Interview with Master Lloyd

After hearing how Master Lloyd Irvin is changing children's lives, giving Parent's peace of mind, improving children's grades, attitude, discipline, self-esteem, teaching children how to avoid peer pressure and so many other things, we just had to see if we could do an interview with him to find out what makes his Martial arts and After school program one of the best in the country. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Master Lloyd Irvin before he left for Brasil to compete in the World Championships of Jiu-Jitsu in Rio:

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

Lloyd: No Problem, thank you for taking an interest in what were doing here at LIMAA.

Master Lloyd Can you tell us a little bit about what you're doing at Lloyd Irvin's Martial Arts, Fitness and Learning Center?

Lloyd: well in a nutshell were just trying to save lives.

Wow, that's pretty direct! Can you elaborate on that?

Lloyd: Sure. Were Martial Arts, Fitness and Learning center. When I say were trying to save lives I really mean it. From the Martial Arts aspect were not teaching any fancy moves that look pretty but don't work and were not teaching musical forms. I teach the most effective martial arts system available in the world. Simple but yet very effective techniques that anyone can learn. In today's society violence is a reality that can't be overlooked and I'm giving my student's the tools to survive any hostile situation. It's a great feeling to know that you can defend yourself and your family.

From the Fitness aspect were trying to educate the public about the importance of healthy life habits and the importance of working out. The number of people dying from unhealthy habits and not working out is outrageous. Just get the statistics from the surgeon general it's sad. We have a great fitness program at LIMAA that anyone can join no matter your fitness level.

From the Learning aspect were teaching our children life skills. Most people don't realize that Self Confidence, Discipline, Self Esteem and Self Control just to name a few are Learned Behaviors. Children aren't born with these traits they have to be learned. Some children appear to have these traits naturally but I guarantee under certain Peer pressure these types of trait will quickly disappear unless they have been learned and reinforced. We're not just teaching kids how to kick and punch. Were teaching these learned behaviors and reinforcing them. I know for a fact that this will save a lot of lives!

I really want to concentrate on your kids program in this interview but I want to come back and do another interview about your adult program later. Is that OK?

Lloyd: Sure our kids program is one of a kind. Our Jr. Thai Jitsu program is one of the most, if not the most diverse martial arts program available to children in the country. I have travelled nationally and internationally learning the most effective martial art systems in the World with one goal which was to be able to blend these styles together to create a martial arts system that could teach a student how to defend themselves in all ranges of self-defense. At the same time we teach kids valuable life lessons. It's a beautiful combination.

We offer two programs for children. Our Nighttime Thai Jitsu program and our Thai Jitsu After School Program.

Do you have both male and female students?

Lloyd: Yes, I think about 40% of our students are female.

What's the difference between the two programs?

Lloyd: The After School Program meets 5 days a week about 4 hours a day and provides transportation from local schools to our facility. The time when children get out of school until the time parents get home it is of the utmost importance for the kids to be doing something productive. Our program can't be beat. The Kids have loads of fun, their being productive and their learning everything our program has to offer.

The Thai Jitsu Night classes meet 2-3 times a week for about 45 minutes a day and the parents bring the children to class.

Can a student be enrolled in both programs?

Lloyd: No, we allow our After School kids to stay for night classes if they're getting ready for a competition sometimes. One thing is funny a lot of people who start out in the Night Classes end up switching to the After school program.

Why is that?

Lloyd: Well I guess if a parent sees results from coming to our class 2 times a week for 45 minutes they can only imagine what will happen when their child is in our program 5 times a week 4 hours a day. The results we're getting are phenomenal. Last year we started out with a 37% honor roll base and when the last report cards came out we averaged 84% honor roll students. I know it's not 100% but it's pretty amazing and the parents were ecstatic. Even kids that were already on the honor roll brought their grades up. It's great when you see that overall change in a child from when they first start.

That's Great. So your kids go to competitions?

