Student FAQs

What do the different uniforms mean?

Each uniform has a unique meaning. All students begin with a white uniform. After being nominated for our Black Belt track called, Leadership, students may join and wear a blue uniform. Junior Instructors wear red pants and Black Belts wear black pants. Instructors wear black tops/black collars.

How do I tie my belt?

Follow the instructions on this video:

What style of martial arts do you practice?

We practice primarily American-style taekwondo.

Our school was founded by Master Greg Macy, who first earned his black belt under Grand Master Stephen Oliver at Mile High Karate. GM Stephen Oliver studied under Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, known as the Father of American Taekwondo, alongside kickboxing champion Jeff “the DC Bomber” Smith, among others.

Other influences include Filipino stick defense and shotokan karate.

How did Ripple Effect get started?

Master Greg Macy, a 5th-degree Black Belt, founded Ripple Effect Martial Arts in the summer of 2013 in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was a passion long in the making.

Master Macy began training in taekwondo at age seven. As a youth and teenager, martial arts channeled his energies. He practically lived at Mile High Karate in Lakewood, Colorado. He spent thousands of hours working katas and combinations. Competing in tournaments. Studying books. Teaching and exploring new ideas with instructors and students. And mopping up mats and scrubbing windows when the day was done.

His fellow students and instructors were like family. It was an intense but safe environment, a place that rewarded good decisions, a positive attitude, leadership, and hard work that went beyond the expectations of the daily world.

We carry on this tradition at Ripple Effect Martial Arts. It’s a school where we train to improve, and that means lots of exercise, lots of drills and competition. We also share our stories and our goals, growing together in a supportive, fun, driven environment. We believe that the harder you work, the more you forge the strength to harness your mind and your muscles, the better you’ll be able to act and react. And not just in a fight, but in every challenge you take on.

The strength and confidence you’ll gain resonates out. That’s the Ripple Effect.

We offer martial arts training at our schools in Fort Collins, Longmont and Johnstown, Colorado. Stop in, write us, or give us a call to begin your journey to Black Belt.

When should we consider Black Belt?

As a new student, it’s very important to be thinking about training to Black Belt NOW. You need to get acquainted with the school— learn all you can about the environment and the philosophy of the school. And, get acquainted with the process of classes and curriculum. Frankly, whether as an adult or child, every time you are in class you’re going to have a lot of fun but the most important thing is that this is a school, just like any other school. If you go to Harvard, it is important to determine early on whether you’re going to be going from midterm to midterm, or whether you’re going to follow through and get your Bachelor’s Degree or your Master’s Degree. As you enter a school, it’s very important to determine why you are there and what the outcome will be. At Ripple Effect Martial Arts, the program goal is to become a black belt. Black Belt is in many ways a metaphor for the outcome; the outcome is confidence and discipline and focus. The outcome is a high level of physical athletic skill, a high level of physical fitness, as well as having the ability to defend yourself if you ever need to.

Do you train in weapons?

Students who are part of the Leadership program are invited to learn a variety of weapons. Some of these weapons include bo staff, escrima (kali) sticks, and nunchaku. We have weapons classes for our Leadership students throughout the week in 15-30 minute increments. Utilizing weapons allows the students to develop their coordination and fine motor skills in a different and exciting new way!

When are sparring classes offered?

Sparring classes will be offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Check out our updated class schedules to find out when the next sparring class is available at your school.

Do I need pads to spar?

Yes. All students are required to wear full pads to spar (including head gear and mouth guard), even when we’re doing solitary (vs. partner) or bag/pad drills.

What are the attendance requirements?

Martial arts training and character building require you to put in time on and off the mat. Plan on coming to class twice a week, and regularly practicing your forms and combos outside of class.

Our schedule is arranged around “A” days, where students learn stances, techniques and forms, and “B” days, where students engage in blocks, combos and sparring. We encourage you to come to at least one of each every week to make the most progress with your training and preparation for belt tests. Don’t forget to bring your pads and mouthguard on the “B” days!

