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South Boston United Martial Arts turns 20

South Boston United Martial Arts has been training children and adults in self-defense for the past 20 years with Master Wayne Adams as instructor. 

Adams celebrated his 20th anniversary Thursday.

According to the 6th degree black belt, he first began teaching self-defense classes in New Jersey where he trained and instructed for two-years. 

He currently is in the process of testing for a 7th degree black belt, which would earn him the title of Grand Master, and he hopes to earn this within the year.  

 “I believe I was 17 when I first became in involved in martial arts. A friend of mine was going into law enforcement, and he wanted some kind of self-defense training. He asked if I wanted to do it with him,” said Adams, “After the first lesson, I knew I was going to do it forever because I enjoyed it so much. When I started, I really enjoyed the physical aspect, the competition and the fighting.” 

After working in Jersey, Adams said he knew he wanted to open his own place and found the home for it in South Boston. 

United Marital Arts first began in the corner building of the Centerville Shopping Center but moved after two years. It re-located downtown where it stayed until about a month and a half ago.  

United Martial Arts Adams Total Fitness, which adds new aspects of getting fit, is now located on Seymour Drive in South Boston in the former Bright Leaf Forum building. 

 “I decided that I wanted to re-locate because the building downtown wasn’t big enough for what I wanted to do,” said Adams. “A lot of people in town had been complaining to me for the last 10 years that there really isn’t a good gym with up-to-date, nice, clean facilities. Therefore, I decided to combine the two together, fitness and martial arts.” 

Adams Total Fitness is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday just the gym is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The karate school offers classes to both children and adults starting with the age of 5. Various other classes also are being offered such as kickboxing, Zumba, body toning and Betsy’s Boot Camp. 

 “With the children, we teach them a combination of discipline, respect, self-control and focus. Those three things are essential when teaching karate, and those three things are what really stick with people,” said Adams. “I’ve had people that I’ve taught 20 years ago contact me to tell me that none of the fighting aspects have really been major influences, but instead it’s those three essentials.” 

According to Adams, with the adults he doesn’t have to push as much on the discipline “because they’re already there,” but they do practice self-control and focus.  

 “What I enjoy most about teaching is seeing the results and the growth,” he said. “I like to watch the children who aren’t able to do a lot of athletic activities in the beginning develop skills.” 

Also an after-school program is provided for children where they can be picked up from school, have play time, do homework and take karate class. Their homework and playtime is done in a back room filled with tables, a big screen television, a Wii, an XBOX, basketball game and foosball table. A basketball court also is available for them to play outside. 

The fitness center has over 40 pieces of Life Fitness rubber equipment. Available are free weights, medicine balls, jump ropes, 17 pieces of cable weight machines, treadmills, chin-up assistance machine, selectorized equipment and a treadwall. 

 “The treadwall is a rotating rock climbing wall that’s lots of fun. You climb it as it rotates. A lot of people are being competitive with it such as asking what the fastest time is so far. I believe the fastest right now is six minutes and 30 seconds. It’s something else for guests to try to achieve,” said Adams. 

There is also a separate cardio room. The cardio room includes treadmills, elliptical machines, upright and recumbent bikes and rowing machines. 

According to Adams, in the next week or so there will be a stairmaster. 

If anyone needs a personal trainer while in the gym, Adams said he and his employee offer their services free of charge to assist people who use the equipment. 

In the near future, Adams is considering expanding again by adding an outside gym if he gets about 100 more members. The outside gym would be an obstacle course primarily for adults. It would include such things as a climbing wall, rings to go across, money bars to cross and more. He said it would be similar to the obstacle courses one would see on shows like Toughest Warrior. 

Adams feels his business has had lots of success despite having doubts in regards to gaining cliental. 

 “Being in a small town, I was unsure how many members we would gain when we moved over and opened up the gym as well. But we’ve been successful and had lots of positive results. People tell me that they are happy here, “ said Adams. 

Currently there are roughly 110 martial arts students and 220 gym members. A total of 110 members have been promoted to black belt over the years.  

 “A lot of my past members keep in touch with me and continue to make comments on martial arts being such a life-changing experience for them,” Adams said. “It makes me feel good about going for another 20 years.”