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Testimonials

Master Bowling
AFTA Martial Arts
Rockford, IL

I enrolled my grandson in AFTA Martial Arts Oct of 2004 when he was 9 years old, at his request. He asked specifically to come to AFTA Martial Arts. Enrolling him was one of the best decisions of my life! When making this decision I never anticipated the scope of benefits he would receive. My intentions were to expose him to a new life experience.

On our first evening we entered the House of Disciple and our eyes were opened. Through class he meets reality and has already learned he can face life on life's terms on so many levels. Over the years I have witnessed him entering and leaving class, demonstrating respect for his instructor, fellow students and himself. He understands the rules and follows them out of courtesy and respect. He demonstrates discipline, knowing it contributes to his gaining knowledge, ability, strength, power, speed and accuracy.

I have witnessed an increase in self-confidence, self-discipline and self-control. He is developing leadership skills and a genuine sense of accomplishment that comes from learning real and effective self-defense techniques. While advancing through belt levels by demonstrating knowledge, skill and a right and useful attitude, he has been prepared to perform, as a given situation demands.

I can tell you the specific instructions tailored to each individual's strengths and weaknesses have been a real bonus I never expected. I appreciate the attention to detail and determination devoted to achieve the true martial art execution of a particular kick, turn or hand technique. AFTA Martial Arts is not a club, exercise program, or a fitness gym -they are by-products of martial arts, but are not the main purpose.

AFTA Martial Arts is a House of Disciple and it's all about attitude!

He is now a black belt and an honor role student.

He is a well-rounded young man. He has been active in sports as well, but understands this Martial Art is not a sport, it is a very real and active part of who he is and is becoming, it is a way of life and is preparing him for all aspects of life.

It has been about 3 years now since we walked through those doors. Now, a preteen -he is at a time in his life when being challenged by peers or negatively influenced by social pressures are common place and questioning or opposing authority figures seems to be accepted as normal. I believe his preparation so far, through AFTA, has been a key factor influencing and shaping his character in a positive way.

Thank you, Master Bowling for your continued efforts to reach out to kids.

Patricia Cushing Signiture
April 29, 2007
Mr. Joel Bowling
AFTA Martial Arts and Fitness
7326 Cherry Vale Mall Drive, Bldg C
Rockford, IL., 61112

Dear Mr. Joel Bowling,

My husband and I would like to thank you for all the hard work you do. I know it has only been a short time that our paths have crossed, but what you have done for our son cannot even be put into words. You have a tremendous gift for teaching children and adults the art of Martial Arts. I know you have taught our son to have the self-respect and esteem he needs to become a great young man. He is doing great in school and loves practicing his 30 min. each night for the next test! He has come out of his shell and he is more outspoken at home. Our friends and family have noticed the change too! He has changed so much in just a short time. I know he is going to learn a lot from you and your classes. We just wanted to say thank you and that we appreciate all the hard work you do and hope you know that it does not go un-noticed. Thank You.

James and Vicky McCabe Signiture
Brett R. Hansen

Joel Bowling
Master Instructor
AFTA Martial Arts
7326 Cherry Vale Mall Dr., Ste. C
Rockford, IL 61112

“..After the horrific and tragic attacks on the United States on September 11th, I knew then that I must not ever allow myself to be a victim of Airborne Terrorism. As a corporate pilot, I transport key company executives throughout North America. My job also requires me to travel extensively on the commercial airlines for training, crew changes, and ferrying aircraft to and from maintenance facilities.

Prior to September 11th, I had little, if no education in self-defense. The brutal means that the terrorists used to kill innocent flight crew and passengers gave me a startling wake-up call. I wanted the knowledge and skill to defend my passengers and myself. An even scarier thought was not being able to render any assistance to flight crews on the commercial airlines, while I was riding as a passenger en route to my next duty assignment. With only an estimated 10 percent of all daily commercial flights in the United States having an Air Marshal on board, odds are that the passengers will have to fight for themselves. The old saying “there's never a cop around when you need one” holds true in the air today.

Along with airborne safety, I also felt a need for greater personal protection while I was on the road. Traveling to many urban centers, late at night, not in the friendliest of neighborhoods, I wanted the confidence that I could effectively defend myself against an attacker, or someone who would try to force me against my will to gain access to my aircraft.