Lloyd: Oh most definitely for the one's that want to, we don't make anyone compete it has to come from within themselves. Everything at our school is goal oriented, it's very important. For a child to be able to compete they know what they must do at Home, School and at our Center. We work with the parents and if one of our student's no matter how good they are doesn't do what's required. Then they will not compete. In the last few months our kids have been to Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Hampton Virginia for competitions. They're making a Big name for themselves at these competitions.

When you said that you know for a fact that your program will save lives. How are you so certain?

Lloyd: First let me say that when I say, ""saving lives" it doesn't mean just life and death. It's much broader. Let me explain. During my senior year in College I did a Thesis looking at my life over a period of 15 years following most of my friends that I grew up with to see how everyone ended up to that point. The results were shocking. I grew up in a Middle Class neighborhood in Suitland Md. After all of my research during this 15 year period I came to the sad realization that over 85% of my friends were in Jail, Dead, on drugs or doing the same thing they were doing when we were growing up basically being non-productive and 30 % were still living with there parents while 2 were living at the homeless shelter at 2nd H in Washington DC. About 10% went to College and I was one out of only 2 that graduated. Like I said I lived in a pretty nice neighborhood. This was in 1993 8 years have past since then and some more death, jail and drug stories have come out of my neighborhood. I mean these were my friends that I played boys club football, baseball and basketball with. Although we thought we knew everything back then we didn't know anything but it's to late for them now. I really cared about them but because I was young and inexperienced I couldn't do anything to help them, I was faced with my own issues, I had know idea what was in store for them. Today it's even worse for the children and they don't what's in store for them if they make bad decisions and do the things that appear to be "cool" now. Now that I know what's in store for kids if they go down the wrong path. I've vowed never to let this happen to anyone I have a chance to help. I'm in a great situation to help save children's lives in my community and I have the perfect vehicle to get the kids to learn my program. This is my mission in Life and I won't be stopped.

A man with [such determination] cannot be stopped. With something like that driving you I now see why you're so passionate about your program. Can you tell us about the vehicle that you use with the kid's?

Lloyd: Sure the vehicle is no secret, it's Lloyd Irvin's Thai Jitsu program. It's a program that I've developed from over 25 yrs experience from being a child having to deal with peer pressure, seeing how it affects kids, seeing kids go down the wrong track in life and right tract, knowing what put them on their chosen track, being involved in mentoring programs, dealing with kids on a daily basis and most importantly the Martial Arts. Which is much better than team sports for building confidence and self-esteem in children.

So you developed this program?

Lloyd: Yes. Our program is very special, I've had offers to be relocated to teach my program in 3 different states, I have Instructors from all over the country wanting me to teach them my program but I don't. My vision now is to focus all of my efforts in my community. My mother is the only person that I've ever told my long term goals to. I didn't do this because it's a secret or anything but because a lot of people talk about what they're going to do and never do anything. I prefer to talk with actions. I have 5,10,15 and 20-year goals that are really going to make an impact, that's just the beginning. Actually I did teach the program to my Jiu-Jitsu instructor who uses my program in Brasil.

So your program is being taught in 2 countries?

Lloyd: Yes, in Camp Springs Md and in Rio Da Janeiro Brasil Barras De Ta Juca.

Is your program for everyone?

Lloyd: No. Our kids program is only for children who have parents that are looking for what we offer. Our program CAN help almost anyone. Example: I had a parent whose only concern was how fast their child would be able to fight really well. After explaining that it's not our main focus to teach children how to fight as fast as we can, the parent wasn't interested in the other attributes of our program. I told him that he should look for another school. If that's all he wants for his child that's fine but were not just teaching kids how to kick and punch. If you only teach the kids how to fight without teaching other attributes such as self-control, you'll have a bunch of kids that think their tuff going around starting fights. That's not what were about were giving kids the total package.

Can you tell me some specifics about your program?

