MARCH HILL – Residents of Madison County interested in martial arts now have a studio nearby to learn a discipline.
Pathfinder Martial Arts, located along NC 213 in Mars Hill, opened in June, according to owner Ben Nisbeth.
Before Nisbeth took over the building, he taught taekwondo as an independent contractor at the same location, which was then known as the Dimensions Academy of Taekwondo. Dimensions Studio of Arts and Athletics now operates from its South Main Street location in Mars Hill.
“The owner decided to change location, so I took the opportunity to finally open my own dedicated martial arts school,” said Nisbeth.
Pathfinder offers taekwondo and Brazilian jiujitsu lessons for children and adults. Joshua Macri is the main instructor of jiujitsu, while Nisbeth is the head instructor of taekwondo.
Nisbeth began learning taekwondo in 1992. He received his first degree black belt at age 13.
“I do traditional taekwondo,” Nisbeth said. “It’s linear, punches and standing kicks. When I say linear, it’s geared toward straight-line strikes. So my punches will start in the chamber and come straight out. Kung fu is a very circular motion. Taekwondo uses physics and physiology for our advantage, for speed and power. “
Macri is a brown belt in BJJ and has been involved in martial arts for 17 years, Nisbeth said.
Nisbeth grew up in Weaverville and attended North Buncombe High School. Coincidentally, he and his wife Amanda were in the same class throughout high school, but their romance didn’t start until after school.
“We never talked or hung out (in high school),” Nisbeth said. “We were both divorcing at the same time. She brought her son over for taekwondo. He signed up – bought the uniform and everything, then never showed up. So I said : “Well, I’m going to call him and offer him some money. We met over a beer and have been together ever since. “
Amanda, a second degree black belt in taekwondo, is also an instructor at the studio. When not on the mats, she teaches health sciences at Erwin High School.
The two Nisbeth are white belts of jiujitsu.
“I have a wonderful partner in my wife, who has been so supportive in everything – doing what she can to help make this happen,” Nisbeth said.
Ben started as a construction inspector at the Metropolitan Sewage District in November. He has two boys and Amanda a boy, both from their previous marriages, and lives in Marshall.
Style and approach
While some martial arts studios will emphasize self-defense, Nisbeth said he’s taking a more holistic approach.
“I’m all for getting started and getting newbies interested,” he said. “I like to take a more philosophical approach – to engage the brain as well as the body. I want to make it accessible to everyone. I try to adapt to each student what they need and I have fun doing it. .
“I’m trying to build a community here now. It’s a good fellowship. It’s a good community to help each other improve.”
According to Nisbeth, the level of interest in martial arts is on the rise, especially among children. Pathfinder offers classes for children ages 4-15 and ages 16 and over.
“I grew up through it,” he said. “Children are a central part of what we do. Children are the future. It changed my life. I was taking a difficult path and my dad got me involved at the right time. It changed me. Now, it’s my turn to give back to the community.
The studio follows the five principles of taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.
“Individually, these five principles are really good,” Nisbeth said. “But taken together on a daily basis, it can improve your life and the lives of the people around you. You can be that guide for people who may be going through difficult times. If they see this example, they may think, “This person has their business together. What is their secret ? Maybe I should try taekwondo. ‘”
Pathfinder Martial Arts is located at 7401 NC 213 in Mars Hill. Visit the studio’s website at https://pathfinder-martial-arts.maonrails.com/.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Pathfinder Martial Arts Owner Talks About Mars Hill Business Expansion