Our Instructors

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Nigel Stupples

Founder - Head Instructor
Riccarton

I started Zen Do Kai for the first time in 1986 for a short while but it wasn’t until 1988 that I really got into it, prior to that I had trained in some boxing and Judo as a child. I first started for the self-defence and fitness side of things but soon came to enjoy the environment, positive attitudes and challenges that went with the training.

Before I knew it I was training every day and progressing through the ranks. When I got to Shodan-Ho (Black Belt) in 1989, I opened my first club where I found I had a real interest in teaching. Through to this day my passion in Zen Do Kai has to be helping people to help themselves. I have found that through teaching students and watching them improve and grow, I myself have grown – either through their growth or the fact I have had to source more information to help them….

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Anna Stupples

Riccarton

I began training at Proactive in April 1999 in Kickboxing and then Zen Do Kai. I had been seeing Nigel for a couple of years by then and realized it was a bit silly of me to not come along and give training a go, after all isn’t it a wise idea for everyone to learn how to defend themselves?!

I didn’t really think it would be my thing, in the past I had never managed to stick at a sport, but because Martial Arts was obviously such a huge part of Nigel’s life I thought it was about time I went along to see what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t long before I was hooked, (once I overcame my nervousness about the whole thing) there was always something new to learn and that kept me interested because I had to use my brain as well. I slowly started to get fitter, made new friends and began to love the family atmosphere…

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Mark Thornton

Riccarton

My name is Renshi Mark and I first start training in Zen Do Kai in 1992 under the legendary Sean Purcell at Tsunami Dojo.

I was 14 years old and like a lot of kids, all I wanted to be was just like Daniel-San from Karate Kid or maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme. I soon learned that it wasn’t quite like the movies, it would take about eight months before I was allowed to do my first grading and at the time I think there were around 40 to 50 people grading for Blue Belt – at the end of the grading I won best Blue Belt.  The thing you should know is that at that point in my life I had never been the best at anything, in fact I was failing school – but at that moment something changed and I was hooked!

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Kate O'Neill

Riccarton

I started at Proactive at the end of 2007 having just moved to Christchurch after being at university – my boyfriend (now husband) Daniel had not long started Muay Thai at Proactive and I thought I’d go along and check it out, having never done any sort of Martial Arts before.

I was immediately hooked – I loved the atmosphere, training and the people Daniel and I met. It wasn’t long until we were training in as many Muay Thai classes each week as possible!

Since then, I have dabbled several of the other Martial Arts available at Proactive, however, the ‘art’ of Muay Thai is my first love and has become a passion of mine…

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Charlie Baker

Riccarton

I’ve been on my martial arts journey since 4 years of age, being a troubled kid my Mum threw me in for some extra discipline.

The rest is history, earning my first Black Belt at 11 years old in England.

We then moved to New Zealand and found Proactive Martial Arts! I’ve never felt more at home, welcomed in like they had known me for years…

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Callum Hynes

Riccarton and Cashmere

My name is Callum and I started my Martial Arts journey when I was around 14 years old.

I was struggling with a quite a few teenage issues, so my Mum made me attend Kickboxing lessons (I say made, because at the time I didn’t want to do it – a lot has changed since then).

Mum wanted me to try to find a sense of belonging, for discipline and for strength.  After a while of feeling like I was being forced to do something I thought I didn’t want to do, I started to do it because I wanted to.   I started to look forward to going.  I realised I had reached a point where I wanted to go to each class for myself, not because I felt like I was being forced to – that this thing I was doing was changing my life, the way I looked and the world and the way I could interact differently with the world around me…

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Adam Sim

Halswell and Mt Pleasant

It was the year 2007 when I first set foot into Proactive Martial Arts Cashmere at the age of 16, under the guidance of Renshi Matt Boereboom (back when I started he was a 1st Degree Black Belt, Sempai) and I am still training 13 years later.

I currently hold the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt in our mother system Bob Jones Martial Arts and have the teaching title of Sensei. I am also the proud father of a beautiful daughter (4 years old) who also practices in our children’s classes with me at my club.

If it weren’t for that day and for Proactive I wouldn’t be where I am today…

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Liam Armstrong

Mt Pleasant

My name is Liam Armstrong, I have been training for 14 years and currently hold the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt with a teaching title of Dai Sempai.

I began training in 2007 because of an advert in TV2 KidsFest and have been hooked ever since.

Martial arts has taught me plenty of things throughout my life – resilience, confidence, strength, but I think most importantly, it has taught me to love. I love my training, I love my instructors, I love the memories, and I love the relationships I have built with my students and fellow teachers. Training has given me people that I could not imagine my life without. I would not by be the man I am today without my training and my mentors…

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Jacque Sutherland

Templeton and Papanui

Hi, my name is Jacque and as you can see by my photo, I am no spring chicken, but that just goes to show that Martial Arts is for everyone. I am 25 years married with two children, a stepson and a granddaughter.

I love animals and we live rurally on a small block of land and have chickens, ducks, rabbits, sheep, dogs x3, a cat, a turtle and our daughter’s horses. I foster, adopt and save all sorts of animals which is so rewarding and sometimes it’s hard to let them go again. We are slowly trying to make ourselves self-sufficient and getting a lot of enjoyment from it. There is something special about looking at your plate of food and knowing you grew it all yourself…

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Allister Sutherland

Templeton and Papanui

Hi, I am Allister. I am 52 years old and I am a husband, father of three and grandfather of one with hopefully more to come in the future.

