The Norman Transcript

Business

January 26, 2014

Norman resident uses mixed martial arts to train others how to defend against bullying

NORMAN — James L. Clark grew up in a troubled home with a mother who was addicted to alcohol and drugs. However, one bright spot in his life made all the difference.

His mother signed him up for free martial arts classes at the YMCA. Only 16 when he was born, she was happy to use the classes as a free baby-sitter.

In those classes, Clark met male mentors to fill the void lacking in his single-parent home. He found purpose, confidence and a reason to hold up his head up.

Mostly, he found a reason not to find trouble.

Martial arts teaches discipline and self-confidence, Clark said, and he wants to share that empowering knowledge.

“I grew up on welfare and government cheese,” he said.

Now he has two master’s degrees and is working on a Ph.D. and has served 19 years in the U.S. Army. Those accomplishments probably wouldn’t have been possible without his training in martial arts and the confidence he gained from that experience, he said.

Clark first came to Oklahoma about nine years ago after a friend told him it’s a great place to live. Attracted by the university community of Norman, Clark recently opened a mixed martial arts academy, First Strike, at 230 W. Gray St. across from the Norman Public Library.

“You are the first line of defense in any problem,” Clark said, which is why he chose the name First Strike for his business.

Clark and wife, Cherie, and son, Jamie, said they love the college town, low cost of living and friendly people here. He’s anxious to connect with the community, and his martial arts studio will be a starting point.

Clark offers free self-defense classes for women, along with his regular evening classes for a variety of age and skill groups. As classes fill out, he plans to expand his calendar to include day classes, as well.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Ideal Homes to dedicate Oklahoma’s first Home for HOPE

    Ideal Homes dedicated the company’s first Home for HOPE on Wednesday at 13209 SW 5th in Yukon....

    July 27, 2014

  • Todd Lamb to keynote luncheon

    Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will provide the keynote address at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Aug. 6 at the National Weather Center. Lamb will speak on state issues that may impact local business and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma learns about storm water proposal

    The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma invited Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary to talk about the new storm water fee proposal at its luncheon Thursday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Backing up everything, everywhere, not as easy as it should be

    Though we may wish or believe otherwise, computing devices are still somewhat of a hassle to use. Some devices, like Apple’s iPad, come close to being fully realized machines, but even iPads have their clunky side....

    July 27, 2014

  • Is using E10 or ‘pure’ gasoline more economical?

    An analysis by AAA Oklahoma shows that at today’s prices, E10 motor fuel is cheaper to use than 100 percent gasoline, despite the fewer miles per gallon produced by E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline....

    July 27, 2014

  • Appellate judge retiring

    The Honorable Charles A. Johnson retired from the Court of Criminal Appeals after 25 years on the bench. Johnson was appointed to the court on Oct. 31, 1989, by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. After 59 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Candy Basket celebrates 25 years

    Perhaps it’s the chocolate covered blueberries whose deliciousness still lingers. Or maybe it’s the blood orange and wild honey white chocolate ganache that won’t soon be forgotten by your taste buds. At The Candy Basket there is decadence ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Bramlett & Associates adopts new name reflective of business

    Bramlett & Associates Multimedia LLC (Bramlett Multimedia), 215 W. Main St., announced this month that the company will change its name after 12 years in business and will do business as BOLD-Multimedia. The announcement, made first to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Toothpick holders convention coming to Norman

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collection in 1936,” Ryan said. Ryan was born in 1940, and she grew up crawling around toothpick holders, as have ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Protect your online banking, shopping with encryption

    In my free, one-night class called “Fight the Internet Bad Guys and Win,” I teach everyday computer users how to stay out of trouble on the Internet. How to avoid virus infections, how to discern between the genuine and counterfeit, and ...

    July 20, 2014