Workshops for Teachers - CounterPunch

Grow Your Combat Gym While Making A Difference

An opportunity for you to make a positive difference in teenagers' lives — and be rewarded for it

Teen Mental Health Workshops for Teachers

You love combat sport.

Ever since you first discovered it – whether through your first combat lesson or watching martial arts films – you've had a curiosity and interest spark within you.

And when you finally got the chance to learn and put it to practice – that's when your life changed.

You started to feel a sense of power and self-belief develop within yourself.

You didn't know how it worked. You just knew that you felt good.

And afterwards, you felt an improved sense of control over your life.

Inspired by this discovery, you sought to delve deeper. You studied it, honed it, perfected it.

And along the way, you discovered a love for helping others do the same.

That's when you opened your first combat gym.

It Can Be Tough As Combat Gym Owners...

It's taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and you've worked hard to build what you have today.

You've learned that being proficient in your form of combat isn't enough on its own to have a successful combat gym.

You've studied and applied business principles to grow your combat gym:

  • Upgrading to better equipment and facilities
  • Selling training gear and equipment
  • Hiring trainers to teach different styles of combat
  • Running community events / competitions
  • Selling memberships

And business has improved over the years.

But despite things being pretty good, you can't help but feel like there's more to this...

You know there's potential for more revenue, but:

  • You're already feeling run down, overworked and frustrated trying to manage everything
  • You could hire more staff/trainers, but it's hard to find good staff that will stay
  • You're never quite sure whether a particular style of combat will be popular or not
  • It's sometimes difficult to stand out from your competitors who all offer similar services and market in very similar ways

On top of that, instead of a meaningful career where you could focus on delivering meaningful results to your clients (the original reason you started) you find yourself overwhelmed, drowning in administration and management tasks that don't light you up.

But what if... you could grow your business by focusing on tasks that light you up?

Tasks that:

  • Allow you to cultivate that exact feeling of inner power and control you first discovered in future generations of youth
  • Allow you to maximise your combat gym during off-peak hours
  • Allow you to tap into one of the hardest markets to recruit from
  • Don't require you to change and adapt your combat styles in order to cater to what your customers like
  • Don't require you to hire new trainers and instructors – but rather, help you maximise your current team
  • Have the potential to increase your yearly revenue by $24,000 with only 5 hours investment per week (and unlimited growth potential if you choose to invest more time).

That's where the CounterPunch™ Facilitation Program comes in.

But before we dive into that, here's a little bit about me...

Hi, I'm Mercedas

Why should you listen to me?

Great question! Here's why I'm qualified to teach you how to help your combat gym achieve its full potential...

My name is Mercedas Taaffe-Cooper, and for the last 35 years I have been honing and combining my skills as a martial artist, a combat coach, a sports & exercise scientist, and a registered psychologist into an overarching method I call the CounterPunch™ method.

To give you insight into why I'm so passionate about helping you help your teenage athlete be the best they can be, I'd like to invite you to jump back in time with me, and re-live my journey in 10-year increments.

1985 – 1995

My Start As An Athlete

My journey starts over 30 years ago, when I first competed as an athlete. Through rigorous training and conditioning, I'm proud to say that I've won a total of 25 titles in martial arts and boxing tournaments since, including:

  • 4 World titles
  • 3 European titles
  • 10 Irish titles
  • 8 Australian titles

1995 – 2005

Coaching Teens To Elite Level

Having had my own life transformed through the power of sport, I sought to do the same for youth. As part of this commitment, I:

  • Established 4 boxing clubs (1 in Ireland, 3 in Australia), all of which continue to coach young people today
  • Coached over 1000 youth since 1987 – 5 of which have won 19 titles (15 in Ireland, 4 in Australia) in total
  • Trained with some of the top boxing coaches in the world (such as Nicolas Cruz Hernandez, Gerry Storey, Mick Dowling, & Bodo Andreas) in order to become more effective as a coach

2005 – 2015

Becoming A Psychologist & Launching CounterPunch™

While working with youth as a sports coach, I began to notice that many weren't reaching their full potential as a result of personal life factors.

As a result, I sought to improve my understanding of psychology, and today, I'm honoured to say that I've:

  • Become a registered psychologist and worked with over 100 youth and adolescent clients as a Clinical Psychologist at CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Run a 2-year, state government-funded study with the Menzies School of Health to create and validate the CounterPunch™ method as a tool for improving mental wellbeing in teenagers
  • Been featured on ABC TV as part of the 730 show

2015 – Now

CounterPunch™ Continues To Change Lives

Eventually I realised there's only so much 1 person can do on their own, so I decided it was time to share CounterPunch with the world (hint: that's where you come in!). As part of fulfilling that mission, I have:

  • Co-written the bestselling book 'Elevate Your Life' alongside 10 other nationally recognised experts, including Benjamin J Harvey
  • Created a Facilitator's Curriculum to teach sports coaches like you to take young athletes through the journey to become the best versions of themselves.

