The martial arts studio has trained more than 2,000 students and graduated more than 400 black belts

Published in the January 17 – 30, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Photo by Robert Airoldi
Students at the United Academy of Martial Arts practice their kicking moves.

The United Academy of Martial Arts not only celebrated 25 years in Morgan Hill recently but also their second year in their new location at 330 Digital Drive.

A quarter century ago, Mike and Nancy Clampitt decided to open a family martial arts studio where students could develop personally as well as physically while learning self-defense. They also wanted a place where their two young daughters could learn martial arts, an activity Mike had trained in all his life.

UAMA has trained more than 2,000 students and graduated more 400 black belts. To qualify for black belt testing, a student must be proficient in Taekwondo, pass a fitness challenge and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Training at the United Academy has helped many teenagers develop the confidence and drive to successfully go to colleges and universities. The black belt experience has helped students become confident, respectful, and successful at whatever goal they wish to accomplish.

The Clampitts started their careers in education. Mike taught college preparatory English and humanities at Live Oak High School for 25 years. Nancy was a preschool teacher. They brought their love of teaching to the martial arts. Mike Clampitt earned a bachelor’s degree at the University California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in education from the University of San Francisco. When he designs the martial arts class curriculum for ages 7 through adult, he does it not only with his experience as a seventh degree black belt ranking, but also with a teacher’s training and enthusiasm.

Photo by Robert Airoldi
Kia Jones practices her kicks with her brother Cassian practicing behind her.

Nancy was a preschool teacher who saw the benefits of the martial arts for children from four to six years old. She developed the UAMA’s Super Junior program where preschoolers learn motor skills, coordination, teamwork, self-discipline, and respect for others.

The Clampitts spent 23 years in their original downtown Morgan Hill location. Due to redevelopment in the area, they moved to a new facility, which provides students with state-of-the-art training mats in all rooms and a viewing area for parents. The “Party Room” has grown popular for birthdays as well as a room for their daughter, Mollie’s, fitness program.

Mollie was 11 years old when the Clampitt’s first opened the studio. She is now a fifth degree black belt who plans to have her son start training as soon as he turns four. Beyond her love of martial arts, she is passionate about teaching functional fitness, which trains students in correct muscle and joint function for effortless movement. She believes that learning how to move efficiently, whether it’s for sports, general fitness, or daily life activities, is essential for maintaining health and avoiding injury.

“Our journey with UAMA started a little over a year ago,” parent Kim Kaplan said. “In that time, I have watched my two sons, ages 10 and 12 gain a lot of self-confidence and learn to work with their peers in a team environment.”

Both boys have gotten stronger both physically and mentally. They enjoy going to classes and camps which enabled them to continuously learn new skills. Kwan Jang Nim Clampitt and his entire staff go out of their way to make the studio a warm, friendly, welcoming environment, she said.

“All the instructors are encouraging and supportive and carry out their classes in a professional and caring manner,” Kaplan said. “Many thanks to all at UAMA who have welcomed us into their Taekwondo family.”

The Huffman family’s girls joined the United Academy of Martial Arts when they were four and seven years old. Both have continued with taekwondo for eight years now.

“As parents, we were looking for a martial art that could help our older shy daughter with boosting her self-confidence and our younger daughter needed additional discipline outside the home. Taekwondo has been good for both our girls in teaching them self-discipline and respect,” said their mother R. Huffman. “Through the years this has taught our girls how to practice techniques not only inside the studio but to apply them within their daily life and work ethic at school and home. It has also helped them build strength and coordination, while teaching them about physical and mental conditioning.”

As the girls have taken on different leadership roles as well, she said. Throughout it all, they have been enjoying the camaraderie of the studio and the many friends they have made.


Ferrante has a son and daughter training at UAMA since they were 5 years old.

“They were taught discipline, teamwork, confidence and various other character traits you would want your children to have,” she said. “They have learned things worth attaining are rarely easy (for them or their parents) and the great pride you can achieve by persevering. They are both black belts now and they couldn’t be happier yet humble about their accomplishment. I highly recommend the program.”

The United Academy of Martial Arts has provided valuable skills, over nearly the last 14 years, that the Stanley family’s girls will carry through with them their entire lives, said their mother D. Stanley. Not only the self-defense aspect but the extra benefits of learning to overcome obstacles, developing self-discipline, team building support and encouragement plus so much more.

“The UAMA studio employs amazing instructors/mentors who make the experiences fun for the kids while teaching them to take on challenges and defeat them,” she said. “The studio becomes more than just a place to go to practice martial arts but becomes a part of your family. The kids develop friendships that can last a lifetime. We have always and will continue to tell everyone we know how great the United Academy of Martial Arts is.”

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi