Stories from our Members

We take pride in the success of our students, so we invited some of our community members to share their stories in their own words.

What our members are saying

“After having my son at Family Black Belt Academy for two years, our family ended up moving to Virginia. One of the first things we did was look for a martial arts school. Since we have been in Virginia, we have visited over ten different martial arts schools. We haven't found a school yet that is comparable to what we had in Seattle. Master Purcell and his staff are just amazing, and I've told all of my friends who still live in Seattle that if they are going to do martial arts, they have to go to Family Black Belt Academy. I couldn't speak any higher of Master Purcell's school. If you live close to Family Black Belt Academy, you need to go check it out!”

Steve Keagen - Father

Image for Testimonial from Sue Tripp

“We visited two other martial arts schools before finding Family Black Belt Academy. It was definitely the best fit for our six-year old. Master Purcell and his staff are very patient while still requiring follow through. They give a lot of positive reinforcement, which keeps the kids motivated and on task. They have been working with our guy on following directions, and we are very pleased with his progress!”

Sue Tripp - Grandmother

“This program has done wonders for our son’s confidence. We couldn't recommend this program any higher!”

Brett Allen, Father - Seattle, WA

Image for Testimonial from Lynn Baker

“The confidence my girls have gained from their martial art classes is absolutely priceless. My husband and I are ecstatic we found Family Black Belt Academy! We couldn't say enough great things about the school.”

Lynn Baker - Mother, Seattle WA

“The program at Family Black Belt Academy emphasizes leadership and lifelong skills in addition to developing skills directly related to martial arts. Positive engagement with students helps everyone stay engaged and progressing. Individual attention is given to students.”

John Erickson - Father

Image for Testimonial from Steven Twigg & Mary Rea

“Our son has had great improvement with his listening. He now knows how to better control himself when he is hyper or frustrated. The class is great at showing the kids the value of working towards and earning their goals. He now controls his own actions and understands consequences. In three months, Colin has become much more aware of his actions and their consequences. Also, he is not as angrily aggressive and is starting to stop to think and assess situations. The home chart has improved his attitude at home and at school, too. I have never seen Colin so proud to work towards something. Thank you for your program!”

Steven Twigg & Mary Rea - Parents

“I've been involved in martial arts for well over ten years, and the classes at Family Black Belt Academy keep me coming back time and time again.”

Brian Beck - Student

“My daughter has been coming for a year now and is looking forward to getting her black belt, a long-term goal that is teaching her about perseverance and commitment. She said she likes that the instructors don't expect her to get everything straight away and just want to help her improve.”

Melissa McTavish - Mother

“My three kids have been attending class for two months now. They really enjoy it. They like earning stripes and concentrate for it. I like that they try to apply what they learn in class at home. It is really family friendly. I have tried the women’s self defense course, and my husband is trying out classes too. We enjoy this school and the people teaching.”

Julie Demers - Mother

“My kids' behavior has improved. They listen to instructions better, have become better listeners, and take charge of their responsibilities.”

Beau Machart - Mother

“Being new in the area, we decided to sign our kids up at Family Black Belt Academy. Since day one, they have felt welcome and loved the classes. The instructors are great, and my kids are motivated to come every time. The behavioral program is great, and the kids love it too! As a mom, I can't be happier with how the kids have improved their listening and focus skills.”

Paulina Rojas - Mother

“I wish we had discovered this earlier! I honestly didn't think my daughter would enjoy martial arts, but she absolutely loves it. As parents, we love the behavioral aspect of martial arts, which we can use at home. We have already seen an improvement in Amelia’s listening skills. I would totally recommend Family Black Belt Academy to anyone thinking of joining.”