My wife and I live in the country on a small plot and we are slowly becoming self-sufficient. It is a lifestyle that we love and goes well with our full time job, that being Martial Arts. I have been training for coming up 28 years. It is a passion which I hope to still be doing when I’m a hundred. I have been teaching for at least 25 of those years and it is something that I really enjoy…

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Amanda Macauley

Papanui

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I am currently a probationary 2nd Degree Black Belt in Zen Do Kai, a Black Shirt in Muay Thai, and I teach teenage and adult classes at the Papanui dojo. I began my martial arts journey a few years ago as one of the many parents who sat at the back of the dojo and watched their kids train.

I needed a new challenge, so much to my daughter’s dismay, I began training as well. What began as a mere physical hobby has in fact impacted my life in a myriad of ways. Fundamentally, Zen Do Kai has taught me that mental strength is the key to overcoming adversity, whether that be physical or emotional, and it is a life-lesson that always needs reinforcing and practice! 

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Sarah Bastida

Papanui

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am a 1st Degree Black Belt in Zen Do Kai with the teaching title of Sempai and an Orange Shirt in Muay Thai. I was a bit of a late starter on the Martial Arts journey, I took up Zen Do Kai in my late 40’s, and that was a while ago now.

But this is a sport for all ages, all types and it delivers on so many fronts. I have learnt some fantastic skills, improved my fitness and had fun. There is also a lot of personal achievement with so much support from the Zen Do Kai family. Many families are involved, including my 18 year old who joined me on the martial arts journey and is also now a Black Belt.

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Cindy Thomson

Papanui

Heya I’m Cindy. I’m a wife of 19 years, a mother and grandmother of 6 year old, Rylee. I’ve played team sports my whole life, then I got to a stage where I just wanted to do something for myself. I saw a style of martial arts advertised and thought I would give it a go. After telling my sister Amanda, what I was up to she bluntly told me, “No, you’re a Kickboxer. Why don’t you try Papanui Proactive?”

I was hooked from the first night. That was over 10 years ago now, and hopefully I have at least another 10 years in me still. I am currently a 2nd Degree Black Shirt in Kickboxing, and have been fortunate enough to be part of our fight team, having competed in five fights with five wins…

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Matthew Jones

Papanui

Hi, my name is Matthew Jones and I currently hold the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt with the teaching title of Sempai.

Ever since I started training in 2010 at Proactive Papanui, I’ve been fortunate to train alongside many different types of people inside of a supportive and caring environment. It’s great to be part of a club where you feel a sense of belonging and a connection with others who share the same interest and passion for Martial Arts as I do.

Martial Arts has enhanced my own mental and physical wellbeing because of the many core life skills and capabilities you develop while training…

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Kalia Faulkner

Templeton

Hi, my name is Kalia and I have been training at Proactive Martial Arts for about 18 years.

After dancing for 15 years and developing RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) in my legs I could no longer continue and was looking for something else to become involved in. My little cousins were attempting their Junior Black Belts in Proactive Martial Arts and I went along to watch their grading and cheer them on. I thought “this looks like fun” and saw students and instructors of all different ages, shapes and sizes and decided to give it a try myself. So the next week I turned up at the Riccarton Dojo for my first lesson and the rest, as they say, is history. I was hooked right from the start…

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Mitchell Stephens

Rolleston

Hi I’m Mitchell and I’m a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Zen Do Kai with a teaching title of Dai Sempai.  I am also a Level 1 Black Shirt in Muay Thai – Kickboxing.

I began my training journey in 2011 and learnt how to Instruct under the guidance of the Templeton and Papanui clubs, now sharing many of their practices at our Rolleston Dojo that I run with my partner Sensei Danni.

I have been very involved in the Kickboxing fight scene over the years, having 20 fights to date and representing New Zealand in Italy and England in the 2017 World kickboxing Championships – bringing home two silver medals and a bronze medal in my weight class…

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Danni Sutherland

Rolleston

Hi my name is Danni and I run the Rolleston Dojo along with my partner Mitchell.

I am currently a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Zen Do Kai with a teaching title of Sensei and a Black Singlet in Muay Thai Kickboxing. I started training in 2001 at the age of 4!   I have loved growing up in martial arts, always having a big support group around me and it has given me strong life skills.

Starting from a younger age also means I have had the opportunity to train and grade through all the age groups, giving me a good understanding of the curriculums. I have done most of my training under my parents who run the Templeton and Papanui Dojos,  I have also spent many years Instructing for them.

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Tina Olsen

Rolleston

I have been training in Zen Do Kai, Freestyle Martial Arts, with Proactive Martial Arts for 9 years now, starting with Templeton Proactive in 2011.  I remember being nervous on my first night training but everyone was really encouraging and after surviving my first class..I was very unfit to be fair….I came back for more and I was totally hooked.

I found so much more than just fitness and self defence skills at Proactive. Strong core values like loyalty, perseverance and courage, along with a family atmosphere helped me to achieve more than I ever thought possible.  We celebrate our good days and learn from our bad but mostly we just learn all the time. Plus, kicking and punching pads is fun and great stress relief so …bonus!