My solution was to gain hands-on experience in Martial Arts. Not theatrical Martial Arts, but effective Combat Martial Arts with real-life scenarios taught by experienced instructors who understand my individual circumstances and can add realism to the training. At AFTA Martial Arts, I have learned many techniques, to include pressure points, chokes, gouges, bone breaking, ground fighting, and knife & gun defense. These methods are going to be tremendously effective for me, if I need to use them in a close-quarter environment, such as the cabin of an aircraft. Most important, in addition to the physical aspect of the training, I have learned to turn my fear in to the explosive will to survive, and to win…anyone involved in public air transportation needs to secure this training…”

Brett R. Hansen
Captain, Flight Operations
Fortune 100 Food Company
Mr. Joel Bowling
AFT A Martial Arts and Fitness
7326 Cherry Vale Mall Drive, Bldg C
Rockford, Il., 61112

Dear Mr. Bowling:

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for offering your complimentary Adult Martial Arts Class on Saturday, October 27, 2001. As a flight attendant, I was painfully reminded of how vulnerable I am to violence at my workplace. The terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, have forever changed the way I do my job.

Although we have always had training for hijacking, I know now that the information was outdated and terrorism itself was not emphasized enough. Without much guidance from my employer I felt ill-prepared to face a possible attack like that of the 11 th. But after taking your class, I feel confident that with additional training, I would be able to take responsibility for my own safety and for the safety of our customers.

The information you gave was frank and to the point. The scenarios you covered were frightening and realistic. At work, the information we receive seems to sugar coat the realities of a terrorist attack. Your information caused me to really think about different situations and my ability to handle them.

We received a memo from my company yesterday stating that they will begin teaching self-defense classes. However, they will be teaching other flight attendants to teach us. I'm not very confident about the quality of that kind of training. Therefore, I am seriously considering signing up for classes at your academy. I would like to learn from someone who has your extensive training and experience.

Diane Urban
parkdistrict

To Whom IT May Concern,

I have known Mr. Bowling for 32 years. I have known him to be associated with Martial Arts for at least 20 of those years. I have great respect for his ability in the Martial Arts field.

My son, Jason, had taken Martial Arts from Mr. Bowling for 2 years and I was extremely pleased with the results. Mr. Bowling informed me of the skills he would learn, which are used with the intention of increasing mental ability and more controlled patience. He explained the background of Martial Arts, along with the weapons used and why. Many schools in the area do not give the in depth explanation that I feel the students should have in order to acquire the respect they need regarding Martial Arts.

I have witnessed some of Mr. Bowling's demonstrations where he has broken rocks with his hands, ball bats over his shins, and broken boards with his thumb. These things coupled with his other abilities prove to me the validity of Mr. Bowling's experience in the field of Martial Arts. To discourage any thinking of fraudulent activity, he always passes his breaking material around the crowd for their examination.

Even though I have known Mr. Bowling for many years, I wanted the best possible training with the most knowledgeable person I could find for my son when he started Martial Arts. After checking with other schools in the area I decided Mr. Bowling's school would be the most advantageous for my son. Mr. Bowling has the ability to be strict, yet he can show compassion and understanding when it is necessary. After seeing the students in his school, as compared to other schools, I saw a much more positive attitude among his students. They showed a great deal of respect toward each other as students and toward Mr. Bowling. I appreciated the atmosphere in the school a great deal more than what I had seen.

I have been in law enforcement for 19 years and I have seen several self-defense instructors during that time. I consider Mr. Bowling's techniques of self-defense to be among the most effective in actual street self-defense. He not only teaches the upright, hands and feet techniques, but also the techniques of grappling and fighting while on the ground, which is very rare.

As a police officer I have seen hand to hand combat, from standing to fighting on the ground. Mr. Bowling's is the only instructor I have seen that covers these situations as a constant part of class, using methods that are highly effective. The majority of confrontations are decided on the ground, so it is wise to know ground fighting techniques. He told me the reason most other schools don't teach ground fighting is because their instructors are only shown the sport form of there Martial Art and not the true self-defense end of it. I found this to be true.

I would highly recommend Mr. Bowling as an instructor to anyone who is considering any type of Martial Art.

Jary Variable Signiture
cherry vally police

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this as a character reference for Joel Bowling. I have known Joel since 1979 when he was a student in my Law Enforcement Class while a Senior at Jefferson High School and I have stayed in contact with him through the years. Joel Bowling exhibited leadership skills in those early days which have been developed through the years and today he is a Master Instructor in Martial Arts. In this capacity, Joel has set a very good example for young students and every age group in the many classes he conducts.

Joel was proficient at Martial Arts in 1979 and he has the respect of Local Law Enforcement Agencies who have asked Joel to conduct training seminars for their Officers in the areas of Street Survival and personal defense tactics.

Officer Bob Tyning signature
nissanlogo

To whom it May Concern:

My Name is Tom De Ridder, I am 44 years old and I have attended the American Free Style Tae-Kwon-Do Academy since April of 1993.

