A history about Tom’s Fitness and Martial Arts.
We bought our empty building on January 1, 2000. Previously, I’d been teaching Karate for Kids and Adult Taekwondo at the Town and Country Dance Hall, here in Paris. Before that, I taught out at Crestwood school through Lakeland College, up on the square briefly, and also down at the gymnastics center.
In fact, I’ve been teaching martial arts here in Paris since May 2, 1987. Two more years will make 30 years! I received my 6th Degree Black Belt back in 2005, and became a Master Instructor in 2006. I’ve also gotten interested in Brazilian JiuJitsu (grappling), and finally received my Purple Belt just last week after 10 years of training. Now I’m turning my focus back to Taekwondo and working toward my 7th Degree.
Once we got the fitness center open, my focus became helping it grow and offering more fitness programs for the community. I knew some people would always be interested in martial arts, but a lot of people needed to lose weight and get in shape.
I had a Master’s Degree from Indiana State in Exercise Physiology and Sport Biomechanics, so I was really interested in helping them do that. Fifteen years later, we’ve done 24 Biggest Losers.
Originally, I was working out in the mornings and some people asked if they could join me. That was our first Boot Camp. Then some people asked me if I could do it at noon during their lunch hour. Finally, some people asked me to do a group workout after work, and that’s how we started. The morning and noon classes went by the wayside, but the 5:30 class on MWF really took off.
I love the Boot Camp workouts, which have gotten very popular. We’ve had as many as 26 people in the same class. It’s taken a lot of creativity, and lots of equipment to pull that off, but I think people really appreciate the effort to give them an awesome workout.
We upgraded the weight room last summer adding several thousand more pounds of weights. I also got four Concept-2 rowers and put in four brand new Matrix Ellipticals, two of which also incline. These are amazing machines and people really seem to love them.
With the gym doing pretty well, this year I’m turning my attention back to my first love, martial arts. We’ve never stopped doing it, although I’ve been focused on the fitness side for the past few years.
I have an awesome assistant instructor, Heather Warren, who teaches almost all of our kids classes. She started with us as a teen student 16 years ago, and is currently a 4th Degree Black Belt and Certified Instructor, and does a great job.
Our classes have doubled in size since last summer and we’ve remodeled our front counter and parent viewing areas. I think the word is getting back out that we have a great kids program.
I teach all the adult/teen classes, including Kickboxing/MMA classes on T/TH nights, and Brazilian JiuJitsu on Sat mornings. These are growing in popularity, especially since I started including the kickboxing classes and Boot Camp classes with the Biggest Loser program.
Finally, with all this neat stuff going on, we were overdue to upgrade our signage. So last month, we took the plunge and finished our sign project, which includes a new digital sign, new logos, new overhead signs.
We’ve been very blessed these last 15 years at Tom’s Fitness and Martial Arts, and I’m excited to see what is in store in 2015!