There are a lot of benefits to be gained in martial arts practice. But there are so many different types of martial arts to choose from, a beginning student may wonder what style of martial art they’re learning. Is it Karate? Jiu Jitsu? Taekwondo? And what does any of that mean, anyway?
At West Coast World Martial Arts Santa Clara, we teach a practical mix of martial arts from around the world. By drawing from some of the best martial arts styles on Earth, our curriculum gives our students a strong, well-rounded foundation in self-defense.
And at the core of our curriculum is the martial art our school’s journey began with over 40 years ago– Tae Kwon Do (also known as Taekwondo). Our founders, Great Grandmaster Ernie Reyes and Great Grandmaster Tony Thompson, both began their martial arts Path to Mastery in Tae Kwon Do. They first met as students of Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster Dan Choi, and began a lifelong friendship and partnership that continues to this day.
The Early Days: Great Grandmaster Tony Thompson (L) and Great Grandmaster Ernie Reyes (R)
But what is Taekwondo? It’s a modern martial art that began in Korea as a blend of Karate and ancient Korean kicking arts, and is world-famous for its amazing, dynamic kicks. Taekwondo is the most popular martial art in the world, with some 30 million martial artists practicing Taekwondo in 100 countries around the world. And its popularity has only grown, as Taekwondo was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia. Taekwondo is also a competitive sport in the Pan-Am Games and the Commonwealth Games.
Great Grandmaster Ernie Reyes and Great Grandmaster Tony Thompson are both certified black belts under World Taekwondo (formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation), as are all of our senior black belt instructors. A few highlights of Great Grandmaster Ernie Reyes’ Taekwondo record include:
USA National Taekwondo Champion Ernie Reyes, center, carrying the American flag
Beyond his own personal record, Great Grandmaster Reyes created, directed, and coached the internationally famous West Coast World Action Team, which was recognized by Bushido Magazine (Europe) as “the #1 Martial Arts Demo Team in the World.” In just one year, Great Grandmaster Reyes produced seven black belt national champions– all certified World Taekwondo Federation black belts– from his high-flying West Coast World Action Team.
The Early Days: The West Coast World Action Team
With this incredible feat of coaching, Great Grandmaster Reyes became known worldwide as the “trainer of champions.” He also coached his son, national champion Ernie Reyes Jr., the youngest child in the history of martial arts to be rated in the adult professional forms division.
As a result of his outstanding record of accomplishments in the martial arts, Great Grandmaster Reyes has been awarded Lifetime Achievement awards by every major martial arts association in the United States. Great Grandmaster Reyes has been been featured in every national karate magazine in the world, was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year, was honored as Instructor of the Year by the Professional Karate Association, and was recognized as one of the greatest masters of the 20th century on Masters of the Martial Arts, presented on national television by TNT.
And whether it was right here in our martial arts school in Santa Clara, or traveling around the world as the West Coast World Action Team, the foundation of our martial art is and always has been the one that we began our journey with– the amazing, dynamic, and incredibly effective Korean martial art of Taekwondo.