a senior instructor and share my experience, skills, and Biblical truths with others. I’ve had the best possible examples of how to be a great instructor while also being wise and caring.

No matter what I do in life or where I go, Cornerstone Martial Arts College will always be a part of who I am.


Testimony by parent of former students/now instructors:

In the fall of 2001, my husband and I started looking for a martial arts program for two of our four children.  There had been several child abductions in the national news and we wanted our children to be prepared, not scared.  We also wanted them to have some formal instruction for physical education in our homeschool.  A friend mentioned that her son had taken Taekwondo from Cornerstone Martial Arts College, so we went to give it a try.  My husband and I were very impressed with the discipline of the students in and outside of the class. We were even more impressed with the devotions, prayer, and Godly instruction they received along with the superb martial arts training.

After six months of training, we moved from Virginia Beach out to Windsor, which is about 12 miles west of Suffolk.  We decided to check out other martial arts schools since we did not want to make the hour drive back and forth.  After observing one particular school, our oldest son who was 6 at the time turned to his Dad and said, ”Dad, we can’t go here.  There is no discipline!”   There was nothing to compare to CMAC for the martial arts training, spiritual guidance or the price.  After much prayer and consideration, we decided to make the 2 hour round trip part of our family schedule.  We knew it would be a sacrifice, but we used that time to talk, pray, listen to music or other CDs, and to review techniques learned in class.

Eventually all 4 of our children were studying at CMAC. Our youngest son doesn’t remember not going to Taekwondo…he was less than a year when his older siblings started.  Over the years there were many highs and lows.  I was weary of driving back and forth and wanted a break.  But when I felt that way, the Lord would remind me why I was doing it--to bring glory to Him by raising our children to glorify Him with their bodies and in all that they do.  There is no place I would have rather been, nothing I would rather have been doing.  On August 28, 2010, we had the privilege of watching our two oldest children test for and receive their 1st Degree Black Belts, while two instructors tested and received their 2nd Degree Black Belts.  Family, friends and fellow students watched as the culmination of nine years of hard work paid off.  Nervousness melted away as God given ability, muscle memory and lots of practice took over. We praise God for His goodness to them all on that day.

Master Rick Hansley, Instructor Martha West, and Instructor Justin Beaudoin have become family to us.  In these times when Godly role models are extremely scarce, they provided all of us with encouragement, admonishment when needed, transparency, and humility.  We praise and thank God for their servant’s hearts and commitment to CMAC.  But we are thankful most of all, for showing us how to follow hard after God.

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