My name is Kirsten Bradford and I am 13 years old. I am writing about a person who has touched my life and so many others, and I consider him my mentor and hero. His name is Mark Moore, and he is my Karate Coach at Underground Martial Arts and Fitness in Sewell NJ.
When I started at 9 years old, I just expected to go to class and learn karate moves. To my surprise, what Coach Mark teaches is so much more than that. It’s about feeling good about yourself, doing good in school, making a difference in the community, being a buddy, not a bully, and treating others with kindness and respect, just like you should do with yourself.
More importantly, he makes everyone that walks in his facility feel special and good about themselves, kids and adults alike. He goes around and talks to all the parents, shakes hands, compliments people and makes them feel so welcome. The energy is unbelievable, and when you leave his class, your so pumped up and smiling as you walk out the door. When he teaches his classes, it’s not only about karate moves, he will do talks throughout, and different inspirational phrases. Nothing but positive enforcement.
As time has gone by, and I've earned different belts, recently earning my 1st Degree black Belt, I watch Coach Mark and have learned so much more about him and from him. He sets such wonderful examples, and is one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met.
He donates so much of his time to help others, as he says, what can I do today to serve the community. He raises money for countless charities, Autism being a huge one. He has a mission to stop bullying and educate kids about it, as he says....BE A BUDDY NOT A BULLY!
He donates tons of school supplies to kids in need, and is in the process of a huge campaign to raise money for underprivileged kids, to buy them sneakers for the new school year. He works with Gloucester County Services, helping people with disabilities and raised money
so they could have their own prom. He goes to Camden and Philadelphia and brings the homeless sandwiches and water. He invites college students, teachers, etc. to come to his facility and learn self-defense, just in case they would ever need it. He organizes events where he brainstorms with
others to see what he can do next to help the community.
I've truly only touched the surface of what Coach Mark Moore does. He has changed so many lives and given so many a new outlook. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would learn so much from signing up for a summer karate camp, which has now become weekly.
Because of Coach Mark, I'm more focused, I do better in school, I love to help others and make a difference in the community. I love going to Underground because I love the atmosphere. I now help Coach with other young kids classes. I volunteer to do other things at karate, and I always tell Coach, if you ever need me to help with anything, please let me know.
The first day I stepped foot in Underground Martial Arts, was a new beginning for me, and time for me to learn and grow, and it’s all because of my mentor and hero, coach Mark Moore.
This article appears in the September 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine Monmouth Ocean edition. Click here to subscribe, thanks :)