Martial arts beginners and experts alike have been practicing under Impact Martial Arts owner and head instructor Greg Fisher since 2001.

The Northwest Austin martial arts studio teaches the sport to students age 3 and older with a focus on building their self esteem, confidence and self-defense abilities.

Respecting the craft

Fisher has been training in martial arts for over 30 years and teaching for over 20. He currently holds a 7th degree black belt and is a member of the U.S. Taekwondo team.

“I started [martial arts] when I was 12 years old,” Fisher said. “I basically had some friends in school and they invited me in and I liked it. Then I stayed, because I didn't realize it at the time, but it helped me develop confidence. I was the super quiet kid and I just kind of latched on.”

His time learning and honing the sport eventually spearheaded the opening of Impact Martial Arts.

“I started teaching because I thought that I'd like to share that with other people so they could experience the same thing,” Fisher said.

What they offer

Impact Martial Arts students are a mix of ages and skill sets, with a focus on children and their families. Fisher said there are a wide range of students from all walks of life, with some on the autism spectrum, working through attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or simply needing some physical activity.

The Little Dragons class is for 3- to 5-year-olds, and while martial arts is mainly an individual sport, Fisher said there are opportunities for competitions at every level.

Fisher said a typical practice starts with students bowing in and warming up with basic strength training, then working on fundamental techniques such as kicks, punches, blocks and patterns, as well as basic self defense techniques—all helping them become more active, get off screens and work through bullying and mental health issues.

“I love teaching students for long periods,” Fisher added. “We have had some students that have started with us at four and five years old, and now they're in their 20s. Being able to be a part of their life changes, their growth and being a part of their lives for that length of time is huge.”

The studio also teaches corporate self defense classes to local businesses.

The impact

Fisher said his studio, and martial arts in general, builds self-esteem and confidence through repeated success. In a culture where “most things are readily available,” he said he believes in having people work through the hard things in order to grow.

“By doing something—and maybe you're not good at the beginning, but then you do it again, and you practice, and you do it again—eventually you get good at it,” Fisher said. “And then when you get better at something, you become more confident. ... We try and help them through hard things so they can grow.”