By Melodee Meyer
KUT System Creator

J ulie Turner Julie_Turner_KUT_Saved_MY_Life copywas working in Oregon when a strange man followed her into a restroom and came up behind her. She saw him in the mirror as he reached for her purse strap. She yelled as she grabbed the ball of his hand, turned in a circular step and threw him to the ground. Julie held him in an arm bar and directed another woman entering the restroom to call security. She held him there for several minutes until security guards came and took him away.

Julie is not an elite athlete or stunt woman from Hollywood. She works as an interior designer and is a mom to three grown children in Santa Barbara.

“I always have the hope that I will never have to use my Martial Arts skills to use in a real-life situation,” Julie exclaims, “but I did and I felt very empowered and strong and it was awesome! Now I know that martial arts is something that I will never forget.”

I met Julie when she started taking KUT (Kickboxing Ultimate Training) classes with me at Martial Arts Family Fitness to get in shape after a knee injury. She really appreciated that she could go at her own pace and that she could learn new skills while having a lot of fun.  When her son Michael expressed an interest in martial arts classes, she decided to take those classes as well. Eventually, they both earned their black belts.

As she and hundreds of other students of the martial arts will tell you, there are many reasons to learn martial arts. Personally, I had no interest in martial arts at first. I thought that it was violent and just too macho for me. I enjoyed fitness kickboxing but was wary of “those people” in white pajamas. Fortunately, I took fitness kickboxing classes at a school that believed martial artists were warriors of peace; I learned martial artists learned to fight so that they could stop the fight. It was that idea that opened me to the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of martial arts training.

That was almost 18 years ago, and I still learn something new every time I get on the mat.  I am so passionate about sharing these benefits with others who want more than just a heart pounding workout and why KUT is such a great way for folks to get started.

Physical Fitness

With KUT, you do not need to be fit before you start. You just need a willingness to learn. We call that having a white belt mind, a beginner’s mind. The more consistent you are in your training, the better you become. It’s simple. And before you know it, you have better balance, greater flexibility, more coordination, and a stronger, healthier body.

Mental Fitness

The way you keep your mind alert is by using it! In every KUT class you are training your mind with your body. You are making that mind-body connection which is so very important. (Note: You can’t read a newspaper while you’re working out like you can on a treadmill!) You have to be completely present and since you are always learning something new, you are being challenged mentally and keeping your mind limber.

Emotional Fitness

On your fitness journey starting with KUT, there are many other skills to learn that make us all feel better about ourselves and others. Some of these are courtesy, respect, honor, loyalty, self confidence, cooperation, integrity, compassion, perseverance and gratitude. You get to meet others, learn how to share a bag and encourage one another along the way.  Training our emotional muscles make them strong too.

Spiritual Fitness

Greater self awareness, a sense of community and our non-judgmental connection to all things is a surprising benefit of taking KUT and of course, martial arts. How we are to each other in class translates to how we are with ourselves and others outside of class so we get to practice and train to be the person we want to be from the inside out.

Fitness kickboxing, as taught in KUT classes, is an amazing introduction to the martial arts.  Don’t know if it’s right for you?  Try it.  You may be challenged in a new way that will bring out the best in you.. and who knows?  It could even save your life someday.

To learn more from Master Mel, visit her website at

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