Martial arts is for everyone

PHOTO- Pictured with coach Andrew Babcock, Solana McCaughen (left) earned silver and Mia Brown (right) won gold at the Ontario Open International Jiu Jitsu Championships in Markham in September.

Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte

Loyalist Martial Arts Academy has thriving programs for youth with benefits that extend beyond the mat. Skills the athletes learn in the disciplines of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai can be applied in everyday life. Benefits can include increased confidence and self-esteem, learning discipline and self-control, gaining physical strength, agility, balance and control, develop respect for themselves and others, meeting new friends in a safe and fun environment and improved focus and impulse control for children with ADD and ADHD.

“We believe and encourage the thought of ‘martial arts for everyone’ at Loyalist,” said Academy owner and coach Tim Keller. “It is never too early or late to begin martial arts training; we have members from four to 64. The benefits are tremendous, physically and mentally, and the community here is welcoming and supportive. Our coaches have decades of experience and are second to none. Martial arts can improve
confidence, instill self-discipline, drive goal-setting and provide mental clarity. Not to mention, open the door to new friendships, experiences, and skills.”

PHOTO- Ian Quilty and Mia Brown won gold at the Submission Arts United Ontario/Quebec competition in Ottawa in November.


Located at 250 Sidney Street in Belleville, Loyalist Martial Arts Academy offers great adult programs in BJJ and Muay Thai as well as women’s only kickboxing, but they are also teaching the next generation as well.

For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs, Tiny Lions is for ages 3-6, Little Lions ages 7-9, Lions 10-12 and Youth 13-17. The BJJ program focuses on developing strong fundamentals on position and technique while teaching the child discipline, self-defence and control. Once a student has the approval of the lead instructor, they may take part in Randori, which emphasizes live training or rolling with a partner and develops the student’s sensitivity to balance and timing while using techniques.

For the Youth group, there is also conditioning that implements exercises specifically designed to improve the student’s cardio, strength and stamina. Once a student has one stripe on their white belt, they may attend Randori.

Muay Thai is also offered for Little Lions ages 7-8 and Lions ages 9-12. The program consists of conditioning and technique, which is a total body workout focusing on developing a student’s endurance, footwork, cardio and strength and conditioning through boxing techniques (i.e. pad work, rope skipping, push-ups, circuit training). The technique part of the class works striking combinations and footwork (jab,
jab cross, jab cross hook, push kicks, rounds kicks, etc.) developing the student’s technique, timing and reflexes.

PHOTO- Pictured with coach Andrew Babcock, from left, Ian Quilty, Mia Brown, Colton Seeley, Emersyn Bedore and Jakob Cunningham were all great representatives of the Loyalist Martial Arts Academy at the Submission Arts United Ontario/Quebec competition in Ottawa in November.


It’s been a challenging couple of years as provincial government restrictions forced the Academy to shut down operations on multiple occasions. The hope now is the students can now continue their training on an ongoing basis without disruption.

Some Loyalist athletes had the opportunity to showcase their skills at competitions this past fall, including the Ontario Open International Jiu Jitsu Championships in Markham in September with Mia Brown winning gold and Solana McCaughen earning silver.

At the Submission Arts United Ontario/Quebec in Ottawa in November, Mia Brown and Ian Quilty won gold while Jakob Cunningham earned silver. The whole team represented the Loyalist Academy in great fashion.

For more information about the Loyalist Martial Arts Academy as well as announcements about membership sales and upcoming camps (March Break, PA Days, summer, etc), check out or follow on Facebook @loyalistmma.