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Learn The Champions Way...




Learn The Champions Way...

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Group Classes and Personal Training

In Martial Arts, Fitness and Basic Self-Defense

About Jim Graden

a renowned Master Trainer with a distinguished career in martial arts and fitness. With five appearances on the United States Karate team and participation in two World Kickboxing Championships, Jim's accolades include winning Silver Medals in London '85 and Munich '87, and earning a Professional World Kickboxing title in Polermo, Sicily, in 1991.

A protégé of the legendary Joe Lewis, considered by many, including Chuck Norris, as the greatest martial arts fighter of the 20th century, Jim is a 7th degree master under Joe Lewis. He is one of only ten people to be promoted to master's rank by Joe before his passing in 2012.

Jim's passion for the integration of martial arts and fitness led him to create two of the most successful Martial Arts Fitness programs in the country, Cardio Karate and the 

Ultimate Body Challenge (UBC). He is a true pioneer in the field, dedicated to helping individuals achieve their fitness goals while learning practical self-defense techniques.

With decades of experience in the industry and a proven track record of success, Jim Graden is the ultimate choice for anyone seeking to elevate their fitness and self-defense skills.


The Champions Way 

embodies a philosophy that extends beyond just the physical training of martial arts. It encompasses the development of an individual's mind, body, and spirit, with the ultimate goal of becoming a better and more confident person.


The making Of A Champion From The Beginning.

Jim Graden's first instructor was Walt Bone and his student Hank Farrah...

Walt Bone was a stickler for detail in forms and all aspects of his martial arts teaching. What made him unique was his willingness to embrace modern fighting concepts, but at the same time honor the history and tradition of traditional Karate and Tae kwon do.

Mr. Bone was a good friend of Jim Graden's future instructor, JOE LEWIS, who is considered the foremost expert in modern strategies and advance fighting theories.


Training With The Great Joe Lewis

In 1984 Jim Graden began training with the Legendary Joe Lewis... 


In a Black Belt Magazine poll Joe Lewis was voted by his peers, including Chuck Norris, as the greatest martial arts fighter of the 20th Century. Not only did Joe crush competitive martial arts in the 60’s, 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s, he was also considered an analytical giant when it came to fighting strategies and theories.

Joe Lewis is the only person to be named to “Black Belt Magazine” Hall of Fame for both competitor of the year and teacher of the year.

Joe, who trained with Bruce Lee, is also considered the father of American Kickboxing and was the first professional World Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion.


Jim Graden trained with Joe Lewis for over 15 years as a professional  martial arts fighter.  

Many  training sessions with Joe Lewis included grueling boxing and kickboxing workouts at the famous St. Pete Boxing Club. The  St. Pete Boxing Club is home to many boxing champions, including World Champions including Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver and Keith Thurman.

The workouts started paying off for Jim. Soon after working with Joe, he won the Florida State Heavyweight Kickboxing title and the Southeastern U.S. Kickboxing title.

In 1985, Jim Graden was named to the United States Karate Team. The team went on a ten-day tour of Europe fighting in packed arenas all across Europe. The team was made up of some of the world’s greatest martial artists including World Boxing and Kickboxing Champion Troy Dorsey. 

During the tour, Jim won the Pasqua Del Budo in Venice, Italy,  Europe’s largest and most prestigious martial arts tournament. 

The same year he  competed in the World Kickboxing Championships in London, England and  won a personal silver medal and the U.S. Karate team won the team World title.


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Two years later and for a third time, Jim was named to the United States Karate team to compete in the World Championships. This time the championships were held in Munich, Germany, which happens to be his birthplace. Jim fought four fights in front of ten thousand spectators to advance to the finals. He again won a personal silver medal and the U.S. team won the team World title.


Becoming A World Champion

In 1990, all the hard work finally paid off when Jim Graden won the International Kickboxing League (IKL) World HeavyWeight Kickboxing Title with an eighth round TKO of Bruno Patiglia in Palermo, Sicily.

After achieving his lifelong goals of becoming a world champion Jim then changed directions and focused on building his martial arts school. He also became one of only 10 students of Joe Lewis's to achieve a masters rank (7th Degree) before Joe's passing.


Changing The World Of Fitness

Jim Graden created two of the most popular and successful martial arts fitness programs in the World... 


First, Cardio Karate, Jim traveled the globe, throughout the nineties,  personally certifying over six thousand instructors to teach his unique brand of fitness kickboxing. He than followed Cardio Karate with his truly original idea called The Ultimate  Body Challenge (UBC).


The UBC was the first, start to finish, fitness program in martial arts schools.  The UBC combines fitness kickboxing, resistance training and sound nutrition into a 5 or 10-week fitness course.

The idea behind the UBC was to take many of the supportive elements of martial arts training and apply them to a fitness program. Easy to follow curriculum, achievable goals, along with a group of coaches and teammates to help along the way. 

Jim licensed the UBC to over 500 martial arts schools in three different countries.  




The Champions Way

The Champions Way can be seen as a philosophy that integrates physical training with personal growth and self-discovery. By approaching martial arts training as a path towards becoming a better and more confident person, individuals can cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, while also developing the physical and psychological resilience needed to face life's challenges with courage and grace

Just Click To Find A  Champions Program For You And Your Family

Questions? Call us now! 
(727) 798-5269

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