The KMAA Chronicles

KMAA Insights

Welcome to "KMAA Insights," your trusted source for all things martial arts from the heart of Tennessee at Knoxville Martial Arts Academy (KMAA). Every week, we dive deep into the dynamic world of martial arts, bringing you expert insights, success stories, training tips, and the latest news from our academy. Whether you're a seasoned fighter, a martial arts newbie, or someone interested in enhancing your physical and mental wellness, our blog aims to inspire, educate, and engage. Join us as we explore the techniques, the triumphs, and the transformative power of martial arts through the eyes of our dedicated coaches and passionate students. Stay tuned for weekly updates, and let’s journey together on the path to martial mastery at KMAA.

Staying Active and Engaged: The Benefits of Martial Arts for Senior Citizens (5-14-24)

At KMAA, we believe that martial arts offer valuable benefits for individuals of all ages, especially senior citizens. Engaging in martial arts can be a transformative experience, providing both physical and mental benefits that are particularly important in later life. Here’s why senior citizens should consider martial arts as a way to stay active and engaged.

1. Improved Physical Health

Martial arts are an excellent way for seniors to maintain their physical health. Regular practice helps improve balance, flexibility, and strength, reducing the risk of falls—a common concern for older adults. Martial arts also enhance cardiovascular health and aid in weight management, which are crucial for long-term wellness.

2. Enhanced Mental Acuity

Martial arts are not only about physical activity; they also involve significant mental engagement. Learning and practicing various techniques stimulates the brain, enhancing cognitive functions. This mental exercise can help keep the mind sharp, improving memory and problem-solving skills. It also offers a great way to combat the natural decline in cognitive abilities that can occur with age.

3. Increased Social Interaction

Joining martial arts classes at KMAA provides seniors with a community of like-minded individuals, fostering social interactions that are essential for emotional health. Regular interactions can help reduce feelings of loneliness and depression, which are common in older adults. The supportive environment at our academy encourages friendships and provides a sense of belonging.

4. Stress Relief and Emotional Stability

Learning a new skill or improving in martial arts provides a real sense of achievement. For seniors, this boost in confidence can be particularly impactful, enhancing their overall quality of life. Achieving new ranks or mastering techniques can provide tangible goals that motivate and give a sense of purpose.

5. Sense of Achievement and Confidence

Through continuous learning, we do more than just improve our current practices—we ensure the legacy and future growth of martial arts. Each new piece of knowledge we integrate into our training helps preserve the rich traditions of martial arts while pushing its boundaries. This commitment to growth and learning ensures that the art form continues to evolve and inspire.

6. Adaptability to Individual Needs

At KMAA, we understand that each individual has unique physical capabilities and health considerations. Our programs are adaptable to meet these needs, ensuring that senior citizens can practice safely and effectively. We modify techniques and tailor sessions to ensure that every participant can enjoy the benefits of martial arts without risk of injury.


Martial arts offer a unique combination of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction, making them an ideal activity for seniors looking to stay active and engaged. At Knoxville Martial Arts Academy, we are committed to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for seniors. Whether you are looking to improve your physical health, keep your mind sharp, or simply be part of a vibrant community, martial arts at KMAA can be a valuable and rewarding part of your life.

Join us to experience the myriad benefits of martial arts as a senior citizen and discover how it can transform your life for the better.

- Coach Eric

Why Continuous Learning In Martial Arts Matters (5-2-24)

At KMAA, we embrace a philosophy that extends beyond physical training. As the founder and lead coach, I am a staunch advocate for continuous learning, not just within martial arts, but in all areas of life. Here’s why this approach is crucial for both personal growth and the evolution of our training methods.

Personal Development Through Knowledge

Continuous learning is about expanding our horizons and enhancing our capabilities. I personally dedicate a significant amount of time to reading—a practice inspired by the habits of Fortune 500 CEOs who, on average, read five books a month. While I am not a CEO of a massive corporation, I strive to match this thirst for knowledge, averaging about 1.5 books a week, which totals nearly 80 books a year. My reading is complemented by listening to lectures and skill-specific podcasts across a broad spectrum of topics. This commitment to learning helps me not only in becoming a better leader and coach but also in being a well-rounded person.

Practical Application of New Knowledge

The knowledge gained from books and other resources is not left on the shelf. At KMAA, we put theory into practice. Starting with small-scale experiments, I test new ideas and methodologies personally. Once these have proven successful on a small scale, we begin integrating them into our classes. This methodical approach ensures that by the time a new method reaches our gym-wide curriculum, it has been thoroughly vetted and adapted to meet the specific needs of our students.

