Tiger Rock Martial Arts

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Hutto academy hosts national tournaments

In 2002, Mark Hatchett and his wife, Karen, were looking for an activity for their sons. They enrolled their children at a tae kwon do academy in Pflugerville, and after watching his children participate in martial arts, Mark decided to join, too.

“The biggest reason I started was because it looked fun,” Mark said. “All I had to do was motivate myself to walk through the door. Once I was through the door, there was someone teaching me and instructing me, and I was learning a skill. I was also getting in shape, [and]I was learning a lot.”

Realizing he enjoyed martial arts, Mark started making plans to open his own academy. Though he and Karen originally intended Tiger Rock Martial Arts to be a part-time endeavor, the Hatchetts’ school quickly took off, and their property on Front Street had to be expanded after it opened in 2007.

“We started off small here,” Mark said. “We had one suite, and then within the first year we expanded to adding the second half on, then [added]a third suite, which hosts our after-school and summer camp programs and their hangout area.”

With enrollment reaching 180 students, the Hatchetts relocated Tiger Rock to a new, 6,800-square-foot building at 503 W. Front St. during spring break. The area will allow the business to continue growing by providing more space for workouts and after-school programs.

“[It has a] larger viewing area in the lobby [and]an immense workout room—it’s huge,” Karen said. “If you go in there and see it, it’s overwhelming.”

The new space will also allow the Hatchetts to pursue their goal of bringing martial arts to as many residents as possible.

Tiger Rock offers lessons in tae kwon do and jiu-jitsu, as well as strength and conditioning lessons. Classes are available for ages 3 through adult.

Martial arts classes offer students a fitness activity while teaching them martial arts tenets, Mark said. On top of getting into shape, participants at Tiger Rock learn honor, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, courage and a sense of community.

“Those kinds of things just come naturally with the program,” he said.

Strength and conditioning classes offer fitness programing with rates comparable to large gym memberships, he said.

Tiger Rock also offers after-school programs to local students. Participants go through martial arts lessons and also have homework, snack and play time.

Classes are taught by Martial Arts International–certified instructors, including three full-time and five part-time volunteer teachers, as well as youth leaders. As a part of the international organization, the Hatchetts’ academy also offers competition, seminars, certified curriculum, camps and other benefits. That support makes Tiger Rock a better academy than many others in the area, Mark said.

“We are a certified school that has a set of standards and curriculum, not someone who went out and got a black belt in some martial art and said, ‘I’m going to go open up an academy or school,'” he said.

Tiger Rock also hosted a national tournament March 23 at Hutto Middle School. The event included competition in sparring, board-breaking and team activities. National tournaments are held twice every year and include 12 academies. This year marked Tiger Rock’s third time hosting the event.

In the summer months, the Hatchetts plan to start a Hyper Pro program, which focuses on youth in extreme martial arts.

Martial arts: What’s the difference?

Tae kwon do: The Korean-based martial art has developed for more than 5,000 years and focuses on use of the fists and feet. Tae kwon do uses dynamic poses and active movements with the feet, and it emphasizes unity throughout the mind and body.

Jiu-jitsu: Popularly translated as the “gentle method,” jiu-jitsu is a self-defense technique that is rooted in ancient Japan and is said to have been used by the samurai. Jiu-jitsu techniques can include joint locks, blows and strikes.

Sources: World Taekwondo Federation, Global Free Agent Fighters

Tiger Rock membership options and fees

  • Adult only (18 years and older): $59/month
  • One-person membership: $89/month
  • Two-person family membership (limited to immediate family): $138/month
  • Each additional family member: $29/month
  • Startup fee (includes basic black workout pants and first month of membership): $50/person
  • Martial Arts International yearly membership fee: $27/person

503 W. Front St., Hutto, 512-846-1112, www.tigerrocktexas.com

Hours:

  • Mon.–Fri. 4–9 p.m.
  • Sat. 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.
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