Spartanburg Martial Arts proudly serving Spartanburg since 1991

Kickin’ Kids was started shortly after and has been an instrumental part of our martial arts program. Kickin’ Kids has given us the opportunity to inspire more children to be successful in sports, school, and life through martial arts training.

Who we Are And why You Should Train Here

WE KNOW HOW DIFFICULT AND CONFUSING FINDING A MARTIAL ARTS
PROGRAM CAN BE.
We remember when we were children, feeling uncertainty about beginning martial arts, and we wondered if we had what it took to succeed. We weren’t the most athletic or confident children – quite the opposite. Little did we know that beginning our martial arts journey would be one of the most profound experiences of our lives!
When we opened our school in 1991, we made a commitment to serving and empowering the community of Spartanburg by teaching children and adults the confidence, leadership, and fitness skills that can only be achieved through martial arts.
WE SHARE & TEACH THE SAME VALUES YOU TEACH AT HOME.
Our programs have a strong focus on personal development. The foundations of our morals, values and core character traits are formed in our early years. For this reason, the programs at Spartanburg Martial Arts are an essential way to enhance the growth and personal development of young students of all ages.

Rick and Nicki Lee

Owners

Get To Know Our Kickin' Kids Staff

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Jesse Tesh

Program Director and Martial Arts Instructor

Coach Jesse graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and also has a Psychology Degree from USC Upstate. He has worked with us for over 15 years as a Black Belt Instructor and Kickin’ Kids counselor. He started his martial arts training with Coach Rick at age 5. Coach Jesse enjoys lifting weights and watching the Tigers play football when he’s not at SMA. His favorite thing about working at Kickin Kids is being able to help the children gradually improve their behavior and develop positive attitudes through our programs.

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Nancy McDaniel

2nd-4th Grade Teacher and Trainer for our new KK team members

Ms. Nancy is a 1st grade Assistant at Arcadia Elementary. She has worked with us for over 15 years as an after school and summer camp counselor. Being a proud Grandmother of 6, Ms. Nancy loves children. Her favorite part of being a counselor and teacher is helping the children improve their minds and watching them blossom into positive leaders. Ms. Nancy’s favorite thing outside of Kickin Kids is planting flowers and spending time with her Grandkids.

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Madison Ramsey

4K-1st Grade Teacher

Miss Madison, a new mom herself, has enjoyed working with children most of her adult life. She has worked with us at Kickin’ Kids for over 6 years in our early elementary group. Miss Maddison is known for her gentle and caring nature and that makes her a perfect counselor for our kindergartners and first graders. Outside of Kickin Kids she loves to spend time with her new baby, Ramsey, and her family.

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Taylor West

4K-1st Grade Teacher

Taylor attends USC Upstate and is majoring in nursing. She has worked with us as an early education counselor for 4 years. Taylor loves knowing that she can make a positive impact on the children at Kickin’ Kids. She has a younger brother that is in our program so she realizes the importance of establishing good habits and manners at an early age. Taylor likes to read good books when she isn’t studying or working.

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Jessie Springer

2nd-4th Grade Teacher

Jessie currently attends USC Upstate and is working toward her Bachelors degree of Science in Nursing. She has been with us as a counselor for 2 years. She enjoys helping the kids with their homework, teaching them new things, and giving them real world advice. When Jessie isn’t working or going to school, she loves exercising at the gym.

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Taylor Edwards

5th-Middle School Girls Teacher

Taylor recently moved to the Spartanburg area from Charleston, SC. She has 2 siblings that are in our program so she realizes the importance of establishing good habits and manners at an early age. She enjoys helping the kids with their homework, teaching them new things, and giving them real world advice. Taylor loves spending time on the beach with friends and family.

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Armani Welch “MJ”

Counselor for all ages/oversees indoor and outdoor play areas

Armani is a senior at Dorman High School. She was a Kickin’ Kid as a child and has now come back to work with us. She likes to draw in her spare time. Armani loves being around the kids and influencing their life the same way hers was when she attended Kickin’ Kids.

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Morgan Aldridge

4K-1st Grade Teacher

Morgan attends Spartanburg Community College and is studying to be an Orthodontic assistant. Morgan worked with us previously while she was in high school and we are excited to have her back. She loves the family like environment at Kickin’ Kids and being able to watch the kids grow every single day. Morgan loves doing big art projects in her spare time.

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Kevin Kelly

Counselor for all ages/oversees indoor and outdoor play areas

Kevin attends college at USC Upstate and is majoring in computer science. He grew up in Kickin’ Kids and after aging out of the program he volunteered and now has been a staff member for 4 years. In his free time he likes to go fishing. Kevin loves working with the kids here and being a positive role model for them.

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Connor Walker

Counselor for all ages/oversees dismissal time and gets kids to their parents safely at the end of the day

Connor is a sophomore at Dorman High School. He grew up in Kickin’ Kids and after aging out of the program he volunteered and now has been a staff member for over a year. In his free time he likes to race four wheelers. Connor loves working with the kids and being a positive role model for them.

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Chadwick Johnson

5th-Middle school Boys Teacher

Chadwick is a senior at Dorman High School and will be attending The Citadel in the fall. Chadwick loves to work out in his spare time. He likes making connections with the kids and having a chance to positively influence their lives.

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Josh Bailey

Coach

Coach Josh has been a part of Spartanburg Martial Arts for over 20 years. He is our Head Martial Arts Instructor, Weapons and Forms Instructor and Competition Team coach. Coach Josh oversees the martial arts programs for our Kickin’ Kids as well as our regular students. He really enjoys watching the students grow in their physical abilities as well as developing strong self esteem and character while on their journey from white belt to Black Belt. When Coach Josh isn’t at SMA, he enjoys spending time with his son, Blaze, and competing in Martial Arts Tournaments.

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Mercucio Nunez

Martial Arts Instructor

Coach Mercucio currently attends college at Limestone University. He grew up in our martial arts program and now has worked with SMA for 5 years. “Coach Coosh” loves to push the students to be their very best and gives a little tough love when needed. He loves to participate in combat sports like MMA, wrestling, and sport karate tournaments. Coach Mercucio can always been found training late nights on the mat with Coach Josh.

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Nancy Carlson

Ms. Nancy, also know as the “Snack Lady”, greets the kids when they arrive each day and makes sure they all have a snack. Nancy retired from nursing a few years ago and started helping us in the afternoons. Ms. Nancy is Nicki Lee’s mom so she makes sure to let Mrs. Nicki know if anything is not “just right”.

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Nikki Dill

Office Manager

Nikki is our newest team member at SMA. She has quickly become a valuable part of our daily operations. She handles our front office and can be found constantly multitasking to meet the needs of our students. When you have questions about our programs or need to purchase something from our pro shop, Nikki is always ready to serve you with a smile. Her favorite part of working at SMA is the awesome and unique personalities of the children she encounters every day. Away from work, she enjoys rescuing and rehoming dogs, hiking, and camping.

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