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A CITY banker has swapped her office desk for an active life teaching martial arts to children and their parents.
Claire Mendonca, 31, said her first week as an instructor in Korean/Thai Cross Training (KTX) kickboxing, after leaving HSBC bank in August, had been “really, really good”.
The mum-of-one signed up as a pupil five years at the same academy where she now tutors – Premier Family Martial Arts down the street from her home in Field End Road, Eastcote.
She said: “It would have been June 2007, and we got a leaflet in my daughter Jade-Marie’s school bag and it said to come along for a street defence session.
“We went along and ended up chatting for about 45 minutes to Chris, who runs the academy, and somehow I came away having put all our names down and with three lots of outfits.”
Hooked by the bug, Ms Mendonca began teaching a weekend class for youngsters two years ago and she started full-time at the club on Monday last week.
“I loved teaching on a Saturday and I took the opportunity to do it through the week too. I like being involved in teaching children a fit and healthy lifestyle,” she said.
The Harrow-born instructor earned the rank of second degree black belt in KTX along with her partner Zeb Phillips, 35, while 11-year-old Jade-Marie holds a junior first degree black belt and in fact mum, dad and daughter trained together to achieve their rankings.
“Originally, it was completely outside of mine and my daughter’s comfort zone. I hadn’t done any sort of sport since school and I was nearly 27 when we joined so that’s a long time to be out of the habit of exercise.
“But it was a real family atmosphere. There were several groups where everyone in the family joined in the classes together.”
Leaving her job in the City hasn’t meant all her years of training with the bank have been lost because she has put her expertise to good use in the day-to-day running of the academy.
She said: “In this new job I get a good split between using my business knowledge and skills, and using teaching skills as well.”
Chris and Jenny Foran own and run the martial arts academy and said: “Claire is a breath of fresh air and is an amazing instructor with great teaching ability."