Move Over, Mr. Miyagi – This Martial Arts School In Hartwell Is Training Champions

exclusive

You might think Hartwell, Ga is an unlikely place to find a world-class martial arts studio, but Chuck and Carolina Cawthon’s dojo has all the accolades and championship belts to prove it.

Tucked off the main drag and spanning 7000 square feet, Contemporary Martial Arts has dozens of champion students in competitive martial arts, mixed martial arts, and kickboxing. They even continue to coach students who move on to the professional fighting ring.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our privacy policy here.
contemporary martial arts students fighting in a boxing ring

Contemporary Martial Arts In Hartwell, Ga

CMA was founded in 1996 making 2021 its 25th year in existence. Just 2 years after opening, CMA earned the title for 15th best karate gym in the world. Yes, you read that right, in the entire world!

From 2014-2016, Chuck was named the MMA Coach of the Year in Georgia. After 2016, his students had won so many competitions that other dojos refused to fight them. That led them to travel to other parts of the country to compete, and some of their fighters are so good, many still won’t take them on in the ring.

CMA offers classes for ages 3 and up, and we mean all the way up. Chuck says he has students in their 70s who are still kicking ass. From martial arts to health and fitness, classes are available in all areas of ringed combat and self-defense.

About The Owners

Chuck Cawthon competitive martial arts champion and trainer

Owners of CMA are husband and wife, Chuck and Carolina Cawthon. Chuck Cawthon, a Hartwell native, received his black belt in 1993. Through his work at CMA, Chuck not only instructs kids on how to fight and defend themselves, but he also helps kids with behavior issues to learn self-discipline, respect, and confidence.

Chuck is not just a martial arts role model, he is a testament to the power of the mind. At a young age, Chuck’s family was ripped apart by drugs and crime. He was adopted by his grandparents who cared for him while he endured many years of surgery and cancer treatment due to Hodgkin’s disease.

Many would have given up hope, but even when he was in a wheelchair and doctors said he’d never have full use of his feet and ankles, Chuck says he never doubted that he would be up and running one day. Throughout the ordeal, the medical treatments took a toll on his grandparent’s finances and health.

chuck cawthon and brandon cathon after winning muay thai tournament

After his grandfather suffered a heart attack and went through his own medical crisis, Chuck and his family moved into the low-income housing projects where violence and crime were a nightly affair. Chuck got into a few fights with kids from his neighborhood, and that’s when his grandfather enrolled him in taekwondo classes. Chuck fell in love with the sport from the first class and knew he’d found his calling.

The rest, as they say, is history, and many years later Chuck humbly downplays his own strength focusing only on how he can help other kids rather than his tragic past.

But no man is an island.

As if by fate, Chuck’s path collided with Carolina’s in the 1990s, and if there were ever two soul mates, these two are them. The couple met when Carolina brought her kids to train with Chuck, and they hit it off right away.
Carolina is a fighter in her own right. Despite dropping out of high school and facing divorce, poverty, and parenthood at a very young age, Carolina has now earned a bachelor degree in dietetics with a biochemistry minor, a doctorate in Foods and Nutrition, is a registered dietitian, and became a Georgia State Kickboxing Champion at the age of 42. Carolina is currently a postdoctoral trainee in the psychology Dept at FSU.
The pair offers not just martial arts training but can help their clients in many areas of health and wellness.

CMA’s Champions

We started out talking about training champions and taking a tour of Chuck and Carolina’s dojo you’re greeted with all the medals and belts to prove it. Here are some of the most well-known champions from CMA.
 
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS CRITIC’S CHOICE TRAINER OF THE YEAR 2015
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE GYM OF THE YEAR 2014
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE TRAINER OF THE YEAR 2014
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS CRITIC’S CHOICE TRAINER OF THE YEAR 2014
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE MALE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR 2014
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS PEOPLE’S CHOICE BREAKTHROUGH FIGHTER OF THE YEAR 2014
  • GEORGIA FIGHTERS CRITIC”S CHOICE BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR 2014
  • US SE ISKA LIGHTWEIGHT MMA CHAMPION
  • US ISKA WELTERWEIGHT MUAY THAI CHAMPION
  • US ISKA LIGHTWEIGHT KICKBOXING CHAMPION
  • ISKA GEORGIA STATE WOMEN’S KICKBOXING CHAMPION
  • IKF LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF MEN’S WELTERWEIGHT MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR GIRL’S MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR BOY’S MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR BOY’S MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR BOY’S NOVICE MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR BOY’S NOVICE MUAY THAI WORLD CHAMPION
  • IKF JUNIOR BOY’S NOVICE INTERNATIONAL RULES WORLD CHAMPION
  • WKA JUNIOR GIRL’S K-1 CHAMPION
  • WKA JUNIOR BOY’S K-1 CHAMPION
  • WKA JUNIOR BOY’S GLORY RULES CHAMPION
  • USMTA FEATHERWEIGHT FULL RULES MUAY THAI CHAMPION
  • USMTA LIGHT WEIGHT MUAY THAI TOURNAMENT CHAMPION
  • USMTA FEATHERWEIGHT MUAY THAI TOURNAMENT CHAMPION
  • GFC FLYWEIGHT(125 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • GFC BANTAMWEIGHT(135 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • GFC LIGHTWEIGHT(155 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • GFC MIDDLEWEIGHT(185 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • GFC LIGHTHEAVYWEIGHT(205 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • IT FIGHT SERIES(CHICAGO) LIGHTHEAVYWEIGHT (205 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • VALOR FIGHTS FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
  • VALOR FIGHTS PRO FIGHTER OF THE YEAR(CEEJAY HAMILTON)
  • USFFC FEATHERWEIGHT (145 LBS) MMA CHAMPION
chuck cawthon with CeeJay Hamilton, GFC MMA Champion, Valor Pro MMA Champion, NFC Pro MMA Champion, Tennesee Fighter of the Year
 

Join the CMA gym

If you’re ready to learn from the best, visit Contemporary Martial Arts online or reach out to schedule a visit. You won’t find a better place for training, inspiration, and support.

Contemporary Martial Arts

99 Nancy Dr,
Hartwell, GA 30643
Telephone: (706) 376-5544
E-mail: cmahartwell@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Leave a Reply