Everything Matters to Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith owns and operates Premier Martial Arts in Paducah. This former Marine lives a very structured life and stays in shape. Josh likes to wake up before the sunrise and strives to help his many students be successful. iMeet this local business owner who has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years.

Welcome to iMeet, Josh. Tell us about yourself…

I’m married to my beautiful wife Katie and we have two kids - 8 year old son Jackson & 15 month year old daughter Annakate. I also have a little dog named Rousey named after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter, Rhonda Rousey.

I’m obsessive about almost everything in my life. I live out my day by a task list. I’m very punctual - everything matters and has to be exact. I’m almost ritualistic where everything has to be done in a certain order and done a certain way. Some might call it OCD but I call it attention to details. I’m a former Marine and other Marines will understand.

Tell us about your business...

I own and teach at Premier Martial Arts in Paducah. I’ve been doing martial arts since I was about 4 -5 years old, so approximately 30 years.

Premier is a martial arts dojo but we specialize in personal development. I have plenty of competitive fighters training at my studio but overall I’d say our strength is in developing champions at life.

We have a huge kids program with predominantly kids ages 5-12. However... I have several adults too who are looking to improve their level of self-defense and fitness. So I believe martial arts is truly for everyone.

What was it that prompted you to start your business?

The business started by accident. I have been a competitive fighter most of my life. I was training kids here at the local level in Paducah via private lessons and it just sort of took off after I got five or 10 students. That was four years ago.

Where have you worked before now?

I worked on the river for a couple of years when I was in my younger 20s and then I worked as a sales rep for a large heating and air company.

I was in the Marines from 1999-2003. I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, and I was a digital switchboard operator 0614. The Marine Corps taught me how to not quit. How to persevere regardless of the circumstances. How to have discipline and do what other can’t or won’t. These have been super important principles to follow in business.

We hear that you’re a competitive fighter? Like MMA?

I’m a kickboxer. It’s different than MMA because we don’t fight on the ground - it's striking only. I compete all over the nation and I’m formerly the #1 ranked heavyweight champion. I was the number one ranked fighter in the world for the years 2014 and 2015 on the NASKA circuit which is the organization that promotes all the top tournaments in America.

Tell us about a typical day for you...

I wake up very early every day. My goal is to beat the sunrise. I read a daily devotional and write down my daily goals and then head to the gym for 30-40 minute workout. I’m really big on making sure that I’m physically, spiritually & psychologically fit. 

After my workout, I come home and make sure that I drive my son to school every day so that we can spend time together. Then I go to work for the rest of the day.

As a business owner I typically work 60 - 70 hours a week so it’s taxing on me. I find it important to follow a disciplined time schedule that allows me to prioritize family time as well as work

What's the best part of your job? What is the hardest?

The best part of my job is watching the transformation takes place within my students’ levels of confidence. I see kids are sometimes very nervous and they are able to overcome their fears through martial arts.

The hardest part of my job is watching kids who do not have strong family support, or proper parenting. Martial arts by its very nature attracts kids who are sometimes troubled and the parents are looking for a solution. It could be anything from ADHD, anger control problems, lack of confidence, etc. You get attached to the child and want to help them. It’s difficult when you can’t because their home life is just out of your control.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy competing in karate tournaments. Recently I’ve started jiu jitsu. I also enjoy eating with my family and riding motorcycles.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Oh.... I’d love to be a world traveler - I’d go to Cuba next week if I could!. If I could go anywhere in the world I’d travel to go to Italy.

Are you ready for summer or are you a fan of the cooler temps?

I love summer. I like to take the top off of my car. I love getting sun and wearing summer clothes. I don’t necessarily like Kentucky humidity in July but I’m used to it.

Wow. Josh, it was really nice to find out more about you and your studio. We wish you a lot of success with all those young people and with your kickboxing. Thanks for being our iMeet this week; we’re glad you’re part of what makes Paducah special! #iLovepaducah