“Mercedas and her program changed my son’s life completely. CounterPunch has increased his self-esteem hugely, helped him overcome anxiety and fear, now exhibiting tolerance and empathy. He has ceased all medications and counselling, obtained his driver’s license and become one of the programs young leaders."

Keith, Parent

I learnt a lot about myself in the months I was there, Merc you taught me a lot about who I could be. When I started I wasn’t trying to achieve anything but now I am. I believed in the program from the start and will use my voice to show what this program did for me”

Matt (Client, 16 years)

What Is The CounterPunch™ Method? And Why Combat Gym Owners?

Teenagers go through a period of rapid transformation and identification as they transition into adulthood – and with that comes many emotional challenges.

They're flooded with new emotions they haven't felt before and don't know how to manage, and they're consistently trying to balance between the identity of being a dependent child versus an independent young adult.

The CounterPunch™ method teaches teenagers practical tools to both understand and effectively master the life skills needed to recognise, manage and express emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger and depression in a healthy manner – skills that if teenagers don't learn, can affect the quality of their lives later in adulthood.

The Problem With Traditional Forms Of Therapy And Counselling For Teens

The first thought that might come to mind is that this is the role of psychologists and counsellors, as they are specialists in this field.

The problem with this is 3-fold:

  1. It's often only when teenagers have gone through severe experiences for a prolonged period of time that they end up seeing a psychologist:
    • Many of these severe experiences can be managed and prevented beforehand with the right self-management tools.
    • Not all teenagers seek and/or receive therapy and are therefore left helpless.

  2. There is stigma associated with "having to see a therapist"
    • Teenagers are very self-conscious about how they appear, especially to their peers.
    • The last thing they want to associate with their newly forming identity as they grow up is someone who "needs help."

  3. Traditional forms of counselling and therapy are boring and do not work with teenagers:
    • Adults are content to sit face-to-face and use talk therapy.
    • Young people on the other hand, don't like this method. Talk therapy can often take the form of intermittent grunts and rushing out the door at the first opportunity.

That's where the CounterPunch™ method comes in to fill the gap.

Rather than only addressing the mental health side of things, or just the physical health side of things, CounterPunch looks at addressing the skill and knowledge gap in a truly wholistic manner in order to help teenagers develop into fully functioning adults that can reach their true potential in life – we refer to this as the Performance Jigsaw™.

In my many years working with young people, I have found that the need to feel empowered, significant and competent is the biggest factor driving teenagers' behaviour.

And the easiest way for teenagers to feel this sense of empowerment is on a physical level.

That's where you (the combat gym owner/coach) come in, and why I need your help.

What Teenagers Say About CounterPunch™

Zac Nash

The CounterPunch program really helped me to learn how to deal with my emotions internally, and through that, it gave me a better understanding of how my emotions actually work, which led to a massive improvement on how I was feeling in just my day to day life.

And as I progressed through the CounterPunch program, I had the opportunity to work with some other kids dealing with their own problems.

And from the time I started assisting in the group sessions to when we finished, I saw a massive improvement in things like confidence, communication skills, mental resilience, resistance to negative peer pressure.

Overall, I think the CounterPunch program has helped so many people and I don't know where I'd be today without it."

Ben Reissenweber

The CounterPunch program to me was a great way to learn a bit more about myself and gain some new skills – which have already been really handy.

One thing I particularly got out of it is improved sense of self-confidence and self-esteem, and even self-awareness. And moving forward in life I'm confident that these skills are really handy.

It feels great having those tools available. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. It's a really valuable experience."

Why Teachers Get CounterPunch™ Certified

CounterPunch Facilitator-training

Because you want to grow your combat gym in a highly leveraged way that doesn't require too much investment of time, energy and money.

Because you see gaps in the education and societal system, and you want to help educate young people not just academically, but also mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Because you want to take your combat gym to the next level and stand out with the services you offer.

Because you believe societal harmony and a sustainable future is cultivated from developing the youth of today.

Because you see a great opportunity to tap into the hardest market to tap into for your gym – teenagers.

Because you're passionate about helping teenagers grow up with every means at their disposal to live a happy, successful and rewarding life.

What Teachers Say About CounterPunch™

Aine Conlon – Kickboxing Coach

One thing I got from CounterPunch was that I was able to relate more to the children in my class and more importantly to my children at home."

Padraig Clancy – Football Coaching Coordinator

"What I got from Mercedas was a far better understanding of how young people think, maybe to get down more to their level and talk to them."