Part One: 30 Years of Martial Arts in Middleburg

In a move that epitomizes their unwavering dedication to community growth, Middleburg Martial Arts has merged with Ripple Effect Martial Arts. Now operating under the name Ripple Effect Martial Arts Middleburg, this united team, nurtured by the founding principles of Middleburg, embarks on an exciting new chapter.

Under the esteemed leadership of Middleburg’s founder, Master Jan Lappin, the legacy of excellence continues to flourish. Guided by Master Lappin’s daughter, Master Rachael Macy, and her husband, Master Greg Macy, the school’s vision of cultivating resilient leaders in the community remains steadfast. Together, they weave the fabric of tradition and innovation, blending the rich heritage of Middleburg with the dynamic spirit of Ripple Effect Martial Arts. This union symbolizes a commitment to collective progress, where the shared values of discipline, respect, and camaraderie propel individuals toward personal growth and community upliftment.

Join us in a two-part blog series celebrating Master Jan Lappin and Ripple Effect Martial Arts Middleburg. Read Part 2 here.

Located in a historic city in northeast Florida lies a pillar of the community: Middleburg Martial Arts. Over the past 30 years, the school has produced hundreds of black belts, including multiple generations of black belts, in the discipline of Tang Soo Do.

In 2021, Ripple Effect Martial Arts drew upon the Middleburg tradition by opening a new Tang Soo Do school in nearby Fleming Island, Florida. Students from Middleburg were invited to train and compete at Ripple Effect, and vice versa. Over the past three years, the two schools have partnered to provide donations and volunteer drives that have produced thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours in support of local schools, teachers, and non-profits.

This is a testament to the positive impact of martial arts. Along the course of three decades, Middleburg Martial Arts (now Ripple Effect) has made its mark not only on the lives of students and their families but on the community itself. The school’s founder, 5th-degree black belt Master Jan Lappin, recently talked about the origins of the school and some of her proudest moments as an instructor. She has stories about a student who earned a full scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, another who became her high school’s valedictorian, and another who began training in his early teens and is now in his 2nd year of dental school.

These students claim their black belt training at Middleburg as key to their success in other parts of life. And their stories are representative of the positive life courses of hundreds of other students and families. There are several reasons why Ripple Effect Martial Arts has impacted these students’ lives and the community at large. These include:

  • Providing Positive Role Models: Middleburg has always chosen instructors who have the capacity to lead. This began with Master Lappin and her late husband upon the founding of the school. Master Lappin has since written a book that draws on her experience as an instructor and businesswoman to provide life-long lessons on leadership. Some adult instructors have advanced degrees in History and Education, bringing knowledge from these disciplines to the student body, and thus into the greater community. The school’s instructors live the lessons they teach to kids, and kids respect the leadership and positive attitudes they model in and out of class. Inspired by this nurturing influence, many students aim to become instructors themselves.
  • Teaching Discipline and Respect: Martial arts emphasize discipline, respect for oneself and others, and adherence to a code of conduct. This is particularly true of Ripple Effect Martial Arts and its discipline of Tang Soo Do, a traditional martial art that has roots deep in Korean culture. These values translate into respectful behavior within the local community, fostering a sense of harmony and cooperation among its members.
  • Inspiring Self-Confidence and Empowerment: Through training and practice, black belt students develop increasing self-confidence, which can positively impact their interactions within the community. At first, a student may be too nervous to speak in front of an audience of one; after training for years to earn a black belt, they’re giving a commencement speech to their entire graduating class. As students become more confident in their physical and mental abilities, they are more likely to engage with others, take on leadership roles, and contribute positively to their communities in all kinds of meaningful ways.
  • Fostering Camaraderie and Social Connection: The best marital arts schools create a culture that’s unique. Everyone is invited to join and contribute and reap the benefits. If you can commit to the experience of earning a black belt, the school’s community will help you achieve it. Ripple Effect Martial Arts instructors, students, and families have demonstrated this rare camaraderie for decades, and the partnership promises to continue well into the future.

On top of all this, of course, is the pure fun of practicing martial arts. Master Lappin, now in semi-retirement, knows the benefits of having fun and has always built enjoyment into the curriculum. Kids smile as they overcome challenges. Instructors smile as they hand out well-earned medals and trophies and high-fives. Parents smile as their children receive that 1st (or 2nd, or 3rd) degree black belt. As Master Lappin returns to the schools in Middleburg and Fleming Island as they grow in the coming years, you can bet you’ll see a smile on her face.

Every black belt journey has its own remarkable milestones, and we’re so proud that the tradition of Ripple Effect Martial Arts in Middleburg will continue. Find out for yourself what the black belt journey can mean for you, your family, and your community too.

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