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Meet Lawrence Robinson of Attitude First Martial Arts in North West Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lawrence Robinson.

Lawrence, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have 40 years of training, competing, and instructing for an experience that is unique. My passion is for development, growth, and improvement in others.

My approach to teaching the art of self-defense along with my true desire to know and understand my students allows me to work well beyond any age group, and any physical, emotional, or mental deficiency. Having worked with students diagnosed with: cerebral palsy, turrets, autism, ADD & ADHD, Learning Disabled, and a variety of other concerns,

I embrace the child’s unique qualities and work to build from an aspect of strengths rather than a focus on limitations. I work with the students to adapt to their abilities and then to expand their skill sets so that they can reach established goals. I have honed my skills in Phoenix for more than 30 years starting my first studio at 19th Avenue and Union Hills (Dragon’s Lair). I then applied my knowledge to an even greater variety of children as the Kenpo head instructor at the Deer Valley Community Center from 1991-2011, where I worked with more than 150 kids per session.

Throughout my career, I have always ensured that there is a holistic approach to Martial Arts Training, one that addresses the need for self-defense abilities and allowed for competitive/performance aspects while at the same time, keeping in the forefront the importance of each member growing and reaching goals both on and off the mat. I look to continually remind students of the importance of being a Martial Artist and of exhibiting the qualities of honor, respect, discipline, and kindness at all times, not just when wearing a uniform and belt.

I tend to pride myself on coaching; and I have coached more than 12 AZ State Champion title holders (7 of which were children) and 5 IKC First Place finishers (3 of which were children). I also coached the winning Arizona’s Women’s Colored Belt Team at the IKC 2 years in a row. In recent years, I have proudly coached several top Mixed Martial Artists that have captured 3 national titles.

In 2015, “Attitude First” Training Center was moved to the current location now known as the Attitude First Martial Arts. Along with a great staff, we are dedicated to providing top self-defense instruction through quality mentoring, helping students grow and improve as human beings as they reach their goals as a Martial Artist.

I am proud of the following coaching credentials:
6th Degree Kenpo Black Belt
CMDP Pro-Trainer Performance Enhancement Coach
NCSF Certified Personal Trainer

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Without a doubt the Martial Arts business is challenging. So often it is viewed as a “quick fix” and people often realize that it is more than they originally anticipated.

There is a lot of competition not only with others in the industry but also with other activities. Unfortunately, parents want their children to have several experiences and sign them up for lots of activities. The value of training sometimes gets overlooked and measured against a wrong set of standards. Martial Arts is not an activity that you do or not do. Say like playing a sporting event. It is something that truly you live. Actions you take are either keeping you safe or potentially creating conditions that may be harmful. Awareness to these conditions are so critical. It is unlikely that you or a loved one could be walking through an area and a “basketball game” suddenly breaks out and you are invited to join. Sorry, I say that tongue in cheek. However, the need to take steps to protect yourself are always present. Even if it is as simple as preventing a bully from intimidating you. Which incidentally doesn’t only occur at the playground at school. It happens in businesses every day.

Developing confidence, physical skills, and improved awareness aspects take time. Sometimes it is too much for most people and their busy schedules.

Please tell us about Attitude First Martial Arts.
“Attitude First” really states it all. We know that sometimes physical interactions are necessary. However, these interactions are only required when other aspects break down and an individual is unable to establish viable barriers.

We again look at self defense as a holistic process. From working with 3 and 4 year olds to developing listening skills and physical coordination to helping adults gain confidence as well as improve in what we call the five fitness areas. We work on five areas; Physical- physic, muscle response and organic functioning, Perceptual- Quality and awareness of senses, Mental- Ability to focus and interpretive events, Emotional- To represent events in such a way as to empower ourselves and Spiritual- The courage to stand for the things we believe in.

If we can win the battle in a range of “out of contact” the need for physical interaction is minimized however if those tactics break down we are ahead in our physical actions and we are responding rather than reacting.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Wow, that is a great question. I have had the opportunity to work with some great people and learn from some amazing individuals. I really think that when I was younger I should have listened more to my father and been a little more disciplined with my finances. One thing I didn’t learn early was to reinvest back into the business and to diversify better. I had to reinvent the wheel too many times.

When things were good, I should have saved better. It would have made some difficult times easier to contend with.

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