A Paradigm Shift in the Martial Arts

Providing martial arts to the students who are shy; display low self-esteem; considered non-athletic;and out of focus.

For years, the martial arts industry has provided a safe and disciplined service to build confidence in children and adults.

I went to the now legendary Jhoon Rhee Institute in Washington, DC during the mid-80’s. The Jhoon Rhee Institute was one of the biggest organizations in Tae Kwon Do at the time. It was there that I witnessed something new and interesting to me.  They were focusing on providing martial arts to the students who were shy; displayed low self-esteem; considered non-athletic; those who had issues focusing, etc. My first thought was martial arts is not for that group of students.  martial arts is for the strong, focused and disciplined students. It was very confusing and going against everything that I had experienced and been exposed to. Fortunately,  I was there to sharpen my professional kickboxing skills, not to teach non-disciplined students martial arts.  However, each day before training, I would go and help out in class to see why so many parents were signing their kids up in something that was going to get them injured and maybe destroy their self-esteem.

Then (now the late) Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee – The Father of American Tae Kwon Do – gave a speech to the students & parents at the school and I listened very closely to every word.  Out of what felt like a 2-hour speech, the message was very clear: “We Are Here to Build Up Our Students’ Confidence – Not Break It Down.”

His mantra was:  “To build true confidence in the mind, honesty in the heart and strength in the body”

Because of his vision, the martial arts industry is now one of the biggest confidence builders of children and adults in the world.  Mission Accomplished!

While teaching in martial arts schools up and down the East Coast, there was something I always felt was still missing.  The one big question that still wasn’t answered for me was how students preparing for their Black Belt could go through a 2 to 4 hour test of kicking, punching, blocking, sparring drills and katas and still not demonstrate a high level of confidence after 3 years of training.  This was also something that I started to notice with some students in my own school. 

 Martial Arts schools were focusing so much on making the students feel good, instead of building a real sense of confidence because of the fear of losing students.

When I started Competitive Edge Karate, my vision was to help students overcome their fears so, they could develop and have the competitive edge.  Martial arts training changed my way of thinking.  We all fear something and that’s going to be a lifetime challenge. The real challenge is to not let it stop you from trying to give your best efforts because of the fear of failing.  Our failures can become learning experiences to improve ourselves.

One of the biggest reasons people are afraid to study martial arts today is the fear of getting hit and it was, without a doubt, one of mine. But once I finally talked myself into conquering my fears instead of letting them control my emotional state of mind, I found myself trying harder in everything I attempted. It was then that failing became part of my learning process, not simply my personal downfalls.

A New Paradigm to Making a Difference…

Competitive Edge Karate’s martial arts training system is now about teaching students how to defend themselves and to be in the best physical and mental shape possible. Having the knowledge to protect yourself and being in the best shape of your life is a positive movement toward a better you.

CEK takes the very best practices of performance-based competitive martial arts from the ring to the mat to the masses.

By combining the mindset of a champion with a meaningful message-based approach designed to enhance a student’s overall life skills, Competitive Edge Karate cultivates a student’s sense of self-discovery through self-defense skills.

From self-defense to self-discovery, uncover the competitive edge that lasts a lifetime.

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It is our goal to raise the quality of life for all of our students in every way possible.