When I’m interviewing new business owners, I typically focus on two angles: what exactly is your business and how did you get to a place where you decided to open it?
My time last week spent with Isaac and Gracie Williams of MadCity Kenpo LLC went by in a flash because I was so captivated by their stories and answers to both of my questions. Learning about not only their brand new business but also about what drove them to bring it to Madison was nothing short of inspiring.
I may be jumping the gun here, but my sincere hope is that this inspiring couple is flooded with interested clients after I publish this article because they are absolutely worthy of our community’s support!
Let’s back up a bit and start from the beginning: What is MadCity Kenpo?
About MadCity Kenpo & Self-Defense in Madison, Alabama
MadCity Kenpo is a self-defense studio that offers programs tailored uniquely to each individual, and anyone ages 8+ is invited to try it out. It is located on Slaughter Road in Madison near HWY 72 and is owned and operated by a husband and wife team with Madison roots (Isaac graduated years ago from Bob Jones HS and Gracie graduated from James Clemens HS).
Isaac says that sometimes people think self-defense is “all about the mean, scary stuff”, but that it’s actually about the opposite; it’s about promoting life.
“Self-defense skills last an entire lifetime, and we just want our clients to get out there and live.”
When I asked them what message they wanted to share with those who may feel intimidated by trying out self-defense classes in Madison, they both flashed smiles and almost seemed puzzled by the idea that anyone would ever feel intimidated by coming to their studio.
“It’s never what they’re expecting,” shared Gracie. “It’s very personal and customized to the person walking through our doors.”
Isaac continued by sharing the analogy of purchasing a suit.
“Sometimes you walk in and buy a suit that’s a generic size. Other times you buy a suit that is tailored to exactly your body type. We’re like that.”
Self-Defense Classes in Madison, Alabama
MadCity Kenpo offers a variety of options, from one-time classes to 40-week classes. They provide options to individuals, couples, families, youth, and private groups.
Gracie stays that the Mad40 package is their most popular and economical option. This 40-week program is “a great option for those who want the training and to see what they can do to protect themselves. It’s the best way to get your money’s worth too.”
Isaac continued to share that not only are their self-defense classes valuable but that they’re also a great fitness option for someone who is looking to cross-train and add something new to their regimen.
“You get out of it what you put into it,” shared Isaac. “If you want to learn to protect yourself, that’s absolutely what you’ll get. If you want the fitness part, then we won’t focus as much on theory. We’ll just get your body moving and blood flowing.”
Gracie says that the best part of participating in Kenpo is that it’s all focused on body weight and that there’s no hard stress on one’s joints.
Isaac and Gracie are passionate about the art of Kenpo, a martial art that is 21 generations old and a blend of five cultures.
“Everything we teach is done to prepare you for hypothetical situations. We teach you what to do in all kinds of various scenarios and give you the building blocks so that when you need a certain move, it comes out the way it needs to.”
“We aim to inspire others to embrace life through self-defense,” reiterated Isaac. “If you are concerned about your safety in certain or various situations and you see an issue with the fact that you do not feel safe, addressing that is a really good idea.”
He continued to say that “We don’t want you to fear those things in life. We want you to feel equipped with skills, and then just enjoy life knowing that you are prepared with skills if you ever need them.”
As for how these two got started with MadCity Kenpo, they smiled shyly and said that this was never on their radar.
They shared with me a story about how they lived in Lexington, Kentucky a few years ago, and Isaac felt uncomfortable because crimes were popping up everywhere.
Speaking about his wife Gracie, he said that he “just wanted her to feel protected”, so they took self-defense classes.
It didn’t take long for their passion in self-defense to be lit, and opening a studio was a no-brainer.
“I love the teaching part”, says Gracie. “This really is our passion.”
When asked why they chose to come back to Madison to open their studio, they both shared that this is home to them.
“The biggest difference is that everybody waves down here,” Isaac joked with a smile.
“This is the studio where we train too. This doesn’t feel like a job at all. We want to invite everyone in here to train with us.”
P.S. Isaac and Gracie made a point of mentioning that if you are a single parent and that childcare is holding you back from attending, that they absolutely welcome your child to come in and hang during your session. Gracie shared that she wants everyone to feel safe and never wants a childcare situation to hold someone back from coming in.
Author note: That’s awesome!!!
Get Started with MadCity Kenpo
MadCity Kenpo also has an online shop for gear and equipment with a brand new supplier who will be adding items often.
Today, October 20th is actually the last day for a waived down payment fee, so get in touch today to learn more and schedule an intro class!