Samantha Lynch - Mother

“My kids have developed so much discipline, self-respect, joy in working hard, and body confidence from their two years here. The teachers are wonderful mentors who both ask a lot of, and clearly care about, the students. We try to use positive, encouraging forms of parenting, whether encouraging good habits or guiding our kids away from less desirable behaviors. The behavioral program at Family Black Belt Academy has been the most effective tool we have. The ribbons, medals, and trophies are powerful motivators for encouraging great behavior, through which they’re developing wonderful character. Highly recommend!”

Michele Christiansen - Mother

“My two sons love martial arts! They are focused and stay physically fit in the process. They see their hard work pay off when belt testing comes, and they move up. It’s a personal achievement for themselves. Great for goal setting and discipline.”

Shinae Kim - Mother

“We enrolled Nico at Family Black Belt Academy after he attended a birthday party. He’s never been enthusiastic about playing sports, any sport really, but he came home really excited about martial arts. At the same time, he was really interested in American Ninja Warrior. We enrolled him last fall and have watched him blossom. He loves it and is much more confident. It also has helped him enhance his fine and large motor control skills, as well as stay more focused! I can't recommend it enough!”

Deb de Souza - Mother

“Martial arts has helped my boys to focus better. The combination of practicing during the classes and also the two goals that they need to work on at home is perfect. Very glad that we signed them up. I can see the improvement in this 7-8 months.”

Almudena Tercero - Mother

“Before we started at Family Black Belt Academy, we were struggling to get our daughter to listen and stay focused on tasks. We also had difficulty motivating her to take ownership of her responsibilities. We had to remind her to do her homework constantly. After a few weeks at Family Black Belt Academy, we have seen significant improvement. The classes provide a great workout for her, but also a framework of focus and self-discipline that has improved her focus outside of the studio. She just started the leadership program and reminded me this morning that she needs to do her homework in order for her to attend class!”

Sejin Siegel - Mother

“What we love the most is that the teachings go well beyond the class and really impact many aspects of my son's life. Master Purcell and his team teach life skills that instill confidence, discipline, and respect in their students. They all very clearly care deeply about their students and the program, and most of all, they obviously love what they do. Besides those key life skills, my son never leaves a class without having laughed a lot! I really can't rate this program and the school highly enough.”

Sonia Pitts - Mother

“Our son loves coming to martial arts! He loves all of the activities, but he’s also learning discipline and motivation - whether he knows it or not.”

Lacy Lynch - Mother

“Parker loves martial arts. It has taught him to have more confidence in himself, to be more patient, to respect others, and know the value of hard work. When he broke his first black board, the pride in his smile could be felt by the whole room.”

Jay Torrell - Father

“Our daughter has been attending martial arts classes for a few years at Family Black Belt Academy. The instructors are so good with the children, giving personal attention and challenges right for the levels. We have seen her confidence grow, and she shows pride in the belts that she knows she has earned.”

Ty Thorson - Father

“Romir has been doing martial arts for almost a year, and he has enjoyed every class. He’s always excited to learn new techniques. We as parents love the discipline aspect. We also like that kids are also taught meditation to achieve their goals.”

Jillu Zaveri - Mother

“This program has been so beneficial to our son who is not into team sports. Master Purcell, Master Thammarat, and all the instructors are fantastic teachers and leaders! We really appreciate them knowing our son's strengths and weaknesses and recognizing how to teach and inspire him. We love that this program focuses on both physical and mental strengthening!”

Misty Jackson-Nau - Mother

“Our son, Sebastian, started martial arts last October in 2017. The program has been amazing, and he is incredibly motivated to come to class. In this short period of time, he has become disciplined and has acquired concepts of self-discipline, consistence, and working to achieve a goal. The program also helped him with areas of opportunity. Fun example: nutrition was challenging for Sebastian, as he was a picky eater. Since enrolling, he knows that to earn a medal he needs to eat good food (veggies!!). We are very happy with the program and hope he will one day earn a black belt.”

Claudia & Elihu Luna-Thomas - Parents

“We love Family Black Belt Academy! It has really helped Mason with listening and focus. It helps him get his extra energy out, and I love the checkmark system we do at home. It has really given him the extra motivation to work on listening and accomplishing tasks at home. Everyone is super friendly and encouraging.”

Leah Lai - Mother

“My son, Oliver, has been going to classes here for a couple of years. It has been amazing for his sense of focus, especially in a loud and busy atmosphere. Not only does the school work on discipline, self- awareness, and self-confidence, it extends a reward system for completing responsibilities at home. The instructors are incredibly patient, resilient, and fair. As students graduate into higher belts, their growth is apparent by technique and focus. I have really enjoyed this as an afterschool activity and feel other parents in the community share my enthusiasm.”

Jeremy Armstrong - Father

“Our son loves coming to class and really enjoys the instructors and the discipline they instill. As a parent, I also appreciate the great way they teach not only the physical aspects of martial arts, but more importantly the mental and cognitive aspects. I would recommend anyone who wants their child to feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment to take martial arts here.”

Josh Marion - Father

“Nico looks forward to coming to class at Family Black Belt Academy. It has increased his confidence and discipline, and improved his focus and listening skills. His physical dexterity and coordination have improved markedly. Most of all, he is having fun!”

Michael de Souza - Father

“We've seen some great differences in our daughter’s confidence and discipline. The behavior charts have been a great way to bring some of the lessons home, and keep her motivated. The classes are truly kid-centric, focusing on how kids learn and what they need to be good at martial arts and life.”

Dan Vanderhei - Father

“I have four children taking classes and love that they are able to do an activity together. The classes are challenging but fun, and my children ask to go even after their other activities. The school definitely teaches both the physical and mental aspects of martial arts, and Master Purcell routinely asks about my children’s behavior outside of class. The school provides older children the opportunity to volunteer as assistants when they get to a higher belt level, and my kids like seeing what they can aspire to. Martial arts has helped my twin sons greatly as a supplement to their physical therapy. It has been phenomenal to see my two older daughters learn how to kick, punch, and yell in contrast to their other activity, ballet. We look forward to many years here as my children work toward their black belts.”

Autumn Hwang - Mother

“Our son has been attending martial arts classes since he was six years old. Now at 13, he has been at Family Black Belt Academy for the past 5 years. He loves it! We attribute a lot of his enthusiasm to the careful, encouraging instruction he gets from all the Instructors. Family Black Belt Academy is an environment that is fun and full of learning. At his age now, he is incorporating his listening, watching, and questioning skills into other areas of his daily routine with confidence. We couldn't be happier! ”

Paul Gladnick - Father

“My son has been studying martial arts at Family Black Belt Academy for five years. When we were looking for a place to study, we looked at a variety of martial arts studios, and my son chose Family Black Belt Academy for several reasons. We like that they have excellent, caring teachers who keep the kids engaged. My son was turned off by other studios that were overly strict, making kids do push ups, etc. for lack of attention. Family Black Belt Academy instructors keep kids on task with gentle guidance and are responsive to parents' requests. Family Black Belt Academy offers many classes, six days a week, so there is a lot of flexibility with scheduling. My son is also motivated by being in classes with other teens and adult students and seeing black belt tests. There are students of all levels at the school, and the advanced students help out the younger kids, which benefits everyone.”

Mary Clark - Mother

“Family Black Belt Academy gives off a positive energy, and you feel it right when you walk through the door. I don't know how else to describe the atmosphere. Our kids have been in a lot of activities, but this is the only one where they're disappointed when class is over. They LOVE it, and they’re always excited to go back. That’s saying a lot, given that they attend classes twice a week without argument. They picked to go here after attending a birthday party even though there are other martial arts locations closer to home. Nothing compares to this place! The instructors are so positive and are truly passionate about their program. You can't fake that kind of enthusiasm! With the competitiveness in little kid activities today, Family Black Belt Academy is refreshing because kids “compete” against themselves, so they work at their own level and build up their confidence while still interacting with a bunch of other kids. I recommend this school to everyone because I wholeheartedly agree with their program. Instructors offer a free private class followed by a free group class to make sure kids and parents feel Family Black Belt Academy is the right place for them. It’s a low-pressure way to introduce martial arts to kids.”

