From a young age Ryan Crawford, owner of Warriors Legacy Martial Arts in Paris, knew one thing…that he wanted to be a protector.
Protect his mother. Protect his sister. Protect America.
And those values and want to protect others hasn’t changed since the day he decided he would be a protector.
“I always had this want to protect and keep people safe,” said Ryan.
From protecting his family to fighting for America, Ryan is now passing on all he has learned to his students at Warriors Legacy Martial Arts.
“In our classes, we teach and cover many things from learning martial arts and self-safety to self-growth and confidence,” said Ryan.
There is no “sugar-coating” in his classes either.
“It’s about creating a positive image to send out to the world. Our students have to be able to tell me the core tenants at each class – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.”
A positive image Ryan learned through, what you could say, the hard way.
Born in Staten Island, New York, Ryan started learning martial arts when he was seven years old.
“I wanted to protect my mother and sister from an abusive father,” explained Ryan. “I had also gotten knocked around a lot as a kid and I saw martial arts as a way to not only protect myself but for them as well.”
However, for Ryan, learning how to “fight” wasn’t about fighting his father but having the confidence to stand up and make him stop.
“My first instinct was to always put myself between him and my sister. My mother showed us that this was not right and that what my dad was doing was not normal. She was a positive image for us growing up and I wanted to protect her and my sister.”
When Ryan was in the seventh grade, the family moved to Paris to take care of their grandmother who had cancer.
“Paris is truly home to us though. Our family has been in this area since the early 1900’s.”
Even though their father stayed in New York, the abuse continued to for years when Ryan and his sister had to visit him.
But Ryan quickly learned how to defend not only himself but his sister as well and soon the abuse stopped.
By the time Ryan turned 18-years-old, he was a two-time National Champion with NASKA and the will to protect people had moved from his mother and sister to America.
“I knew that I could keep my family safe from whatever came our way and that’s why I joined the military – I knew I could keep more than just my family safe.”
Signing up two months before he graduated in 2005, Ryan joined the Army National Guard and went into the mobile infantry.
“I served for six years total and was deployed for 13 of those months in Balad, Iraq. We did search and rescue missions during Hurricane Ike and Gustav in 2008 and in 2011 I got out.”
After serving, Ryan then turned his focus on helping others and teaching them what he had learned.
“When I went to basic training I had just come off my National Championships and I started realizing the holes in what I had learned already,” explained Ryan. “When I came off basic training I started looking at other art forms and started looking at kickboxing and jiu-jitsu.”.
Since that day, Ryan has trained and worked with some of the best in the country including Master Toddy and Michael West.
“Michael is still my coach and he has taught me valuable lessons and how to take all the different arts I’ve done and bring them together, so the flow is a lot better.”
While Ryan had taught martial arts since he was 18-years-old, he launched Warriors Legacy Martial Arts in Paris in 2016.
“Martial arts was created for the small man to stand up to the larger man. Honor and integrity are rare things, and this is my attempt to bring this back one kid at a time, one student at a time, making it a better world.”
One thing Ryan stands firm on is the Warrior Creed.
“It’s a promise, not just a saying and I have the kids say this before every class.”
I have self-discipline and take responsibility for my actions an attitude.
I will use martial arts in defense of myself or others and never for selfish reasons.
Through my training, I am mentally tough, physically strong and morally straight.
In my daily life, I will strive to embody the principals of courtesy, integrity perseverance self-control and indomitable spirit.
I will be a leader among my friends, and through my actions will bring honor to my family and teacher.
Warriors Legacy Martial Arts classes are currently held at Paris Fitness and Aquatics in the evenings Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Classes included adult Muay Thai kickboxing, kids Thai kickboxing, and grappling classes.
For more information on classes and times, contact Ryan Crawford at 903-669-8710