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Meet Stefan Ewing of Direct Connections : Personal Martial Arts Training

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefan Ewing.

Stefan, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My obsession with martial arts goes back as far as I can remember–training in my undies, in the living room, with my family of black belts when I was 5 years old. I eventually earned a 3rd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do karate, and have trained several other disciplines. My favorite three are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (obviously Brazilian), Tang Soo Do (Korea), and Muay Thai (Thailand) — the Art of 8 Limbs.

I taught karate for over 10 years, and when I moved to San Diego I decided to follow my passion as a way of life. From there the idea took off and turned into a Personal Martial Arts Training business, which currently teaches striking (stand up fighting).

I got to where I am today by pushing myself out of my comfort zone over and over. I’m constantly examining the way I teach things and modifying them when it makes sense, and always doing my best to communicate, and listen to my clients needs. I want training to be the best experience possible for them. I’m also constantly improving my own game as a fighter by pushing myself in sparring, and doing kickboxing matches. This October I had my official Amateur debut in Riverside. I want to always be evolving as a fighter, and teacher, so that I always have new insight to offer my students.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My first big struggle was keeping up morale when things weren’t going as I hoped. For a few months I had barely any clients, and I was working 2 other jobs for a while. Then I built up a pretty decent clientelle, and at the end of the summer lost 2 to college, 2 to moving, and another because she lost her job. I love having such a small client base because it means I can focus on giving them quality work, but for a while it was extremely volatile. I’m glad I listened to all the people who kept saying the first 2-5 years it’s normal to struggle, and ignored everyone who gave me a hard time, or told me I couldn’t do it.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Direct Connections : Personal Martial Arts Training – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Direct Connections brings private kickboxing training to the client. Real kickboxing training, not cardio kickboxing. We either train at their house (garage, yard, patio, etc.) or if they don’t have space we’ll meet at a park. One of my favorite spots is Calumet Park by Bird Rock. It’s so nice to train with an ocean breeze while listening to the waves crash.

The most unique part of what I do is that I come to the client, and work around their schedule. So it’s perfect for people with busy schedules. It’s also 1 on 1 private training, so it’s great for anyone who’s intimidated by a group setting, or just doesnt like the gym vibe for one reason or another.

While I love the little niche I’ve found–private, 1 on 1 training, at a convenient time and place for the client–I’m most proud of the quality of work I provide. I take pride in my ability to push clients just out of their comfort zone, and bring them back safely, as well as matching training with each clients skills/abilities, and desires. Lastly, I love that I get to train day in and day out with high level fighters (@steelmmasd) and then bring that level of training to my clients.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Currently I plan on renaming the business, something more accurate and memorable, and then actively marketing.

The next big plan for the future is to add other trainers. I know there’s a huge market for what I do in San Diego, and there’s a plethora of qualified martial artists in the area. I was thinking I would start with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and then scale up from there. This is still a little ways out though, and I will always keep my commitment to high quality training over quantity.

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