45-year-old George “Relic” Maybroda (2-0) is a formidable figure both inside and outside of the ring. He began training in martial arts at the age of 12 and has since achieved the ranks of 4th Master Tang Soo Do, 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, and blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. As the owner and chief instructor of two martial arts schools, there is no questioning Maybroda’s passion and dedication to the fighting lifestyle. We had a few questions for the hard-hitting heavyweight ahead of his kickboxing bout for USKA (United States Kickboxing Alliance) this Saturday.
Fighting Stance Media: What is motivating you to compete at this time in your life?
George Maybroda: I have always wanted to do full-contact kickboxing but, for whatever reason, never found an avenue to pursue it until later in life when I met my coach (Kru Joe Stripling) and started training Muay Thai with him. Many of my heroes over the years were kickboxers such as Andy Hug and Ramon Dekkers. I think I mainly wanted my son to see me compete.
FSM: You aren’t new to the combat sports scene; what other martial arts have you competed in previously?
Maybroda: My personal competition background involved Point Karate and Olympic-style Tae Kwon Do. I competed heavily in the 1990s up until about 2008 when my son was born. The highlight of my tournament career was in 1998 when I earned a B-rated seed for Tae Kwon Do Team trials through AAU competition.
FSM: Have you found that there are any major differences from traditional martial arts competition?
Maybroda: Pleasantly I think that there haven’t been major differences between traditional tournament karate and kickboxing thus far. Everyone has been extremely respectful, conducting themselves in a manner that honors our traditions.
FSM: Have you faced any opposition throughout this journey?
Maybroda: Everyone has been extremely supportive of my pursuit. I have an awesome team of people who support me. Everyone has said, “If it’s something you really want, then go do it.” I think that’s vital in anything that you do, to surround yourself with people who support you and hold you accountable with your goals. The only real challenge was finding a way to get my medicals done affordably; because of my age I have a battery of things to do, but the awesome people at my doctor’s office and Cardio Kinetics in Newark Delaware, they all helped make it possible.
FSM: What has been the biggest surprise about competing so far?
Maybroda: How quiet it is in the ring…I normally don’t hear anything. It’s like you step into another world with the other guy, and the world closes. It’s an experience that I am grateful for. Before and during the fight feelings are what they are, but the moment I step out of the ring I feel like the other guy is a brother. In the end, we are all warriors. Much respect to anyone with the guts to step up and take that chance to find out who they really are.
FSM: How do you juggle owning a school (and now opening a new one) with being an active fighter?
Maybroda: I own two schools: Maybroda’s Iron Circle Martial Arts in Malvern, PA, and Cornerstone Martial Arts in Hockessin, DE. I am constantly moving and training between schools. I enjoy life at this pace. My Tang Soo Do instructor, Master Godwin (who was also my employer for almost 20 years) taught me not just martial arts but also how to run a business effectively and build a great team. It’s tough at times, but everything is. I think the great lie of life is that people think that life gets easier; it doesn’t. If life appears or feels like things are easy, it really means that you have become stronger…and the pursuit of strength in all things is never ending.
FSM: As an instructor, what would you say is your greatest achievement?
Maybroda: My greatest accomplishment as a trainer and school owner is that I have many students who now do this profession that I love successfully, and they have all surpassed me technically. My students have become great teachers and are great people. My cup runneth over and I have been blessed to be their teacher.
FSM: You mentioned that you have a team of very supportive people behind you. Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
Maybroda: My biggest supporters without a doubt have to be my wife and my son. I train six days a week, whether I am in camp or not, and I can be not so fun to deal with at times. They have been my rock. I have also had many world-class instructors since I started who have helped me greatly. Obviously Kru Joe Stripling from Chok Dee Athletics, but also Kru Dennis Nouansavanh from Hellfish and Kru Bill Algeo from Algeo MMA. I also have to say that nothing would have been possible if it weren’t for Kru Eric Karner from Nak Muay–he is like the Muay Thai Godfather. I am indebted to him for all that he has made possible for my teammates and I. Also, my Tang Soo Do instructors, Master John Godwin and Master Rob Kloss. Lastly, a huge thank you to Matt Evans, Irv Althouse, and Jen Heffentrager who have gone out of their way to find me fights. I am blessed with great people.
Come out to USKA Fight Night at the Allentown Econolodge this Saturday, April 22nd, to see George in action!