5 questions for...Michael Nahan
Published 5:06 pm, Thursday, December 1, 2016
DARIEN — Michael Nahan has known he wanted to own his own martial arts school since he was a teenager.
After starting martial arts when he was about 6, Nahan discovered kempo, a form of karate, at the age of 12. He went to Tulane University in New Orleans and studied marketing and legal studies to prepare himself to own his own school.
During his school breaks, he returned to Connecticut and spent all his time with his teacher, Master Scott Craigue, in order to prove his dedication to his studies.
Now the Ridgefield native is the owner and head instructor of Kempo Academy in Darien and the chief operating officer of the Kempo Academy brand. The 27-year-old also runs a training company, True MAS Fitness and is studying to become a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He also owns a toy business that makes toys that teach children concepts from martial arts.
Most recently, Nahan started a blog and YouTube channel to spread his martial arts knowledge and to teach others how they can handle their problems, which stems from his desire to help others.
Q: How did you get into martial arts?
A: I started martial arts when I was 6-, 7-years-old. I bounced around between a lot of different styles and I settled on kempo when I found Master Craigue when I was about 12. I started with Master Craigue as a kung fu student and a few years after that, I switched over to kempo and then I started helping teach kempo and the rest is history.
Q: You’re starting a blog and YouTube channel. What inspired you to do that?
A: Through training everybody from the kids to the instructors in our organization, I found that I really enjoy helping people, getting them to see things a different way, solve problems and feel good at what they’re doing.
I wanted the YouTube channel to be more about martial arts experience and sharing that to a broad audience, but the blog for me is really a place for my thoughts and expression. I can help people, talk about a certain subject, give my take on it and get people to realize they have the potential to solve their issues or look at their problems in a different way.
The drive is trying to help people in general. There’s a really powerful, intrinsic reward you get from aiding others. That’s why I enjoy teaching so much. You get to help everyone and, as part of that responsibility, find out what they need specifically. Everyone’s different, they have different goals, desires and are at different places in their lives. To be able to figure that out and give them what they need in life beyond punches and kicks in class is a nice thing.
A: A piece of martial arts as you get to the higher ranks is the ability to keep going forward and to overcome. That skill set came from martial arts.
For example, we had to redo our entire website immediately and I had to pretty much drop everything I was doing and go into an area where I had no experience. I built that site and in order to do that, I had to put myself outside my comfort zone, but I love learning about everything. That was something I had shied away from because I was nervous I didn’t know enough about it to actually do it, but when the situation was necessary, I went and did it, and had a lot of fun. Now I go to websites and evaluate the content.
Q: How can you pass this experience and knowledge down to others through this blog and YouTube channel?
A: I think the way that I’m going about doing it is from a standpoint of experience and having gone through it myself, so I can speak from a perspective that connects with people.
I think [that’s] a bit more powerful than just talking about it in the general sense. It’s an important piece to why I think people will listen.
Q: How do you relate this to your students who rang in age from 3 to over 60?
A: I try many different ways of communication to find that one that clicks with that one person. So, it’s going to be different for everybody. Some people it’ll overlap, but it’s a diligence in teaching and awareness in reading people that lets you find that way of delivering the communication so they get it and they’re engaged in it.