Progressive Martial Arts (PMA) was founded in 1985 by Stewart Lauper. Opening our original doors at West 44th Avenue and Harlan Street, PMA’s population consisted of only 21 students. Moving to West 29th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in 1987, PMA became firmly rooted as a cornerstone northwest Denver business establishment – and a veritable anchor for the thousands of students who have walked through the doors over the past 30 years. Today, PMA has established itself as a premier and highly respected martial arts school.
Evolution of a School
About 16,000 students have trained under the instruction of Mr. Lauper and our senior staff, who together bring over seven decades of training experience to the school.
Mr. Lauper’s guiding belief that PMA is first a place to develop character, and a business a distant second, has driven this family-friendly learning place.
Our commitment to teaching respect, honesty, courtesy and discipline is evident in everything we do. We weave these timeless ideals into lessons about developing skills while creating life balance – building stronger bodies and character. Our approach has worked. Dozens of students tell us their lives have been significantly and permanently improved because of the lessons they learned and way they were treated at PMA.
We teach men, women and children of all ages, all abilities and all backgrounds. PMA’s youngest student was two-and-a-half years old, and the oldest was 82. Forty-seven students have achieved the rank of Black Belt – the youngest of whom was 18 years old, and the oldest, 62. These are important numbers to us, because they demonstrate that anyone with the dedication, motivation and desire to become a principled martial artist, and a life-long learner, can do so.
Over one-third of PMA’s students attend our school on full- or partial-scholarships. In every case, scholarships are granted for financial need. PMA recognizes that the kids who most need positive role models or activities in their lives very often come from families that cannot afford to pay for martial arts classes. No student with a desire to train has ever been denied a space at our school.
PMA’s environment and approach help students to become better martial artists and people. The school strives to help every person achieve his or her greatest potential, in every aspect of life, and instills the values and ethics that have been passed down through generations of martial artists.
These guiding principles are neatly reflected in Mr. Lauper’s words about Tiny Tigers (our youngest students): “We’re not trying to make them ‘Kings of the Ring,’ just excellent humans. And skill in martial arts increases that chance exponentially.”
PMA has directly served and help grow the martial arts community with fun, progressive, family-friendly classes that keep students coming back. But PMA has served the broader community as well.
We have organized extra-curricular activities, from children’s Easter egg hunts and summer day-camp programs, to women’s self-defense classes and guest speakers and workshops for adults. In our neighborhood, PMA has organized clean-up days, and generously sponsored sports teams and school fundraising events.
PMA students and teachers willingly help out neighbors in need – from strangers to friends – whether they need a hand moving, cleaning, shoveling or painting.
We encourage the community to check out these additional resources about PMA: