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2023 Festive Newsletter

In our final blog of the year, we wanted to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope 2023 has been good to you, but want 2024 to be even better/bigger/shinier.


Festive Break - opening & closing dates

Our final classes of 2023 will be on Thursday 21st December & the Centres will reopen for normal classes on Tuesday 2nd January 2024.


There will be some additional classes in between Christmas & New Year as follows:

  • Wednesday 27th December (Prestwich Centre)

    • Tigers Assault Course - 5.15pm

    • ‘Work off your Christmas pud’ class (All Grades) - 6.00pm -7.30pm

  • Thursday 28th December (Oldham Centre)

    • Tigers Assault Course - 5.15pm

    • ‘Chocolate belly, be gone!’ class (All Grades) - 6.00pm - 7.30pm


New Year; New You – Set yourself some 2024 targets

You should always have a target - as Bruce Lee said ‘A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at’…. So what are you going to aim for next year?


If you are a 1st Gup, then you should probably be looking at setting a target date for your Dan Test, there are two opportunities every year, so set yourself a date.


If you are a Beginner (White through to Blue Belt), think about when you would like to move to the Intermediate Class (Green & Red Belts) - it takes 6 to 8 months to complete the Beginners programme so next year should see you move to the senior class.


Learning Bassai takes time - so set yourself a target for learning this. Use the resources & videos available, plus jin in during class & you’ll have it in no time at all!


Expansion

This year, the Prestwich Centre opened it’s doors for the full seven days a week, allowing the students all more training time. If you haven’t tried the new Wednesday & Sunday classes, check out the online timetable for details.


The Prestwich Centre continues to be the busiest of all the FMAC Centres & so we require your help & Support to make sure it all runs smoothly - turn up on time, be quiet when waiting in Reception & get set up/clear the mats quickly & efficiently. Many thanks


The Oldham Centre has increased the number of classes that it puts on for 2024, with extra classes on a Monday. Make sure you use them, otherwise, you might lose them! The Oldham Centre, once it has grown its student numbers sufficiently, is also planning on adding another day to the timetable and also adding in a dedicated Black Belt class - keep your eyes on your socials for further information and tell your friends to help build the number.


Middleton has plans to grow - firstly in terms of student numbers & secondly in terms of the number of days it operates. It has ambitions to become a full-time centre, with it’s own space and operating over a greater number of days - but it can only do that if it has the student numbers to justify it. So our challenge to you is to promote the Middleton Centre to as many people as you can. Share their socials, comment on posts, use the Referral Cards and discuss it with friends, family, neighbours & colleagues. We need you!


Oldham – Women’s class on Saturdays

In June 2023 the Oldham Centre was contacted by Westwood & Coldhurst Women's Association about running a teen and under self defence course for about 30 young girls. The course that was decided would be an initial 6 months with the hope to continue/expand it in the future


Our aim was to reach out and allow young people in the area to be able to learn and gain some self defence skills regardless of any cultural or religious requirements. We’ve been working closely with any organisers, parents and even the girls themselves to make sure to experience is as fun and enjoyable for them as possible


We are also looking and planning on working with other groups both in and around the Centre, so if anyone has any groups they’d like to us to work with then just let us know!


Black Belts

There are only two Dan Shim Sa’s per year in May & November - next year’s dates have already been published in the Dates for your Diary Blog, so if you are a 1st Gup, you should probably have set your date for Black Belt Assessment (and therefore potentially to test too).



We continue with our 100% record across the three Centres, so there is absolutely no pressure on those who are looking to test in 2024!


Those who progressed to Cho Dan (1st Dan) this year are:

  • Mr Oliver Garrity

  • Mr Hardeep Singh Taak

  • Mr Jack Kelly

  • Miss Lucy Jackson

  • Mr David Ireland

  • Mr Oliver Ireland

  • Miss Scarlett Olver-Jowett

  • Mr Sulaiman Majid

  • Mr Zakariya Majid

  • Mr Jude Orton


Those who progressed to Ee Dan (2nd Dan) this year are:

  • Mr Nick Ogden

  • Mrs Kathryn Ogden

  • Mr Fouad Khan

  • Miss Aryana Khan

  • Miss Dania Khan

  • Mr Zaviyar Khan

  • Mr Kieran Rogers


There is a large group of students who could potentially go for their Dan Assessments (Cho Dan & Ee Dan) in 2024, so if you see a slightly worried student trying to practice their self-defences before class, help them out! There might even be a Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa (Master’s Test) next year so watch out for more news on this…


The importance of Graduation

If you want to become a Black Belt, you have to progress through the ranks...



