Unique programs distinguish martial arts school

  • Written by Deborah Stone
adventuresLittle did Daniel McCarter know that when he started doing martial arts back in 1996, he would make it a lifelong passion and profession.

He says, “I was working out at a gym for about six months and soon reached boredom. I figured I might as well learn something while I’m getting in shape. I searched around and realized that martial arts was the best way to get into shape and learn how to defend myself at the same time.”

The local man took to the discipline and after three years of training, he received his Black Belt, instructor training and title.

“Becoming a Black Belt and going through the intense instructor program was the biggest challenge I had ever faced,” he comments. “At that time, only 2-3 percent of students made it to Black Belt due to the amount of knowledge and training that was required. In other words, out of 100 of us who started training as a white belt, only two or three of us actually made it all the way to Black Belt. It was a very rigorous training program, to say the least.”

McCarter eventually opened his own martial arts school in Woodinville with his wife Rachel, who is also involved in the practice.

That was 15 years ago. Today, the business is thriving and expanding, with classes for all levels and ages, weapons training, outdoor activities, a demonstration team and a Kids After School program. The couple developed their own unique blend of different martial arts styles, rooted in Tae Kwon Do.

One part of the blend, hand and foot defense, for example, teaches striking and joint locks taken from Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and American Kenpo.

The other part is a weapon-based system that McCarter says is drawn from many traditional weapon-based arts.

He notes that his students begin to learn weapon application and defense right away at the beginner level.

“Weapons are very popular with the students,” comments McCarter. “They are fun and exciting and provide that ‘flashy’ aspect of martial arts training that so many enjoy.”

The outdoor classes, another unique aspect of the school, include desert and mountain training, paintball war games, all day training and all night training sessions.

McCarter emphasizes that outdoor training provides challenges, team building opportunities and basic survival skills that can’t be taught inside the four walls of the academy.

He says, “These adventures are very popular and give students the chance to train with outdoor weapons, challenge their endurance and mental fortitude, learn survival skills such as water retrieval, camouflage, shelter building and how to make a fire for warmth and cooking.”

Typically the desert training is held south of Moses Lake in July and mountain training takes place in August in the wooded areas of the Skykomish River Valley.

McCarter adds, “The survival skills camps were one of the main reasons I joined the martial arts in 1996. The academy I joined offered survival training as one of its extra-curricular activities that I found very appealing. I enjoyed them so much that I wanted to keep those skills alive, build on them even more and pass them on to students.”

The school’s demonstration team gives those students who can meet the challenge an avenue to increase their skill level beyond the basics of martial arts. And the Kids After School program gives working parents a great convenience. “It’s the perfect way for their kids to be transported from school, learn martial arts, get into shape, learn discipline and respect and get homework done before their parents pick them up,” elaborates McCarter.

He notes that the program, which is in its second school year, has grown considerably and currently includes Wellington, Bear Creek and Hollywood Hill elementary schools.

He adds, “Parents and kids are becoming familiar with seeing our van at the schools and around town. Our goal is to get a second van for the 2013-2014 school year so we can increase our available routes.”

The couple finds teaching martial arts a deeply satisfying experience. The most rewarding aspect for them is being able to watch their students grow and develop confidence and leadership skills.

They enjoy hearing stories about the positive impact they have on their students’ lives.

“It’s also rewarding to watch the physical benefits that our students achieve,” says McCarter. “We’ve watched students of all fitness levels achieve strength, flexibility and agility, as well as increase their overall coordination with amazing results.”

McCarter emphasizes that the couple’s passion is not only to teach martial arts to their students, but to give the community a future full of leaders who are confident, disciplined, humble and considerate.

He adds, “Every day is an opportunity for our students to learn about themselves and what they can achieve when they set their mind to it.”

To McCarter, martial arts is not a seasonable sport, but rather a way of life, which requires time, focus, training, desire and commitment to practice and improve every day.

He adds, “It doesn’t end at Black Belt, nor does it end at becoming an instructor. It is truly a life-long journey in learning about one’s self, staying physically fit and setting and achieving new goals.”

Woodinville Martial Arts’ success, which McCarter attributes to the school’s reputation and longevity, prompted the need for the school to move to a new space.

He says, “Our business was expanding and particularly with the addition of our Kids After School program, we found that we outgrew our location at the Woodinville Plaza and it was time to find a new home.”

The academy will soon take over the building that formerly occupied Big Daddy’s, which will double its existing space, provide a larger training floor and ample room for the Kids After School program.

