Subject: The Current State of the Martial Arts Industry as seen through the eyes of a 16 year veteran.
Recently, I have been talking with some of our students about sharing their experience in the
martial arts with others. They have informed me that in doing so, they are met with comments
like “Don’t beat me up” or questions like “You’re fighting people?”
Now, this is not a new phenomenon, but it is definitely one that has been accentuated by
recent developments in the martial arts. The current MMA craze and the large organizations
behind it are destroying Professional Martial Arts Training in the minds of people who could
truly benefit from our training.
These MMA organizations show and promote idiotic barbarism (like fighting in a cage) all in an
attempt to satisfy the bloodlust of men ages 18 to 35. Fortunately, their numbers are dwindling
significantly and when you show up to one of their events in a coliseum, you can hear the
echoes because the space is so empty.
My fear… and the fear of many of my colleagues who run Professional Schools with a
Professional Staff is that once this MMA craze is gone, the general public will have been so
misled at that point that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to reeducate people as to the
values and benefits Professional Martial Arts Training really has to offer.
The other fear, which has already started coming true, is that these “wannabe” fighters aren’t
going to make it. They won’t see the millions of dollars they aspire to make, and then they will
have but one choice left given their “love” for the martial arts – they will start opening schools
and bring this same foolish and barbaric mindset to their students. As a matter of fact, we have
already seen this in Fairfield, CT. A few MMA schools have already opened and closed within the
So where do we go from here?
What is there to do?
My suggestion is to be unreasonable. Instead of allowing the people around you to declare
how the martial arts is… instead of leaving it at “Don’t beat me up.” Or “Wow, you’re learning
how to fight?”…what I suggest is that we collectively take a stand and reeducate these people.
As you already know, the violence which is associated with “Mixed Martial Arts” is not what we
do at SMA. Yet, by allowing people to continue to think this is what we do, you don’t diminish
the school… you don’t diminish the martial arts… you diminish everything you have worked so
hard to accomplish.
Each and every week, you actively invest time in yourself. To grow. To improve. To challenge
yourself. You choose this not because you have to… it’s not like going to a gym because it’s
the “right thing to do”. No. You actively choose to challenge yourself… to push yourself both
mentally and physically beyond the point of wanting to stop… all in an effort to become a
better person for yourself, your family, and our community.
You do this so that when life hands you a problem, you are able to step up to the challenge
because it is not the first time you have been pushed beyond doing simply what was
convenient. When someone is mistreating you, you have the confidence to step up and take a
stand for yourself because you know you deserve better. And finally, you do this because you
have chosen to take care of your body and stay fit, all while learning valuable life lessons along
You do this. No one else does it for you.
Not only that, many people wish they had the guts you do. They don’t even take the first step
and make it through the door for fear of the unknown. Others take one or two classes and
quit for fear of being held to a higher standard… for fear of actually being held accountable…
for fear of being pushed beyond their comfort zone. Lastly, people quit within their first year
because they lose focus on why they started in the first place. Or worse, they get lazy and let
life get in the way.
This is NOT you. You have overcome all these obstacles and have dedicated yourself to your
personal growth and development. Why allow someone to tarnish that by making foolish
So no, when someone makes an ignorant comment regarding what we do here at SMA, I say we
step up and reeducate them as to what Professional Martial Arts Training is all about.
The Future of Stryker Martial Arts:
My team is in the middle of creating a new blueprint… a blueprint the martial arts industry
hasn’t seen before… and it’s going to be phenomenal. In this small corner of the United States
called Fairfield, Connecticut, we are going to completely revolutionize martial arts training.
Within a few short years, martial arts instructors from all over the country will be looking at
Stryker Martial Arts as THE way to run a Professional Martial Arts Program.
What does it look like?
True Breakthroughs… Through your training, taking an introspective look at the nature of being
human and distinguishing how to be kinder to yourself and those around you.
True growth… The ability to make your body strong and healthy while improving control over
True Contribution… Both to the school itself and the community we serve. You choose to
support the school financially, but also by speaking well of the facility and the staff. Reason
being is this facility and staff are in turn taking care of the community through a high level of
instruction but also through a multitude of community service projects.
A Personal Journey like no other… You will experience rigorous physical training, extensive
mental challenges and the support of the staff and your fellow students along the way.
So I challenge you… I challenge you to join us by taking this on. Whether it be spouse, relative,
friend or co-worker… feel free to share your martial arts experience with them but should they
make a foolish comment, let’s take a stand and reeducate them as to what Professional Martial
Arts Training is all about.
What would that look like?
It would go something like this… “Wow, you are learning to beat people up?”
“Not particularly. I am being taught to handle myself should I have to but more importantly,
I am working on my personal growth and development. Each week I am investing time and
energy to push myself both physically and mentally in order to become the best ‘me’ I can be.
It is a rather extraordinary journey which anyone can benefit from.”
And leave it at that. Obviously, you will use your own words but more importantly, you will
plant a seed in the mind of the person you are speaking with that “Hey, true Martial Arts isn’t
all about bashing on people!” It’s about a whole lot more.
I hope that you will join me and my staff on this quest to reeducate the people around us
regarding what it is that we do with our time and energy.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke
Stryker Martial Arts Inc.