Hall-Of-Fame Martial Arts Instructor Changing Lives on Greatmats
By Brett Hart
A friend’s invitation to attend a martial arts class at the age of 12 changed Eric Swick’s life. Now 41, Swick is a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan Karate-Do, 3rd degree black belt in Renzoku Jiu-Jitsu, 3rd degree black belt in Dragon Kenpo, 1st degree black belt in Judo and the owner of Dragon’s Den Mixed Martial Arts academy in Grafton, West Virginia where he also trains in Kobudo and Arnis.
Shihan Swick began his martial arts journey in 1988 under Sensei Dave Burner in Shotokan Karate, Aikido and Arnis and now includes Jiu-Jitsu and Kobudo into his primarily lineup of disciplines.
Real Life Experience
While martial artists train to be prepared for the unthinkable, most never need it. Unfortunately, he has, and it saved his life.
Ten years ago while working as a correctional officer in a United States Penitentiary, Swick was sucker punched by an inmate with a 7-inch shank and ended up being stabbed 13 times while trying to control the attack.
”If it wasn’t for God and my training, I do believe I would not be here today,” Swick said. ”The most horrific thing that I have ever seen is looking into another man’s eyes that was just a few inches away from me that really wanted to kill me. … There is no kind of training that can prepare you for that reality.”
The life-changing experience, inspired the Swick to focus more of his time and energy to helping others.
”You win, or you learn. You never lose,” he said. ”If you have the right attitude, there is no such thing as truly losing. Defeat, or losing, is only possible when you give up and quit. Defeat is a state of mind, not a reality. You, and only you, determine whether you lose or whether you had a temporary setback from which you learned more and became stronger. You do not play karate; you study it.”
In 2010, he was named to the Martial Arts Legend Hall of Fame and named the Sensei of the Year by the United States Black Belt Hall of Fame. He is also a two-time Hall of Fame instructor both Jiu-Jitsu and Karate and a Hall of Fame MMA instructor.
With all he’s accomplished, Swick says his biggest accomplishment is seeing his students become teachers of the arts, putting their martial arts training to work in the dojo and their everyday lives, overcoming their fears and becoming adults with success stories.
”I want my students to have the ‘I can, and I will’ attitude,” Swick said. That includes his wife and two kids, who train with him.
While Swick did not compete much early on, his academy has a successful competition team that competes at local tournaments as well as the USA-National Karate-do Federation and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).
Swick was impressed by the Greatmats martial arts flooring used at one tournament attended and looked up Greatmats on the web.
He soon ordered Greatmats’ Wood Grain/Black reversible Martial Arts Premium 1 Inch Karate Mats and loves the way they look and perform while enduring classes five days per week.
In 2015, Swick co-founded the Warriors United Tournament Circuit, a growing tournament point circuit open to all styles that includes competitors from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio.
”Tell you the truth, it’s just a great bunch of martial artists having a good time,” Swick said of Warriors United.
So happy with his Greatmats martial arts flooring, Swick and his Warriors United co-founders opted to equip each of their tournament rings with Greatmats flooring as well.
”They’re very tough, and the feel is great,” Swick said.
Shihan Eric Swick
Dragon’s Den Mixed Martial Arts
Grafton WV 26354