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Ron Poholik wins National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Title

By Brett Hart Created: December, 2017 - Modified: July, 2021

Dec. 15, 2017 - Pride is something very important for 2017 Greatmats Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Ron Poholik, no matter which definition of the term you choose. In fact, his academy even bears its name - Pride Martial Arts - and a logo which features an image of a group of lions.

''What I've been trying to do here at Pride Martial Arts, is not just teaching martial arts, being a part of the community and the families,'' Ron said.

So when one of his members nominated him for Greatmats National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award which is designed to recognize instructors who have served as positive influencers in their communities, needless to say, he was pleasantly surprised.

''It made me very happy that I have touched so many people's lives through the martial arts and through the school,'' he said. ''It's what I love to do. Having somebody nominate me for something I love to do, it's a double pleasure. When I saw the picture, I kind of knew which member did the nomination. ... It was something I wasn't expecting at all.''

One of the reasons Ron opened his school in the his hometown of New Lenox, Illinois, was to provide that form of influence to a community he cared so deeply about.

As part of his involvement in the community, Ron works with the chamber of commerce and different churches as well as sponsors the local football team each year and organizes toy drives, chili cookoffs and family picnics.

''It shows camaraderie and a family environment,'' he said.

Now 43, Ron began his martial arts training 24 years ago.

Already a fan of Greatmats products, which he uses in one of his two units, Ron is planning to open a third unit due to the increased number of students and plans to use his winnings to help equip that third unit with mats.

As for the contest, he said, ''It was a chance to receive happiness from my families. ... People outside the community - people outside the school - people that we've touched in their lives in different activities - or old members - such a nice event.''

Runner Up Chip McClellan

This year's runner up, Chip McClellan, was nominated for his work in the school systems where he inspires kids to learn about things such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through the STEM program and also serves as a substitute bus driver and offers classes in bully prevention.

Now 38, McClellan began his martial arts journey at the age of 14 and was honored to be nominated for an award outside of his circle in the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) organization.

Ron and Chip combined to gather nearly 70 percent of the votes in the 2nd Annual National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Contest.

Learn more about the Greatmats National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award or the 3rd Annual Greatmats National Award Series.

Master Ron Poholik
Pride Martial Arts
New Lenox IL 60451