Left to right: Chandler Smith, Keagan Carman, Ben Isom, Kelsey Cliburn, Liam Nave, Emilie Taylor, Parker Smith, Brian Cowell, Connor Qiu, Mike Appel, David Welchons, Jonathan Tai, Trevor Ng, Laura Merrill, Sarah McCann
Coach Parker Smith has been training at SwiftKick Martial Arts for over 13 years. In his years at SwiftKick, Parker has obtained the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt and holds the prestigious title of Senior Instructor. In his free time Parker enjoys working on cars.
“Parker is an incredible martial artist and instructor. Parker is a hard worker; not a week goes by that he does not practice to improve his skills as a martial artist. His commitment to training has made him perhaps one of the most skilled boxers we have at SwiftKick. Not only is he an excellent martial artist, he is a gifted teacher. As a coach, Parker is patient, considerate, and funny. He absolutely loves the students he teaches and it shows in every class he instructs. If you’re ever having a down day, you can always count on Parker to make you laugh and be supportive.”
Coach Chandler Smith has been training at SwiftKick Martial Arts for over 12 years. In his years at SwiftKick, Chandler has obtained the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt and holds the prestigious title of Senior Instructor. In his free time Chandler enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn son. He also enjoys writing and playing music.
“Chandler is a truly gifted teacher. He exudes a passion for coaching and care for each and every student. Chandler always brings a positive energy and unique creativity to classes. His ability to innovate fun drills for our students to learn martial arts has allowed him to develop some amazing experiences for kids in camps, special events, and weekly classes. Chandler leads by example in passionately pursuing continued personal growth through his commitment to his own martial arts training at SwiftKick. I am so proud to have Chandler as a valued member of Team SwiftKick.”
Coach Mike Appel came to SwiftKick with an extensive martial arts and coaching background. In the five years he’s been with SwiftKick, Mike has obtained the rank of First Degree Black Belt and Lead Instructor at SwiftKick. Coach Mike primarily works with our Teen and Adult programs and oversees our specialized Forms and Weapons Program. When he’s not training or working, Coach Mike enjoys diving into psychological thrillers.
“Mike is an incredible martial artist and coach. He truly exemplifies what it means to be a lifestyle martial artist: he approaches his training and coaching with humility and constantly seeks opportunities to better himself. I truly appreciate Mike’s genuine passion for exploring, learning, and growing as a martial artist and individual. One thing I really love about Mike is his immense compassion for others. He brings this compassion with him to every class he coaches and in all his efforts to help SwiftKick provide an exceptional experience to our community.”
Coach Liam Nave has been training at SwiftKick Martial Arts for over 5 years. In his time at SwiftKick, Liam has become an Advanced Instructor and First Degree Black Belt. In his free time, Liam enjoys exercising and hanging out with friends and family.
“Liam is an incredible martial artist. Not only is he a tremendous natural athlete, he is perhaps one of the most dedicated students I’ve had the opportunity to coach. What impresses me most about Liam is the maturity with which he approaches personal development. He takes initiative, has tremendous discipline, and is very humble. At only 17 years old I can honestly say I have rarely encountered a student so serious about growing as a martial artist and coach. Liam sets an amazing example to others and I’m very proud to have him as a valued member of Team SwiftKick.”
Laura Merrill started training at SwiftKick in 2011 after watching her son develop in Mr. Smith’s class. She earned her black belt in 2017. Laura coaches the after school programs (asp) and she most enjoys seeing the kids continue their training in the studio to strengthen their skills.
Laura is a fourth generation Realtor with eXp Realty. She has been in the business for over 25 years.
Jonathan Tai recently joined SwiftKick’s Coaching Team as an Assistant Instructor. In his 7 years of training at SwiftKick Martial Arts, Jonathan has obtained the rank of Level 4 Junior Black Belt and Lead Instructor. Jonathan is a Junior at Classical Academy High School and in his free time enjoys playing acoustic guitar.
