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ALTON - When Adam Marburger opened Alton Family Martial Arts & Fitness, he was determined to make a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

Now, the gym is known throughout the community as the place to be for kickboxing, jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts and more. They also offer yoga classes, women’s self-defense classes and adult beginner classes, and Marburger emphasizes that everyone is welcome no matter what your skill level is.

“Going into these gyms, it’s very intimidating. So how do we reach the masses? How do we help people with the life-changing, I’d say life-saving at some level, gift of jiu jitsu?” Marburger explained. “We wanted to create a very friendly, family atmosphere, and that’s what we have there. If you show up, we’re smiling, we’re loving on you, we’re hugging on you. Every class is beginner-friendly so you could literally have no clue what you’re doing and show up and you’re going to be welcomed.”

Marburger is eager to share martial arts with others because the sport has been so influential in his own life. He points to jiu jitsu as a major confidence booster. He also believes that it gave him the discipline he needed to succeed in his career.

“I credit martial arts for the majority of my success,” he added. “I’ve got God-given abilities, I have a circle of influence that helps me beyond measure, but then I have this martial arts, and this martial arts has given me discipline, structure, organization, understanding that when things get tough it’s not as tough as you really think it is, the mind is stronger than the body. Martial arts has instilled this indestructible confidence and what martial arts gave me was this: It gave me a leg up on my competition.”

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The students at Alton Family Martial Arts & Fitness tend to agree with him. The gym offers classes every day of the week. Marburger is especially proud of the yoga classes, which are gaining popularity every Saturday morning, and the new women’s self-defense classes taught on Sunday afternoons.

These women-only classes teach the fundamentals of jiu jitsu with an emphasis on self-defense. But while the Sunday afternoon classes are geared toward this, Marburger pointed out that every class is a chance to learn how to defend yourself. He doesn’t condone violence, but he does advocate for confidence-building and self-defense where needed.

“Let us bully-proof your kids,” he said. “You’re going to build confidence by doing it, you’re going to get in better shape by doing it, you’re going to make new friends by doing it, and your life is going to improve by just doing it. Having that ability to have a basic understanding of how to defend yourself really changes things.”

This is why Marburger invites beginners to come by a class and try it for themselves. There are adult beginner jiu jitsu classes on Fridays and Saturdays, and you can enjoy a weeklong free trial period while you check out the gym and see what you like.

As part of the family atmosphere, Marburger also noted that they are eager to celebrate the wins of their students and coaches, including Coach Cort Wahle, who oversees most of the training at the gym. Marburger credits the team for the continued success of Alton Family Martial Arts & Fitness, and he is excited to watch the gym grow in the coming years.

“There’s a reason why family is in the name. We sat down in 2017, we’re like, ‘Here, we want to provide high quality training, we want good quality individuals,’” Marburger remembered. “We have a really, really, really great thing going…We just have a team. It’s all about the team. One person can’t do it but a team can. A team can do anything, and we just have such a great thing going on right now.”

For more information, visit the official Alton Family Martial Arts & Fitness website at

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