Every two months you hear all of us instructors talk about Graduation, giving you the countdown of how many weeks are left until the next Graduation, and making sure you get your form in early, but why is Graduation so important within Martial Arts? Graduations are extremely important events in the Family Martial Arts Centres calendar and are held every two months. It is a time when Tigers, Leadership, and Dan Students from all Family Martial Arts Centres across the North West come together and Graduate at the same venue, watched and supported by their friends and family and is a great opportunity to show everyone what we have been learning over the past couple of months in class.


It is at these events that students are awarded their next coloured belt and certificate. It is via these Graduations that students progress through the ranks within martial arts and each one is another step on their Martial Arts journey.


Remember, Graduations for more junior ranked students are not a test - It is a great opportunity for reward and recognition for our newer members. In our programmes they don’t have to be expert to progress to the next belt as the new belt will help with confidence and motivation. As they progress through the belt ranking structure, ‘Graduations’ transition to ‘Gradings’ which are more of a test. We expect every student to always do their best at every Graduation they attend, and if you remember what you have been told in class, and work hard, no one should have anything to worry about. Above all, enjoy the graduation experience.


Our Graduations / Gradings are held at the ESSA Academy, Lever Edge Lane, Bolton BL3 3HH on a Saturday, and times can be found in the centres and on our website. Alternative dates may be available for students that cannot graduate on a Saturday due to religious or cultural reasons.


If you have never been to a Graduation before, check out what some of the students say about it here (https://www.northmanchesterfamilymartialarts.co.uk/post/graduation-what-s-it-all-about)


Referral Scheme

Did you know that lots and lots of our members join following a referral from current and past students. ... and we love it, so thank you for helping to spread the word. We really rely on our members to help promote our art and classes, you are always the best advert for our Centres.


You can all help out by telling your family and friends all about our classes and how much you enjoy your training. You can also give them one of the pass cards inviting them down to a free session, steering them to our website where they can book in for a trial class (www.northmanchesterfamilymartialarts.co.uk/book-online), or giving them our details, and getting them to give us a ring, or dropping us an email.


As a thank you for you help with bringing more students in, for everyone you refer who joins, you will receive your referral patch for your uniform, and we will pay for your next Graduation.


You see the chances are that if we like you (and we love our members ; ) ) then we are likely to like your friends too! 


Annual Awards Night

Saturday 11th November saw the hosting of the Annual Awards Evening at Davyhulme Park Golf Club, in which Students, Instructors and Centres are awarded for their success and effort over the past 12 months, with the event raising over £2,100 for charity.

North Manchester had great success this year, with Prestwich winning ‘Full-Time Centre of the Year’ and Middleton winning ‘Part-Time Centre of the Year. A fantastic result, and amazing recognition for the Instructors and students at all North Manchester Family Martial Arts Centres.


For the Student Awards, each Centre presents a ‘Most Improved Student’, a 'BlackBelt Attitude’ and a ‘Contribution to the Club’ award to individuals who have taken certain steps within their training, pushed through barriers, and aided the support and growth of the Organisation. Well done to everyone who received an award This years winners were:


Prestwich

Most Improved Students - Elaine Steele and Sina Rostaminejad

Black Belt Attitude - Arnica Abbasinejad and Melody Hamadani

Contribution to the Club - Oscar Si, Dylan Si, Andy Jowett and Aryana Khan


Oldham

Most Improved Students - April Wilson and Jennah Islam

Black Belt Attitude - Steven Hutchinson and Haroon Gillani

Contribution to the Club - Marta Kelly and Jack Kelly


Middleton

Most Improved Students - Natalie O’Reilly, Roxie O’Reilly and Jamie Rochford

Black Belt Attitude - Cheryl Power, Jude Orton and Raea Seers

Contribution to the Club - Kerry McKatkin


How can you help your Centre?

