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
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
Do you have both male and female
Lloyd: Yes, I think about 40%
of our students are female.
What's the difference between the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.