Lloyd: We stress the importance of setting attainable goals and striving to reach those goals with our kids. Learning how to set short, medium and long term goals is very important This is a trait that will help our kids no matter what they do in life. Learning this valuable lesson is very important. We also teach the kids the never give up attitude. We'll in Lloyd Irvin's Thai Jiu-Jitsu program all of our kids have set a goal to achieve Black Belt and the fastest way to Black Belt in our program is through the Black Belt Club. Which both our very attainable goals for anybody. Now our children's short term goals are to get on the Black Belt Club and their Long term goals are to make it to Black Belt. "I believe that when you run a race there's only the starting line and the finish line. You have to make the decision if you going to enter the race. If you enter the race you can't say we'll I made it half way and quit, you either finished or you didn't. Whether you ever do it again is up to you." That's why I'll never run a Marathon because if I started I would finish and I never want to do a Marathon.

(Laughing:) Since the kid's really have limited if any say so in what their parents want them to do. I think it's the parent's responsibility to teach their children this learned behaviour. If a child is doing something and every time it gets difficult or the Childs mind wonders to something else a lot of parents just let the child move to the next thing. Not even knowing that they are teaching their child this behaviour of being able to quit, and not stick things out. Imagine if we lived in a world where everyone just quit whatever they were doing in life if things didn't go there way or things became difficult etc. Can you imagine that? We'll it's going to be like that if we don't teach the kids differently. One of my family members's called me to tell me that my little cousin wanted to quit football and she asked me what should she do. We'll I didn't think he was made for football anyway but I told her to make him finish the season which he did hating every minute of it but now it's over he's started bowling now and loves it. He'll probably never play football again but he knows what it's like to be involved in something, not like it and see it through to the finish. Kind of like some of my friends jobs. (HaHa). The one important thing is my cousin doesn't have a life experience of quitting, which is very important. I'm sorry that I got off of the subject but I really mean this from the bottom of my heart.

It's no problem Master Lloyd, it's not often that I meet people that are as passionate about what they do as you are.

Lloyd: We'll you see our kids have one goal they all want to achieve and that is reaching BLACK BELT. In order for our kids to reach the level of Black Belt one of the requirements are for them to develop and display black belt traits such as discipline, self-control, self-discipline, respect, have good listening skill, have great eye contact, have good manners, be a positive thinker just to name a few. Not only in our Martial arts school but at home, school and most importantly in life. We tell the kids that the more Black Belt traits they develop the easier it will be to reach their goal of Black Belt. Trait such as discipline, respect, self-Control, Self-Discipline, good manners, listening skills, Great eye contact are just some of the Black Belt traits. Kids are great imitators, when we tell the kids that Black Belts have good eye contact they immediately want to have good eye contact also. We tell them that when they're speaking with someone or vice versa to always maintain eye contact. We have games that reinforce these skills like the eye-contact game; each child has to talk to one of their classmates for 30 seconds or so about any subject. The objective is just not break eye contact the entire time and we stop the kids from fidgeting during the drill. If you break eye contact you do push up. They love this game. The next thing you know you have 4 and 5 year olds with rock solid eye contact, which is very rare. I see adult's everyday that don't have as good eye contact as some of my kids. In some job interviews if you break eye contact your resume will immediately go in the trash. Children have a remarkable ability to learn. Kids know all of the lyrics to the hottest songs but my struggle on their math timetables. I want to change that, if they want to learn the lyrics that's fine but I want them to want to learn the math also. That's just a small part of the big picture of what were doing. I forgot to mention that we have an anger management and conflict resolution program also.

What would you say is the biggest danger to children today?

