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How I became an Instructor?

People come to martial arts, to train & to teach, for a variety of reasons - here’s what brought the North Manchester Team together

Brett Nelson - Chief Instructor at the Prestwich Centre

I began my martial arts training because I refused to just sit and watch whilst my son took part. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love how Tang Soo Do focuses on the whole person - mind, body and soul. It isn’t just punching and kicking, it is Martial Arts!

As time went on and as I trained alongside my growing & ever-improving son, I found myself helping my peers and more junior students to develop & improve their training. I soon found myself the person that other students turned to for help - and I enjoyed helping them. I started to help out in class and before you know it, I had decided to open a class, for something to do and for some extra pocket money. Whilst undertaking my CIT training (learning how to set up & run a martial arts centre), I did my research, decided on Prestwich as an area & wrote up a business plan.

Little did I know what a success it would be - opening up a full-time centre almost 1 year to the day after starting and with 100 students. It was a whirlwind & a fast, steep learning curve, but I have loved every second of it. We’ve even outgrown our original full-time centre, moving to George Street just after Lockdown in order to have enough space for our amazing students.

I have had a varied business career - high stress posts, fast tempo posts, posts where you are at the forefront of developing new ideas & concepts, posts in project management & even the Commonwealth Games, but nothing has been as satisfying as what do today. I wouldn’t swap it for the world!

Harris Nelson - Chief Instructor at the Oldham Centre

I started martial arts back in 2006, aged 6, learning Shotokan Karate & I eventually gained my black belt. However, I wasn’t happy with the set up so I then moved to Family Martial Arts Centres in Bury to train in Tang Soo Do - I still train there to this day. I love martial arts - it's a great way to stay fit and it is a really fun activity to do with your friends and family.

I found that because I love it so much, whilst training I really got to understand the moves & how they were broken down/put together. I then started working with some of the more junior students on a informal basis, just helping them out and coaching them to become better. I really loved doing this and, more importantly, found out I was pretty good at it too. This led to me helping out at my family’s Centre in Prestwich, which led to me working there a couple of nights a week, to deciding I’d like to lead classes, not just help out. I undertook the AIT (Assistant Instructor Training) Course and then decided that I would like to make martial arts my career, which led me to the CIT (Certified Instructor Training) Course and I eventually started a small class in a church hall in Oldham. Then came the dreaded Lockdown, which meant I had to shut down, along with all the other Centres. I got so involved in the online teaching that I decided I’d like to have my own Centre, which we set up & opened as Lockdown ended.

Since then, the Oldham Centre has grown & grown to become one of the larger full-time FMAC centres, and I would eventually like to open other Centres nearby & to grow the NMFMAC family

Nick Ogden - Chief Instructor at the Middleton Centre

I only started Martial arts in my mid-thirties when my family and I wanted to find an activity to do together. We all instantly became hooked, and I haven’t looked back since. I always had strong role models in activities I participated in when I was younger, who helped me grow into who I am today, and I have always wanted to give something back to todays young people. I found that my passion for Martial Arts and my drive to help the next generation were very compatible.

My route to an instructor started by just helping out at the Bury Centre, tidying up, holding pads for others, and helping new students in class, but as time went on I wanted to push myself and help even more. I decided to join the AIT (Assistant Instructor Training) programme when I was just a Orange Belt, and this programme gave me the knowledge and confidence to help out more during classes. I became comfortable to help other students with their training, and work with smaller groups in class.

Once I reached my Red Belt, Master Parkinson asked that if I could take one of the Tigers classes at the Bury Centre one evening, and while nervous I used my AIT acquired skills to lead the class, and I haven’t looked back since.

Many Tiger classes later, I decided to take the plunge and sign up to the CIT (Certified Instructor Training) and look at developing my teaching skills to be in a position to take full Beginners and Advanced classes, as well as looking at the business aspects of running a martial arts school.

In early 2022, I was approached by Mr Nelson & Mr Nelson Jr about moving to and working at the Prestwich and Oldham Centres leading some of the classes. This was an amazing opportunity, and allowed me to fulfil my ambition to become a full time Instructor.

Eventually I decided to take a big step, and invested in a franchise of my own, and took over the Middleton Franchise along with Mr Nelson Jr. This has been a different set of challenges as an Instructor, as you have the business aspects to deal with, but I’ve loved every minute, and hope to use all these experiences to continue to learn and improve as an Instructor moving forward.

Marta Kelly - Instructor at the Prestwich & Oldham Centres

I wanted my son to be able to defend himself in life and improve his concentration. I joined martial arts to support him in his training but also I wished to be a martial artist myself. In our centres, I was always treated as an individual with my own strengths and weaknesses which I really like.

I then decided to join the Assistant Instructor Training programme, which helped me become a better and mentally stronger person and allowed me to help out in class & support my Instructor. I was then given the opportunity to run my own classes at the Prestwich Centre & I love it! I have now decided that I want martial arts to be my main career so I have joined the CIT (Certified Instructor Training) Programme which will teach me all the detailed ins & outs of setting up, managing & maintaining my own Centre.

My hobby has changed into passion and career and now I have the opportunity to lead and support others on their journey to a better future.

Carol Plummer - Assistant Instructor at the Prestwich Centre

My martial arts journey started when I wanted to find something to push me out of my comfort zone, to improve my fitness and build on my confidence as I was entering a new decade! I had no idea I would become completely hooked, end up joining the Assistant Instructor Training Programme and getting my black belt. I love it and my hope is to try to share my passion for martial arts with others. If I can do it, anyone can!

I took the decision to try out Tang Soo on a whim, as a work colleague mentioned her son really enjoyed it, and I felt I needed to put some of the advice I give to others into action to help myself. I made a list of things I wanted to do, one of which was getting a black belt in martial arts. Why? It was something completely new, out of my comfort zone, and a chance to re-invent myself. A black belt was my goal from the outset, but I had no idea when I stepped foot on the mats for my first trial lesson where it would take me. I then joined the Assistant Instructor Training programme, and through this I have been able to give back to others some of the sense of pride, belonging, friendship and confidence I have felt in my own Tang Soo experience so far. Being part of the AIT programme allowed me to teach a programme of martial arts for students with additional needs, as inclusion and community participation is something I have always been passionate about.

So it started as me wanting to push myself to be better - now it’s about wanting to push our students to be better!

Let us know if you’d like to join the Team or think you might want to explore being involved in training & supporting your fellow students - or even students of your own?

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