Pruitt’s Martial Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 8:00 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Pruitt’s Martial Arts & Fitness Club celebrates its 25th anniversary by throwing a community gathering in Ocean Springs.

The academy was started in 1996 by founder Derek Pruitt. His business venture began 25 years ago, but his passion for Martial Arts started long before that.

“I had a bad experience and I always wanted to do martial arts.” Pruitt said. “My mom gave me an opportunity to meet a very good instructor, Dr. Rodney Fisher, and I began to train and really the rest is history.”

Throughout the years, the school has faced challenges like closing down due to the pandemic.

“We actually shut down just like everyone else. We went online teaching martial arts. It was really different, but we survived,” Pruitt said.

The academy currently has around 150 students in training weekly. Andres Sarao joined in 2020. He is now nine years old.

“My friend Reese started doing karate and my dad said, ‘Hey Andres, you want to do karate?’ I said OK,” Sarao said.

10-year-old Kendall Pittman said martial arts have helped her have confidence and learn self-defense.

“I used to be scared to fight somebody, so I ran away, and for me that was actually pretty hard,” Pittman said.

Pruitt said the journey of turning his passion into a business has been nothing less than amazing.

“It is a blessing. Honestly. I give thanks to the lord. If it weren’t for him, I would not be here today. It is awesome to be able to do something you love to do and to have it impact other people. I am just humbled by the experience,” Pruitt said.

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