On Saturday, December 15, Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy honored Grandmaster Vincent J. Rodricks with a certificate of appreciation during a Christmas celebration at Andre’s Martial Arts, located inside the Burbank Town Center.
During the Taekwondo studio’s annual Christmas party and belt ceremony, Mayor Gabel-Luddy presented the certificate, praising the masters’ for the positive impact they’ve had on the community. Following demonstrations, students and their parents watched as Grandmaster Rodricks was honored.
“You are all a real-life example of what happens when you maintain discipline, focus, humility, and practice. I want to congratulate all of you in your next steps,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.
“The people who have the greatest humility are the most powerful. It doesn’t make sense but when you think about it it makes all the sense in the world. Thank you for your dedication to our community.”
Burbank Police Department Captain Denis J. Cremins was also in attendance and has returned for several years in a row.
“I’ve known Grandmaster Rodrick for 7 years. I’ve seen the way he’s interacted with the kids and the families. He has a great deal of respect, and it builds a lot of character in the kids. The character building is the most important thing. He’s changed their lives in so many different ways,” said Captain Cremins.
After receiving the certificate, Grandmaster Rodricks presented a plaque, a representation of his appreciation to the Mayor, thanking her for the City’s support.
Earlier in the day’s session, students as young as 3-years-old broke wooden boards in half with a single kick, earning higher ranked belts for their hard work. Masters also demonstrated their skills by breaking cinderblocks in half.
Andre’s Martial Arts have a reputation of inclusivity, encouraging families with autistic children to become involved. One of the parents who helped organize the Christmas party’s potluck, Lori Nishida, has a teenage son with autism who has thrived under Grandmaster Rodricks’ instruction.
“Whenever kids come in, whether a child is little or has special needs, Vince would assign a kid to mentor that child, to show them the proper techniques for kicks,” said Nishida. “It’s been great, because then kids learn from a young age how to help each other, no matter what their abilities are.”
As the masters volunteer their time and do not get paid, parents thought it would be a good opportunity to come together and buy a seasonal gift to show their appreciation. Each master was given a gift card to Starbucks.
Andre’s Martial Arts is located on the first floor of the Burbank Town Center at 201 E. Magnolia Blvd., Ste. 140.