We are often overwhelmed with all the amazing offers of help and support that we get from our students and parents. If you have ever wondered about how you can help your centre, here are a few easy-to-do ideas inspired by some of you:


Leaflets

You don’t have to go out and leaflet an area like the Instructors do but you could:

  • Push a few leaflets into the letterbox on your street(s), maybe on a walk with the kids or while taking the dog for a walk?

  • Take a little stack of leaflets to school/work or pin a few of them on a notice board.


Let us know where you have done - sending us your pictures or videos (of you leafleting) will motivate others to do the same and remember for each person that signs up thanks to you you'll have a free Graduation on us and you get our coveting Referral Patch


Spread the word

Talk to friends, family, colleagues or neighbours about the passion that brings us together at least once a week and teaches you self-defence, improves your mental health, makes you fit & strong & empowers you to be the best that we possibly can be.


Social media

This is probably the easiest way to help your Centre as you don’t even need to leave the sofa to do it. All of the reactions, comments and shares keep pushing the posts further out, reaching more people, so please like, comment & share them. Share your success with your friends and if you tag us in your post, your friends will know where to find us and help them see what we really do. If you feel that way inclined, you can even recommend us too!


Thank you again for your continued support. We greatly appreciate it. Tang Soo


Giving Back

Movember

Several of the Instructors (Master Smythe, Mr Nelson Snr, Mr Ogden, Mr Nelson Jnr & Mr Watt) plus some of our Students (Mr McAtkin & Mr Gorman) joined forces to raise money for Movember which focuses on men’s health issues.


Stupid looking facial hair aside, we raised almost £2,000 for this great cause. Thank you to everyone that contributed with cash or sarcasm - it was much appreciated!


Downs Group

In March, we went down to meet the East Lancs Down Syndrome Support Group, which a few of our students and parents are involved with. We held an Introduction to Martial Arts session for parents & members of the ELDSSG which was very well received.


If anyone has any groups they would like us to visit (or who would like to come & see us), let us know?


Mental Health Week

In May, we supported the Mental Heath Awareness week, linking what we do with issues around mental health, promoting the help & resources available to people living with mental health issues. A huge thank you to those that contributed their thoughts & experiences and supported the week.


Women's Self-defence class in Oldham

Mr Nelson Jnr & Mrs Kelly ran self-defence classes for the Westwood & Coldhurst Women's Association, which gave the opportunity for young asian females to learn self-defence skills and try martial arts in a culturally safe & appreciate environment.


We hope it continues in 2024, so the girl involved can continue to progress through the ranks & expand their skills.


Women's Self-defence class in Prestwich

Back in August, we ran a session for a local charity that supports survivors of rape & sexual assualt (I Survived Too). The session focused on some simple self-defence techniques, equipping the ladies with skills to feel safer out & about.


Mother’s Day/Father’s Day classes

We ran a series of classes at all of our Centres, aimed at the parents of students already involved with us. They got a chance to feel what it is like to do the class (and feel the sore muscles afterwards!). Everyone involved seemed to enjoy punching & kicking stuff - several of them even decided to join their children on the mats and start their martial arts journey too.


Healthy New Year Festival

Back in January (it seems so long ago now), Mr Nelson, Mrs Kelly, and Mr Ogden worked with Oldham Council to support their Healthy New Year Festival which was held at Oldham Library. It was an opportunity for members of the public to come down to the Library and try events such exercise classes, author talks, information stalls, and family activities, as well as trying out some taster sessions in Martial Arts run by the Oldham Centre. All the sessions were well attended and gave the participants the opportunity to try their hand at some pad work as well as learning the all important self defence, and was enjoyed by everyone who came down.


Look out for similar sessions in 2024!


Changes to Times/New Classes

Advanced Class at Oldham on Mondays

We are happy to announce that there will be another Green & Red Belt class running after the White to Blue Belt class on Monday evenings. From Monday 8th January 2024, the timetable at Oldham will be:

  • Tigers @ 5.15pm

  • White to Blue Belts (Beginners) @ 6.00pm

  • Green & Red Belts (Intermediate) @ 7.15pm


Middleton classes expanding

The Middleton Centre now runs, Tigers, Beginners and Advanced classes on both Tuesday (at Hopwood Hall) and Fridays (at Middleton Arena), with the hope of expanding and adding more days to the schedule in the new year. We are aiming in 2024 to move the Middleton Centre into full time premises, and with that, we will look at offering weekend classes for the first time in the Middleton area, and also adding dedicated Black Belt classes for our current and future Dan students. Keep your eyes open for more information in the new year.


