Gilmer martial arts students win national championships

The high scores students acquired throughout the year in regional competitions granted them access to the PROMAC National Championships.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST
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GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - Students from Gilmer’s ProComp Sport Martial Arts competed in the PROMAC National Championships.

The students took home 18 national titles and earned around 17 runner-up placements in the competition, which took place Nov. 18-19 in Destin, Florida.

Prior to winning nationals, the martial arts students competed in 18 regional tournaments. The high scores they acquired throughout the year in the regional competitions granted them access to the PROMAC National Championships.

Owner and Master Instructor Clayton Watkins opened up his first martial arts studio in Paris, Texas.

“I left the martial arts business completely, and I was a missionary in Costa Rica for a while, and then I came back, and I took a job pastoring, and I did this as a side job, and it took off,” said Watkins.

He said students not only get to progress and grow within their personal lives through martial arts, but they also gain confidence, self-defense skills, self-esteem, discipline and respect.

One of the national champions, Brenden Johnson, is a junior instructor. Johnson is on his way to receiving a high rank within martial arts: a black belt.

“I was hard with it at first because I’m fourteen, I’m small. I haven’t been much of a good fighter, being small. Because of our coaches up here, I’m getting better and better with fighting, so this year I actually won a national championship with fighting,” said Johnson.

Johnson hopes to open up his own martial arts studio in Galveston.

“I think it’s good to know how to fight because if you’re small, like me, and I know other people that are small, they get picked on a lot during school. So, I think having that mental of knowing that you can defend yourself and not just get bullied every day and have people just pick on you — I think having a chance to stand up for yourself, that’s a whole lot better,” said Johnson.

ProComp Sport Martial Arts will be hosting a national martial arts competition next month in Longview.