General Martial Arts Club

Contact: Matthew Mesisklis '19

Foundation and history: Organization started by a student with four black belts and other levels of achievement in various martial arts. Training stems from the Hamilton-Fairfield Tae-Kwon-Do academy, Master David Huffstutler and Grandmaster Randall Smith, among others.

Mission Statement:  To act courteously, to live with integrity, to persevere, to maintain self-control, and to fight with an indomitable spirit, all while having fun learning historical and modern combative methods.

Purpose: Our purpose is to teach martial arts and self-defense to students of Washington and Lee. Martial arts is an ideal sport to not only keep physically active, but to also have a good time and test one’s limits, especially for people who do not play team sports. Competitions are hosted by many other Virginia martial arts schools and this is a way for Washington and Lee to be represented there.

Requirements for Membership: Positive attitude toward the W&L community. All undergraduate or law students or alumni of Washington and Lee University. Professors or staff members interested in the club are encouraged to stop by or join as well. Should members of the Lexington community wish to participate, the club requires a notice prior to attendance in the form of an e-mail or phone call).

Club Leadership (3 officer positions)

President: Chief instructor of the club. Responsible for knowledge of all of the techniques and ensuring the safety of members.

Requirements: former martial arts or para-military experience, to guarantee the safety of members and to ensure that the club is teaching techniques properly. If no candidate meets these requirements, it is up to the current president to train a suitable replacement.

Vice-President: Responsible for knowledge of the basic techniques and styles, should be able to lead the club in the absence of the President. Responsible for club advertisement.

                  Requirements: No prior experience required, but the VP should stay for one-on-one instructional time with the President as needed so as to improve their confidence in the subject area. On average, the VP should receive no less than 10 minutes per week of intensive study with the president.

Ex-Chequer: Responsible for attendance and collecting payments for equipment (should members wish to purchase uniforms, etc.). This officer is also encouraged to attend private sessions with the VP and President, though it is not required. Supervises election process.

Requirements: None.

All officers must: Be able to hold and use equipment properly, both give and take constructive criticism, and offer advice on how to change the format of club meetings to help better the organization as a whole.


Election Process: Elections shall be held on the first Sunday of April (may be altered as need arises).

Candidates will need to declare their intent to run one week prior to the election at the latest.

Candidates must have attended no less than ½ of the meetings in the year in which they run for office. Professors, Rockbridge county citizens, alumni, and all club members who are not either law or undergraduates at Washington and Lee University are excluded from candidacy.

All club members (including current officers) who have attended at least ½ of the meetings in the year of elections are allowed to vote in officer elections.

Speeches: Candidates will be allotted 2 minutes to speak to the club defining how they will perform and making their case for officership. After all candidates for a specific position have spoken, it is time to vote on that position.

Candidates may run for up to two positions. If elected to both, they are to choose their preferred office, and the runner-up for the candidate’s non-preferred office shall be granted officership.

i.e.: Isabelle runs for VP and President. Isabelle wins both. Ben gets the 2nd most votes for VP. If Isabelle chooses to be President, Ben is then the VP.

Officership will be determined by majority vote. Should multiple candidates run, the candidate with the most votes will become the new officer-in-training.

In the event of a tie, the current officers will meet privately to discuss the candidates and each will submit another vote to determine the winner.

Votes will be in the form of paper ballots placed in a box and given to the Ex-chequer. They will then count the votes and announce the winner. The person counting is on their honor to report the correct result.


Immediately upon winning the election, the new officers will undergo a training period in which they will shadow the members they are planning to replace. By the end of this training period, the new officers will be sworn in, stating their names and pledging to uphold the club’s mission statement to the best of their ability. This swearing-in will take place on the final meeting of the year.

During the summer, newly-elected officers are encouraged to research martial arts on their own accord in order to bring new teaching styles and techniques to the club.

This constitution may be altered at any time, by any member of the club in the following manner:

                  Club member proposes an amendment and is granted 2 minutes to argue their case to the rest of the club. The rest of the club is then able to ask questions, of which the proposer’s responses will be timed so as not to exceed 1 minute. Following questioning, the amendment will be passed with a 2/3 majority vote via show of hands. If all three officers and at least ¼ of the members deny the amendment, it will not be passed.


Benefits: This organization will be dedicated to improving the community. Martial arts groups often hold charities and fund-raisers as well as volunteer or give free demonstrations to the public. GMA will strive to engage in these public services, but at the very least martial arts has great physical and psychological health benefits. Additionally, many self-defence scenarios will be discussed and methods of avoiding danger will be taught to help keep students safe in potentially harmful situations.