Additional classes, such as women’s self-defense sessions, which Rachel McCarter will teach, will also be offered on a more frequent basis.

“This is my specialty,” she acknowledges. “We have 3-4 specialized classes per year for women, ranging from 12 years old and up; both students and non-students are welcomed.

“The focus of the class is primarily on prevention, but the women are also taught easy-to-learn and easy-to-remember physical techniques that give them a fighting chance in the event of an attack.

“Once we’re in our new location, we will offer four-week programs so the women can train and practice the techniques they learn.”

A grand opening ceremony and celebration is planned at the new facility in late March, with drawings, prizes, food, demonstrations and more.

For more information about Woodinville Martial Arts: (425) 486-0900 or

‘The White Birds of Winter’ are here!

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

GPlowman flight of 4 CRO_0176 lr
Courtesy Photo Trumpeter and tundra swans are now feeding in the Washington farm fields.
Thousands of trumpeter and tundra swans and snow geese have migrated from Alaska and Canada to feed in the farm fields of Washington.  On Thursday, January 24, at 7 p.m., the Trumpeter Swan Society’s Martha Jordan will be presenting a lecture and a spectacular slide show about these magnificent birds at the Adopt A Stream Foundation’s Northwest Steam Center in Snohomish County’s McCollum Park (600 – 128th Street SE, Everett, WA 98208).  Registration is required by calling (425) 316-8592; cost is $5 for Adopt A Stream Foundation members, $7 for non-members.

Jordan, a well known biologist, will explain the myths and share the facts about these beautiful birds.  During this Streamkeeper Academy event, which is geared to middle school students to adults, you will learn about swan and snow geese life history, biology, and some identification tips. You will also learn the best places to view them now in Washington state. Jordan will also shed some light on the problems  and controversies (including lead poisoning and habitat destruction) migratory birds face on their Washington state wintering grounds.  Through her beautiful photographs, Jordan will teach you how to tell these birds apart and where you can go to see them now.  At this event, you will also be able to pick up a swan identification pamphlet that will be useful on your next local bird watching excursion.

Martha Jordan chairs the Washington Swan Stewards, an affiliate of the Trumpeter Swan Society – a non-profit organization dedicated to assuring the vitality and welfare of wild swan populations.

She also often serves as a surrogate “mom” to baby trumpeter swans  and has several entertaining tales to tell about that experience.

Streamkeeper Academy events are conducted by the Adopt A Stream Foundation in partnership with Snohomish County Parks and Recreation.  Also, teachers who attend this event can earn clock hours from the Washington Science Teachers Association.

For driving directions to the Northwest Stream Center,  go to the contact section of the Adopt A Stream Foundation’s website:; or call (425) 316-8592.

Village Wines launches new coffeehouse

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Village Wines, the “Cheers” of Woodinville, is located at 14450 Woodinville-Redmond Road.
Village Wines is commonly known around town as the “Cheers” of Woodinville.

Originally a wine shop, the place metamorphosed into a wine bar and soon became a gathering spot for locals.

And now, it’s also a coffeehouse.

“We’ve launched “The Place To Gather” at Village Wines with the aim of becoming the premier coffeehouse of Woodinville, serving the greater Eastside,” says owner Tim Bowen.

The local man, who started Village Wines with his wife and co-owner, Lisa Bowen, explains that a longtime customer suggested a while back that the place would make an ideal coffeehouse, as Tullly’s was closing its doors across the road.

“We dismissed the idea at first,” says Bowen, “because we’d already found our niche. But, then we considered it more seriously and saw that it could be a great opportunity for us. We had built our business and this was a logical next step. It would be silly not to go ahead and do it.”

Village Wines 005
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Sarah Overland is making coffee.
Bowen explains that the focus of the new endeavor is on offering the best artisan coffee, which is why the couple decided to go with Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

“It’s a local Northwest company, practically a legend in the area,” he comments. “They’re passionate about coffee and committed to sourcing and roasting the best coffees in the world.”

He notes that Stumptown partners with local growers and establishes relationships between grower and roaster, while practicing direct sourcing.”

He adds, “They visit each of their growing locations and hand pick the beans. The beans spend no more than 10 days from their time of roasting until they make it to your cup.”

Bowen emphasizes that there’s a whole art and science to Stumptown’s process, which results in amazing coffee.

In addition to coffee, Village will also offer Seattle’s Choice Organic Teas and a variety of gourmet breakfast foods made fresh to order.

Currently on the menu are bagels with lox and caper cream cheese, cinnamon rolls, banana nut bread, quiche and other homemade goodies.

