Manager Profile – Natasha Menko

In January 2013, Natasha Menko was looking for a new experience in life. Dealing with a “mid-life crisis” of sorts, she decided to pursue her interest in martial arts. “After 15 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I realized I needed to do something for me, not just for my kids,” she states. She also wanted to lose weight and get in shape, and felt like she found the perfect blending of all of her interests, in Tae Kwon Do.

Now the School Manager for Master Shim’s World Class Tae Kwon Do in Peachtree City, Natasha says there’s no looking back. Her interest in and excitement for Tae Kwon Do allowed her to share her love of the sport with her family as well. She’s ascended the ranks to 3rd Degree Black Belt, and loves what she does.

Here’s more about Natasha Menko.

What made you select Master Shim's for your Tae Kwon Do? After deciding I wanted to try a martial art, I found Master Shim's was conveniently located and decided to check it out. I set up a trial class and was immediately hooked. I signed up for the black belt program, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Do any other family members take lessons with you? How did taking lessons together affect your relationship with your sons?  When I started, my sons saw how much fun I was having and decided they wanted to be a part of it also, and three of them took of classes with me. My youngest, Bryan (now 13) made it to red stripe before deciding he wanted to go back to soccer. My sons Nick (now 15) and Sean (now 20) both tested for 1st Dan with me in September 2015. Nick decided to take a break from Tae Kwon Do at 1st Dan Level 3, but Sean and I tested for 2nd Dan together in March 2016. He stopped taking classes a while after that. However, even though they no longer take Tae Kwon Do with me, I can say that having been on the journey with them was an incredible bonding experience.

What has Tae Kwon Do done for your confidence? Tae Kwon Do has done a lot for my confidence, both on and off the mat. Knowing that I am able to handle a situation, no matter what, I am more comfortable speaking up - no longer acquiescing when I disagree for fear of confrontation. I am less fearful in general, because I KNOW that I can handle myself.

Is it good exercise? Tae Kwon Do classes are not just great exercise, but good for the mind and spirit as well. I found that during stressful times, my classes really enabled me to let things go and work off that stress. The fact that it helped me lose weight and get in better shape were certainly welcome too. 

What changes have you seen in students who take Tae Kwon Do? Why would you recommend it to others?  The improvement in behavior, in respect for not only their elders, but also for their peers. I've had parents tell me proudly that within a couple of weeks they noticed a difference - in just saying "yes, sir, yes ma'am" at home, better listening, better focus. I've seen shy students come out of their shell to talk with and help others, I've seen focus improve, and the determination on some of their faces when they know they are so close to a tip or a new belt, and how hard they work to achieve that. I would recommend it to everyone. It doesn't matter what you are looking for - increased focus, confidence, stress relief, a good workout, better endurance or flexibility - you name it, Tae Kwon Do offers lots of benefits. Whichever one you are looking for, you may find you gain more than you bargained for. In a great way.