Meet the Instructors
Standing ( L to R): Ashley Cowell, Nathan Meritt, KJN Mike Clampitt, Tracey Ciccone, Matthew Nguyen
Kneeling (L to R): Tara Mossadeghian, Sabrina Tran
UAMA Instructor Program
A United Academy instructor has extensive training and experience in all aspects of teaching. Quality training promotes confidence and inspires a desire to improve. The United Academy martial arts program develops self-disciplined, focused, and respectful students.
All United Academy Instructors, in addition to being Black Belts, have completed an intensive Leadership Program. The Program includes classes in teaching methodology and leadership, as well as supervised student teaching. All Instructors also receive ongoing training.
A ChoGyoNim (CGN) is a first level instructor and has completed a minimum of 18 months of training. In order to become a CGN, leadership students must complete 54 hours of classroom instruction, team teach 144 hours of class, and handle a variety of leadership roles in 128 hours of studio events.
A BuSaBumNim (BSBN) is a second level instructor and has completed an additional 24 months of training. In addition, they have planned and implemented a variety of activities.
A SaBumNim (SBN) is a third level instructor and has completed an additional 36 month of training. Their duties include staff development and responsibility for large studio events.
Through effective educational methods, vast experience, and strategy reviews, instructors become great motivators and models for their students. They identify individual learning modalities (visual, auditory, and tactile) and then tailor their instruction for each individual. The foundation of Academy instruction is, “Praise, Correct, Praise”. This positive relationship enables the Academy staff to assist each student to achieve their goal, BLACK BELT.
KwanJangNim Michael Clampitt
I have trained in many martial arts for decades. I have a Black Belt in Kang Duk Won, certified by Leso Sensei. I also have a 5th Dan Black Belt from the Simonini School of Tae Kwon Do. I earned a 6th Dan in AAU style Tae Kwon Do from Master Bill Dewart of UCSF. I hold Instructor Certifications in Reactive Knife and Pressure Sensitive Nerve Areas. I have taught Corporate Self Defense programs for countless businesses, like Sun Microsystems, Adobe, and Xerox.
I was an Honors English & Humanities teacher at Live Oak High School for over 20 years. I graduated with a bachelors degree and a secondary teaching credential from the University of California at Berkeley. I also earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco. I have won San Jose State University’s highest educational field honor, the “Dorothy Wright Award for Teaching” several times.
Teaching has been my profession for nearly four decades. Teaching martial arts and leadership is my passion.
BuKwanJangNim Mollie Clampitt
Training in the Martial Arts has been a part of my life pretty much since I could walk. My father KwanJangNim Michael Clampitt had been training in various forms of Martial Arts since before we were born and he knew that it was a sport he wanted his daughters to experience. When I was a kid it was a sport, dedicating myself to classes so I could earn my next belt, but eventually I realized that Martial Arts and the United Academy was what I wanted to do for life.
After schooling and a few adventures I got to look at U.A.M.A. through an adult lens and saw that my father created a place that wasn’t just about kicking and punching but somewhere people could find a fun way to reconnect with their families and their health. Out in the world so many of us have great excuses to be bogged down in front of our computers or our kids are stuck behind their desks studying for their next exam. Sometimes exercising is just the last thing on the list. Returning to the studio I saw it as a place where people can come to train but also to feel energized, to recharge, to get their heart rates up and really use their bodies and minds in a way that is invigorating. For me the United Academy isn’t just about dedication to my health, wellbeing, and helping people on their journey to black belt but a dedication to the vitality I want all of those who walk through our doors to feel each day.
I earned my first Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do in 1995 and in 2011 I earned my 4th Degree Black Belt here at the studio. Always eager to broaden my scope of the Martial Arts, I followed that up with a 4th Degree Certification in Tae Kwon Do from Bill Dewart in AAU (Olympic Style). I started teaching at U.A.M.A in 1995 having gone through my father’s Leadership College and now participate in generating the curriculum for both our Junior and Senior students. This past year I also started creating fitness programs that can be used to supplement the Martial Arts training or just for people that want the added benefits to their health.
BuSaBumNim Nancy Clampitt
My own journey to Black Belt started in 1992 when we opened the United Academy of Martial Arts. Prior to that, I was a preschool teacher at the Morgan Hill Children’s Center. Teaching the Super Juniors (ages 4 – 6) has allowed me to combine my enthusiasm for the martial arts with the joy of teaching preschoolers. Teaching young students is very rewarding and I enjoy each and every minute of it. My goal is to help my students develop a love of learning and to appreciate the satisfaction of achieving a goal.
