It might not seem like it at first, but there are numerous similarities between a successful career as a Financial Planner and becoming a martial arts expert. Dedication, continual learning and development, strong mental focus and high standards are essential if you are to ensure your clients remain in the black, and if you are to achieve a blackbelt…let alone become a Third Dan!

Our Chartered Financial Planner Neil Parker has these traits in abundance and has put them to good use in his career and in the Dojang.

We are proud to announce that Neil recently achieved his Third Dan Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do Karate, a Korean form of Karate popularised by Chuck Norris that combines both Karate and Kung Fu. Securing his Third Dan Blackbelt is the culmination of 11 years of training, and we are delighted that Neil has achieved his goal.

Neil began training in Tang Soo Do along with his son back in 2012. After spending three months watching his son train Neil decided he would join in thinking “how hard can it be?” That prompted Neil’s love of the Martial Art and he achieved his black belt in 2017, Second Dan in 2019 and now his Third Dan. He is now training to achieve his Fourth Dan, and this would make him a Master at nearly 60 years old.

Neil comments: “Since 2012 I have been training roughly 3 times a week and I have loved becoming emersed in the martial art. I enjoyed beginning training with my son and achieving our first black belts together. I like doing things that are different and I like the challenge of Tang Soo Do. I find the mental focus, commitment and physical fitness required is something that benefits all aspects of my life and I am hugely proud to have achieved my Third Dan following a grueling assessment on Grading Day!”

To achieve his Third Dan, Neil was put through his paces at Grading Day. The day started with Karate Forms, then a fitness test in which, amongst other things, he had to do 100 press ups in one go and punch through two  one inch wood boards. It was then onto the Third Dan forms. Once that was complete, it was time for contact sparring where Neil had to fight 9 other blackbelts one after each other…and even 3 on 1!

If that wasn’t enough, he also had to write a 2,000-word essay on Power and Reactive Force. Neil had to clearly explain how and why reactive force is so important in martial arts, why it is important to accelerate towards the end of any given technique and how rotating the first, hand or foot is vital in increasing power. He also had to articulate why the use of the hip is fundamental to Tang Soo Do.

Phil McGovern, MPA Managing Director comments: “We have known just how good Neil was at Tang Soo Do since he joined MPA…and ripped his trousers doing the splits on a team away day to Edinburgh! The flexibility was impressive, as is Neil’s commitment to achieving his goal. This dedication and continual desire for improvement is a value that is mirrored within our ethos at MPA, and we are all hugely proud of what Neil has achieved.”

Congratulations Neil!