Meet the Staff at ATA Martial Arts – Minot
Tina & Dan Merck are the owners of Minot ATA Martial Arts and have been owners since 1997. Mr. Merck is a 5th
degree Black Belt. He is the Chief Instructor of our Taekwondo program and has trained in Martial Arts for 36 years. Mr. Merck also teaches Middle School Math at Bishop Ryan Catholic School. On Sundays you can usually find him ushering mass at St Leo’s Catholic Church but his favorite hobby is training and showing his American Quarter Horses.
Mrs. Merck is a 4th degree Black Belt and is the Chief Instructor of our Fitness KickBoxing program. In 2001 she earned the title of World Champion in sparring at ATA World Championships in Little Rock, AR, where the ATA Headquarters is. She also enjoys cooking and hosting dinner parties which she uses as fund-raisers for her church and her kids’ school. She is on the client services committee at Dakota Hope Clinic and also helps to supervise the St Leo’s Soup Kitchen.
Tina & Dan have 4 sons, 2 of which are married and currently attending medical school. The 3rd son will graduate in 2021 from Bishop Ryan & the youngest is still currently enrolled. All the Merck boys have trained in our martial arts programs, and are varying belt levels in Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu. They also serve at their parish.
Mr. Ward started his martial arts journey, with his sister, when he was 6 years old. Together they climbed through the taekwondo ranks at Minot ATA and earned their black belts together in October 2008. At this point Mr. Ward knew he had found the activity for him and continued training and eventually assisting and teaching in classes.
In 2011 Minot ATA started a jiu-jitsu program and Mr. Ward joined as a way to supplement his training and find more techniques to learn in between taekwondo classes.
While making his way through both taekwondo and jiu-jitsu ranks Mr. Ward found that what he enjoyed even more than practicing martial arts is teaching them to others and helping them strive to achieve their goals. He became the Head Instructor of taekwondo in August of 2014 and the Head Instructor of jiu-jitsu in January of 2016 after completing the Gracie Jiu-jitsu Instructor Certification Program.
Mr. Ward is now a 5th degree black belt in taekwondo and a purple belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu. He has had success in tournaments for both taekwondo and jiu-jitsu, even leading to World Championship competitions. He has also had 2 amateur MMA fights where he has one win and one loss.