SaBumNim Tracey Ciccone
While working towards my 1st degree black belt I began to realize the passion I had for all that UAMA has to offer. I was drawn to a culture that challenged you, in all aspects of your life, to be a better person and was particularly impressed with the respect everyone has for one another regardless of age or rank. During my own training I had the opportunity to learn from a variety of martial artists whether they were 12, 20, or well, lets just say older than 20. As an experienced business professional by day I realized the value in UAMA and knew I wanted to be a part of their leadership team. Upon completion of my 1st degree black belt I started training under their Leadership program. Today I have my 2nd degree black belt in International Tae Kwon Do under KJN Mike Clampitt and my 1st degree black belt in AAU Tae Kwon Do under SBN Rick Conrey.
Outside of United Academy I am a financial planning manager for a multinational technology and consulting corporation. In my tenure I have received multiple awards, recognition and certifications for business leadership, Women in Business, and project management. After years of leadership training in hi-tech it is enriching to be able to apply the leadership philosophies of UAMA in a corporate environment. Martial Arts have become a way of life and a family affair. We are a family of UAMA black belts! My husband, Anthony is a 2nd degree black belt, my son, Michael is a 1st degree black belt, and my daughter Maria has her 2nd degree black belt, 1st degree AAU black belt and is also completing the UAMA Leadership program. What I enjoy most about teaching is watching the personal growth and accomplishments in each student. I love to see the smile on a students face as you tie the next belt around their waist and the tears of accomplishment when they achieve their black belt. There is nothing like watching someone you taught as a super junior grow and become a black belt knowing that you had a part in their success. Most of all as a teacher and as a parent I take great pride in knowing that their experience at UAMA has helped prepare them for the future.
SaBumNim Nathan Meritt
I’ve been a martial artist with UAMA for over 15 years. I found teaching when I was 14 years old in the Leadership Program and was an official instructor two years later. It’s been a humbling experience teaching alongside my instructors from when I began my journey at the studio. Now as a SBN, it’s very possible I’ll be teaching alongside students who were in my classes their first day. Whether I’m teaching brand new white belts or candidates amidst their black belt training, I approach the situation with enthusiasm. Along with that I bring a black belt attitude fitting of someone who has stood where my students have stood and wishes them the best not only in martial arts, but wherever they may find themselves in life.
Despite what my students may think, I am older than I seem and am approaching my graduation at San Jose State University in the spring of 2018. My area of study is kinesiology, the science of human movement. With such a broad focus, kinesiology has led me to take classes in exercise physiology, sport psychology, biomechanical assessment of sport movements, and even sociocultural perspectives from sports. From these classes I can draw information relevant to martial arts and overall fitness and pass it on to students who desire a deeper understanding of why we do what we do at the studio.
Outside of the studio and beyond my education, I’ve found other interests as well. I listen to music and go to see my favorite bands play shows, I run recreationally for fitness (plus it’s pretty fun), I watch superhero movies, and I most recently took up rock climbing, specifically bouldering. I enjoy everything that I do: teaching martial arts, learning at university, and all my recreational hobbies are what make me who I am. And I think there’s no one more convincing as an instructor who truly has a passion for whatever they teach and are genuine in their interactions with those they teach.
ChoGyoNim Ashley Cowell
I began my career in martial arts at UAMA as an eager 4 year old who had sat and watched my sister’s classes and I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to become a student myself. In the 12 years that I have been at UAMA I have earned a 2nd Degree Black Belt in the International TaeKwonDo Federation style and a 1st Degree Black Belt in the World TaeKwonDo Federation style.
I wanted to become an instructor because of my passion and enthusiasm for martial arts. I joined the leadership program after achieving my 2nd Degree and became a CGN in just two years. During my time at UAMA, I have learned many important skills, such as teamwork, communication, focus, confidence, and self-discipline, which can be applied to all aspects of life. One of my goals as an instructor is to develop these skills in my students. I like getting to know my students outside of class, so that I can work more effectively with them in class. Nothing gives me so much joy as seeing how happy and proud my students are when they get a new belt after all of their hard work and knowing that I had something to do with it.
Along with my commitment to martial arts, I am dedicated to remaining an honor roll student in school. I look forward to exploring my options for college and know that martial arts has helped me to become a person with the ability to succeed in whatever I decide to do.
ChoGyoNim Tara Mossadeghian
When I kicked my way out of the womb, my parents knew TaeKwonDo was meant for me. I’ve attended United Academy of Martial Arts since I was five years old. Growing up, I admired my brother’s passion toward TaeKwonDo. Following his footsteps, I immediately fell in love with the place. The welcoming people always motivate me to do my best, whether it’s in school or my free time.
