September 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the Fall session! Along with Fall comes weather of cooler temps and rain, but also allergies and illnesses - Please make sure you are familiar with ISMA's sick policy below. 

Also please help me in welcoming 18 new students to the ISMA family this month. For those who are new... students in the same school are considered "brothers and sisters in martial arts".  This comes with the understanding that there is love and compassion for all who train in the same school and the "older siblings" (aka the higher belt ranks) help guide and train the younger "siblings" (aka the lower belt ranks). We welcome all of you. If you ever have any concerns or questions, feel free to contact me or a higher rank for guidance.

- Sifu Bales 
Q: How Does Martial Arts Help Students Excel in Other Sports?
A: You can read how many professional athletes from a multitude of sports also cross train in martial arts. It is because martial arts is a very balanced art form that uses left and right side; upper and lower body; lateral, circular, and rotational movements; strength, flexibility, endurance, timing, and hand/eye or foot/eye coordination.

One of the best aspects of martial arts however is that unlike classes or sports where there is one season or one year and then the individual changes classes, coaches, teams, and/or peer groups. Martial arts students remain with the same peer group and develop life long friendships as they learn to trust and train with others in the school. They also learn to develop maturing leadership skills, respect for others, and have compassion and encouragement for those lower in rank. Unlike most sports where there is either an "individual" or "team" aspect, martial arts favorably encompasses both. Martial arts has a family atmosphere where everyone works together, but advances at their own pace - this is beneficial because it doesn't put pressure on one individual ("star player") and can really benefit students who may not excel at other activities.

You'll see many drills executed in ISMA classes that look like "games". Each of these drills has a specific purpose to develop a student's skill level. It is ISMA experience that if students are having fun, they are more engaged and focused on learning. It is through these "games" that speed, timing, coordination, focus, reflexes, and balance are developed. ISMA's 22 year history of training students has proven this method to be very effective when it comes to reflexing to an attack. A methodical approach to learning self defense can be read in a book, but without the rest of these skills the self defense move will fall short in a real life situation. 

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 

October 19

Yellow Stripe & Yellow

Rank testing is by invitation
only. Students must meet all
their requirements a minimum
of  2 weeks before the test
date. Testing is open to all
students to observe (and in
some cases audit). Tests
start at Noon and are
conducted at our CP location. 

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

Adam Kenworthy
Sifu Bales
Jibril Ahmed
Harsha Nallamothu

(and any new students joining us
whom I don't have a birthdate for yet)
Congratulations  to all the students who competed and won medals during this year's Tiger Challenge tournament.  We had 23 competitors and 6 of those were first time competitorsEvery competitor went home with at least one medal. Our MVP this year was Vishal Yedulapuram, who walked away with 3 Gold and 2 Silver.

Watch for a Tiger Challenge qualifier event coming in December...
start practicing your Traditional and Open Hand forms!

Tiger Challenge Results
Monday 9-23

If you train at the JF location, please make a note that Sifu Bales has been called to Jury Duty that morning. Hopefully it will not change the evening training schedule, but if you see a last minute class cancellation - this is why. I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up!
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 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.

Both rec center locations are enforcing tuition rate increase. Plano already increased some of their class rates for Fall and the Allen classes will be increased by $5 / month coming January 2020. Before you sigh in disappointment, the last increase of ISMA tuition was in 2010 when Zayd Moosajee and Nick Breese (John Paul's older brother) had both just earned their YELLOW STRIPE belts. For those who know these individuals, they both are attending College now! :-) 

Austin's Adventures
( Sifu Bales Muppet, ISMA Mascot, and Member of Dog Scouts Troop 119 )

We are still waiting for the results from the 2020 Doo the Right Thing Calendar contest. Thank you to all who voted for Austin this year!

If you enjoy spending time with your dog, Austin will probably be joining Sifu Bales again to help teach the Fall ARF: Agility, Rally, and Find-It (Tracking) classes.  
The ARF classes are offered through the City of Plano and are conducted on the Oak Point Park property in east Plano (conveniently located between the JF and CP ISMA locations). Registration is through the City of Plano recreation catalog and the next set of classes will be offered Saturdays (4:30-5:30 pm) in October during the Fall session. For more info:
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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