From Our Editors
Q&A with Scott Wilkinson, Owner and Lead Instructor of Impact America Martial Arts
Tell us about your business.
Impact America Martial Arts was founded by [myself], Mr. Scott Wilkinson, a 6th degree black belt. The name is the mission. We intend to "Impact America" with martial arts. We have a strong emphasis on character building. As a matter of fact, we put the character building first and martial arts second. Everything that we do at IAMA is about improving performance, improving behavior, improving thought processes; we use martial arts as the tool to get the point across.
What sets your business apart?
Our focus on character development. Many schools view the traits that martial arts are known for—things like discipline and respect—as byproducts. Our martial arts are strong, as well. With improved character comes improved performance and an increased desire to do well, not because someone is telling you to do better, but because you "choose" to. It's who you are. We raise curiosity about how awesome a student "can" be.
How would you explain the decor or vibe of your business to someone who has never been there?
We have been described as "Warm and inviting" . . . [and] professional. We have a 3,300-square-foot facility, parent viewing area, safety mat on 3,000 square feet, a water fountain, a student staging area and an incredibly knowledgeable staff. Our staff is literally our family. My wife and sons all teach and help run the business. I guess you could say we have a "family" atmosphere. We are laid-back and treat everyone with respect. We are not harsh. We understand that walking in the door takes courage. We respect and reward that kind of thing. The first class experience goes like this: A student gets out on the floor to try the class. The instructor gives them a white belt, just for getting our there and trying. We work on class protocols (saying yes sir/ma'am and no sir/ma'am), We work on five hand techniques and one kick. By the end of the class, the student earns a stripe. They get a reward for showing courage and the willingness to "try." We keep things as warm and inviting and we reward anything that resembles improved character or behavior.
What inspired you to start or run this business?
We know the difference that martial arts made in our (the instructors) lives. Our entire view of the world and people changed by participating in martial arts. We wanted to pass that on in order to make a difference. We wanted to "'Impact America" the same way we have been impacted. We wanted to feel like we are doing our part to make the world a better place.