Lloyd: Beside these sick people that prey on kids, I would say PEER PRESSURE. People have no idea how powerful and damaging PEER PRESSURE can be. One of our main focuses in the program is to teach our kids how to deal with Peer Pressure. That's why the After School program is so great. We deal with the kids almost everyday and you better believe that they deal with peer pressure everyday whether parents know it or not. If a child is scared to death of another kid or they're worried about there appearance or what ever pressure everyday whether parents know it or not. If a child is scared to death of another kid or they're worried about there appearance or what ever else is happening to them do you think they concentrate and give 100% to there school work. NO they can't. Most time kids won't even tell anyone that something is bothering them. Well I know better and my program empowers my student's everyday to stand up to these pressures. My students know that the reason people bully people is because they have low self esteem and there trying to make them selves feel better about themselves etc. These skills have to be taught and reinforced everyday. You can't stop while the kids are impressionable; when you do these pressures will catch up to them. When you see adults with low self-esteem and low self-confidence that is a direct result from their childhood. There a direct differences between someone whose faking confidence and someone who has confidence. It never stops World-class athletes and CEO of big business constantly strengthens these skills. Peer pressure can outright ruin a child.

How long should a child be involved in your program?

Lloyd: As long as the parent's want their child to receive the benefits that my program offers. Like I said before it's a never-ending situation with the kids if they stop the program, the situations that the child has to deal with will still be there so who's helping them deal with it. As long as someone help them it's fine, if no one is I don't think it's a good situation. Lloyd Irvin's Thai Jistsu program isn't a extra curricular activity, I'm here to keep kids out of Jail, Gangs, teach them how to deal with peer pressure, Bullies, keep them focused on their school work, stress the importance of making good grades, respecting adults and everything else that this generation of kids is missing. When kids look up to the latest Rap Super Star who's talking about selling drugs, disrespecting women, smoking weed, driving expensive cars etc. This is powerful and the kids want to do it and will if something doesn't change. Well I'm that change. Children have the utmost respect for their Martial arts Instructors. Our instructors have the children's attention and we teach positive traits that last a lifetime. Through out a childs life they're going to want to get involved with a lot of different activities, which the parents will control. The reason we have such a high retention rate at our school is because #1 the kids want to be here and #2 our parent's wouldn't let their kids quit or Thai Jitsu program. Example. If your child tells you that they don't want to brush their teeth or eat vegetables anymore, you won't let them stop doing that because as a parent you know the importance of both. It's the same thing with our program if a child wants to play another sport they can but our parents don't pull them out of our program. I believe that the children are our future and were committed to giving the children every possible chance at succeeding in life.

Is your After School Program affordable?

Lloyd: Yes, It's very affordable. The program is worth 100% more than we charge.

100% more worth the money you have to be exaggerating?

Lloyd: Well yes and No. Yes I'm exaggerating only because there no true value you can put on the service that I'm offering, to one parent it might be priceless to another parent it would be worth there entire life savings and to another parent it may be worth nothing.

How so?

Lloyd: Imagine if your child got involved in a gang and was killed. How much would you pay to bring them back? Would there be a price you could put on that? Looking at it from that perspective how much would you pay me to keep your child out of that gang?

Let's say Johnny got involved with drugs because he wanted a car like his favorite rap star, but Johnny got caught and ended up in jail. Johnny parents have to take loans out and get a 2nd mortgage on their home to pay for an attorney for Johnny. Johnny gets 15 years no parole. Looking at it from that perspective how much would've Johnny's parents paid me to have kept john away from drugs? Would they put a value on that? I hate to talk about situations like this but that is what I've seen, some parents haven't seen it and don't even look at it like an option of happening to their kids and when it does they don't know what happened. I'm doing everything in my power to make sure this doesn't happen.

What would a person that wants to get involved in your program have to do?

Lloyd: They would have to call the school make an appointment to come in and meet with my Mother (Mrs. Rose) for the After School Program. If there interested in the night time classes they would have to call the school and set up an introductory lesson with one of our Head Instructors.

Well thank you Master Lloyd this has been a great experience for me and I want to wish you the best of luck in the World Championship this month and don't forget that I want to do an interview about your adult program later.

Lloyd: Thank you, it was my pleasure. Just let me know when you want to do the next interview.

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Lloyd Irvin's Martial Arts Academy
6333 Old Branch Avenue, Suite 302
Camp Springs, MD 20748
(301) 449-KICK