Early Karate in Toledo - Sensei Hurtsellers photo from 1988

Early Karate in Toledo - Sensei Hurtsellers photo from 1988

A History of the Martial Arts Center in Toledo

Our dojo was established in 1988 by Sensei Hurtsellers in a full time commercial facility on Reynolds Road in Toledo Ohio.

Sensei Hurtsellers had been a native of Fort Wayne Indiana where he studied Karate and was a full time school director for Hanchi Robert Bowles. Sensei Hurtsellers was also the Karate instructor for the physical education department of IPFW (Indiana Purdue University at Fort Wayne) teaching college level accredited courses in Martial Arts and Self Defense.

Sensei decided to open our dojo away from his home out of respect for his teachers and Karate family. Opening the dojo in Toledo was truly a decision of circumstance. Sensei wanted to open close enough he could drive home and be with his new daughter and family, and yet be in an area large enough to support a successful dojo. The only two areas that met this criteria were Lansing Michigan and Toledo Ohio. Toledo was the final choice simply because the phone book had already been published in Lansing, and the dojo would not get be able to get a proper listing for another year. This was before the era of the internet; and in those days not being listed in a phone book was akin to not existing at all.

Sensei Hurtsellers - Founder of Martial Arts Center in Toledo in 1988

Sensei Hurtsellers - Founder of Martial Arts Center in Toledo in 1988

I always knew I really wanted to be the best at my profession. I was also very loyal to my school and teacher. If I wanted to be the best it would have to be somewhere other than home. - So I decided on Toledo.
— Sensei Hursellers

Since 1988 the dojo (Then the "Academy of Karate by Hurtsellers") went through many transitions. By 1998 the school had begun to move in a much more eclectic direction - integrating Kickboxing, Kung Fu as well as Brazilian Jui-Jitsu as part of our regular curriculum. Our philosophy is that no one style contains all the elements necessary to create a well balanced Martial Artist; instead it's best to be versatile and absorb the parts of study that create the most balance between various arts.

By 2001 the decision to change our dojo's name to "Martial Arts Center" was made with the purpose of better representing our mixed system and curriculum.

“When I started teaching in Toledo our style was strictly a style of Karate. After a few years you add something new to your skills, then something else, then something else - you start moving out some of the old and integrating in the new. Eventually you end up with something that can best be described as your own style. I think all the master teachers of old did exactly this.
— Sensei Hurtellers

By the early 2000's Sensei Hurtsellers had met Sifu Robert Brown of Berkley Michigan. Sifu Browns eclectic style of Kung Fu and philosophy had a profound impact on the arts we share today. Our culture and non-commercial atmosphere is owed to this influence. Virtually every element of our dojo today exists because of the direct influence brought to us by Sifu Brown.

While our 29 years of service to the community have been filled with many ups and downs and  transitions, or core intention has never wavered. Our core value is to not simply teach the physical aspects of the art, but to teach our community how to use Martial Arts as a vehicle to achieve personal goals and live happier and more productive lives.