Monday, October 23, 2017 
Megan Sharrow Columbus, WI Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Team BLAST, Jeet Kune Do
The first time I walked into THE BLAST, I was nervous and a little scared. My first class was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and even though my big brother was there with me, the thought of rolling around on the ...

History of THE BLAST Functional Martial Arts and Fitness

The Blast has always had great people and great martial arts from the beginning. The facility you see now is far from the start. Back in 2002 THE BLAST owner Mike Vaughn had a vision to eventually do his lifelong dream of teaching martial arts. Mike decided to move to Madison in 2002 thanks to a friend and the rest is history. We would like to share with you the steps it took to where THE BLAST is today. We are super proud of our great facility, awesome members and excellent training environment. Hang with us as we tell you how we got here.

Fitness Center

When Mike moved to Madison in 2002 he immediately began looking and calling for places to start teaching his martial arts which was Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing and Filipino Weaponry. Mike's idea was to build it up out of some sort of fitness center to get a student base. Then eventually open up his own school whenever it was possible. As Mike called different fitness centers they would turn him down one by one and Mike began to become very frustrated. Then in January of 2003 Rob West owner of Heroes Health and Fitness (Formerly Gold's Gym) called Mike and said he had times available in his aerobic room. Mike instantly jumped at the opportunity to have a place to teach his martial arts. Once Rob met Mike he wanted to employ Mike as supervisor and personal trainer at Heroes. These are the days when Mike learned about running a business, personal training, nutrition weightlifting and many other helpful hints. Mike started teaching classes at Heroes in March of 2003 and started with only 4 students. At this time Mike called his martial arts group Functional Martial Arts Systems. Eventually Mike built his student base to about 20 when he received shocking news in February of 2004. Heroes was closing its doors Mike would no longer have a job or a place to teach his students….

Community Center

After the shocking news that Heroes was closing and Mike had no place to teach his students, he immediately started searching for another facility. Mike was then appointed to a community center in Maple Bluff. Surprisingly Mike still signed up students and had the headache of hauling equipment back and forth. Mike explains these days as, "Those were the days when they would double book the gymnasium. I would then have to cancel my classes for the night because some dance class was scheduled during my time." Mike began to get frustrated and started looking for his own facility to start his lifelong dream of teaching martial arts for his living.

The Cave

In March of 2004 Mike found a old retail building on Monona Drive across from Monona Grove High School. This building was run down and wasn't really meant to be a martial arts school. It was a open room with about 1000 square feet. Mike decided that the price was right and since he would be taking a chance to get his dream he would have to start small. So Mike signed a lease on a Friday the first weekend in March of 2004 and was teaching classes there on that following Monday. This was the start of it all for Mike as it was a place for him to train and teach his students. Many things had to happen in this facility, carpet needed to be torn out, walls need to be painted, the floor needed to be scraped off, equipment need to be put in and many other needs. Step by step Mike worked with what he had and continued to turn that little space into a nice little facility. At this time Mike changed the name from Functional Martial Arts Systems to Functional Martial Arts Academy. Mike taught at this facility till September of 2005 when another catastrophe took place. Mike received a call from one of his students that his facility was flooded. Mike thought they were playing a joke and immediately rushed down to find his facility flooded with water. The showers of the apartments above his facility exploded and all the water ended up in the academy. Luckily Mike had looked at different spot before to move his school. Now with the flood Mike decided it was time to move again. His student base was growing immensely and it was time to upgrade.


Now you see Mike's journey at its finest. Mike moved to the last BLAST location in September of 2005. He decided to change the name from Functional Martial Arts Academy to THE BLAST Functional Martial Arts and Fitness. This is something that Mike thought about for a long time. BLAST meant Body Life Achievement Sports Training for martial arts and fitness. In the beginning, THE BLAST facility was very plain. We repainted the facility added in Muay Thai Bags, Boxing Ring and a Proshop. Mike actually had his own office which he did not have at THE CAVE. His office was in his studio apartment back then.

In January 2008, THE BLAST moved to a larger facility on the east side of Madison. This new location had enough space for an office, kids room and to run two classes at once. Mike is constantly looking to improve his school and what THE BLAST can offer its students, so this was a great step in the right direction.

Most recently, THE BLAST moved to the West side of Madison to team up with L.I.F.Training, a athletic performance facility run by colleagues and friends of Mike. Again, Mike wanted to offer more options to his members and this move opened up the door to an athletic club with top of the line strength and conditioning equipment. In addition to the new training equipment, members have the opportunity to have 24/7 gym access in addition to the knowledge L.I.F.Training instructors can offer. Never quitting and always looking to make improvements, Mike continues to train in all his martial arts, teach seminars, teach most of the classes and compete in competitions. Mike is looking to start his own DVD series and start teaching seminars nationally and internationally.

Free Martial Arts Private Lesson Private Lessons and Personal Training Sign Up for Martial Arts Newsletter