Prior to signing up for this course I was guaranteed that if I attend this course I would receive martial art instructions in self-defense as well as the area's of mental and physical conditioning. This guarantee was lived up to and surpassed by our instructor. I have and am currently receiving training in area's such as sparing, blocking, forms, hand and hand, weapons, gun and knife defense, kicking, multiple attack defense, etc.

This course has re-enforced my self-confidence, helped maintain good physical conditioning, reduced my stress level and has greatly improved my mental capabilities.

I would recommend this course to young and old alike. If I had only one wish that would be that I had started this course with this school long ago.

Thomas L. De Ridder Signiture
A.F.T.A. Martial Arts
7326 N. Cherryvale Mall Drive
Rockford, IL 61112

I have been a student with A.F.T.A. Martial Arts since February of 1999. It is a combat school founded so that traditional martial artists, those who train in reality based combat self-defense methods, would be able to distinguish themselves from the modern sport oriented martial arts community.

The school teaches more than self-defense. The student who trains for combat, as well as the attainment of good health, physical and emotional strength, persona; security, self confidence, advance knowledge, wisdom and spiritual awareness can receive the recognition and respect they deserve. In addition, the school provides guidance and safety rules for children. The environment of the school is a feeling of family where one looks out for their fellow man. I would recommend this school only to the student who is serious in their training.

The thing I admire most about A.F.T.A. is it remains true to the martial arts. Through educational awareness and training it preserves the “MARTIAL” in martial arts by standing by its principles, philosophies, and training methods that were once the spiritual foundation of all ancient martial arts combat systems.

A.F.T.A. Martial Arts provides the educational support and recognition to the independent martial artists who follows the lone way of the warrior and travels the solitary path towards personal and spiritual enlightenment.

Verna Niel Signiture
To whom it may concern,

My son and I have been attending AFT A Martial Arts for nearly two years now, and I would like to say that I am truly impressed with the professionalism and dedication to personal improvement that Mr. Bowling and his assistants have given us.

We came to AFT A with no previous knowledge of the martial arts, and the staff and fellow students went out of their way to help us feel welcome and help us learn. The focus on real self-defense is important in this day and age, and the stranger awareness and confidence building have really helped my son relate to other children as well as adults.

Mr. Bowling works extremely well with children and displays tremendous patience, even in the most difficult situations.

We have learned at AFTA that there is more to self-defense than how to use your fists. We have learned how to defend ourselves in nearly any situation that may arise. This is important and is not taught in most other martial arts schools.

I highly recommend AFTA Martial Arts for both children and adults.

Eugene E. Groso Signiture
We have two boys who have attended AFTA over a year now and we have nothing but great things to say about the entire program. To say that Mr. Bowling delivers everything promised would be a huge understatement. The growth we have seen in not only our boys but the other kids in class over this last year is incredible.

The improvement in:
• Self Esteem
• Self Confidence
• Respect for themselves and other
• Agility and physical ability
• Attitude
• Discipline, focus and concentration

Can only truly be believed by seeing it for yourself.

Not to mention the fact that both the boys mother and I have a little more assurance that our boys are more prepared for some of things this world can throw their way. The majority of my work is in central Wisconsin, we have often give thought to moving our family and one of the contributing factors that keeps us in the Rockford are is the fact that there is no other martial arts classes we have found that compares to the comprehensive teachings of Mr. Bowling and AFTA.

All this may seem a bit much but both myself and my wife feel strongly that a quality martial arts background helps give our boys the tool to succeed in life no matter what if holds in store.

Wayne Taylor
My son Danny has been with AFTA Martial Arts since January 2004. Martial Arts has made Danny more confident in himself. Before martial arts he was soft spoken and would never dream of talking in front of a large group, now he occasionally leads classes for warm ups. AFTA Master instructor Joel Bowling is a fantastic instructor. Mr. Bowling reinforces the teaching of parents to their children of respect, responsibility, safety and most importantly how to protect themselves. Mr. Bowling's teachings are not just for show, he teaches actual techniques that my son can use if necessary and that is what Danny enjoys the most. These classes are very physical at times, which is a good thing because it helps the students maintain and develop their skills. AFTA Martial Arts also offers weapons training and my son is involved in the teachings of the Samurai Sword. I would highly recommend AFTA Martial Arts over any other school in the area. The reason for this is that Mr. Bowling is truly invested in teaching his students techniques and life lessons that do make a difference in their lives.

Dana
My son Tyler has been coming to A.F.T.A. for a little over a year. I have seen a big difference in him since he started. He has more confidence and self discipline in himself. He enjoys his classes and learning from Master Bowling. I would highly recommend Master Bowling's classes, they have made a difference in my child's life.

Todd Gouchenour
Loves Park, IL