Class times at the three Centres

Don’t forget, we have a huge number of classes across the Centres - check out the online timetable for more details.


And remember, if you cannot make your usual classes at your usual Centre, you can always pop over to a class at one of the Centres closest to you.


How to check for key dates & information

We put out lots of information via our Facebook pages (we repeat all the key announcements made in class & listed on the notice boards). The main page covers the Leadership classes at the Middleton, Oldham & Prestwich Centres. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/FMACNorthManchester


Each of the Tiger classes has its own specific page:


‘But I don’t use Facebook’ we hear you cry… That’s OK. We also have an app where the main announcements are replicated (you won’t have the class updates, but you will know when it’s deadline day for Graduation).


The Facebook updates are also shown on the main landing page of the website so you can access all of the info there too! There is a huge amount of info in the ‘Student Zone’ area of the website. Grab a coffee & have a mooch!


Finally, and we know it’s a bit old skool, you can check the noticeboards in the centre or the students can try to remember what we tell them at the end of class.


Fancy Helping out/Joining the Team?

The Family Martial Arts Group offers three levels of training for those students who are interested in making the first steps towards becoming an Instructor or who would like to be more involved in helping out in class:


Junior Instructor Training (children)

A 1 year training programme designed to deepen the understanding of our martial art & teach the basics of how to support the Instructor and junior students. This fantastic programme helps young people develop unstoppable confidence & communication skills.


Assistant Instructor Training / Success Coach Programme (age 13+)

1 year course teaching you the skills to become an Assistant Instructor – A great first step on the road to teaching your own students & to becoming involved in class. This is a programme to turbo boost your confidence, communication skills and help you set great goals. A powerful programme to improve quality of your life

  • Learn how to set powerful goals

  • Communicate with individuals and groups on a deeper level

  • Learn how to help others through their martial arts journey

  • Build and improve a positive mental attitude

  • Increase confidence in all areas of your life


Certified Instructor Training

Learn to become a Family Martial Arts Instructor, including both the martial arts side & how to run a successful business. Turn your hobby into a career.


If you would like more information on the programme, speak to one of the Instructors. Mr Ogden also wrote a blog (https://www.northmanchesterfamilymartialarts.co.uk/post/wanting-more-out-of-your-martial-arts-have-you-ever-thought-of-helping-others-with-their-training).


You may well know some of the people who have joined the various Instructor Training Programmes this year:

Certified Instructor Training:

  • Mrs Marta Kelly (Oldham)

Assistant Instructor Training:

  • Mr Andy Jowett (Prestwich)

  • Mrs Kerry McAtkin (Prestwich)

  • Mrs Diane Fitton (Prestwich)

  • Mrs Katie Thorpe (Prestwich)

  • Joshua Trueman (Oldham)

  • Mrs Nadia Plummer-Kutryk (Prestwich)

  • William McMichael (Prestwich)

  • Junres Gianan (Prestwich)

Junior Instructor Training:

  • Hardy Singh Taak (Prestwich)

  • Alice Thorpe (Prestwich)

  • Ethan Thorpe (Prestwich)

  • Jack Kelly (Oldham)


With our expansion plans, we will need to bring on some additional Instructors next year, so if you are interested in joining the team, have a chat with the Chief Instructor at your Centre.


Five Minute Rule

Can we please take this opportunity to remind you of the ‘5 minute rule’. Whilst all students are expected to be in class, prepared & ready to commence training BEFORE the advertised class start time, we recognise there can be occasional issues with traffic.


However, if a student arrives more than 5 minutes late for the advertised start time of the class, they will not be allowed to join in as it is disruptive to the other students (who all managed to make it on time) and can be dangerous if the warm up is missed.


Thank you to the 99% - the 1% have been warned!


What to do with yourself over the Festive Break

As we approach the festive break, I thought it worthwhile just listing out some of the resources to help you stay trim & fit, keep progressing & learn new skills over this period.


