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Spartanburg Martial Arts

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We Help Parents Raise Confident Leaders
& Adults Reach Their True Potential!

Since 1991, Spartanburg Martial Arts has provided its members with a road map to success based on self-defense, confidence and goal-setting skills.


465 East Blackstock Road, Spartanburg, SC 29301

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SMA Karate

Hi, we are Rick and Nicki Lee.


We remember when we were children, feeling uncertainty about beginning martial arts, and we wondered if we had what it took to succeed. We weren't the most athletic or confident children - quite the opposite. Little did we know that beginning our martial arts journey would be one of the most profound experiences of our lives!

When we opened our school in 1991, we made a commitment to serving and empowering the community of Spartanburg by teaching children and adults the confidence, leadership, and fitness skills that can only be achieved through martial arts.

We Share & teach The Same Values You Teach At Home.

Our programs have a strong focus on personal development. The foundations of our morals, values and core character traits are formed in our early years. For this reason, the programs at Spartanburg Martial Arts are an essential way to enhance the growth and personal development of young students of all ages. 

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You may have experienced boredom with your usual fitness routine or reached a plateau in your performance or physical fitness results. Our adult programs are the perfect alternative to a boring gym routine, as they help you develop into your maximum potential both physically and mentally by providing real-life self-defense strategies in a fun, focused environment. 

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Spartanburg Martial Arts

Visit Our 20,000 Square Foot Facility!

Spartanburg Martial Arts has very humble beginnings. The first classes met in Mr. Lee's basement in 1991. Eventually the school moved to a small building on Reidville Road in Spartanburg, SC.  The studio did not have heat or air conditioning and the floors were covered in second hand carpet. Bo staff classes were often held on the front lawn.

The first commercial SMA studio was built in 1994 on Hidden Hill Road in Spartanburg. The location was 4000 s/f and had all of the modern day amenities. A couple years later a second location was opened in the Boiling Springs community. Mrs. Lee became the manager of the Boilings Springs location and The Kickin' Kids After School Program was created there under her direction. Fast forward a few more years and a third SMA location was created on the Eastside of Spartanburg. SMA also operated satellite classes at Spartanburg Day School, Cowpens Elementary, Spartanburg Athletic Club, and the Gaffney YMCA.  At its peak SMA was home to nearly a thousand enthusiastic martial arts students of all ages.

Eventually Mr. and Mrs. Lee's own personal family grew, so they decided to simplify life and combine their operation to one, central location. SMA now operates in a beautiful, state of the art, 20,000 s/f training center located on the "Westside" of Spartanburg (465 East Blackstock Road).

What Makes Spartanburg Martial Arts Different From other
Karate & Taekwondo Schools?

We focus on the personal development aspect of martial arts, not just self-defense techniques.

Our instructors are all certified black belts, and are qualified to teach martial arts at a high level.

Our facility is always clean and features a viewing area for parents, as well as matted floors throughout.

Our Promise at Spartanburg Martial Arts:

To Train in the
Highest Quality Martial Arts
Program Available

To Focus On
Personal Development
in a Positive Environment

To Offer Programs
Accessible & Enjoyable
by People of Any Age

What to Expect

There are a few simple things that make a good martial arts school a great one. We work very hard every day to fulfill each of these preceding items, which allows our students to receive best experience possible. Here's what it takes, and what you can expect when you walk through our doors for the first time:

Knowledgeable, Passionate Instructors

When hand-picking our instructors, we look for a few key traits: a passion for martial arts, passion for teaching, a great personality, and expertise. Our instructors truly care about you and your experience. They're here for every question you have and every challenge that arises. They'll push you to try your hardest, and motivate you to surpass your limits. Nothing beats having a great teacher - and we have the best.


Finally, it takes the right people to make an amazing community. The environment at our school attracts people who are open minded, enjoy socializing with one another, and who enjoy having fun. The parents whose kids train with us are caring and supportive. The adults who train with us are kind and fun. It's like a family here, and we would love for you to become a part of it.

Browse around our website and learn about our programs. When you find the one that's right for you, you can sign up for a trial and get started ASAP. Call and let us know if you have any questions.  We can't wait to meet you in person.

A Clean, Up-to-Date Facility

The best teachers in the world won't make up for a dirty facility with run-down equipment. That's why, every day, we thoroughly clean our studio and check our equipment to make sure it's in good working order.

  • Spartanburg Martial Arts owner

    Rick Lee


  • Joshua Bailey

    Joshua Bailey

    Head Instructor

  • Jesse Tesh

    Jesse Tesh

    General Manager/Instructor

  • Terry Stevens

    Terry Stevens

    Volunteer Instructor

  • Paul Tsabounieris

    Paul Tsabounieris

    Volunteer Instructor