“Growing up watching Bruce Lee movies, it was a dream of mine for many reasons to become a black belt. So, over the years I ended up training with a couple of different styles of martial arts, Aikido and Kenpo to be specific. But when life happens, work and kids get in the way of those silly dreams from your youth. I’ll save you from the blah, blah, blah and just say I’m married with three kids and in the middle of that brood, was my beautiful little angel-Samantha.
It was when she was 6, I saw a terrible news-story that changed all of our lives. It was about a girl named Megan Holden. A beautiful 19 year old that was abducted, raped and killed from a Walmart parking lot in Georgia. There was the horrifying video of the animal that grabbed her and forced her into the car. I kept thinking that if she only knew how to defend herself, maybe things would have turned out different. The story persisted for months and soon I was looking for a dojo, my daughter was not going to be a statistic.
I found the House of Champions near my house. I had a few friends that gave great testimony about the place. I came in to talk to Mark Parra, wanting to learn about the program. And so, on my daughter’s 7th birthday, I signed all of my household under the family plan. Now eight years later, I have my youthful dream of achieving black belt, my daughter in VERY capable of defending herself and my youngest son is on his way to learning a throughly comprehensive mixed martial art style.
The base style from “the house” is called Arjukenpo. It’s a compilation of martial art disciplines, a true mixed-martial-art. Combining Kenpo karate, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Judo and Jiu Jitsu in the most ambitious program I know of. It prepares you for many types of encounters you might have the unfortunate luck to end up in. But it is also very engaging and dare I say…fun? Not being particularly caught in a rigid system. As Bruce said him himself, “the best style is no style”. There are a few forms or kata’s that you are required to learn, but the art focuses mainly on the combative side, honing your martial skills like only sparring can do.
The kids that train there are tough as nails, ready for the dangers of this world. But they are also changed, changed for the better. Martial arts creates positive character traits, such as focus, confidence, work-ethic, manners, good-sportsmanship and humility. In a world where we coddle our youth and obsess over their “self-esteem” we are creating a generation of children that are pacified by mediocrity. There are few sports that challenge and are capable of changing the nature of your children, martial arts is that paradigm shifting character building activity that can have a life-long affect. That is the gift you can give their children, a gift that lasts a lifetime!
I cannot say enough about this place. And the people that make the place special, it’s like a family there, a second home. And Sensei Mark (who BTW-is belted from the famous Jet Center), is one of the kindest most gentle and giving spirits in the world of martial arts. It pains me to see the negative reviews after he gives so much to so many. Many under-privileged, professional fighters and the down-and-outs he has allowed to train for free, giving his time and talent to help the community in so many ways. Why someone would leave such a generous place and then trash-it says more about the character of that person. You cannot please everyone. But by far, this place is truly special.
I strongly recommend this place, with world-class instruction, fantastic kids programs and a rich martial arts heritage, House of Champions is the best decision you can make for you or your family when looking for fitness or self-defense. It’s changed my life and it can change yours!”