Black Belt & Color Belt Testings December 7th – 8th 2012

12.8.12 Testing Pic

 

KungFu Testing

 

First of all a word of congratulations to those who were in this testing cycle. We had a record breaking 90 who tested in this cycle! Impact 360 is 200 students strong and growing!  A special note to those who tested in the Black Belt Testing on Friday December 7th:

4th Degree Black Belt in Karate

Dr. Gerald Scot Crenshaw

Nicholas Scot Crenshaw

Morgan Elyse Crenshaw

Jordan York Crenshaw

1st Degree Black Belt in Karate

Dennis Matlock

Wade McCabe

David Lumpkin

Camilia Nauden

Recommended Black Belt

J.D. Glenn – Karate

Ben Graul – Karate

Levi Minner – Olympic Taekwondo

I am humbled by both Friday night and Saturday. I look out from the table and I see people who have put their heart and soul in all that they do and it has paid off. Students, I am proud of you and your accomplishments and I’m here to say every bit of your work is worth it. To those who tested on Friday and received their black belt for the first time…welcome to the brotherhood and sisterhood of martial artists dating back hundreds and thousands of years. Your hard work and commitment is and has paid off and you make the school proud. Your journey is just beginning. For those who received their first degree black belt…keep up your good work… you will now begin to understand things you never have before and we will share with you our knowledge in depth…you are the leaders students look up to and strive to be where you stand right now. For those who tested for their fourth degree…you have entered a new world of martial arts…one that transcends the physical aspects (although that is still a very strong component). I never doubted for a minute your marital arts future from day one. A perfect blend of high level martial arts ability with high level teaching ability…truly a rare find.

Our Beginnings

Welcome to all those reading.

When I was asked by our president on what the topic of my first post would be it didn’t take me long to answer.  I have a great need, and it is of great importance, to share how and more importantly why we started Impact 360.  Over the past five years I have seen and experienced a lifetime and in turn have applied that to our school. 

We wanted something different.  We wanted something that would be accessible to everyone.  Our experience had showed us that the vast majority of schools (almost exclusively for profit) were out of the price range for most of those who truly need it.  Even the cheapest places were $60-$70 (not including overpriced gear and uniforms and the dreaded CONTRACTS).  Money, and making our school available to ALL, made going the non-profit route the best option for us. 

While the non-profit status created the means to draw in those that needed help it was our past experience that gave us the drive to make our school one of the most unique and successful.  I grew up in the small town of Mammoth Spring, Arkansas (with a blazing population of only 1,000 people).  The demographics of Mammoth Spring is a poor one.  I went to school and befriended those who were beaten and abused in every way you can imagine.  I’ve always had a place in my heart for the underdog.  I’ve always wanted to stand up for them, even if it meant being berated, criticized, or warned.  Hearing them share their stories with me from my age of 11 years old on opened my eyes to those hurting around me.  So many times I saw these people made fun of, bullied, ignored, and out casted.  They were brutally mistreated.  No one wanted to talk to them let alone befriend them.  It was these people that gave the drive to find some way to help those who feel hopelessly lost and like they never had a chance.  This is my reason for earning my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. 

I spent my internship for my Criminal Justice degree with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division.  They deserve all the help and support they can get.  The people working as investigators there handle the worst 3% of child abuse cases in the state.  I spent many hours sitting in on interviews with abused children who had slipped through the cracks.  After being offered a position at the completion of my internship and my graduation I politely turned them down.  Our school had already been going for a short while and I realized that I could do more in my position as Executive Director / Head Instructor than I could there.  I used my training and experience I gained from that internship DAILY with our school. 

