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Erik R. Mann - 9th Degree Black Belt

Jump Sidekick at 43 yrs old, late 2005...click to enlarge

  Career Highlights

  9th Dan - Taekwondo (NTFA)
  8th Dan - Kenpo (PBKKA)
  3rd Dan - Jujitsu (USJA)
  2nd Dan - Judo (USJA)

  Founder of United Fighting Systems in 1996
  Founder of Martial Arts Video Reviews in 1997
  Board of Directors for Becerra Judo, 501(c)3

Mr. Mann began his martial arts training in August 1980 at age 18 with "Grandmaster Brown" while attending college. He quickly realized the average student took a few 1 hour classes per week. However Mr. Mann didn't want to end-up average, and he felt the best way not too was by training more than 1 hour per day. So GM Brown made an unusual exception and let Mr. Mann (as a beginner) take all of his classes, even the advanced classes. Mr. Mann committed himself to that and scheduled each semesters college courses accordingly. He often attended the noon class, all the evening classes, even the grueling advanced student non-stop sparring classes. That was Mr. Mann's training regimen from freshman to senior. All of Mr. Mann's Taekwondo black belt promotions are from GM Brown, and his current TKD rank, after starting 37 years ago with GM Brown, is 9th degree.

By the mid-1980's Mr. Mann had his BBA and was back in his hometown of Dallas, jumping around and trying out various local TKD schools. Years went by before he found a school he felt came close to GM Brown's. Eventually he found GM Larry Wheeler's school in Wylie, TX, and just like GM Brown's school, his school taught the original TKD Chang-Hon forms, there was a heavy emphasis on sparring/kickboxing, and he too created many highly skilled sparring champions. Mr. Mann immediately started training with GM Wheeler. During that time frame he became an instructor for GM Wheeler, and they became equal business partners, which then led to relocating the school to a 4,000 sq. ft. retail space in East Plano. They had a boxing ring built inside, which led to hosting on-site and sanctioned full-contact kickboxing events. Many talented kickboxers trained at the school, and that along with full-contact events being held inside, created a unique environment that continued to forge Mr. Mann's physical skills and teaching style. The business partnership eventually collapsed, and having been a part of one of the toughest training environments a TKD practioneer could encounter, with no other local TKD choices coming anywhere close, Mr. Mann felt it was time to look into other martial art styles, specifically those GM Brown had been exposed too.

Mr. Mann found that Kenpo was in some ways more self-defense oriented than TKD, with rapid flowing hand techniques, along with fewer and lower kicks. He also found that grappling could be addressed by Jujitsu or Judo, but out of those arts which would he choose? Well just like his formative years with GM Brown, obsessively taking several classes per day, Mr. Mann didn't pick 1 of those arts he picked all 3.

In 1992 he started learning American Kenpo from a Jay T. Will black belt. Mr. Mann chose the Jay T. Will lineage, because like GM Brown and GM Wheeler, GM Will was heavily into sparring/kickboxing. Mr Mann's core TKD skills he'd honed over the previous 12 years...striking, kicking, blocking, footwork, feinting and sparring...helped him rise through the ranks quicker than most. Jay T. Will started taking Kenpo in 1966 and in 1980 Ed Parker (the Founder of American Kenpo) promoted him to 7th degree (14 yrs, from his start to 7th degree). Interestingly Mr. Mann went from start to 7th degree in 14 yrs (1992-2006). He credits core skills learned from GM Mike Brown and GM Larry Wheeler to his rapid rise in Kenpo. Mr. Mann's current Kenpo rank is 8th degree, awarded by SMA Paul Britton, a Louisiana deputy sheriff whose Kenpo instructors were original students of Ed Parker.

Also in 1992 Mr. Mann discovered a local Judo school ran by GM Bert Beccera, that was producing more Judo champions than other schools, so he started training at that school. Mr. Mann alternated between training at his Garland Judo school and GM Becerra's Richland Junior College Jujitsu class. Mr. Mann also assisted GM Becerra in teaching his Jujitsu classes for many years, even into the mid 2000's. That Jujitsu class at times had over 50 students, and Mr. Mann was the substitute teacher when Becerra was out of the state or country for Judo events, which happened quite often. After 15 years of training and teaching with Becerra, by 2007 Mr. Mann had attained the ranks of 3rd degree in Jujitsu and 2nd degree in Judo from him.

Then in September 2005 he opened Mann's Martial Arts, bringing a vast mix of concepts and techniques from styles he'd trained in, and been exposed too through his Martial Arts Video Reviews library, which is over 4 times larger than the reviews posted. His school "MMA" addresses all 5 fighting ranges (long, mid, close, stamd-up grappling, ground). His "MMA" program is designed to work with each students limitations, injuries, handicaps and age, to find what works on an individual basis, and adapt through those stages so that it provides a lifetime of benefits. Although Mr. Mann's not a huge proponent of tournaments, and believes training for the street is more important than the sport, his students have won 1st place in sparring over 80% of the time they've entered tournaments. He credits that passing-on of sparring knowledge and skill to his time with GM Brown, and the quality training program GM Wheeler had.

Mr. Mann continues to maintain his skills and is well into his 4th consecutive decade of staying involved in the martial arts.

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