If you have any comments or suggestions about our SMA Black belt school, website or programs please list them here.

Isabella Thanos on April 3, 2016 at 1:26 AM said:

My sisters and I have been training at Shire Martial Arts since July 2014. Every lesson I always have so much fun and I have made lots of friends. I did the SWAT program last year and it was very fun and we learnt valuable leadership skills. I always look forward to going to taekwondo everyday. I am a full blue belt and I cannot wait to be a black belt!! Thanks to everyone for making taekwondo so enjoyable!!
Kelly D. on February 27, 2015 at 3:53 PM said:

Hi Gary,
I just wanted to say what a great night last night was…congratulations on 20 years! My 8 year old son was very excited about graduating to green white belt.
I just wanted to say thankyou to you and the young sumanim(excuse my attempt at spelling) that give so much encouragement to the kids. My son struggles with each move due to sensory processing disorder, low muscle tone and poor core strength but he is always happy to come and always enjoys himself which I think says something about your team. He must feel confident enough around you all that it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t quite get it right as long as tries!
Mum got emotional last night in a happy way as she knows he struggles but that he’s not made to feel left out or like he can’t do it whilst at shire martial arts.
A special thanks to Zac and Michael who my son always talks about and always seem to be there to encourage him…
Daniel Lubrano on July 12, 2013 at 4:56 AM said:

Shire Martial Arts is the greatest Martial Arts Centre In Sydney Australia and I am confident in saying that. As I have been at SMA (Shire Martial Arts) for three years, I have made lots of new friends, learnt how to confidently defend myself in case I need to use it and I have become a more confident in myself. I have completed the S.W.A.T (Special Winning Attitude Team) Program which aims to gain students leadership qualities. I am now currently an Instructor helping kids of all ages reach their full potential in defensive skills. This is the best place to learn how to defend yourself and feel confident in yourself.
Andrew Szemenyei on February 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM said:

Gary, Ben and the young ones coordinated a well organised, enjoyable and efficient grading on 22/2. I think everyone there was happy with it.
Zac Brogan on March 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM said:

last year I did the SWAT program and it was loads of fun. 3 weeks ago i got offered a teaching role! I was so exited.
this coming week will be my third week teaching and im sure i will have heaps of fun!
John Casey on February 22, 2012 at 4:48 PM said:

My son (10yrs old) and I (38 yrs old) recently did your Intro Program together. We had a really good time. We were talking about it for days later. I thought I’d pass it on. Regards
Nellie Khouri on November 30, 2011 at 3:12 PM said:

My son Brandan is 11 years old this year and has attended Shire Martial Arts for approximately 2 years, where he started in the Big Dolphins. Brandan then progressed to becoming a member of the Black Belt club and has just completed a leadership course in the SWAT team. Brandan’s attidude toward his schooling, his self belief and discipline at home has been through his own efforts but is also a direct result of the guidance, mentoring and patience from Gary and his team. The programe structured by Shire Martial Arts has kept Brandan interested and motivated to continue in attendance and he is flourishing due to this. Thank you Gary and your wonderful team of inspiring young girls and boys.

Nellie Khouri

Emily Macgregor on November 30, 2011 at 12:18 AM said:

My 14 year old son Jimmy started lessons coming up to 2 years ago, he has loved every minute – it did wonders for his self esteem as we’d recently moved over from NZ. And he’s now teaching! He absolutely loves it and we are so impressed with the whole ‘community’ approach of the teaching and the school.

I believe the essence of the philosophy that Gary and the SWAT team teach is what the world need more of! It is inclusive, encouraging, empowering and nurtures patience, discipline, strength, courage, kindness and self responsibility. What more could you ask for?

I only wish I’d known about this page, I’d have written earlier, I rave to everyone about Gary and the Shire Martial Arts school, it’s a gift to the kids and the community.

