Look Up

We believe part of what makes our Academy so unique is the people that train here on a day-to-day basis. PMA is one place that, for at least a couple of hours per week, we have a real human connection and are building strong relationships that will last a lifetime.

It starts with the instructor/student relationship. From the first time you walk into PMA, you are greeted by an instructor that is genuinely happy to see you. We firmly believe that the martial arts way of life is for everyone. Therefore, when a new face walks into the academy, we can’t wait to get them on the mat and help them start their journey.

Then, you also have the student/student relationship. You grow very close to the students that are on the martial arts journey with you, but you also develop relationships with the advanced students that guide you and give you tips along the way. Training with like-minded individuals is an experience unlike any other.

With technology creeping deeper and deeper into our lives, relationships are falling to the wayside. When we are on the mat, we are not on our phones, so we establish relationships here built on a phone-free foundation. Are there any other areas in your life that you can make “phone free?”

We love technology and use it a ton! We just think that there should be times of our lives that we “look up.” Check out this video, and let us know what you think!

Home Dojo

One of the things we emphasize at Progressive Martial Arts Academy is truly making the martial arts a lifestyle, or a way of life. Something that can really help you on that path is having a dedicated space in your own home to practice martial arts. Some of the greatest martial artists of all time trained and began teaching from their “home dojo.”

One of the first memories I have of training martial arts was in our garage in Chesapeake, VA. Check out this old picture of a group of students that just finished training. You can see SiJo Bruce Corrigan, Sigung Meg Corrigan and Sigung Shawn Riquelme in there!

Chesapeake Garage Dojo

When creating this area, you want to be very efficient as to not waste space, and make sure that your dojo doesn’t encroach upon other parts of your house that people may enjoy. One of the most difficult aspects of building your home training area is getting the equipment you need to train by yourself. Try building your own equipment, as this can be a very rewarding project that will feel fulfilling every time you practice.

Rorion Gracie's Garage

My father's first teacher in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, was Rorion Gracie. Rorion began teaching from his garage when he brought his family's martial art to the United States. Rorion would offer one free private lesson to anyone who brought in a new student to try a class. He knew that if someone could experience the effectiveness of his art, they would be hooked! I think the intimate training environment of being in his own garage helped with this because everyone got 1-on-1 attention.

As a teenager, I often made trips out to California with my father to train with Paul Vunak. We would stay in SiFu Vunak's home and often training was done in his garage as well! And most recently, we traveled to train with Master Virgil Cavada in the Filipino Martial Arts and spent a week training in his garage and backyard.

So as you can see, even some of the greatest martial arts instructors of all time have Home Dojos!

How to Choose the Martial Art For You

There are hundreds of different types of martial arts in existence. Although most have share a common point of origin, they are unique in terms of philosophy, technique and instruction. So how do you decide what’s the best type of martial art for you? Fortunately, it’s not as tough as you might think. By following some of the suggestions below you’ll be on your way discovering a whole new style of fitness and activity that meets your needs, what we like to call “The Martial Arts Way of Life.”

What’s Most Important to You?

Take the time to consider what you want to accomplish in terms of fitness. There’s a lot to consider so making a list of what you want to accomplish is a good place to start. Do you want to reduce stress? Are you interested in increasing overall strength? Have you seen a movie that inspired you to want to learn more? The more you know about yourself and what your motivations are, the easier it will be to focus your martial arts interests.

What Style is Right For Me?

Here’s the part where the questions that you just answered come into play. Whether you’re seeking self-defense training or looking at enhancing your dexterity and flexibility, there are a number of martial arts to choose from. In fact, too many for a simple blog post to cover. Instead, read up on some of the various methods and styles and then determine whether you’d like training that’s more formal or informal or kicking and punching or weapon-based. Narrowing down the aspects that appeal most to you, coupled with your objectives is a sure fire way to find precisely what you want.

How Do I Find a School?

Hit the web and start looking for studios in your local area. Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed by the number of choices available. Martial arts are intensely popular, but like all businesses there are both good and bad ones. If you’ve experienced sub-par interactions with one studio, don’t let it influence your opinion of martial arts in general.

Visit the studio in person and speak with an instructor face-to-face. They’re there to answer questions and provide you with solid information to make informed decisions. Make sure that students are practicing in a safe and clean environment and read-up on the credentials and background of your instructors. Inquire about a free trial class to see if the training is a good fit for you. The more you know the easier it will be to choose a martial arts studio that meets your needs.

Now, do you want our opinion on the “best” martial arts? Well, that’s easy - it’s the ones we teach! You can look at our academy’s website to get more information, and even if you don’t live in the Oak Ridge/Knoxville Tennessee area, you can use our academy as an example of what to look for.

But of course, that’s just our opinion!