Introducing Sensei and Guru Tom Gillis

Renert School is very pleased and proud to officially introduce Sensei and Guro Tom Gillis, who will head our Martial Arts program starting next year. Our beloved Instructor Alberto will still be involved in reduced capacity and will assist in all “non-physical” aspects of the program in order to allow Alberto to further his studies.

Sensei Tom has been involved with all classes at Renert for the past 3 months in order to get to know all students and to guarantee a very smooth transition. The integration has worked so well, and it feels Tom has been part of the Renert community from Day 1. Sensei Tom brings immense knowledge in the martial arts to Renert School, and we are confident is the right person to take our MA program to the next level and will have wonderful influence as the leader of our MA program for years to come.

I interviewed Sensei Tom about his background and love of Martial Arts and this is what he said:

Ever since I was a kid I loved martial arts. Growing up in the ’80s I was influenced by movies such as American Ninja; I remember being mesmerized by the iconic image of Ninja and the incredible feats they could perform. Growing up in a small town didn’t afford much opportunity for formal instruction, but in 1994 a Tae Kwon Do school finally opened in my hometown. In this dojang I was exposed and trained in Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Shortly after graduating high school in 1996 I began formal instruction in Bujinkan. I trained until receiving my shodan (black belt) in 2010. Afterwards, while being employed in law enforcement as an Alberta Sheriff, I was fortunate to train with the man who brought Ninjutsu to Canada – Shihan Jay Creasey, with whom I still train today. In 2012 I accompanied him to Japan to meet and train with Soke Masaaki Hatsumi and the Japanese Shihan, and was promoted to 3rd degree black belt. I returned to Japan again in 2014 with Shihan Jay and successfully passed the Sakki test to become a 5th degree black belt.

Over the course of those years I was fortunate to meet and train with many great martial artists across a spectrum, gaining deep understanding of a lot of the foundations. Those arts include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Aiki Ju Jutsu, Wing Chun, and Arnis. In 2016 I successfully completed by Black Sash test in Arnis de Cadena and was awarded the title Guro by my teacher and friend Joel Huncar. I’ve also successfully completed training in, and received certification in approximately 65 different police combative programs.”

As you can tell from the bio above, Sensei Tom loved martial arts and combative training, and has devoted his life to it. He is passionate about sharing that love with his students and endeavor every day to create a safe environment where anyone can come train. Sensei Tom believes that when transmitted properly training in the warrior arts has the ability to teach much more than physical skills. Life skills such as Integrity, Respect, Kindness, Leadership, Discipline, and Commitment are all contained in the traditional arts—all values that are at the very core of the Renert educational model. This is why Sensei Tom was so excited at the prospect of heading the MA program at Renert. The unique concept of a very active dojo that is embedded in a school program was pioneered by Renert School, and allows the master ongoing daily contact with his students over years. Along with teaching the hard skills components of martial arts, we have already seen Sensei Tom masterfully teaching the above life skills to our students. He also teaches through the example he sets in his own life, in his ongoing quest for improvement and excellence.

This summer Sensei Tom will be offering Master Classes, Workshops and Day-Camps to students, parents and staff of the Renert School Community (based on demand and availability.) Attending will be a great way to get to know Sensei Tom better, and to build a stronger community, body and mind.

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