Summer Martial Arts Programs in Full Swing


California Academy of Martial Arts in Burbank/Toluca Lake enrolls new students of all ages year-round, but summer is always a particularly busy time for the popular Kung Fu school’s children’s programs.

Little Pandas Xochitl and Itzel with Sifu Patty. Xochitl and Itzel’s father, Rufino, is also a Wing Chun Sifu.

Little Pandas Xochitl and Itzel with Sifu Patty. Xochitl and Itzel’s father, Rufino, is also a Wing Chun Sifu.

Classes are available daily and cover many topics relevant to the school year such as classroom etiquette, anti-bullying, street safety, and social skills. All children are required to demonstrate increased focus, discipline, and control before they can earn their next “sash” (aka belt). The program also strengthens students’ physical skills, challenging them to develop better balance, coordination, and overall fitness. “Most of our kids are also involved in other extracurricular activities, so we want to improve their performance in those areas as well. Our curriculum really brings out the best in terms of lower body power, strength, and speed,” notes Nancy Tei, the school’s Program Director.

The school has always offered daily group classes, but has also recently expanded its private lesson offerings in response to increased demand for private martial arts training. Private lessons are particularly popular among non-local students, parents of special needs children, and professionals with erratic schedules. Most of the school’s group class students also partake in private sessions in order to play catch up or learn at an accelerated pace based on their individual needs and goals.

Helmed by Todd Shawn Tei, a world-renowned Wing Chun master with a lineage that connects him directly to Bruce Lee, the school will celebrate its 18th anniversary this summer. Tei recently certified two new Sifus, or masters: 17-year-old Patricia Whitehead, who has looked forward to this rare achievement since beginning her training at age 8, and Rufino Cuevas, whose two daughters, Xochitl and Itzel, are successful students in the Academy’s “Little Pandas” martial arts program for preschoolers.

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