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.

1937
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.

1938 – 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.

1941 – 1945
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.

1946 – 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.

1949
1961

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

1961
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.

2001
2002

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

2002
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.

2002 – 2005
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.

2006
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. 

2007 – Present

READY FOR YOUR FREE TRIAL NOW?

THE ARENA APP

  • Live Schedule
  • Special Promotions
  • Personal Account
  • Unique Rewards
  • Latest News
  • And Much More
About The Arena

The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction, offering one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. With over 150 weekly classes in 10 disciplines and specialized training for Amateur and Professional fighters, our programs are run by some of the top coaches on the planet in one of the best sports facilities in the USA.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110

Free Trial (A) Footer

  • GET YOUR FREE TRIAL YET?