Opening Times:

M/W 4:30-5:30; T/Th 6:15-8:30 PM

Call Us:

217-414-3836

Steps Toward a Happier Life

1. Realize how much you take for granted. Most of us, most of the time, go through our daily lives and go through the motions. Wake up, shower, eat, work, lunch break, work, go home, watch TV, sleep. Whatever schedule we tend to follow in our workaday lives, we tend to fall into patterns. Patterns are fine – I work best when I’m following a set pattern that allows for occasional deviation from the norm – but patterns run the risk of mindless automation. And in the course of our average “going through the motions” day we often overlook all the beauty and wonder in the world around us, and we forget so easily how many good things we have in our lives.

Focusing on the bad things is a lot easier, and maybe more instinctive. As creatures with a survival instinct, our radar is more naturally attuned to the negative things around us. It’s a defense mechanism. But, for those of us who want to scale ever higher upward on Maslow’s Pyramid, we want to live what the philosopher Socrates would have referred to as “the examined life.” We don’t want to live in the everyday grayness of a passionless existence. We want to improve ourselves, and help others around us do the same. In the end, we want to live happy, fulfilling lives, and leave behind a legacy. This first step sets the tone for our existence. We can dwell on the negatives, or we can understand and appreciate all the good in our lives.

2. See the negatives as challenges rather than curses. I used to let the bad things in my life get me down, and, more significantly, keep me down. Getting knocked down is normal. Happens to everyone. Strength and determination isn’t a matter of never failing or never showing weakness or never falling down: it’s a matter of getting back up. There will be times when you fail. Get back up! There will be times when you stumble, bumble, or crumble. Get back up. You may be broken. You are not wrong for having those feelings. This isn’t about changing how you feel, but how you perceive. See the problems in life as opportunities to grow, to learn, to overcome, and you’re another step closer to bettering yourself and your life.

3. Notice the needs of others. We should, likewise, be the kind of people who have in mind the best interests of those around us. Encouraging compassion, charity, and kindness goes a long way. Encourage people rather than judge them. Accept people wherever they are on their respective journeys. Be empathetic, understanding, and caring. It was that kind of care and understanding that helped me through the more difficult times in life.

4. Remove toxic people. Sometimes, for the sake of your mental and emotional health, you need to remove a person from your life whose actions and attitudes are poison to you. You’ve tried so hard to encourage, help, and be their friend, but they refuse to let go of their negativity and self-sabotaging ways, and inevitably drag you down with them. Such people are often manipulative, self-centered, and careless with the truth. Sometimes the healthiest, wisest, and most merciful decision you can make is to cut ties with such a person.

Skill Drill: The Tic Tac Toe Race

This is one of our drills for the Leaders Program (8-13 years old). This drill emphasizes quick thinking, awareness, and anticipating when to defend (block the other team from scoring) or attack (get three in a row). Important mental skills for both self-defense and life. It’s one of our students’ favorite drills.

Sensei Bud

Our Operating Values


Everything we do is grounded in our operating values. These values reflect the foundation of our community: our staff, students, and families. So let’s discuss each one!

We strengthen each other through respect. Our goal is to motivate and empower everyone in our martial arts family. We do that through the fundamental value of respect: treating each other the right way. We are honest with each other, kind to each other, and we always recognize each other’s value and worth as a person.

We promote honesty and integrity. We believe that being a good person is a net benefit in life. Being trustworthy is crucial to being part of a team. Integrity is being the same person everywhere we go, and making sure our words and actions match. We can’t live according to our first value without living out this one too.

We foster a culture of acceptance. Everyone is different. People come from all kinds of backgrounds, beliefs, and ethnicities. We live in a diverse society, and we believe no one is inherently better than another. We believe in maintaining a culture of love and compassion towards everyone.

We are a safe place. Because we foster a culture of acceptance, we work hard to maintain our training facility as a safe place, free from judgment, hate, and toxicity. As part of the Gravity Martial Arts family, you will be treated with respect and dignity.

We are leaders through service. We uphold the standard that true leadership isn’t simply telling other people what to do, but leading them by doing the actual work. Leadership is service. Leadership is setting an example for others to follow.

