Our Team

Chris and Kathy
Owners

Chris opened the doors to the Tao in 1993. Kathy joined Chris in 2004 and they have been working together ever since to provide this service to the community. They share a love of life and hope the Tao will continue to serve those for many years to come.


Chris Leigh-Smith
Head Instructor

Chris has studied Martial Arts for over 30 years and holds the following credentials:

  • 5th Degree in RCI Combatives

  • 4th Degree Black Belt - International Combat Hapkido

  • 1st Degree Black Belt World Hapkido Federation

  • Black Belt in Budo Ryu Kempo

Chris taught Physical Education & Health for 15 years with the Calgary Board of Education and served as Vice Principal for his last 4 years. Chris earned a B.Ed in Physical Education from the University of New Brunswick and a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Calgary. His passion is in working with people to assist them in allowing their greatest human potential to emerge.

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Instructor Brad

Brad has been training in Martial Arts since he was in Grade 7, primarily in Tae-Kwon-Do. He has been teaching with the Tao since 2015 and is an avid member of the grappling team. His passion lies in sparring and grappling aspects of the art, and although he claims to be slow and old, he acts like he’s in his 20's. His sense of humour and big heart really shine through in his teaching and how he relates with others.

By trade, Brad is a craftsman, making cabinets and beautiful wooden boxes. His love for the Martial Arts is rivaled only by that for his wife and 2 daughters. In the summer you can find him camped out in Radium, swinging the days away on a golf course.


Instructor Eric

Eric has trained with the Tao of Peace since 2003 and has been teaching part time under Instructor Chris since 2008. When offered a role on the full-time team in Spring of 2018, Eric leapt at the chance and has since become Program Coordinator for the Demo Team. His passion in martial arts mainly lies in kicking, diving, and acrobatics. Any time spent inverted is always a bonus. When not at the Tao, Eric spends his time in the mountains either biking or skiing, depending on the season, and struggling with an overwhelming addiction to skittles.


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Instructor Ian, B.C.C.

Instructor Ian has been a part of the Tao of Peace since 2003, when he was in high school. What started as a way to de-stress from school quickly became a passion and a medium for ongoing self-improvement. He became an instructor in 2008, taking the reigns of the studio's Demonstration Team and managing it for a decade. 

With a hunger for martial arts, Ian has trained in several styles outside of the Tao, ranging from Wing Chun to Filipino Martial Arts. He is always eager to learn and master his craft further, either by going to seminars (sometimes in places like Sweden). 

Ian has a Bachelor's degree in Communication and Culture from the University of Calgary, and a certification as a Personal Training Specialist (pending). 

Outside of martial arts, Ian enjoys slacklining, bouldering, gymnastics and cooking. 


Instructor Jonathan, B.Sc. KIN.

Jonathan’s passion for the Martial Arts began at an early age and has been training in various disciplines since 2007. He first fell in love with Muai Thai Boxing and quickly began branching out into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling and Judo. His love for movement and the body lead him to studying Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge, at which time he also began competing in Amateur Mixed Martial Arts bouts. After a short career of 3 wins and 1 loss, he quickly realized life as a professional fighter was not his passion, and thus began his career in coaching. He has served as Head Coach of Strength & Conditioning, and developed Martial Arts Programs for the University of Lethbridge and the Professional Fighting Academy. His mission in life is to explore how he can better himself, empower others, and serve his community.

If he is not teaching or practicing his art, he can be found walking with his dog Kato, spending time with his family and friends, on his yoga mat, or reading a book. He also has a healthy obsession with potato chips, chocolate, and Netflix.  

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Instructor Kate, B.A. B.Ed

Kate brings extensive teaching experience and her work as a family consultant to the Tao. Her work as a Leadership Program Coordinator at a Leadership and Character Charter School translate to her presence on the mat and to her role as a Leadership Program Coordinator with the Tao. Kate loves learning to understand the complexity of the movements and the elegant simplicity of Martial Arts, and this is what drove her to begin teaching at the Tao! Her goal is to ensure that every student has a physically, mentally, and emotionally fulfilling experience with Martial Arts.


Instructor Lucas

Coming soon...

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Instructor Bob

Bob has been training at the Tao since 1995 and has been teaching part-time since 2006. He began training in Martial Arts as a teenager in Chito-Ryu Karate and since then has trained in Shotokan Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido, RCI Combatives, and Jin Jun Kwan Hapkido. 

Bob is also an avid student of eastern and martial philosophy weaving these into his teaching. Outside of the Tao, Bob works as a Strategist for a Big 4 consulting firm.


Instructor Curtis

Instructor Curtis has studied martial arts since 2004 and has been a part of the Tao of Peace team of instructors since 2005.  Curtis has a passion for all aspects of the martial arts especially the Hapkido and Aikido principles of joint manipulation and anti-grappling.

As well as teaching part-time for Tao of peace, Curtis is a full-time electrical instructor at SAIT and is currently pursuing a Professional Instructional Development diploma in adult education through Vancouver Community College.

Inspired by Carl Rogers and his Humanistic Learning Theory, Curtis believes that to train the mind you also must also engage the body and the spirit of the learner. Curtis considers his goal and role as a teacher is to be a mentor, a role model and a source of wisdom for his students.

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Sensei Gary

I have been involved in Martial Arts basically my entire life and have met some amazing people. I have trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Hapkido, Kali, Karate, Kempo, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun.

Why the obsession with Martial Arts? Before going any further, I must point out that I am not a fighter, never was and never will be. I have never been involved in any fisticuff, not even a shoving match. I have never felt the need nor the urge to compete, although there was a time when I did enjoy sparring with friends. I did not take up Martial Arts for self defense. Martial Arts, for me, is simply just a way of life. All I want to do is be better today than I was yesterday and hopefully, will be better tomorrow than I am today, both martial artist and as a person.

I am a martial artist by choice and an accountant by necessity and I am a product of these two seemingly different paths. Outside of my working environment, people are always surprised when I tell them I am an accountant because I do not fit the mold or perception. Every now and then, I would meet someone who would ask me some pretty weird and personal questions. The first time it happened, I was somewhat taken aback. When she learnt that I am a weekend warrior, she explained that she felt a different aura about me, hence the questions. (I never knew weekend warriors have a different aura about them).

Home is where the heart is and the Tao was always, and still is, my home away from home. In 2006/2007 however, I had reached a crossroad. I was losing my focus and drive. I started searching high and low for alternatives, taking up yoga, spin classes, circuit training etc. I started training in BJJ in the fall of 2007 and it rekindled the fire within me. It's not because BJJ is better. Rather, it is because it is outside of my comfort zone, something that I do not understand nor comes naturally to me, and it is brutally honest.

Happy Training. Embrace who you are. Embrace your limitation. But never give up. When apocalypse comes, it will be you and the cockroaches.


Meghan
Office Manager

Meghan has been working at the Tao since 2009, and worked up to blue belt over those years. What she loves most about the Tao is the atmosphere - loving, accepting, and supportive and is grateful to be a part of this positive and inspiring community. 

On any day, you can find Meghan on her yoga mat, being creative in the kitchen or on paper, or completely immersed in books. She loves connecting to nature and soaking up the sunshine.