Training Evolution and Adaptability

The world of martial arts, like any other field, is constantly evolving. By staying committed to continuous learning, we ensure that our training at KMAA remains relevant and effective. This ongoing learning process allows us to adapt traditional techniques with modern approaches, ensuring our students are well-prepared for both competitive environments and real-world scenarios. This adaptability is key to maintaining the high standards for which KMAA is known.

Impact on Instructors and Community

The flow of knowledge from my personal studies to our community involves every instructor at our academy. New techniques and methodologies are first introduced to our coaches, who are trained to master these before they are rolled out to the entire gym. This step-by-step teaching approach not only ensures high-quality instruction but also fosters a culture of learning and growth among all staff and students.

Legacy and Future Growth

Through continuous learning, we do more than just improve our current practices—we ensure the legacy and future growth of martial arts. Each new piece of knowledge we integrate into our training helps preserve the rich traditions of martial arts while pushing its boundaries. This commitment to growth and learning ensures that the art form continues to evolve and inspire.


At Knoxville Martial Arts Academy, we believe that martial arts training is a lifelong educational journey. We commit to this journey not just for our personal growth but for the benefit of our entire community. By embracing continuous learning, we empower ourselves and our students with the skills, knowledge, and adaptability required for success both on and off the mats.

Join us at KMAA, where every class is an opportunity to learn, grow, and excel together. Let’s embark on this continuous learning journey in martial arts and beyond, building a legacy of knowledge, strength, and community.

- Coach Eric

The Benefits of Martial Arts Beyond Self-Defense at KMAA (4-22-24)

At the Knoxville Martial Arts Academy (KMAA), we understand that martial arts training offers far more than just self-defense skills. As the premier gym in Tennessee for MMA, with a rich history of fostering top-tier athletes who excel in major organizations like UFC and Bellator, our commitment to personal growth extends beyond the mat.

Holistic Development

Martial arts training at KMAA is about holistic development. Our classes, ranging from MMA and BJJ to Kickboxing and specialized programs for youth and toddlers, are designed to improve physical fitness and mental resilience. Whether you're looking to lose weight, tone muscles, or simply stay active, our programs cater to all ages and fitness levels. Our oldest student is 75, proving it’s never too late to start! In one class, it's not uncommon to see former drug addicts training along side police officers who are off-the-mat friends.

Elite Training With a Personal Touch

Our instructors are not just trainers; they are mentors who have risen through the ranks of traditional martial arts and modern competitive scenes. With backgrounds in disciplines like Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Aikido, and Eskrima, our blackbelt-laden staff brings unparalleled expertise to each class, helping students reach their highest potential, whether that's fighting for a UFC title or achieving personal fitness goals.

A Culture of Inclusion

What truly sets KMAA apart is our inclusive culture. For over 25 years, we've championed diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a welcoming environment for everyone. From individuals looking to make friends or gain confidence to those fighting personal battles with weight, PTSD, or addiction, our community stands ready to support each other. It doesn't matter what color your skin is, what your gender is, who you love, who you vote(d) for, or what you do for a living. What we care about at KMAA is this: "Are you a good partner in class?" and "Will you try your best?" If the answer to those two questions is "yes" then come join a community that is just waiting for YOU!

Transformative Impact

Beyond physical and tactical skills, the practice of martial arts at KMAA nurtures essential life qualities such as humility, respect, discipline, and emotional stability. Our students learn the importance of diligence and integrity in all aspects of life, not just on the mats. This transformative impact is evident in the countless success stories from our members, including significant weight loss, overcoming personal adversities, and even breaking the cycle of poverty.

Extending Our Reach

KMAA's commitment to societal well-being is also seen in our non-profit efforts through the Elysium Organization. We strive to combat the effects of generational poverty and extend support to victims of domestic abuse and marginalized communities. Our engagement goes beyond training to empower individuals and foster a healthier, more resilient society. Wherever our gym has been over the past 25 years, the one thing we've been committed to being is this: a good neighbor to everyone around us. Sometimes that means being a good "Corporate Neighbor" and donating to various causes, sometimes that means being good neighbors to those around us and pitching in to complete projects in the community.

Join Us Today!

Whether you’re driven by the desire to compete at the highest levels, improve your health, or find a supportive community, Knoxville Martial Arts Academy is your destination. Experience the benefits of martial arts in a place where everyone is welcomed, respected, and encouraged to achieve their best. Visit us today to start your journey and discover how much more there is to martial arts than just self-defense.

- Coach Eric

Discover the world of Martial Arts: Highlights from KMAA's History (4-16-24)

Welcome to a journey through the prestigious legacy of Knoxville Martial Arts Academy (KMAA), a name that has become synonymous with excellence in the martial arts community. Since its humble beginnings in 1999, KMAA has cultivated a rich history of success, community service, and personal transformation.

