Master Chrissy Foulds
4th Degree Blackbelt
I began my martial arts journey in 2009. I lived in Liverpool city centre at the time and often found myself walking home from work in the dark. I felt quite vulnerable and unsure if I would know what to do if something were to happen to me. I decided I needed to learn some self-defence skills and so I began my martial arts journey with Family Martial Arts in Liverpool. I instantly loved it, it gave me self-confidence and a sense of achievement in a way I had never felt before. I was a manager in Marriott Hotels at the time and this meant that because of my job I regularly needed to switch location. A job came up for me in Leeds which meant my training in Liverpool would not be feasible anymore. I did not want to give up what I started though, so on asking my Chief instructor in Liverpool if he knew anywhere in Leeds that he would recommend, he instantly recommended Tony Higo and his academies.
That was it, I moved to Leeds in 2010 and my AEGIS journey began. I trained at the Leeds North Academy regularly and loved it so much, I achieved my 1st degree blackbelt in 2014 and just wanted to carry on. I wanted to achieve all I could with AEGIS.
I joined the Certified instructor program in 2016 and began learning all about the academies business side and the details of how an academy runs. I was hooked, I worked long hours in the hotel often 12 hour days, but all I wanted to do when I finished work was head to the Leeds North academy to train and learn more. I realised this was my passion, this was what I wanted to do, and so I began to put plans into place to one day open my own full-time academy.
In November 2016 I left my 12 year career in Hotels and started setting up the Leeds East AEGIS Academy. As Owner and Chief instructor, the academy opened its doors and started taking its first members in January 2017. My passion had now become my career, and I’ve never looked back.
In September 2019 I also joined a partnership with Master Kara Mitchell in sharing part of the ownership and running of the Leeds South AEGIS Academy, where she is the full time Chief Instructor.
Master Ashleigh Gibson
4th Degree Black Belt
I started martial arts at the age of 5 after doing a taster session at my Primary School and realising how much I enjoyed it. I then began doing Taekwondo and very quickly learnt I had a passion for martial arts. I earned my first black belt in 2011 aged 9 and earnt my 2nd black belt a year later. After my academy suddenly closed, I knew I wanted to get right into another martial art and wanted to try a different style. This is when I joined AEGIS at the Leeds North Academy in 2012 and was graded in as a purple belt.
I was told by my chief instructor that I had the potential to teach classes, particularly for the Ninja Tots which I loved the idea of. After a few months of training, I was invited join the Certified Instructor Training Program.
I began training to be an instructor and after a few years I saw a massive opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience by supporting the opening of the AEGIS Leeds East Academy in 2017. I began working part time alongside doing my GCSE’s, A-Levels and then full time when I left education. I have now been Program Director at the Leeds East Academy for 4 years which has been a great challenge and so rewarding.
My favourite aspects of AEGIS are definitely the kicks and Beatboxx, as I am naturally flexible so particularly enjoy the head height kicks. I also thrive in the discipline and energy of Beatboxx. I recently achieved my 4th degree black belt in May 2022 which is something I am very proud of.
Martial arts has been the best part of my life for as long as I can remember. It allows me the chance to destress and keep fit whilst doing something I love. Being an instructor gives me the opportunity to share my passion and enthusiasm of martial arts and its benefits with my current and future students.