Faith Clevenger and Summit Martial Arts
Mrs. Faith Clevenger, a 4th Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor, started with the ATA in 2004 at the age of 9. She began her training under Master Bentley and continued with his school until she got married and moved to Mason City Iowa. Once in Iowa she wanted to continue her journey in the ATA and began traveling to train with Senior Master Gleisner, driving 2 hours two nights a week. She chose the drive because she was driven to earn a World Championship, a goal that still drives her today!
Senior Master Gleisner, after about 1 1/2 years of training, talked to Faith about opening a club, something Master Bentley had encouraged her to do that since she was a teenager. It was through the influence and encouragement of both Masters that Summit Martial Arts was founded in December of 2018.
Mrs. Clevenger’s clear vision and the guidance of her first Instructor and Mentors show in her club, now growing into a full School, to officially open within the next few weeks. When asked about her school’s Vision and Purpose her answer says it best,
“Our vision statement is ‘For every student to recognize their full potential and achieve more than they ever thought possible.’ I chose the name Summit for two reasons. One of my childhood heroes growing up was legendary basketball coach Pat Summitt. I watched how she broke down barriers for women, demanded greatness out of her players, and genuinely cared about their success on and off the court. I aspire to be like her. The second reason is the summit of a mountain is the highest point of a mountain. I want our students to continue to drive and push to get to the summit. To achieve more than they ever thought possible both in their personal lives and as a martial artist.”
When asked about her School Patch, Mrs. Clevenger again comes through like a Professional Martial Arts Instructor,
“Our school logo has mountains in it and many people give me a hard time asking why I put mountains in our logo when we live in Iowa. It's one of the flattest states in the US, nothing but cornfields! All kidding aside, our name and logo have great significance to me and it fits right in with our vision statement. The colors in our logo also have meaning. The kicker is in red kicking towards the summit. We know in ATA that red letters mean you're a world champion. I want our students to push themselves to compete and earn championships. That's also why one of the mountains in our logo has the color gold in it. Gold is a championship color.”
Just like every other “young” Club and School, Summit Martial Arts has had its challenges. Starting from modest beginnings, including a firmly held goal of not operating with School Debt,
Summit started in the multi-purpose room of their local church. From that first night with no mats, no bags, a hand full of basic pads, and just pieces of tape on the floor to act as “dots” the club launched with 4 students. Mrs. Clevenger and her husband have struggled to grow the club. Often running into complaints about being “hard to find”, scheduling challenges with the church, and lacking signage to let people know they even existed, they have succeeded in growing into an up-and-coming Full School!
Over the last 2 years, Summit Martial Arts has grown to approximately 90 students and continues to grow! They have received awesome gifts, such as 2 full rings of mats from a fellow Martial Artist, and incredible encouragement, advice, and support from Masters Gleisner, Bentley, and Coffrin, to name a few.
As Mrs. Clevenger takes the next step of opening a Full School and operating in her own location there have been so many seniors in the ATA that have reached out to her offering assistance. Mrs. Clevenger has also gained great value and valuable assistance in many ways from ATA Headquarters. The Virtual Training, Thrive Seminars, and Private Lessons with Grand Master MK Lee have given her the ability to “stay excited” and continuously improve her own skills both as a Martial Artist and Instructor. In her own words,
“I think it's one of the things that makes this organization so strong. There is a sense of community and genuine interest to see one another succeed.”
The success that is Summit Martial Arts and all that Mrs. Clevenger and her husband do for their community show the power of the ATA and its members.
About the Author
4th Degree Black Belt
ATA member since 1997 Mr. Brian Myers a 4th Degree Black Belt and the co-owner of Pilsung ATA Martial Arts in Greenwood, IN. Mr. Myers has earned the title of Forms State Champion in the past, but in recent years has dedicated his focus to his students as Senior Instructor and ATA Tiger Instructor. His work as a writer and editor has also appeared on Examiner.com as a National Level Writer, Moosin.net, and in both ATA World and TKD Times magazines.