In time, more items will be added, but for now, the couple wanted to keep things simple and as Lisa Bowen says, “do it right.”

There are no plans to offer espresso drinks, as the Bowens feel that there are plenty of places in the area where people can get their latte fix.

“It’s really about coffee,” reiterates Lisa. “Good coffee in a relaxing, comfortable place, where you don’t have to stand in line with other impatient people waiting for your morning cup to go.” Tim adds, “We’re already known as a gathering spot in the late afternoons and evening hours. Now, we want the community to know that we’ve added a morning component to the mix.”

Village Wines in Woodinville is now open seven days a week beginning at 7 a.m.

For more information: (425) 485-3536 or

Local sisters join forces to open new floral design business

  • Written by Deborah Stone

Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Hannah and Olen Greig, local sisters who recently opened Sister My Sister Floral Design & Boutique in the Old Maltby Schoolhouse.
The Old Maltby Schoolhouse has long been a place for eclectic businesses to reside.

Most of them are owned and operated by women, who sell everything from local honeys and beeswax craft to natural soaps and skin products. Newly established in this historic building is Sister My Sister Floral Design & Boutique, a creative venture of two local women who, yes, just happen to be sisters.

Olen and Hannah Greig are homegrown Woodinville gals who attended Leota Jr. High and Woodinville High School.

Olen, the older of the two, left the area to go to a college in Colorado and subsequently spent a number of years working in the ski industry.

Hannah graduated from UW in 2011. Both spent many summers helping their aunt, Megan Mary Olander, a noted Seattle florist, at her shop in Pioneer Square and later on Capitol Hill.

“Our love of flowers was instilled at a young age,” says Olen. “We logged lots of hours surrounded by flowers and learned to create blooms with my aunt and her team.”

Hannah adds, “It’s such rewarding work, so gratifying to make someone’s day special.” The sisters decided to go into business together shortly before Hannah graduated from college.

They had been doing flower arrangements for friends’ weddings on an informal basis, but when the requests began to increase in number, they decided to take the next step and open their own place.

For the first year, the women worked out of a warehouse, with the goal of eventually getting retail space.

“It was luck that we found this spot,” comments Olen. “We were at the Maltby Café next door and saw a ‘for rent’ sign in this building. When we got inside to check it out, we were immediately sold. It was perfect. It was simply meant to be.”

Sister My Sister officially opened its doors in late October and the women are delighted with the response they’ve had in such a short time.

“This is such a great community,” says Hannah. “Everyone is so nice and friendly, and welcoming. There are a number of creative people who have interesting businesses here and I think we fit right in.”

She adds, “We have a steady stream of people coming by who have eaten at the Café and then we have others who see our work on our website or learn about us via Facebook. And then, of course, we have family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors and classmates who are helping to spread the word. We are fortunate to have such great support from everyone.” The sisters pride themselves on creating one-of-a-kind floral designs for any occasion, from modest to lavish and intimate to extravagant. They buy their flowers fresh each day and strive to get most of them from local growers. “We want to keep it home base,” explains Olen, “because we want to support the farmers in this area.” In addition to providing flower arrangements for weddings and special events, they do daily orders, cash and carry and deliveries around the greater Eastside and Snohomish areas. Their shop is also a boutique with an array of potted plants in interesting containers surrounded by unique décor and gift items, many made from local artists. “Our potted plants are our hottest sellers,” says Olen. “I think people are drawn to them because they have an earthy and natural feel to them, and they’re different than what you might be accustomed to finding elsewhere.”

Each of the women contributes a different skill set to the business. Hannah notes that Olen has her own style and is very creative in an out-of-the-box way.

“She loves to create and uses all these textures, colors and crazy containers,” says Hannah, “and she just pulls it altogether so well.” As for Hannah, Olen notes that her sister is the stable, “grounding one” and the “glue” of the business. She is also the marketing guru. “I’m the wild one and Hannah keeps me in line,” Olen adds with a laugh.

As for working together, the sisters both agree that their yin-yang personalities are well-suited for a partnership. They respect and appreciate each other’s strengths and never hesitate to exchange opinions.

“It’s nice to have two points of view,” comments Olen, “and to know that we can tell each other anything.” The women are confident that their business will be successful, as they feel they have the necessary ingredients to make a name for themselves in the industry.

“We’re young, vibrant and fun,” says Hannah. “We have lots of energy, we’re willing to work the long hours that this business demands and we have fresh, creative ideas. We’re very interested in building lasting relationships with our customers - not just filling orders and moving on. People are important to us and we want them to be happy, to be fully satisfied. We take the time to really connect because the personal touch is something we want to be known for.”

