Sifu Mark Spence
Greensboro Martial Arts Academy takes quality and safety seriously. We want you to get to know our instructors even before you walk into our school.  Our instructors aren't just good martial artists, they are good people too.

How many years have you been involved as a martial artist?
13 ... I was shorter then....but just as nerdy.

What is the most difficult obstacle you had continuing your training?

Continuing training in absence of a school. I didn't want to train under just any system, my love and passion are with JKD and Muay Thai.  Ooh, and I'm a huge fan of Kali stickfighting too.

Why did you pursue martial arts?
To better myself and pass on knowledge ...like Yoda, only taller, Irish and with long wavy fiery hair.

Were you bullied in your youth?
Other than brothers?
no...and despite popular thoughts, I was not the bully.

How long have you been teaching martial arts?

This is 2016, so about about 6 years

What kind of teacher are you?

very hands on and laid back, followed by a little bit of pain and destruction!  
No, seriously, I'm a good teacher.  I explain things really well, so that the beginner or the advanced practitioner can apply techniques.  I'm patient with my students, and will find ways to better apply what you're learning.  I also believe in the realistic theory of martial arts.  If we can't suit up in protective gear and make it work for you in a realistic situation, then I throw it out of the curriculum.  I'm not about teaching a standardized system, I want you to walk out of my classes knowing what you're learning is going to one day defend your life.

What do you teach best and what don't you do well?

I would say im better at teaching JKD than any of the other arts. I don't teach the ground working arts.

Do you consider yourself a good martial artist?
I would say so.  I hope to compete this coming year in some full contact matches. I'm confident I'll still be pretty afterwards.

What do you recommend for students who have anger issues?
Whenever you're angry, especially when in the training session, concentrate on just relaxing the muscles in your body. After enough time doing that it will translate into mental and emotional relaxation as well.  I have to use it all the time when I fight because my training takes me into the muay thai 'destroy' mode.  That's why I'm good at helping students control their aggression and anger.  Anger isn't a bad thing, but if you don't know how to focus it, then you're screwed, both in life and on the mats.

What experience do you have teaching outside of the martial arts?
I'm a personal trainer, and I've done Group Fitness classes.

What is your career?
Fitness, Martial Arts, and Massage Therapy...I'm in the gym/dojo a lot.

How did you choose your career?
Always enjoyed dealing with bodies in every form, they all seem to fit.

Do you enjoy teaching children?
No.  I teach fighting arts.  Only kids serious about training would enjoy my classes.

What groups of people/students are you best at teaching?
Anyone who can come into the class with an open mind and as little ego as possible.

What promise do you want to make to your students?
That no matter what experience you have, or how fast or slow you learn, we will find a way so that all the information you need to succeed is absorbed.

How are you going to help your students be successful?
By making sure that every person who comes through my program will have a solid foundation to build upon with any art they choose.

Do you have a formal education?

Trade School education. I graduate from Massage School April 2016!

What life lessons can you teach well to students?
To keep calm through any situation

Why do you teach martial arts?
Because i love the arts and love passing them on.

Have you ever been in a physical fight outside of the dojo and what we're the circumstances surrounding it?
Yes, was being threatened with a knife...it didn't end well for the knife person.  But my family stayed safe.

How do you feel about recreational drugs in your personal life?

I stay away from them, but its not my place to place judgment on those who don't.

What advice could you give a young student who is being bullied at school?
Never initiate, but defend yourself if you need to. Tell whoever you believe can have an impact on the situation (i.e teacher parent etc).

How old are you?
25 (2016)

What styles have you Learned?
Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Silat, Kali, Savate, and some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What is your favorite style of martial art?

Jeet Kune Do

What's more important, showing that you're a competent martial artist or demonstrating that you're a competent teacher?

If your goal is to simply gain competence as a fighter and an artist then the former. If you wish to teach others and pass on your skills and lineage then being a good teacher is more important than a good martial artist. It is necessary to know how to reach your students and figure out how they learn than it is to be the best at whatever art you are teaching.