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.