Oakdale’s Spartan Martial Arts recently moved to a new location on Hale Avenue to allow for expansion now, and in the future.
Owner Tom Schmitz—who is the lead teacher—said he’s trained two of the top five women in the world in mixed martial arts, and has also worked with several male competitors. He said there are currently about 8-10 competitors training at Spartan. Students come from as far away as Rochester and Alaska, WI, he said.
Kelly Kobold, a 28-year-old mixed martial arts competitor who works in real-estate foreclosure, has been training with Schmitz since 2007 and has followed him to different gyms where he’s instructed.
“As a trainer, I think he’s one of the best in the States,” Kobold said. She has competed at a national and international level as a fighter and with Schmitz’s training, she said, she’s been able to seamlessly merge ground fighting and upright fighting.
Kobold said mixed martial arts feeds her need for competition and supplies a discipline in her life.
“It more about being disciplined and in control of your emotions,” she said.
Schmitz also said there's more to mixed martial arts training than fighting.
"It gives something to other people’s lives," Schmitz said of the training. "Fitness, self-confidence and self-defense."
Not all of the studio’s 46 students train to compete. Some are just interested in learning the techniques offered, he said.
Schmitz recently moved Spartan Martial Arts to a larger location within Oakdale, at 680 Hale Ave., Suite 130, to expand and allow for future growth, which he said he expects.
“I have about 800 more square feet, and then there’s another 2,000 in the back so when I want to expand, I can,” he said.
Schmitz started in martial arts in 1992 when he was 18 years old, practicing kung fu and traditional martial arts. He’s been practicing Jiu Jitsu and Thai boxing since 1996.
Spartan Martial Arts provides classes for adults only at this time, students as young as 16 may enroll with parental consent.
More information on the classes can be found on the Spartan Martial Arts Facebook page.
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu derives from Jiu Jitsu—a ground fighting martial art developed in Brazil that focuses on controlling and submitting an opponent without injuring them.
- Muay Thai is a martial art known as "The Science of Eight Limbs" as punches, elbows, knees and kicks are used as the eight different points of contact.
- Kickboxing/mixed martial arts focuses on cardiovascular training.