“Jonathan has always been a standout student at SwiftKick Martial Arts. He exemplifies what it means to be a martial artist through his incredible focus, self-discipline, and self-control. Additionally, Jonathan’s personal drive for excellence and self-improvement is in part what makes him an incredible practitioner of the martial arts. I’m looking forward to seeing Jonathan take these attributes and skills to our student body to help the next generation of martial artists develop. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Jonathan transform as a Student Leader at SwiftKick and am thrilled to have him join our Coaching Team.”
Trevor Ng recently joined SwiftKick’s Coaching Team as an Assistant Instructor. In his 9 years of training at SwiftKick Martial Arts he has obtained the rank of Level 3 Junior Black Belt and is a member of SwiftKick’s Leadership University. Trevor is a Junior at Marantha Christian School and in his free time enjoys photography and aviation.
“Trevor is a standout student. He approaches his martial arts training with intention, commitment, and a continued desire to grow. Additionally, I’ve always been impressed with Trevor’s natural skills as a leader. From his early years on the Leadership Team, I saw Trevor’s genuine passion and care when sharing his knowledge in martial arts with others. I’m excited to see Trevor now channeling that to positively impact each and every student he interacts with on our training floor.”
Coach David Welchons has been training at SwiftKick Martial Arts for over 13 years. In his years at SwiftKick, David has obtained the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt and holds the prestigious title of Senior Instructor. In his free time David enjoys surfing, rock climbing, and camping.
“David was one of my very first students ever in Carlsbad. He actually started training with me in 2007 before I even officially established the Carlsbad program! David is a natural leader with an exceptional work ethic. His positivity is infectious and you cannot help but smile when he walks into the room. From the moment I met David I recognized his potential as a compassionate, influential leader. As his teacher, I was thrilled to see him develop a desire to coach and pass along what he has learned to future generations of martial arts students.”
Sarah McCann has been a martial artist for seventeen years and has been working at SwiftKick for six months. She enjoys every moment of being a coach! Sarah has been competing in Taekwondo since the age of eight, has participated in multiple demo teams and holds a second degree black belt. Her favorite thing about martial arts is that it empowers the individual to dream big and accomplish their goals all while staying physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. She loves seeing individuals grow in the area of self defense and martial arts and feels honored that she gets to be a part of our student’s education and journey. On her free time you can find her camping, hiking, watching baseball or cheering on the SDSU Aztec Football Team.
Kelsey Cliburn has had over 7 years of martial arts training at SwiftKick Martial Arts. In her time at SwiftKick, Kelsey has attained the rank of Junior Black Belt and become a valued Lead Instructor in our Carlsbad location. Kelsey is a Junior at Sage Creek High School and loves hiking, exploring nature, and playing tennis in her free time.
“What impresses me most about Kelsey is her ability to overcome and excel in any challenge that is placed in front of her. She attacks her goals with courage, confidence, and incredible tenacity. As a member of our team for almost two years, Kelsey has taken that same approach in order to develop and transform into a gifted and talented Instructor in a short period of time. Kelsey truly loves and cares about all the kids she works with and I could not be more thrilled to see her pass on the lessons she has learned in martial arts to the next generation of students. Kelsey is truly an all-star and I’m proud to have her on our team.”
Coach Connor Qiu has been training with SwiftKick for over 9 years. In his time at SwiftKick, Connor has obtained the rank of First Degree Black Belt and become a Lead Instructor. Connor is going into his Senior year at Pacific Ridge and is very active with lacrosse. In his downtime, he enjoys video games, chess, and spending time with friends and family.
“Connor has always been an incredibly gifted student. He is extremely athletic and rises to any challenge that is placed in front of him. I truly enjoy Connor’s competitive nature to achieve and exceed in both his personal expectations and those from his coaches. I am excited for Connor to pass this along to our students. He truly leads by example in applying personal discipline for self-improvement in all aspects of his life. Connor encourages our students to value commitment, overcome obstacles, and thrive.”