The Founding Spirit

It all started in a modest garage on January 1, 1999, when Head Coach Eric Turner decided to turn his passion into a profession. With a vision to mold champions and change lives, he laid the foundation of what would become a world-renowned martial arts academy. From those early days in his garage, Coach Turner’s commitment to excellence set the tone for the academy’s future.

World-Class Training and Achievements

KMAA is renowned for its comprehensive training programs in Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, and specialized classes for youth and toddlers. The academy's prowess is best exemplified by its success in placing more native Tennesseans into major MMA organizations than any other local institution. Notably, KMAA athletes like Rafaello Oliveira, Ovince Saint Preux, and Shanna Young have graced the cages of UFC, with Saint Preux taking on Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, showcasing the high level of training that KMAA offers. Other athletes we have produced, such as Taylor Turner, Nick Gehrts, Jason King, Emilee King, James Adcock, Dre Miley, and Olivia Parker, have competed in the world-famous Bellator circlular-cage. While the world-renowned female only promotion known as Invicta FC has hosted still more: Christina Adcock, Emilee King, Olivia Parker, Morgan Farmer, and Shanna Young.

KMAA's stable of professional athletes is the largest, most-accomplished stable in Tennessee. The fact that it's right down the street from you, means that world-class training is at your finger tips!

Community and Charity: A Pillar of KMAA

Beyond the arena, KMAA has played a significant role in enriching the Knoxville community. Regular seminars benefiting various charitable causes, and the adopt-a-cop program, which offers free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training to police officers, underscore KMAA's commitment to societal well-being. The academy also founded the Elysium Organization, a not-for-profit that aids victims of domestic abuse and those in poverty, providing them with martial arts training to empower and transform their lives.

Transformative Impact On Individuals

The real magic of KMAA, however, lies in its life-altering impact on individuals. From helping champions like Shanna Young overcome immense physical and medical challenges to reach the UFC, to aiding individuals in conquering personal struggles such as addiction, obesity, and trauma, KMAA has been a beacon of hope and strength. The academy's supportive community and effective training programs have not just built athletes but have rebuilt lives, making the weak strong, the depressed motivated, and the lost found.

Looking to the Future

As the largest gym in Tennessee with a state-of-the-art 25,000 square foot facility, KMAA remains at the forefront of martial arts training. The academy continues to push boundaries, nurturing elite athletes, fostering personal growth, and expanding its legacy of excellence. With each day, KMAA adds to its story of transformation and triumph, promising to continue its mission for years to come.

KMAA is more than just a martial arts academy—it’s a place where champions are made, and lives are changed. Here’s to many more years of success and service, both in the ring and in the community. Join us at KMAA, where every punch and every kick carves the path to greatness.

- Coach Eric


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Expert Knowledge

Our blog is your direct line to some of the most experienced and skilled martial arts trainers in the industry. Posts are filled with professional advice, detailed technique breakdowns, and advanced strategies to help enhance your skills. Understand the philosophy behind our teaching methods and how they can apply to your personal and competitive goals. KMAA’s commitment to expert knowledge means you’re always learning from the best.

Training Tips

Improve your martial arts technique with proven tips from our top coaches. Each blog post is designed to provide you with actionable advice on everything from striking to grappling. Discover new drills, strength-building exercises, and flexibility routines that you can incorporate into your training. Whether you're preparing for a fight or looking to improve your fitness, our tips are tailored to help you succeed.

Health Benefits

Explore the myriad health benefits of martial arts through our engaging blog posts. Learn how regular training improves not only physical strength and endurance but also mental health and stress management. Our articles delve into the positive lifestyle changes that come with martial arts, including better focus, increased self-discipline, and a stronger immune system. See why martial arts is a path to holistic health and well-being.

Community Connection

KMAA is more than just a martial arts academy—it's a community. Our blog serves as a bridge, connecting you with fellow students, instructors, and martial arts enthusiasts. Participate in discussions, share your experiences, and become part of a wider martial arts conversation. The blog is a place to foster connections, share support, and grow together as part of the KMAA family.

Success Stories

Get inspired by the success stories featured on our blog. Read about students who have overcome challenges, won competitions, or achieved personal goals through their training at KMAA. These stories not only celebrate achievements but also illustrate the life-changing impact of martial arts. Let these narratives motivate you to push your limits and strive for your own success.

KMAA's Insights Contributors



As the founder and head coach of Knoxville Martial Arts Academy (KMAA), I have dedicated my life to the study and teaching of martial arts. With over three decades of experience, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of martial arts on individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Through these weekly blogs, I aim to share the depth of knowledge and passion I've cultivated over the years. My goal is to not only educate our students and readers about the intricacies of various martial arts disciplines but also to inspire and engage our community with stories of perseverance, discipline, and success. By sharing my insights and experiences, I hope to enrich your martial arts journey and foster a deeper connection with our KMAA family.