We encourage a positive mindset. Everyone talks to themselves. Everyone has an inner monologue about how they feel about themselves and their abilities and attributes. Working on developing the mental habit of speaking to yourself and about yourself encouragingly and positively will help your attitude improve. And when you have a positive attitude, you’re not only happier, you can accomplish more.

We celebrate individual progress. Each of us is on our own journey. Your path isn’t the same as mine. We each have different needs, different concerns, and our own unique strengths and limitations. Our goal is to better ourselves each day. That will not look the same for everyone. We love seeing people reach goals and get closer to their goals, even if it’s only one step. We celebrate all forward motion.

We live a healthy lifestyle: physically, mentally, and spiritually. The goal is to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. We work towards having a healthy body, a clear mind, and a positive attitude.

We grow through regular training and personal development. This one is self-explanatory. Success is found in our daily routines and habits.

We are fiscally healthy and responsible. We are a business, and as such we want to earn enough to make a living and be successful, but we never want to be greedy, and we never want to view our members as nothing more than dollar signs. Our mission is to empower people! We strive to manage our finances responsibly and pay our bills on time. It’s a sign of respect to pay people when the fee is due, and it’s a sign of confidence and good planning to keep one’s accounts in order.

We leave our training facility, our community, and our world better than we left it. We work hard to develop a culture in which everyone recognizes their responsibility in living out the mission of Gravity Martial Arts: We better ourselves to better our world. In order to make a positive impact on our world, we must be aware of the impact we have on our surroundings, and the other people who inhabit those surroundings. When half-empty water bottles are left in the facility, or when we make any kind of mess without cleaning up after ourselves, it displays a lack of respect for where we train. We don’t believe in the “it’s not my job” mentality. Everyone must do their part to make our world a better place.

Sensei Bud

Real Life Skills Education

The bad habit martial arts instructors should avoid is teaching life skills to kids without a system in place to measure and reward a child’s progress. Sometimes life skills — respect, focus, self-discipline, et cetera — are taught as an afterthought, or merely tacked on to whatever martial art technique is being presented by the instructor. When belt test time comes around, the students are tested on their techniques (as they should be), but they aren’t tested on the life skills they were supposed to learn.

One way to avoid this error is to create curriculum in which life skills are required knowledge for a student’s belt test as much as any physical technique. This is precisely what we have put into action at Gravity Martial Arts. At the very least, students should be expected to know the definitions of the life skills taught in class. Every class we bow and say “respect.” Sometimes I follow up with a question: “What does ‘respect’ mean?” I want my students to understand the life skills being taught, so our curriculum must be a life skills education first, using martial arts as the vehicle to communicate and practice those life skills.

A solid martial arts education is important. Good technique, a healthy body and mind, and knowledge of how to keep oneself safe contribute greatly to one’s confidence and sense of self-worth. But we always remember we aren’t training gladiators or street fighters: we are equipping the future leaders of the world with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need for success!

Sensei Bud

30 Social Skills Parents Can Practice With Their Children


Life skills parents can practice with their children

💥Social Skills for Kids💥
1. Taking turns
2. Praising others
3. Celebrating successes
4. Helping others
5. Sharing possessions
6. Asking for help
7. Winning with grace
8. Losing with dignity
9. Giving helpful criticism
10. Using proper voice tone and volume
11. Following directions
12. Being kind
13. Encouraging others
14. Apologizing when necessary
15. Staying on task
16. Waiting patiently
17. Communicating clearly
18. Accepting differences
19. Listening actively
20. Accepting criticism
21. Handling disappointment
22. Resisting peer pressure
23. Disagreeing with respect
24. Thinking before speaking
25. Using good manners
26. Working with others
27. Making eye contact
28. Recognizing the feelings of others
29. Understanding one’s own feelings
30. Setting goals

We’re Having a Cook Out!


Open House / Cook Out!

Grand Central Training Facility and Gravity Martial Arts are hosting an Open House / Cook Out for our members and our community!

Saturday, September 22 @ 1:00 PM

This event is a way to say thank you to our members who support us, encourage us, and believe in our mission. It’s also an opportunity to invite the community to our facility to meet us and learn more about what we offer.

Cook Out Event Page on Facebook