Like most successful entrepreneurs, Mr. Jeremy Gray started Southern Maryland Martial Arts and Fitness over 15 years ago, in both Bryans Road and La Plata, because of an unmet need he knew he could fill. A lifelong resident of Charles County and martial artist since he was 8, he had a vision for a center where the entire family could work toward physical fitness.
“I made a commitment to serving and empowering the communities of Bryans Road and La Plata by teaching children and adults the confidence, leadership, and fitness skills that can only be achieved through martial arts,” said Gray. And, what started as solely a martial arts school soon became a full-scale fitness center at each location. Mr. Gray’s wife, Mandi, shares that vision and was instrumental in the expansions. Now, parents can work out in a fully equipped gym while their child takes a class, or they can take part in classes for adults, such as Zumba, Yoga, Boot Camp, Kettle Bell, and Spin.
Their Before and After School program always has a waiting list in the fall. The program includes martial arts instruction, time for homework, other fun activities, and transport to school and back, including early release days. “There are certain things martial arts will instill in you, and I enjoy giving back through the children,” said Gray. Adds Mrs. Gray, “The thing about a martial arts-oriented after school program, as opposed to others, is that the children are learning life skills such as discipline, respect, and perseverance along with the physical benefits of exercise and self-defense”.
Programs at Southern Maryland Martial Arts include a Karate Kat program for as young as 3 years old, Little Dragons program for 4, 5, and 6 year olds, Juniors Taekwondo for age 7 and up, an adult Taekwondo program, and self-defense Jiu-Jitsu for ages 14 and up. Summer camps are also available throughout the summer. “We have something for everyone in the family,” said Gray.
As Owner/Chief Instructor, one might think managing two locations requires all of Mr. Gray’s time, but he and his wife also work full-time for the Federal Government. “We have great staff in place,” he said, “and they carry out the day-to-day responsibilities. Our team of instructors and staff are highly qualified and professionally trained.” Mr. Gray is a 6th degree black belt in Taekwondo and 3rd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. All instructors are black belts and qualified to teach martial arts.
Mr. and Mrs. Gray’s plans for the future include growing both businesses, and they see the new neighborhoods going up in Bryans Road and La Plata as good for business. He said, “Charles County is full of potential. Its residents are eager to support Charles County businesses. They want to support their area. So, if you give them a product or service they need, they’ll support you.” He notes that discipline and the core values that martials arts teaches will never change. In the digital age, there are new ways to streamline the business process, but out on the mat, it stays the same.
To learn about more about Southern Maryland Martial Arts & Fitness, visit their website at https://smmafitness.com. For more information on how the Charles County Economic Development Department can help your business, visit www.MeetCharlesCounty.com/business-support.