Michael Costigan on November 4, 2011 at 12:37 AM said:

The SWAT Leadership Program is under way and I have to say it’s AWESOME! It is great learning to become an instructor.
Peter Fairburn on August 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM said:

My twin girls aged six commenced classes 3 weeks ago.
Already the self esteem of the smaller of the two has improved greatly. Her posture as well as her belief in herself has improved. I find Gary,s holistic approach to the classes has had a really positive affect on them both in such a short time
rudi foehner on June 29, 2011 at 8:22 PM said:

gary is an outstanding teacher and his support team is simply great! the programme contains not only fab group work but also lots of attention for the individual student. my son has been with big dolphins for nearly 1 1/2 years now – and watching the training is still as exciting as in the beginning! pity that i don’t find the time to attend classes actively myself!!
Michael Costigan 12 Yrs Red Belt on September 24, 2010 at 11:59 PM said:

I am going to the ‘Movie Night’ tonight, and I know it will be great fun. I am also looking forward to seeing some of my friends if they are there!

Three Ninja’s will be a good movie to see anmd it will be great to eat pizza.

This movie night will be just as good as the ‘Karate Kid”.

Rock movie night!

Tanya Carbone on September 23, 2010 at 3:18 AM said:

My son Fynn has progressed to Big Dolphins recently. In that time I have watched quite a few lessons where I have to say that the support Gary receives from his older boys helping out in the class is outstanding! They are so patient and helpful with the younger boys ,which as a parent, makes me feel extremely grateful for this program that encourages interaction with my child in such a positive way.
Patrick Kalatzis (7 yrs) on March 31, 2010 at 4:46 PM said:

I love going to Shire Martial Arts because it is fun and one day I am going to do the kick that Karate Kid does on the poster.
Jarrod Butel (12 yrs) on March 31, 2010 at 4:44 PM said:

Shire martial arts is cool because I can beat my dad, meet new friends. It gives me confidence and is fun.
Kevin Houghton (Age:20) on March 8, 2010 at 12:45 AM said:

Anyone who trains with Gary will know he’s a fantastic teacher, but so are his classes themselves.

They are structure in a specific way, Gary is an accredited AIS coach in taekwondo, his lessons are specifically designed to enhance the body, not just the upper or lower body muscles, the lot, the heart rate you start with is usually the one you end with, even after sparring.

Kyle Hood (10 yrs old) on March 7, 2010 at 8:30 PM said:

I like martial arts because you make friends as well as having fun. I also have a great teacher Gary. from kyle
Kiya Kelley (aged 28 yrs) on January 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM said:

I trained Tae Kwon Do at Shire Martial Arts during the months of July-September 2009. Master Gary Simmons has developed a very thorough and holistic program for students at the school. I had not trained TKD in 9 years and had been apprehensive about finding a good teacher and good school. At Shire martial arts a found excellent instructors and very welcoming students. It is a balanced environment, where students are challenged and encouraged. I had to stop training due to injuries and unfortunately I moved from the area. However, should I ever have the opportunity to train with the school again I would certainly take it.
Karen Dowling (Aged 30) on December 15, 2009 at 8:38 PM said:

I joined SMA cause I wanted to learn self defence, get fit and have fun and SMA delivers the goods!When I joined I was fairly unco-ordinated and both teachers and students was really encouraging and it really helped to built up my confidence levels.

I really enjoy the release training gives and the fact that I always leave class having learnt something new. I can safely say I’m less stressed, physically fitter and have more confidence to deal with my day to day life.

Gary is easily approachable and a great teacher and SMA is a great school. If anyone is considering taking up Taekwondo then this is the place to do it !



Simon Tokic (Aged 30) on November 12, 2009 at 8:45 PM said:

I trained with SMA from 2005 to late 2007. The environment is positive and the only person you challenge is yourself.I also found it a safe place for anyone of any age and the syllabus is structured so that anyone can succeed at martial arts.

It was pleasing to see black belts ranging from young children through to their grandmothers, proving that martial arts really is for anyone.

I left to travel overseas for a year and a half and now that I am back in the country I would love to continue Tae Kwon Do (and introduce my partner to it).

If we were in the shire, then I would not hesitate in training again with Gary. However today we are located on the northern beaches and we are in the process of trying to find a school which has similar principles as SMA.

I wish Gary and the team the best of luck for the future and look forward to training with my friends when I am in the area again.

Thanks to SMA, I am motivated to continue the journey that I started in 2005, the journey to black belt!



Jaci Wright (16 yrs old) on October 13, 2009 at 10:16 PM said:

I’ve been training at SMA for about 1 year and have found a positive community of people aspiring to better their martial arts skills. I look forward to the classes and the opportunities given. Thank you Gary and SMA team 🙂
Lil Dolphin Mum on October 5, 2009 at 10:24 PM said:

My 5 year old ‘Lil Dolphin’ Jacob and I absolutely love your programme.

