Ever since my son learned to crawl, there have been a few things that were quite certain – he is FAST, agile and veeeery busy. I have spent the last six years trying to keep up with his ever-moving body. One can only holler, “Control your body!” so many times before realizing I. Need. Help.
Last fall when he turned 6, we began a quest for a martial arts studio in Eugene – hoping to find a fun, natural way for him to learn to discipline his body. No one in my family has trained in martial arts before so we were uncertain of what to look for. After visiting a few places, we still felt unsure. I’m seriously so glad we took a chance on one more place.
My son began training with the Little Champs (age 4-7) at McKenzie Martial Arts (on W. 11th across from Lowes) last September. During his complimentary visit I noticed a few things: the coaches called him by name, remembered his name throughout the duration of the class, and they asked the other students to help him out and show him how things are done. It was done in a very respectable, authentic manner.
The kids are quickly taught that they are teammates and are there to assist each other. There is an intentional balance of play, instruction and drills. I also noticed the coaches were grown adults rather than high school or junior students. It is abundantly clear that MMA’s coaches understand child development and how to work with each age level to help them succeed.
I later discovered that the two coaches of the Little Champs, Adam Roberts and Terry Britten, are the co-founders of MMA, which started in 2009. I am so grateful that they take the time to coach every age level – from age 4 to adult. Read more about their story here.
I knew in our first visit that we had found our place, and as I was thanking Coach Adam following class, my son ran up to me – as if on cue – and declared, “MOM! I pick this place!!”
After several months of watching my son develop his skills, grow in confidence and just have fun in his 2x week MMA regimen, I was a bit jealous. The office manager, Holly, encouraged me to try the women’s kickfit class – so I have officially been training at MMA too. You know the kind of exercise that hurts so good? This is women’s kickfit at MMA. Coach Shannon crafts a workout that balances strength and cardio all while learning self-defense skills.
There is truly something for every family member at MMA – even a specially designed play area where younger siblings hang while parents observe class. Also, Emily of GoMomGo will soon bring us another MMA story about her kids training in the Juniors’ class (age 8-12) and her husband training in the adult classes.
Q &A with Coach Adam
GoMomGo: What are some of the long-term benefits of a student training in Jeet Kune Do and Gracie Jiu Jitsu? What other training styles do students learn and how do they differ?
Coach Adam: McKenzie Martial Arts is a self-defense school. We are the only school teaching both Bruce Lee's contemporary Jeet Kune Do and Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Everything we teach is 100% intended for, and applicable to real life street defense and bully defense. We are grateful that there are traditional studios in our community that carry on the time-honored customs of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu, etc. but what we teach at MMA is fighting concepts. Everyone that leaves our school will be able to realistically defend themselves regardless of their age, size or ability.
GoMomGo: Your motto is "keep it playful." Can you explain that?
Coach Adam: This is an amazing motto that comes from our Gracie Jiu Jitsu family. It truly embodies the lifestyle and attitude at McKenzie Martial Arts. There is a certain level of intensity and seriousness that is inherent with self-defense and combat sports. Most people can easily match this intensity and "KeepitReal", but we want to instill in our students a training philosophy that will keep you on the mats for a lifetime. Life is serious, "KeepitPlayful" is a good reminder to us all to have fun and stay safe!
GoMomGo: MMA consistently has been voted top martial arts studio by the Register Guard...what do you suppose are some of the reasons MMA stands out?
Coach Adam: We are excited to announce that we were just again voted the 2016 top Martial Arts Studio in Lane County! We have been honored with this award every year since we have opened our doors and are humbled each time by this amazing community recognition. We believe that we stand out from other martial arts schools because of our realistic and contemporary approach. We truly have a unique system that appeals to much of our community.
GoMomGo: Anything else you'd want families who are new to martial arts to know?
Coach Adam: McKenzie Martial Arts is truly dedicated to empowering our community. We believe that the stronger we are as individuals, the stronger we are as a whole. We hope that everyone has a chance at some point to come "KeepitPlayful" with us!
Thanks, Adam! So great to hear all about McKenzie Martial Arts!
NEW/PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS -- MMA wants to invite you to come visit! Simply show up 10 minutes early for the class you want to visit and talk with a coach or staff at the front desk to get started. Mention GoMomGo referred you - if you join by May 21, you will get 50% off enrollment fee.
Current MMA Schedule.
Also, visit their FAQ page for more helpful info.
CURRENT STUDENTS – mention you read the GoMomGo article and get 10% off in the pro shop through May 21.
Be sure to check out MMA's awesome summer camps, too. They have an early bird discount through June 20. Such a perfect way to get your kids moving & learning this summer!