Cheryl Brenner - Mother

“We were having a few behavioral problems with our son, primarily with keeping his room clean. No matter what we tried to work out with him, it was always a fight to try to get him to pick up his room, and keep it in order. Then we started taking classes at Family Black Belt Academy. Students have to earn stripes on their belts, and some of the stripes are physical stripes, while others are mental or behavioral. Master Purcell told our son he needed to earn two respect stripes at home, and so my wife and I decided keeping his room clean would be a great way for him to earn these stripes. This has worked incredibly well. We no longer have to fight with him, and he loves trying to earn his respect stripes. Of course he also gets a great workout, builds his confidence and learns self-defense. I can't tell you how happy we are with the results!”

Max Derrha - Father

“Getting a great workout, staying in shape, and being healthy have always been really important to me. Competing in martial arts has been a great way for me to find that focus to stay in the best shape possible. I love the challenge of competing, love training with the team, and, as a side note, all the training I've had has taught me some great self-defense, so I know I can defend myself if need be.”

Ethan Yanuaria - Student

“Family Black Belt Academy provides a great venue outside of school for kids to develop strength, coordination, focus and respect for others. My son can't wait to get to martial arts, and on our days off he begs me to go in anyway. I'm so happy that we found something that helps build character but also teaches him healthy life habits.”

Rachel Alves - Mother

“We had our oldest daughter have her birthday party at Family Black Belt Academy, and afterwards our youngest one had so much fun that she wants to have her party there too! We will be doing her party in a couple of weeks, and both girls can't wait.”

Cat Virzi - Mother

“The kids have a blast in the camps! It's great to know I can drop my son off, they are going to get an amazing workout, learn some great life lessons, and when I pick him up he is going to have a huge smile on his face.”

Heidi Roth - Mother

“We had a birthday party booked, and immediately afterwards the kids ran over to another birthday party in a gymnastics location. After the kids had come from Family Black Belt Academy, halfway through their gymnastics party several of the kids came over to us and said, "Can we go back to the martial arts party?" We just started laughing when I thought, what better of a referral could you possibly get from anyone? The martial arts party was definitely the highlight of the month.”

Bob Igelman - Grandfather

“The classes are so much fun. It doesn't matter if you have been an athlete all your life or if you are just now getting into fitness for the first time in your life. The classes will give you an amazing workout. Everyone can go at their own pace, and the atmosphere of the classes are awesome!”

Cher Edwards - Mother and Student

“I was looking for a different sort of workout other then the weight room or just going for a run. I'm so glad I found Family Black Belt Academy. The atmosphere of the adult classes are fun and energetic. The self-defense you learn is great and the workouts are amazing! My son is also in the kids class and I'm thrilled he has been having such a great experience as well.”

David Todedo - Father and Student

“Master Purcell came down to Maple Valley and taught a homeschool martial arts class a number of years ago outside of his normal classes at Family Black Belt Academy. My son and daughter took classes with him for a good number of years, and since then Master Purcell got too busy at his studio in Seattle and thus had to stop teaching in Maple Valley. Several of us from that original group still drive all the way up to train with Master Purcell at Family Black Belt Academy. The drive is close to an hour each direction, and we pass at least a dozen martial art studios, but the instruction and education we get from Family Black Belt Academy is well worth the drive. I would recommend this school to anyone!”

Rosemary Shuh - Mother

“I started doing the adult classes because I wanted to take up a new hobby, and try a new challenge. I never knew I would enjoy the classes so much! Everyone is able to go at their own pace, and the feeling you get after finishing a class is incredible.”

Jason Mclaughin - Student

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