Feb-March 2020 Newsletter

Hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day brings good fortune to all. Thank you for all the well wishes, patience, and assistance as February started off rough for me with a severe psoas muscle / back injury. The issue started with an "adjustment" to a pose by a yoga instructor but, because of the misalignment my back, knee, and hips were in at the time, the correction created damage, which was not completely apparent to me until it started screaming and I couldn't move.  It was a reminder to listen to our bodies, a lesson in how the physical - mental - and emotional pain signature works, and a good teaching example. I still don't have full range of motion, but I'm on the better side of healing. 
-Sifu Bales

Feb 20th

Due to set up for the Art Extravaganza at Joe Farmer Rec Ctr,
Thursday, Feb 20th classes will be held at

The Allen Senior Center
451 St  Mary  Dr
Allen, TX 75002

All classes will be conducted during their normal class times at this offsite location.

Registration at our CP location for Spring opened at the same time as Winter Registration. Youth I (Tues 5-6 pm)  Teen/Adult I and II Students, if you are not yet registered for the Spring Session, please do so no later than  March 7th. Youth I students - this class is subject to filling up. Register ASAP is recommended - if the class is full, please add your name to the wait list and let Sifu Bales know. The last class of the Winter session is March 14th.
CP Location
No Classes
Tuesday, March 3rd

Just a reminder, we do not have classes scheduled for Tuesday, March 3rd, due to our CP location being a popular election polling place. 

Q: Why do students lead warm-ups?
A: General the highest ranking student leads the warm-up session time not only as a means of placing them in a position of authority for the other students to see, but in that position the highest ranked student gets to hone their skills of leading a large group in a controlled situation. This not only increases the confidence of the leader, but enhances the respect by the following students. Highest ranking students who help with classes prior to their own can opt to pass the warm-up leader position down the rank line that day since they've already been leading by assisting. Sifu Bales may also bring a lower rank student to lead as a perk or if she feels it will help a lower ranked student develop confidence.

If you have any questions on this topic not answered in this Q&A, please feel free to ask. Our website and manuals are great sources for information and if you have a question for an upcoming Q&A topic that you think would benefit others too, please send it via email to Sifu Bales at 

Warm Birthday wishes to
the following ISMA Family Members
who are currently training...

Saleen Alshammary
Grant Hagins
Julia Sutter
James Hsu
Aaradhya Botla
Michael Kane
Jacob Hung

Sara Moore
Cameron Housley
Hitesh Nallamothu
Elaine Wang
Ben Froukhtman
Allison Schiffman
Prarthana Prasanth

(and any new students joining us
whom I don't have a birthdate for yet)
ISMA has a 24 hour rule… if you have had a fever or have thrown up within 24 hours of your class time, please skip class! Although we love seeing you, please do not come to class if you are ill with a sore throat, fever, flu, or anything else contagious. Besides cycling the illness to your classmates, ISMA classes can be physically enduring and we don’t want you to relapse and be out longer.
If you are continuously sneezing or coughing during class, we will ask you to leave. We understand “allergies” however please take medicine to control the symptoms during class – even with allergies, you are still projecting germs towards your classmates.

Do you have the current ISMA manual?

The latest update to the ISMA Manuals,
Part I (General Knowledge) and
Part II (Rank Requirements) 
Need an ISMA Student Manual Click HERE


* Open hand sparring is a rank requirement for students testing for Green belt and higher ranks and will be included on the physical belt tests. Students do not need to purchase Sparring Gear until they have earned a Yellow Belt with a Green Stripe on it in preparation for these intermediate testing levels.
The summer uniform option is over - for all students under Green Belt rank, uniform jackets are required.
All uniforms need to be professional looking - ironed, no rips, not too small, or too large and dragging on the ground. UNIFORMS ARE TO BE WORN WITH A T-SHIRT UNDER THE JACKET AND NO EXTERNAL PANTS UNDER THE UNIFORM PANTS.

Students wearing their uniform over external wear: play shorts, swimwear, long pants, leggings, pajama pants, etc are considered "out of uniform" and will not be permitted to line up in rank order or test for stripes/rank. Uniform pants are specially cut for movement and additional external wear under the pants prohibit such movement. In addition, wearing such attire because you want to "quickly change" for your next activity diverts your attention from your present training.

The ISMA uniform evolves with rank to become more street oriented, but it is necessary to be able to move properly when learning new skills so as to execute them properly.
If you would like to purchase an ISMA school shirt ($25), pants, jacket, or a complete new uniform, please contact Sifu Bales.

Notebook of Knowledge

All youth students, minimum yellow stripe belt and higher ranked, should bring their “Notebook of Knowledge” to each class. These notebook can be built using the contents from the Training Tips area of the student page at and should include the  manuals and and any training instructional worksheets. In addition a pencil and extra paper should be kept in the notebook. Notebooks are vital to earning merit stripes on the Yellow Stripe belt, but they can become a great motivator  for white belts as well. For more information, please check out the Training Tips area on the Student Page at
When in doubt, log on to "Calendar" from For last minute updates listen to the message at 972-379-7438. The voice mail message will be preceded with the date and time for any specific emergency updates.
Inclement Weather: ISMA elects to follow the policy of the Plano and Allen school districts as it pertains to inclement weather only (not holiday closings). If the ISD is closed due to inclement weather, most likely ISMA will be closed within that city, but make sure you check our website or phone message to be sure it wasn't an AM situation only (i.e. morning ice melted and warmer evening temps).
Make-Up Classes: ISMA does not offer make-up classes for students missing class due to their own scheduling conflicts. In the event that ISMA has to cancel a class due to an unforeseen emergency (and not a scheduled offsite event), we will try to provide options for students to make-up those unforeseen cancellations. ISMA is not responsible for cancellation of classes made by the city.



For specifics log-on to

 Joe Farmer location:
Register promptly. Late enrollment subject to add’l $15 fee.

Carpenter Park location:

Winter / Spring registration:
12/7/2019....... Plano Residents
12/9/2019....... Non-Residents

Students in the Teen/Adult Level II class, don't forget to register for Level I and Level II both.
Level II is an add-on and not a stand alone course.

Thank you for your support and continued training
You must register the first day registration is available to you 
If you don’t get into a class, make sure you are promptly added to the wait list.
Continued enrollment is not guaranteed.
Please read the specifics on registration procedures from Part I of the Student Manual.

Martial Arts training is intended to be continuous, but sometimes life gets in the way of things we would like to do. Please respectfully inform me if you are dropping out or ever plan to miss an entire session so I can adapt the classes/sizes accordingly and prepare how many open spots there will be available for potential new students - it takes tremendous planning to juggle numerous classes with all ranks, skills, and ages. Thank you.
Thank you for reading this newsletter
being an informed member of the ISMA family.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns... please contact me. ISMA is not just a "rec center class". For over 22 years it has been a family, my life, and my livelihood.

Because I teach 5 days a week, have two other specialty businesses, and a part-time job... email is the best way to get a complete detailed response to a question.

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If you are a current student, you need to read these emails. If you have any changes to your profile or email address, please also send an email to Sifu Bales so your information can be updated in her Juno account at

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Inner Strength Martial Arts · c/o 3004 White Oak Drive · Plano, TX 75074 · USA

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