I’ve even been known to play ‘Takwondo’ at home with Jacob so that he can practice!

I’m REALLY glad that I got jacob involved.

Kind Regards


A 15 yr old Teenage Boy’s Mum on October 5, 2009 at 10:20 PM said:

Dear Gary,Last week at school my teenage son had to present a lesson in his PASS subject. He needed to plan, illustrate and teach to the rest of the class, a sporting skill.

It was a challenging assignment and he prepared thoroughly over many days. After my son gave his presentation his teacher, who is very difficult to please, passed on to my husband that our son achieved the top mark and his lesson and presentation were better than any prac teacher who has ever worked with her at the school.

I wanted you to know this because I feel our son’s confidence, sense of responsibility and willingness to give challenges his best efforts have been greatly influenced by his years of training in TKD and being with you, your team and the many supportive and encouraging students.

Thank you for the wonderful programs and opportunities you have available for the students. I hope my son will continue to enjoy TKD for many years to come.

He would be embarrassed if he knew I had told you about his achievement but I wanted you and your staff to know the wonderful results of the work you do.

Kind Regards



Cameron (13 yrs old) on August 5, 2009 at 12:37 AM said:

Over the past year (i think) i have learnt ALOT from taekwondo. not just moves. Soon im gunna b blue white belt and it will feel good to be off yellow belt. I wish the swat program hadntve finished bcoz i really liked it (not just bcoz of the pizza). I hope that one day im gunna be BLACK BELT and …….. yeah. Thats all
Stephanie (18 yrs old) on June 26, 2009 at 5:44 PM said:

Coming to tae kwon do has been the best experience for me. I have loved every moment of it! You find that as you gain experience, everything becomes so much easier and even more enjoyable than it was when you first started. I’m really glad that I started tkd, because I was reluctant at first. I started in year 9 and now in year 12 it really helps me release stress and have a good time with all of the fantastic people that you meet at tkd! I have made some really good friends, which only adds to the fun, of course XD
Alex Passas (16 yrs old) on June 22, 2009 at 5:13 AM said:

Taekwondo is most definitely the most useful, exhilarating, energizing and coolest sport there is out there, and heck am i glad i chose SMA to learn it XD
Conor Davis (14 yrs old) on June 12, 2009 at 7:13 PM said:

I have been at SMA for just under 3 years now. At our June 09 Belt Graduation, I broke my very first adult sized board! I know that i could not have done without tuition from Gary and his team who have been the best instructors to everyone.
Erin Macbeth (14 years old) on June 6, 2009 at 4:08 AM said:

I started Taekwondo at the beginning of this year and i love it it’s really fun and everyone is really nice.
Paul Miners (38 yrs) on April 6, 2009 at 4:34 PM said:

I have trained in Martial Arts for many years and have trained under a number of different instructors. I have to say that Shire Martial Arts is by far the most polished and professional club I have ever been part of. The instructors are very helpful and very knowledgable and the cirriculum is second to none. I highly recommend Shire Martial Arts to people of all ages.Thanks Gary



Luke Sundercombe (12 yrs old) on February 12, 2009 at 2:39 AM said:

Gary and the SMA instructore are great teachers. They have all taught me the basics and the difficulties of taekwondo along with the responcibility and etiquette required to be a martial artist by heart.
These instructers are the best and are all friendly, there always there to help.
Allison Rowe 21.01.09 on January 20, 2009 at 3:23 PM said:

Since Daniel started at Shire Martial arts eight years ago we have noticed his physical strength and character grow we have been extremely happy with Gary and his instructors and would recommend him to anyone.
Mrs Kate Fraser on January 15, 2009 at 12:35 PM said:

My son has been attending SMA for the past 15 months and what he has learnt in that time I know will stay with him for life. Lachlan’s self-confidence has soared, his maturity flourished and his persistence, diligence and committment to see a goal through to the next level developed. He has learnt that achievement takes effort, time and patience, all of which I know carry over to other arears of his life, whether it be school, music or other sporting activities, basically everything that Lachlan does. Speaking from a parent’s point of view I could not be happier because I know that these are the qualities which will mean a successful future. Lachlan is about to embark on high school and I know that he is looking to the experience with a confident and positive approach, I am sure that this has been enhanced by what he has learnt through SMA. I have been so impressed with the SMA program that I too decided to start up classes. Lachlan and I now train in the same training sessions and the experience has only further served to strengthen the committment. There are no age or gender boundaries and the classes are great for women. I would truly recommend the program to all, it definitely increases fitness levels but it also gives so much more than that. Thank you Gary and the SMA team.
Mrs Traci Sii on December 17, 2008 at 8:53 PM said:

To Gary and the SMA team.

