Back in the heart of the pandemic, Joe McBurney was waiting to have his hair cut at The Paddocks shopping center.
It was just as it all opened up, so the wait was an hour and a half, and he had time to kill. He decided to take a walk and came across an empty storefront just below where he was going to have his hair cut. He didn’t mean to, but the spark of an idea struck him.
âI thought this place would make a perfect studio,â McBurney said.
He taught martial arts for years and only occasionally thought of opening his own studio. But this place was a great place. He called the owner, looked around, and the rest was history. The VIP martial arts studio was born.
Since January 2021, McBurney has brought all of his knowledge gained in nearly 30 years of training to the residents of Mt. Juliet. He began his journey in 1992 at Tae Kwon Do, seeking realistic self-defense training. This initial research led him to become a 1st degree black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu with 18 years of experience, a certified Muay Thai Kickboxing instructor with 25 years of experience, 1st degree black belt in Shorin Ryu karate with eight years of experience. experience and a 1st degree black Belt in USJA Jiujitsu with four years of experience. In addition to all of his training, McBurney fought 10 MMA fights and finished with a 9-1 record. He did this so that he could understand how his training would work in actual combat, and he could pass that knowledge on to others who want to follow a similar path.
âI’ve been there, I know what it is,â McBurney said of his professional fights.
McBurney enjoys teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing. He said a lot of MMA fighters are trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it translates the most to the skills you would actually need in a real self-defense scenario. He currently offers these two courses for adults and children, as well as Wing Chun.
âI love to teach,â McBurney said. “I want to be the guy who helps people achieve their goals, whether it’s fitness or self defense.”
McBurney said that in many studios you pay a fee and are only allowed a certain number of classes that you can take. He said he didn’t understand at all that when he started he wanted to be in a class five days a week.
âI want everyone to come in as much as possible,â McBurney said.
The VIP Martial Arts Academy is now holding summer camps and has started enrolling in an after-school program that will include school bus pickup. Children will be picked up from school, have time to do their homework, socialize and play with friends, and then finish with a class. Additionally, McBurney said he will offer free classes for the month of July to all children interested in taking classes.
For more information, visit vipmartialarts.com. They are located at 300 Pleasant Grove Road, Suite 350. You can also contact them by phone at (615) 587-8290. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.