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Case Studies



Posted on January 15, 2021

How RAPTR Martial Arts – epitomises ‘Adapt and Overcome’ and prioritises children’s educational wellbeing throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic

RAPTR Martial Arts is owned by Mark Brockbank, a Martial Artist and Teacher. Prior to running RAPTR, Mark trained in Martial Arts until he achieved instructor level but later pursued a career in education, focusing on helping children with special needs and learning difficulties. Later in his career, having climbed to a senior position within education, Mark pursued his Doctorate in education whilst coaching Martial Arts to aid in paying tuition fees. As the interest in Martial Arts grew, Mark began to spend more nights coaching which resulted in his decision to take a career break and focus on Martial Arts full-time, re-igniting his passion for the arts.

Mark decided not to let his educational background fall silent and found a way to marry his teaching skills with Martial Artistry. He decided to run RAPTR as both wrap-around after school care and a Martial Arts academy, providing children with extra-curricular activities, homework help/tutoring whilst also teaching them Martial Arts. Upon approaching and receiving approval from a number of local schools Mark opened ‘The Lair’ and RAPTR was born. RAPTR started operating at Inspire Business Park in 2018 due to growth potential within the Dundonald area and Inspire’s ethos of providing support to small businesses and start-ups. RAPTR have commended the staff at Inspire as they continue to lend support and advice, stating it was ‘a real godsend’ to get commercial space at the Business Park.

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RAPTR’s ethos is centred around family training, from Grappling Arts and Weapons-based training to Kickboxing, which future-equipped the business well amidst Covid-19 as families are still able to train within their household bubble. Despite Covid-19 lowering morale and motivation for RAPTR’s fighters due to the lack of competitions and World Championships, RAPTR have recognised the positives from the pandemic. Covid-19 has pushed RAPTR to become technologically equipped and allowed staff to learn more about online learning resources such as Zoom and how best to utilise Social Media. Over the next few years as revenue increases for the business, RAPTR hopes to stream a large majority of classes online to facilitate their growing audience across Northern Ireland, whilst appealing to a wider female audience. Additionally, the pandemic has allowed RAPTR to focus on the educational aspect of its business model, promoting their capabilities of working with children who suffer from learning disabilities or mental health issues

As we work our way into 2021, RAPTR have big aspirations for the new year. Mark hopes to solidify their business model and set up a Not-for-Profit section of the business, allowing him to apply for funding to reach out to local schools within the Dundonald area and develop the RAPTR Scholarship. The RAPTR scholarship will provide those children who are unable to afford training fees to train at the academy for free, taking them through RAPTR’s leadership programme and providing them with coaching skills amongst others. 

RAPTR’s five-year goal is to establish an outdoor training grounds, allowing the team to provide wilderness training with the hopes of getting children back into dirt and building up physical resilience. Additionally, in the future RAPTR hope to lend support to parents with the statementing process; where a child perhaps has special needs and requires a statement in order to receive support within a school environment. The statementing process can be difficult and lengthy for parents however by offering an advice service, RAPTR hope to help parents navigate through the process, ultimately providing support to the local community.