We have seen Sensei Joshua Smith at many tournaments, he has been seen on traditional forms and sparring. With a serious face when he competes but with an inspiring personality. A man who gives back to his community .
Sensei Joshua Smith is a 3rd degree Black belt, certified by the American Karate Association (A.K.A) under the direction of Marty Eubanks.
He also holds black Belts in Shotokan and American Freestyle Martial Arts. In addition, he is certified in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program which is a system of real-life functional hand-to-hand combat moves.
With over 20 years of experience, he brings a mix of traditional Japanese Martial Arts and modern American Sport Karate to his teachings for a robust learning experience. He is currently the number one ranked Heavyweight Fighter in the world (NASKA) as well as the number one ranked fighter in the region (RSKC PRO-AM).
1.-How did you get started in Martial arts?
I got started in the martial arts as a kid. I started at the age of 4 or 5. My Dad taught karate. I had a natural love for it. He never had to make me go to class or practice. I did it on my own. I started my first tournament when I was 6.
2.-We have seen you participating in many tournaments all over the United States, why do you compete so much?
I compete so much because I get a lot of fulfillment out of testing myself. I love the feeling, the high I feel when in the ring. I compete in point, continuous and full contact kumite style fighting. Every now and again I even do a forms division. I love the friends I have made through competing. I enjoy all the travel that I get to do because of tournaments. And lastly competing will show you how your skill measures up against the best in the world while you are under pressure.
3.-Why do you think is so important to encourage kids to compete in martial art tournaments?
I think it’s important for kids to compete because it teaches a life lesson. Someone wins, and someone loses. My coach tells me that either way I have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to improve for the next event. This lesson is relevant in all areas of life. A competitive kid will learn how to deal with pressure. They’ll learn to deal with failure. And also hopefully learn how to deal with ego in the event they win a lot.
4.-How do you inspire your students to keep doing their best?
I inspire my students to do their best by giving them positive encouragement at all times. I’m a former Marine and I believe in leading by example. I set the bar extremely high and I live the example that I set. I practice, I compete, I stay fit, I live a life of morals. I don’t ask anything of them that I can’t do 100%. My students know that I care. Their parents know that those kids are part of my heart. It’s only natural that the students will give their best once they know you always give them your best and you will not except anything less.
5.-Do you think kids with special needs should be given the opportunity to learn martial arts?
I believe people with special needs benefit greatly from the arts. I have a special needs program and these students have learned all the basics. They live for karate. They always hug me and tell me how thankful they are. They make my life have purpose. I try to pull strings at local tournaments and get special needs divisions so that my kids can compete. They love getting their trophies.
6.-What do you think about MCdojos?
What do I think of mc’dojos? LOL When I first opened my school my mission was to put it into Mcdojo’s. I think we (competitors) all have a very negative view of these types of schools. However, I now have a school with over 150+ students. I have learned that not everyone comes to my school to learn to compete or kick someone’s butt. Lots of the kids just want to come somewhere to have fun and be able to fit in. Their parents went to boost their self-esteem and learn some structure and discipline along the way. A lot of the kids are overweight these days. At the end of my life journey I want to be able to look back and say that I had a positive impact on as many people as possible and martial arts was just my catalyst to improve the quality of their life. I feel that martial arts should be more inclusive as opposed to exclusive. I feel that a lot of the schools that we talk negatively about that are really big and making lots of money should be looked at in a different light. They are servicing a large number of people and there is a reason that so many people have flocked to their doors. If they were offering a very poor service they wouldn’t have so many students. So that is at least one train of thought.
Prior to opening my school, I was somewhat of a row. I had to travel very long distances to train with somebody in order for me to get the type of training I needed to be effective in competition. The average karate school is not built for the competitors. It’s just like the military. You have the Marine Corps and then you have the 2% that make it to special forces. Out of the 150+ students I currently have I would estimate that only about 10 really love competition and have the physical capabilities and work ethic to ever excel at a very high-level. So why in the world would I run my whole business based off of the 2%? I teach quality martial arts that focus mostly on basics and I have a tiered program that allows for sparring specific classes if the student desires.
So in conclusion, I originally had a very bad view of McDowell Joe’s. After opening my own school two years ago I have a new found understanding of what they are actually doing. They are servicing a larger number of people and they are also able to make it very Nice living off of their skill. We have this negative view in our industry that it is evil for people to make lots of money off of their skill but we don’t look at baseball players and football players that way. We have dedicated our whole life to learning and perfecting our skills. There’s nothing wrong with you getting paid very well to pass that on to other people.
7.-Tell us why giving back to your community is so important and why you make your students participate.
The reason why I feel it is so important to give back to the community and to have my students participate is because I believe it sets a great example for them to get out of being selfish and learn to help others. I grew up very poor living in housing projects and trailer parks as a kid. I have grown up to be fairly successful and I feel that it’s very important to always be giving back. I’ll listen to a lot of success audios when I’m driving to tournaments and all the success gurus tend to agree that the principle of giving is very important to success. I decided to add that into my character development curriculum in my school and have my students to participate. We have huge turnouts every time I come up with a plan of action for our community. The parents and students both love to participate. We recently donated over $5000 to a local kids orphanage. We donated several thousand dollars in snacks and supplies to the local police department. We have donated school supplies to help disadvantaged kids. It’s really mind-blowing how good it makes everyone involved when you help other people. I am constantly looking for new ways that my school can be used to help better my community.
World Champion Karate Academy
3204 Irvin Cobb Dr Paducah, KY 42003