OUR STORY

THE HISTORY OF THE OLDEST MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL IN NORTH AMERICA

1937

Our founder, Aloysius C. Holtmann from Iowa, enlists in USMC at age 21. Graduates MCRD in San Diego and stationed in Hawaii.

1938 – 1940

Corporal Holtmann trains in Hawaii with Seishiro (Henry) Okazaki, founder of Danzan-Ryu Jujutsu. Receives Black Belt and Mokoroku (teaching certificate) May 5, 1940.

1941 – 1945

US enters World War II. Sergeant Holtmann fights in some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific, including Battles of Guam and Okinawa. Receives multiple field promotions.

1946 – 1949

Sergeant Major Holtmann retires from USMC in 1946. Attends and graduates from SDSU in 1949. Teaches Judo at San Diego YMCA until 1949.

1949

Sensei Holtmann opens the Southern California School of Judo and Ju Jitsu (now The Arena). Will become the oldest continually operating Martial Arts school in North America. See history of Judo in San Diego here and here.

1961

Sensei Holtmann featured in first issue of Black Belt Magazine. Goes on to appear in Black Belt numerous times over next 3 decades.

2001

Sensei Holtmann dies at age 85 on December 19, 2001. Taught Judo and Ju Jitsu to over 100,000 students during a 7 decade teaching career.

2002

Sensei Holtmann posthumously awarded Rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt) from Kodokan Judo headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

2002 – 2005

Sensei Gene Mauro runs the school until his passing in August 2005. A retired Air Force vet and SDPD officer, he was a Shichidan (7th Degree Black Belt) and former National Heavyweight Judo Champion.

2006

After 57 years, the school moves from 30th Street to 3350 Sports Arena Blvd in San Diego. Changes name to The Arena. Expands programs to include Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai, Strength & Conditioning and Wrestling.

2007 – Present

The Arena grows to becomes the largest Combat Sports gym in North America. Its’ continued mission is to be the leading center in the world for Martial Arts training.

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA

Free Trial (A) Footer

  • GET YOUR FREE TRIAL YET?