Both women extol the virtues and advantages of being situated in this community.

They point to the beautiful venues in the area for weddings, as well as the fact that Woodinville is now widely known as the Wine Country. “We see great potential for our business to grow as the need is there,” comments Olen.

“We’re already almost completely booked on weekends for next summer with all the weddings. That’s very exciting and it tells us that we’re on the right track.”

Hannah adds, “We are so very blessed to be in this community and we want to thank everyone for their support.”

Sister My Sister Floral Design & Boutique is located upstairs in the Old Maltby Schoolhouse, across from the Maltby Café. For more information: 425-420-5455 or

Guided snowshoe walks explore winter beauty

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

DSC_0935 v2Get outdoors and learn about winter ecology snowshoeing on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest January through March. No experience is necessary and the Forest Service provides snowshoes. Participants should wear layered and insulated clothing, hats and gloves with sturdy, waterproof shoes or boots, hats and gloves. To offset the costs of the program a donation is requested.


Make reservations at (425) 434-6111.

Trips for special events and school groups can also be scheduled. Meet 15 minutes early at the visitor’s center off I-90, exit 52 on Snoqualmie Pass. Office hours are Thursday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under, and $25 per person for the half-day hikes and photography outings. Reservations are required for all programs.

• 90-Minute Trek

Sat. Sun. 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.

Learn about the winter ecosystem, wildlife and safety on this one-mile loop walk through opulent old-growth forest.Group size 20

• Half-Day Hikes

Fri. Sat. Sun. 9 a.m.

Experience Commonwealth Basin in the winter surrounded by the Cascade crest peaks. Bring a lunch, you will be out four to five hours.

• Winter Photography Outings

Jan. 19, Feb. 2, 16, March 2, 16, 31, 9:30 a.m.

Geared for photography enthusiasts of all abilities. Commonwealth Creek offers intriguing image possibilities with ice falls, cool vapors and swirling dark waters. Your guide will discuss light, composition and exposure. Bring lunch, this outing lasts four to five hours.

• “Kids in the Snow”

Starting Jan.12, Saturdays, 1 p.m.

Earn a Junior Ranger Snow membership and patch! Learn about tracking, crawl into a snow cave and check out a snow crystal with a magnifier on this approximately 90-minute walk.

• Guided Nordic Ski Trip

Jan. 12, 19, 26 and Feb. 2, 9, 16, 10-11:30 a.m.

Begin at Grand Junction on the Mt. Catherine Loop. Purchase a ski ticket, ride the ski lift and meet the group at the hut. You will ski from there making stops to learn about the area’s history, forest and wildlife.

• Day in the Snow

Jan. 19, 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Take off on one of three different one-mile loop outings and learn about the history and stories of the region. Your host is from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.



Make reservations Jan. 12-Feb. 24 at Skykomish Ranger District,(360) 677-2414. Meet at the Forest Service Guard Station by Parking Lot A at Stevens Pass. Sultan Shuttle offers transportation from Sultan to the resort. Check  for fees and schedules. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and under.

•  Introductory Snowshoeing

Sat. Sun. 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Learn about the history of the area, the winter ecosystem and wildlife on this beginning90-minute walk.

Reservations recommended but drop-ins are welcome.Group size: 20

• Junior Snow Ranger

Sat. Sun. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Earn a Junior Ranger Snow membership and patch! Children ages 6-12 learn about the winter ecosystem and wildlife while snowshoeing on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Reservations are required.Group size: 20



Make reservations at (360)599-9572, weekends 9 a.m.–3 p.m. or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Meet at the Glacier Public Service Center, milepost 34 Mt. Baker Hwy., State Route 542. Group will leave from there to the snowshoe walk location along the Hannegan Road, Heather Meadows or another setting in the Mt. Baker District area. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and under. Reservations are required.

• Ranger Guided Snowshoe Walk

Sundays: 10 a.m. Jan. 13, 27; Feb. 3, 10, 24; Fridays: 10 a.m. Jan. 18; Feb. 15

Learn about the winter in the national forest.Group size: 15



Make reservations by calling Darrington Ranger District at (360) 436-1155. Meet at Verlot Public Service Center for orientation then on to  Deer Creek to begin the four-mile, approximately five hour round-trip snowshoe hike. Participants should be age 16 or older and in good shape. A $20 donation is suggested.

• Big Four Ice Cave Snowshoe Walk

Feb. 2-March 2, Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.

Learn about the winter in the national forest.Group size: 18.