Thank you for your patience, kindness and positive influence over my two boys this year.

They are both loving Taekwondo which has helped both in different ways. My youngest aged 8 has become so much more confident in himself. While my eldest boy aged 10, is learning to be more humble and respectful towards younger children.

Best wishes.

Samantha Sundercombe (20 yrs old) on December 13, 2008 at 4:02 PM said:

As a young member of the adult classes, I find Tae-Kwon-Do at SMA something I look forward to. After class, I feel energised, relaxed and happy no matter how good or bad my day was. My friends also think it’s cool! SMA is an unique school in its welcoming family atmosphere. I enjoy taking my brother to family classes on Saturday.
Luke Sundercombe (11 yrs old) on December 13, 2008 at 12:09 AM said:

As a SMA student for about 3 years and as an assistant instructor I’ve learnt a lot of things from SMA whilst having fun at the same time. Taekwondo teaches self defence for starters, technique and we learn how to be martial artists and not thugs who know how to fight. It also teaches self confidence and knowledge.So come on and try out Taekwondo for yourself, your children and friends.


Mrs Debbie Tindall on December 12, 2008 at 12:49 PM said:

My 6yr old son has been attending SMA for 11 months now. When I first took him to a class about a year ago he was almost sitting under the chair and keen to leave!I thought the class was great, just what this shy kid needed. Two weeks later he did his first class (very nervous)to the credit of the exceptionally dedicated, kind and understanding staff at SMA my son started to have a wonderful time.

Watching in the background was my 8 yr old daughter who suffers from anxiety. I tried her at dancing to help her with her anxious feelings of separation, apprehension and uncertainty but it did not help, I decided to try her at SMA, Gary and his team took the same approach with my daughter as they did with my son. Al SMA members are kind and respectful young people who are more than happy to help other kids.

I now proudly have two kids that are confident, self assured, physically fit who are building skills they will need for whatever life throws at them.

Thank you Gary for your time, encouragement and focus in teaching and helping my two kids become what they are today.

Thank you SMA, thank you.



Mrs Joanne Barron on December 8, 2008 at 5:50 PM said:

My daughter aged 13 and son aged 10 have been students of Shire Martial Arts for around 6 months and it is only our return to the UK that forced them to leave the school.Master Instructor Gary Simmons runs the school with obvious enthusiasm and dedication and all the students seem to thrive under his direction.

The classes are both fun yet structured in such a way that all students are able to graduate through their belt ranks with ‘tip tests’ covering acheivable portions of the syllabus ensuring great success.

Gary and his team of instructors command respect from all pupils but at the same time are easily approachable by all, from the tiniest to the adults.

Gary ensures that simple self defence is covered in the early stages to equip the children for action in these days of child snatching. He also take the time to talk to students on subjects such as bullying at school and improper behaiviour enabling them to better handle these situations should they arise.

I highly recommend this school.


Sutherland Shire Christian School on December 8, 2008 at 2:33 PM said:

Thank you for being part of our Year 10 Activities Week for 2008. Many of our students enjoyed the opportunity for some physical activity and found the demonstation and information very interesting and helpful. One of the highlights for the students was seeing one of their classmates Josh, demonstrate his talent in the area of Taekwondo.
Conor Davis (11 yrs old) on December 8, 2008 at 12:03 AM said:

Being a current SMA student myself, this program will give students self-confidence, improve their fitness and make them stronger. The instructors here are also extremely friendly, they know what they’re doing and will also talk to parents or children if it is required. So please let your kids, oy yourself, join. You will NOT regret it!
Jake Mendon (7 yrs old) on December 3, 2008 at 12:51 AM said:

I think it is very good!