West OC Martial Arts Center Planning New Programs

West OC Martial Arts Center Planning New Programs
West OC Martial

WEST OCEAN CITY — Marking its ninth anniversary this fall, Chesapeake Martial Arts (CMA) is adding new programs for homeschooled students, pre-kindergarten students and other youth.

While there will not be any fireworks or ticker tape to celebrate CMA reaching nine years at its location off Route 611, the martial arts center, located in the Teal Marsh retail center off Route 611, will be introducing new classes this fall.

“We have started a special class just for 4-year-olds [on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m.],” said instructor Jim Heaney. “They come twice per week.”

Jim Heaney is the head of many of the school’s programs along with his wife and co-owner, Kimberly Heaney.

CMA’s long-standing after school martial arts program has expanded this fall to include pre-kindergarten students. Transportation for the classes for all eligible grades is provided for students at Ocean City Elementary School, Berlin Intermediate School, and Stephen Decatur Middle School via the school system’s bus. CMA has its own vans and can transport students from Showell Elementary School, Worcester Preparatory School and Seaside Academy.

There is a healthy relationship between CMA and Worcester County Public Schools, according to Jim Heaney, and now the academy will be expanding that to include homeschool students as well in the coming weeks.

There will be separate classes Tuesdays and Thursdays dedicated to homeschooled kids that will allow them to easily meet their physical education requirements.

The after-school program is offered from autumn through spring right up until CMA begins its summer camps. The academy is active year-round.

No matter the age, martial arts have a lot to offer both physically and mentally, according to Heaney.

“Our goal really is to help students better themselves, to become a better person all around. Not just fighting or self-defense, it improves their focus, their self-discipline and their concentration,” Heaney said.

The after-school classes have the added benefit of incorporating time for homework if parents would like for their students to tackle it along with their martial arts lesson and the instructors are able to help with both. There is learning both on and off of the mat with character growth taking priority over anything physical.

“The very first thing people get once they come in here is confidence,” said Jim Heaney. “Once they get over that first step on the mat, which is overwhelming for everyone … they’re off and running. You just see them blossom.”

While self-control and leadership are more important than kicks and blocks, Jim Heaney emphasized that the physical component of martial arts is rewarding in its own way. Classes improve fitness and self-defense and can benefit anyone from age 4 to 84.

CMA holds adult classes and operates its own tournament team that competes regionally and nationally. People from all walks of life have stepped onto the mat and broken their first board at the school.

“We have attorneys, we have business people, we have nurses, we have doctors,” said Jim Heaney. “We have everybody. Everybody is equal and even on the floor.”

The academy specializes in Tae Kwon Do while splashing in a variety of other forms and disciplines. Both Jim and Kimberly Heaney are certified through the World Tae Kwon Do Federation and its US counterpart. Jim Heaney is a fourth-degree black belt and Kimberly Heaney is a sixth-degree while the rest of their instructors are close behind.

“We’re certified through the World Tae Kwon Do Federation direct with Korea and all of our black belts are certified with them also,” said Jim Heaney.

Though the school’s tournament team is competitive, the adult program and especially the youth classes emphasize personal growth over everything else. Classes are easy to start, comfortable and relaxed with no bullying or negativity.

With dedication, progress can come quickly, Jim Heaney promised, and students will notice a positive change mentally and physically within their first few months. However, martial arts in general and Tae Kwon Do in particular can be rewarding over a lifetime and both Jim and Kimberly Heaney have put in decades. They’ve run schools in both Baltimore and Worcester County for over 27 years.

With the couple now operating CMA in West Ocean City exclusively, the Heaneys anticipate continual growth.

“We have room here to double our growth the way the school is set up just by adding different classes,” said Jim Heaney.

All of the new programs will be worked into the curriculum over the next few weeks. There will also be a free, once-a-week women’s self-defense class offered through CMA in October. The starting date will be posted on the CMA website at www.cmakarate.com and on its Facebook page.