Through out these years, I received my 1st degree black belt in fourth grade, and 2nd degree in seventh grade in ITF TaeKwonDo. I also achieved my second degree black belt in WTF style in ninth grade. I participate in show forms and attend my regular classes. As a teacher, I am inspired by past instructors to teach every class as the most important class. Understanding the concept of self discipline, I force myself to manage my time before getting the day started. I am focused whenever someone needs me to be their listener. And I respect others, which helps me establish meaningful friendships with my fellow peers, and create an amazing support system.
I am currently a junior at Ann Sobrato High school and strive to attend a four year college. I have played basketball for the past two years, and plan to do if for two more. For someone who is 5′ 3″, it takes an awful lot of confidence to play such a difficult sport. The studio has raised my ego, allowing me to take on these types of challenging tasks. I played piano since second grade, and draw during my free time. When I’m not jamming to my Taylor Swift music, I am usually spending my time caring for the people I enjoy. This year, I am a part of the Red Cross Club, Interact Club, and National Honors Society. In the future, I hope to pursue within the medical field. Tae Kwon Do helped me find myself, and keeps my head up at all times.
It is a blessing to teach students, and getting to know them individually. As an instructor, it is astonishing to watch each student mature and change positively. It is my goal to teach each individual to the best of my abilities, and make them feel comfortable.
ChoGyoNim Matthew Nguyen
Fighting to become a martial artist like my older sisters, I was eager to be a part of U.A.M.A., so I joined at the minimum age of four right after my birthday. I began attending classes as a super junior, which developed my self-defense skills, lasting friendships, my growth, and most importantly, a sense of belonging. U.A.M.A was, and still is, my second home. Every week I looked forward to class as I advanced in belt rank and as a person. After six years, I achieved my first degree black belt in January 2012, then my second degree in January 2015. In addition, I earned my 1st and 2nd Dan black belt in AAU, another branch of Tae Kwon Do offered at U.A.M.A. At the age of 13, I joined the leadership program to see what more U.A.M.A. had to the offer. As a result, new perspectives on leadership and instructing opened up, thanks to the expertise of KwanJangNim Clampitt. He taught me the complexities of leading and so many life skills that can used outside the studio. Teaching as an instructor at U.A.M.A. is a passion of mine, and I intend to nurture our students for the next couple of years. Watching students come in at a young age only to progress into disciplined, respectful individuals gives me joy since I know I have made a positive impact to their journeys, and so too, do the students influence me.
I attend Bellarmine College Preparatory (BCP) as a sophomore. Besides Tae Kwon Do, I am involved in music and in three choirs: my school liturgical choir, Bellarmine/Notre Dame Performance Choir, and my local church choir. I also enjoy playing volleyball and hope to make the junior varsity volleyball team at school. At BCP, I am involved in Campus Ministry and am part of Companeros, a Bellarmine community dedicated to smoothly nurture the faith of others. During my spare time, I enjoy meeting up with friends, playing card games, singing, playing volleyball, and watching TV.
U.A.M.A. taught me so much over these past 11 years. Because of the hours I put into this place, I have learned the values and importance of self-discipline and effective time management. KwanJangNim Clampitt says, “It takes an entire studio to raise a black belt,” so I am overjoyed that I can be a part of the contribution to raise our community.
ChoGyoNim Sabrina Tran
I began my TaeKwonDo journey as a super junior. While I may have officially joined when I was 5 years old, the studio was already my second home since my two older sisters had been going to the studio since I was 2 years old. As I watched both of my sisters achieve their belts, the studio evolved into something that I had been placed in by default to something that I wanted to do. I achieved by 1st degree black belt in January 2012 and my second degree in January 2015. After achieving my two degrees in ITF style Tae Kwon Do, I choose to expand my knowledge by achieving my 1st and 2nd Dan black belt in Olympic style TaeKwonDo. The studio has taught me a lot about self discipline, respect, and integrity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the studio. When I was asked to join leadership, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach students and shape their lives. My favorite part about being an instructor is seeing my students grow as both a martial artist and as a person. I enjoy being able to mentor and contribute to their successes. In addition, I love working with my fellow instructors and it is rewarding to collaborate during class to ensure that everyone is having fun while progressing on their martial arts journey.
I am currently a junior at Ann Sobrato High school. Outside of Tae Kwon Do love playing field hockey, badminton, and volunteering with my school’s chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). This year I am team captain of Sobrato’s Varsity Field Hockey team and Treasurer of CSF, a california scholarship federation club. When I’m not at school or UAMA, I love shopping, hanging out with friends and family, reading, and watching Netflix in my hammock.
Tae Kwon Do has influenced all aspects of my life. The self-discipline, time management, and teamwork skills I have developed at the studio will benefit me wherever I go. I am so glad to be a part of the UAMA community.