- Mr. Mann began his martial arts training 38 years ago in August 1980 with the ATA's "Master 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 rank at 56 years old is 9th degree
. It should be noted that GM Brown has taught many thousands of students, and created over 100 black belts, and Mr. Mann is the first, and only one so far, GM Brown has promoted to 9th degree.
- By the mid-1980's Mr. Mann had his BBA and was back in his hometown of Dallas, trying out local TKD schools. Years went by before he found a school he felt came close to GM Brown's high quality standards. 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 ended, and having been in one of the toughest training environments a TKD practitioner could encounter, with no other local TKD choices coming close, Mr. Mann felt it was time to look into other martial art styles, specifically those GM Brown had been exposed too.
GM Brown's Influences - 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 Brown and GM 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.
Judo & Jujitsu
- Also in 1992, Mr. Mann discovered a local Judo school ran by GM Bert Becerra
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. After earning his black belt, Mr. Mann became an instructor for GM Becerra and assisted in teaching his Jujitsu classes
for over 10 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.
- In 1996, after having achieved degrees in multiple styles, Mr. Mann founded "United Fighting Systems
". It's a martial arts association for instructors that have degrees in multiple styles or teach a blended curriculum of them. Membership is primarily by recommendation, either by it's board members, or established members. Since it's inception, over 100 school owners have joined, many from the U.S., and over a dozen from other countries. It's a tight knit community, and members share information about techniques, drills, teaching methods, and more.
- One of the patterns throughout Mr. Mann's martial arts involvement is he could never get enough of it. From the start he took more classes than most and later trained in multiple styles. He's always had an unquenchable thirst about it, be it learning about different styles, their techniques, concepts, drills, better ways to teach, and faster ways to deliver results. During the 80's & 90's he amassed a large collection of martial arts instructional videos covering many different styles. Nearly half the time those tapes weren't to his liking, then checking with the seller, the industry standard return policy was "no refunds". Companies needed to be held accountable for aggressively marketing overpriced and non-refundable, poor quality videos. Then in 1997, after black belts in multiple styles, he started "Martial Arts Video Reviews
", posting online reviews for the martial arts community. He created a uniform grading system assessing what was taught, would the viewer understand it, would it work, how long before a viewer could become proficient, how could it be taught better, etc. Eventually some of those reviews effected certain companies sales, which led to creating better products, and/or offering refunds. His website was recognized for improving that market niche and being a significant contribution to the martial arts community. The site has posted nearly 400 reviews, and at it's visitation height in the 90's, was getting over 20,000 "uniques"/visitors a month. Nearly every martial arts video company sent him VHS's, and eventually DVD's, for free to review. Mr. Mann's martial arts video library has grown to nearly 2000 DVD's. One of the great personal benefits came from contacting video instructors by phone, to ask questions before posting reviews. Along the way he developed friendships with many higher quality video instructors, and even met some in-person. Mr. Mann credits many of the concepts, techniques, drills, and how he teaches, to what he learned watching videos, grading them, and his interactions with those instructors.
Mann's Martial Arts - 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 UFS & MAVR. His school "MMA" is designed for the street. It addresses all 5 fighting ranges (long, mid, close, stand-up grappling, ground). His curriculum can conform to each students limitations, injuries, handicaps and age, to find what works on an individual basis, and adapt through those stages to provides a lifetime of benefits. Although Mr. Mann's not a huge proponent of tournaments, his students have won 1st place nearly every time they've entered them. 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 1.5 years away from entering his 5th consecutive decade of staying involved in the martial arts.