Classes over the Festive Period

There will be some additional classes in between Christmas & New Year at the Prestwich Centre on Wednesday 27th December & at the Oldham Centre on Thursday 28th December.


Some of the other Centres may open during Christmas & New Year - Keep an eye out for announcements on the FMAC Group Facebook Page.


Keeping Active

The FMAC TV YouTube page has a range of fitness activities for you to undertake, such as Miss Brown's Workout of the Week, Mr Nelson's 10 Daily Exercises, or the huge range of pre-recorded classes available.


Stopping little ones from getting bored

There are enough pre-recorded Tiger Tots classes for you to be able to play one out each day for those Tigers with too much energy. Just search 'Tiger' on the FMAC TV YouTube channel to bring up all the classes. Alternatively, keep them busy for a whole day by playing the whole playlist.


Improving your skills

Again, there are masses of pre-recorded classes, plus videos on specific skills - blocks, kicks, self-defences, etc. Have a browse through the FMAC TV YouTube channel or search for what you are after. We also have some videos of the hyungs & hol sin sool on our website.


Preparing for Dan Assessment & getting ahead of the game

Red Belts can practice their hol sin sool & hyungs to make sure they're on top of the syllabus (see above) & all Red Belts will earn your Instructor’s undying gratitude by learning the basics of Bassai.


Alternatively, just relax & take a break. We'll be back in the New Year refreshed & ready to go.


Seminars/Events

1st Gup Seminars

Every year, we hold free Seminars for those students approaching the time when they might be eligible to test for their Black Belt. They are a great opportunity for Oldham, Middleton & Prestwich students to practice & perfect their Hyungs & Hol Sin Sool in preparation for their forthcoming Dan Test.


These sessions are open to anyone who is a 2nd Gup or above and are normally held in March/April & October, so look out for these dates if you are eligible.


Dan Seminars

Every May & November, FMAC runs regional Black Belt Seminars where Black Belts from across the North West can come together to train together. These are a great opportunity to share experiences with fellow Black Belts, make connections amongst your peers & to develop your Black Belt skills & techniques. 2024 dates have already been published so get them in your diary!



3rd Dan Seminars

Until recently, these have been held sporadically through the year, usually at the Leyland Centre. However, in 2024, there will be a 3rd Dan Seminar every month and these will rotate between the Bury, Stockport & Leyland Centres. Details can be found on www.MooDoKwan.co.uk


Glow in the Dark Nunchuck Seminars

We had Nunchuck seminars at both Prestwich and Oldham this year which were both well attended. Master Parkinson took everyone who attended through some nunchuck techniques which were then turned into a short routine. Then the fun bit happened. Glow sticks were then attached to all of the nunchucks and then lights were turned off so that everyone could run the short routine they’d learnt in the dark. Amazingly, no one managed to hit themselves in the head!


Weapons Seminar

On Saturday 30th September Family Martial Arts Centres held a Weapons Seminar for around 120 students from all over the organisation, who came together to get an opportunity to look and try out some of the weapons that are used within our martial arts. The students got to learn from the Masters and senior instructors and looked at weapons such as nunchucks, as well as the long and short staff, and the fascinating use of the kobutan. It was a great opportunity for students of all levels to get hands on experience of these weapons and provide valuable insights allowing them to enhance their own training.


Final Words

Thanks for sticking with it to this point...


2023 has been another fantastic year for everyone associated with North Manchester Family Martial Arts Centres. We’ve had a good number of students from all three centres being promoted to 1st Dan Blackbelts, as well as seeing students of all ranks earning their next belt as they continue to their next step on their Tang Soo Do journey. All three Centres keep going from strength to strength in numbers and the success of the students.


What will 2024 bring for us all? Who really knows, but the right attitude from the start is bound to help everyone along and give the best foundations to build on for another successful year. So whatever your New Year’s resolutions are going to be, make sure your Martial Arts figures highly in them. Having the right goals set from day one helps us down the path to success, whether it’s another belt along the route to Black Belt or you face the challenge of actually going to your Black Belt test this year. Be positive, set your goals and the path to get there, and stick with them. If you thought 2023 was great, 2024 is going to be the best ever!!!


Everyone at North Manchester FMAC would like to wish you and your families, all the very best for this Christmas, and hope you have a very happy and successful New Year.


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