While Covid caused many businesses to grind to a halt in 2020, a Hawke's Bay taekwondo trainer found herself busier than ever over lockdown running online classes, and kicked the momentum forward by rebranding her business.
Camille Pruckmuller owns and runs Koryo Taekwondo, and is looking to expand on the dojang (gyms) already operating in Hastings, Havelock North and Greenmeadows with new franchises in Taranaki and Auckland opening soon.
"I've had this idea in my head for the past 20 years," the fourth dan black belt instructor said.
"Obviously I'm thinking big and it is quite scary but I've got to do it."
Pruckmuller said she is looking for more franchisees too, and while it has been a bit of a headache getting everything up and running, it has been really good since launching post-lockdown.
"Finding people with the same passion has been really good, got a good team on board," she said.
Pruckmuller and other black belt instructors seventh dan Euanchang Yang in Hastings, second dan Rebecca Lau in Greenmeadows and first dan Mac Singthep in Havelock North train about 100 Koryo members as well as some 60 Regional Seasonal Employment Workers that have been stranded in Hawke's Bay.
Classes include Little Kiwis (under-5s), Grasshoppers (5-7 years old), Dragons (8-12), adults and teenagers (13+), Pink Ninjas (females 13+), and TNT Dynamite, which consists of stiffer training for competitive types.
"It's not just about taekwondo," Pruckmuller said.
"I want to instil the virtues of life and helping my students get past any distractions they might have."
Pruckmuller believes not much of that is ingrained in the school structure where if a child has a problem it isn't the education system's concern.
"If kids have a problem in our system we give them the tools to fix it, whatever might come their way," she said, noting that they are healthier, happier, fitter and more focused when they stick with the martial art.
Competitions have only taken place internally and online in 2020, but Pruckmuller said Koryo are already signed up to travel to four tournaments next year.
They also finished runners-up during the Hawke's Bay Blossom Festival parade last month.