Set Realistic Goals Rather Than Vague Resolutions at California Academy of Martial Arts


By Greg Smith, Staff Writer

Say your New Year’s resolution is to join the gym — that’s a step in the right direction. But you get there and don’t know where to start: The machines look like something out of a science-fiction movie; everyone’s on their cell phone; and you suspect they’re all secretly judging you in between texts. So after a few feeble attempts, your resolution goes by the wayside like that ugly sweater your great-aunt gave you for Christmas.

“That’s because there’s a difference between making a resolution and setting goals,” says Nancy at California Academy of Martial Arts. “You could make a vow to hit the gym regularly, or you could chart a clear-cut plan to, say, lose 20 lbs. – something with an endpoint for success.”

“Simply put, setting goals produces results,” Nancy states. “People give up when they don’t have structure to guide them, whether their goal is to lose weight, learn self defense, or enjoy a new hobby. Here at CAMA, our curriculum teaches discipline for students to achieve their goals.”

The level of excellence begins with the founder and owner of CAMA, Sifu Todd Tei. Sifu Tei is a direct descendent of Wing Chun Kung Fu, a more realistic, practical form of Kung Fu. When he was 21, he became a Sifu and studied with Ip Ching, the younger son of Bruce Lee’s master, the legendary Ip Man. Now in his 17th year of teaching at CAMA, Sifu Tei regularly has students that are the children of his first pupils. He teaches five days a week – no absentee figurehead – appears on Spike TV regularly, and has an instructional YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers and over two million views. But the role he values most is that of Sifu, teaching all ages the celebrated and unique art of Wing Chun.

There are four programs at CAMA: Panda, for toddlers to age 5; Tigers, ages 5-7; Dragons, ages 8-12; and Adults, 14 and up. They also teach Shaolin fighting, which is more traditional and acrobatic; cardio kickboxing, more of a fitness class; and Filipino weapon training for Dragons and Adults.

With kid’s classes, in addition to physical training, instructors teach them lifestyle skills. A longtime student found out recently when interviewing for colleges how important a role personal presentation played. He had a great GPA, but with the social skills he learned at CAMA, he really stood out.

Other students have used their self defense in real-life situations: One student’s condo was broken in to while he was there. He subdued the attacker and held him until police came. Kids who had been bullied previously and hated school as a result exhibit confidence and defensive moves to thwart off schoolyard taunts, later excelling in school and actually enjoying it. And this doesn’t just go for boys: Girls experience bullying too, and the percentage of girls to boys at CAMA is nearly 50/50.

So I guess the real question is: What’s your goal for the New Year? Because CAMA has a plethora of ways to help you maximize your potential in 2012. California Academy of Martial Arts is open seven days a week and located at 521-A N. Hollywood Way in Burbank. For more information on classes, call (818) 843-7916 or visit

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