Michelangelo or Mansour? Who is the tougher Turtle?
Posted: May 17, 2019
Did Mirage Studios know that when they created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early 1980’s that they would create a Master Instructor who has taught and inspired
students for decades?
Master Saeed Mansour, Chief Instructor at the Personal Best Karate in Foxboro, was part of that Turtles audience when he was young and felt he didn’t fit in. “When I was seven, I was your typical child going through the challenges of dealing with bullies,” explained Mansour. “After watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, I thought that if I knew karate I could beat up anyone who bothered me, and all my problems would be solved.”
His father was a champion body builder and tasked the younger Mansour to find the karate school he wanted to join. “I joined Personal Best but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be,” reflected Mansour. “The focus was proving stuff to yourself, a lot of internal motivation and external stimulation. It was better.”
Mansour didn’t have to worry about bullies once he started class, but it wasn’t because of brawn. “As a child, I didn’t realize that the training was starting to trickle inside as I was turning into a more confident young man; to me, I was just having fun, but my parents could see the changes happening. I never had to use my karate to fight off the bullies as my confidence, physical strength and awareness of potential threats became better and better,” he said.
Mansour continued his training and started teaching karate part-time. He attended college and majored in computer science but realized the business opportunity that was in front of him at PBK. “I loved teaching, and just kept trying to learn more and more about it. I was doing land surveying during the day then came to PBK every night to teach classes,” he recalled. “I was inspired to help others discover PBK and share what helped me when I was younger.”
Eventually, Mansour became Head Instructor in 2003 and Master Instructor a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. “I love training students and seeing them make consistent progress on their way to major life changing breakthroughs. Having someone on your side keeping you on track with your goals is what I love to do. I know from my own experience and the experiences of so many children, teens and adults I have worked with how to help you realize your potential,” reflected Mansour.
He has seen a lot of changes in families over the past 15 years as head instructor. Parents are more involved in their children’s activities, even joining in with them. “We have a lot of families who train together here in Foxboro,” said Mansour. “Having families stay connected always helps the children’s confidence and it definitely brings them together in a really busy world.”
National statistics show that 60 percent of children participate in an activity each week and only slightly higher are those children who participate in more than one activity. Mansour has found no difference with his students in Foxboro but notes how karate complements the other activities. “Those students who also participate in other athletics find our classes help them get stronger, get more confident in their abilities, help them become leaders” he explained. “It’s the same for adults, where many of them come here for stress reduction, to clear the mind, to help improve themselves. Karate helps on so many levels and complements so many lives.”
Since he was bullied when he was young, talking to his students about bullying is near and dear to Mansour’s heart. He states kids today are always being educated about bullies, but the most important lesson is always about building and having that confidence. “Having confidence is really what the anti-bullying trick is,” explained Mansour. “You have to make sure what is happening is truly bullying, first. Kids are immature, but it doesn’t always mean they are bullying. Following the steps our students are taught in dealing with bullies at school is what we teach to succeed.
“But having the ability to laugh at yourself – if you fall and are not hurt, get up, brush yourself off and move on – is part of confidence. If you don’t care, no one else will. No one can make fun of you if you are laughing, too. You take the power of bullying away from them.”
Confidence is one of the most important character traits taught at PBK, he said. “To be able to stand up for yourself gives you power in so many parts of your life.
Father to a 14-year-old daughter, Mansour can see that what he is teaching makes a difference. “We teach our students to be strong and persevere. It’s how I teach my daughter, it’s what strengthened me from the inside out,” he said simply.