It is true that experience is our best teacher.  It’s also what can drive us to that passion that sticks with us for the rest of our lives, for me the drive to help those who are out casted, down trodden, ridiculed, bullied, illiterate, hungry, jobless, depressed, and abused.  In our humble beginnings with 5 students to the 200 strong we have today, I can honestly say that all those who are apart of Impact 360 are making a true difference.  What better way than martial arts (and in particular the way Impact 360 was designed) do you have the unique structure to help someone develop and grow in every aspect of their life.  This school was created to make a difference.  It was not created to make a profit.  This school was created to give confidence, not needlessly beat down others.  It’s a place we help and mentor one another.  Not to mention the incredible community we have with in the school.  It is simply not like any other. 

Our school also has a literally winning team of teachers.  Don’t be fooled by training areas and locations.  Our martial arts technical focus is on application of techniques.  You will be able to use everything you are trained.  Our self defense philosophy is that no fight should last longer than ten seconds.  You do what you need to do to get safe and you get out.  Nothing fancy, just practical effective self defense. 

On the sport side of our school we have 2 JUNIOR OLYMPIC Championships, 7 NATIONAL Championships, 2 REGIONAL Championships, 14 STATE Championships, and countless invitational and open tournaments.  While our school doesn’t focus on sport we will train those interested for tournaments.  Our winners from this year (2010) had only attended one prior qualifying tournament before they competed in the AAU Nationals (a 2,000 competitor tournament).  I believe it’s a true testament to the quality of our teachers and the level of instruction they are getting. 

It is our goal to have a strong community presence.  Part of our training includes leadership training.  We want to train all of our students to take active parts in our community and truly make a difference.  We actively promote social justice and practice it daily in our classrooms.

Our school is moving forward very fast.  We have great things planned.  Every year we grow stronger and strive to help more and more people from our communities.  We are and will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of our students, their families, and our communities.

Welcome to Impact 360!

Our focus at IMPACT 360 is on the entire person. We are a purpose-driven school interested in developing the physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of the person. Our spiritual aspect focuses on values important to having a healthy life and being able to support oneself and others as well as developing healthy relationships with friends, family, and coworkers.

Our instructors are committed to their students’ training and development. Several of our instructors are National Champions, Junior Olympic Champions, Regional Champions, and/or State Champions. We do not focus on sport as a school but if a student chooses to do so we will help train and prepare him/her for competition. Self-defense is our martial arts focus. While we do teach the “art” part of martial arts, practical self-defense techniques are required for every rank. “Dirty Fighting” for self-defense is highly encouraged.

An Amazing Journey

A little over 5 years ago many said it simply could not be done.  The dream of an Impact 360, however, could not be thwarted.  Soon the first phase of our present organization was born under the name of the Arkansas Martial Arts Academy.  Our 4 students turned into 10, those 10 turned into 25, 25 to 50, and, to the amazement of outspoken naysayers, 50 blossomed into 75, and the 75 mushroomed to triple digits.  The Arkansas Martial Arts Academy became Impact 360, and those 100 students have come close to doubling.  And Impact 360 is on the rise.  Perhaps an interesting side note will make this all the more impressive.  During this period martial arts schools in Arkansas were in sharp decline.  The economy turning bad and the inability to keep current students and draw new ones caused scores of martial arts studios in our state to cut back their services significantly and numerous ones to close altogether.  In Searcy alone 6 martial arts schools have closed over the lifespan of Impact 360.   

Impact 360’s success is not only found in our number of students.  The performance of our students on the mat has produced 2 Junior Olympic Sparring Championships, 7 National Sparring Championships, and 16 State Sparring Championships.  Check this blog in 5 months for significant updates.

The true focus and success of Impact 360, though, does not reside in numbers and championships.  There is no doubt that when people on the outside speak of our “brand,” they discuss our size and tournament successes.  But when our leaders reflect on the successes of the program, two words dominate the discussion: changed lives.  That is why the organization was created in the first place.  We are convinced this serves as what distinguishes us from other organizations and makes it all worthwhile.

There is so much I could write.  This has been an amazing journey.  Those of us who have been here from the beginning stand in a constant state of awe as we continue to see the progress of the organization.  The most exciting idea on our minds?  2011.  Enjoy the ride!

Dr. Scot Crenshaw

President, Impact 360