We also offer private, one-on-one classes led by a black belt instructor (contact us to make arrangements for you or your student). You can always find the most up-to-date class schedules at MyKarateClasses.com.

How does testing work?

Through your first two years of training, you’ll test for a new belt approximately every two months (testing for the upper belts, red through black, is more intensive and less frequent). We’ll keep you informed ahead of time of key dates to help you prepare. These include:

  • Stripe Week, where your instructors will test your knowledge of belt-level combos, forms, and the Word of the Belt. You’ll receive a black stripe on your belt for each, a qualification for taking the comprehensive belt test.
  • Test Week, during which normal classes are replaced by dedicated testing times. In addition to having a thorough knowledge of your forms and combos, there are several other requirements to qualify to test. Check in with the Program Director at the front desk of your school for a detailed list of what you’ll need.

Belt Promotion Ceremonies, where you’ll receive your new belt and rank along with your fellow promoters.

Get accustomed to these rules and soon they’ll become second nature, keeping you on track to Black Belt.

What is the SWAT Team?

S.W.A.T. stands for “Special Winning Attitude Team.” The purpose of the SWAT program is to develop leaders and junior instructors. Any student in Leadership may “SWAT” classes. This means that they are in a lower level class to help teach and set a good example for the other students. While anyone can SWAT, not everyone is part of the “SWAT Team”. The students who are part of the SWAT Team are recognized by a SWAT patch on their uniforms. These students have completed a 3 month training course on how to properly communicate and engage their fellow students in class. By having students come to help teach, not only does it help them remember their lower belt curriculum, but it also builds their leadership skills and confidence in communicating with other people.

What is the Leadership program?

Our Leadership program develops all of the physical skills, weapons, forms, self-defense combinations, and the entire physical curriculum, as well as mental development—but it takes training one step further and into a leadership component.

This leadership component is important because as a college student or as an elementary student, it’s important to be able to interact with other people, important to take a mentorship role and a teaching role. Our Black Belts and our Leadership students will be able to interact with 40 people, 50 people, and perform in front of sometimes 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 people.

The Leadership program takes our martial arts lessons to a new level—teaching the skills of good public speaking, quality mentorship, excellent communication and persuasion, and an excellent ability to relay content and material to another person and to influence them in a positive manner so you can help them succeed and achieve more.

What are the belt testing requirements?

All students test approximately every two months for new belt ranking (with the exception of the upper belts). The belt promotion date and time will be posted one month in advance. Students will be tested in class during Test week and the Belt Promotion Ceremony will conclude Test week.

Testing requirements include:

  • a minimum of 16 classes since receiving current ranking;respectful attitude in class;
  • achieving the required physical proficiencies;
  • loyalty and dedication to the REMA school;
  • satisfactory completion of the “Qualification Code” which outlines additional responsibilities as a martial artist;
  • satisfactory completion of “Intent to Promote” form (under 18 years old);
  • the completion of reading requirements and associated written tests.

On belt promotion day, students should have 3 Black Stripes, 1 Yellow Stripe, 1 White Stripe and at least 5 Red Stripes.

Black Curriculum Stripes represent curriculum knowledge and proficiency and are distributed during “Stripe Week” (the week preceding Test Week) and the last week of each “non-test month”. At white belt, 1st black stripe is awarded for demonstration of all 6 white belt basics; 2nd black stripe is awarded for offensive and defensive white belt basics; 3rd black stripe is awarded for demonstration of blocks and counters. At all other belts, 1st black stripe is awarded for demonstration of combinations; 2nd black stripe is awarded for demonstration of belt rank form; 3rd black stripe is awarded for demonstration of blocks and counters/sparring.

  • Red Attitude Stripes-presented for completed job lists and excellence demonstrated in class
  • Blue “Word of the Month” Stripes- presented for completed Word of the Month worksheets
  • White Testing Stripes– presented during Test Week to show proficiency in Belt Rank Curriculum
  • Yellow “Intent to Promote” Stripes– presented during Test Week upon submission of Intent to Promote form
  • Gold and Silver Stars– Gold Stars reflect straight A’s in school; Silver Stars reflect A/B average
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