Coach Ben Isom has been training with SwiftKick for over 13 years. In his time at SwiftKick, has obtained the rank of First Degree Black Belt and Advanced Instructor. In his downtime, he enjoys biking, spending time in nature, and making music.
“Ben has always been a critical thinker with regards to his martial arts training. Ben seeks to challenge himself by asking good questions and developing a deeper understanding of why something is done the way it is done. I truly appreciate Ben’s hunger to learn and grow as a martial artist, instructor, and individual. As an Instructor, I love that Ben is passionate about helping our students become better versions of themselves through what martial arts teaches. I’m excited to have him as a valued coach at Team SwiftKick.”
Emilie Taylor is a new addition to SwiftKick’s Coaching Team. In her 10 years of training at SwiftKick Martial Arts, she has obtained the rank of First Degree Black Belt. Emilie is a Senior in High School and enjoys swimming, playing water polo, and knitting in her free time.
“Emilie is incredibly impressive as a martial artist and coach. She’s very intuitive, insightful, and hardworking. When Emilie is involved in something, she is all in. I absolutely love that about her. She takes great ownership and responsibility in her role as a coach and in her training as a martial artist. Emilie also has a great positive energy that she brings into every room she enters bringing a smile to everyone’s face. I’m so proud to have Emilie as a member of Team SwiftKick and glad she is working hard to positively impact the lives of the students in our program.”
Keagan Carman is a new addition to SwiftKick’s Coaching Team. In his 11 years of training at SwiftKick Martial Arts he has obtained the rank of Level 3 Junior Black Belt. Keagan is a Freshman at (High School?) and in his free time enjoys surfing, playing baseball, and hanging out with his friends.
“I have had the privilege of coaching Keagan for over 11 years. From his first day of class, Keagan stood out as an exceptional student: incredibly athletic, focused, and committed. However, what impresses me most about Keagan is how he manifests the tenets of martial arts to display incredible maturity at a young age. He is humble, communicates well, and has a sensibility well beyond his years. Keagan is also a record setter at SwiftKick: most push-ups ever as a Junior Black Belt Candidate (80); youngest student promoted to Junior Black Belt; and youngest Instructor hired on Team SwiftKick. I am proud to have Keagan influence our students as a valued coach on Team SwiftKick.”
Hi all! My martial arts journey started about 10 years ago in March 2008. Since I started I have been very active in the program. I was a member of the SwiftKick demo team and student leadership team. I worked my way up to the highest rank in the student leadership team before being hired as a coach, about two years ago. Shortly after becoming a coach I earned my first-degree black belt.
I love coaching! Getting to be a positive influence on students in a world so full of negative influence is one of the most rewarding things that I get to do. I love watching as all the students grow in their martial arts as well as in their character. I know for myself, that martial arts has had a huge impact on my life. So now, getting to be that person who impacts the lives of the students after me, is amazing, not to mention a big responsibility, but very worth it.
When I’m not coaching or training, I enjoy doing just about anything outside, such as biking, running, hiking, swimming, rock climbing, and especially camping. If I’m not doing that, you likely will find me working with my hands in some way or another. I keep busy with things like woodworking, gardening, or helping a friend on his farm.
Hi everyone! I started my training with Swiftkick nine years ago, and more recently I have taken on coaching. I especially enjoy coaching because it blends my love for martial arts and of working with children into one. Throughout the past years of training, I have had many moments of striving, and moments of success. Getting to walk with students through their journey, share with them what I have learned, and watch them have the same challenges and triumphs that I experienced, makes coaching a highlight of my week. The mental, physical, and even emotional challenge of training the skills myself, teaching others, and learning from every day, makes for a dynamic, moving journey, and that is what I love about martial arts.
On days when the studio is closed, I enjoy sticking my hands in the dirt to garden. I also might quilt, hike, or challenge myself with training my family dogs. To relax, I grab my camera and escape to the outdoors where I practice photography.
Starting with Swiftkick when I was small and working my way through the belts and the student leadership program has taught me many invaluable lessons, kept me fit, and has given me a healthy way to engage my mind, body, and spirit.