An integral part of business life in the heart of downtown Winchester, Tennessee for nearly four decades, Bunny’s Gym and Bunny's MMA has long been a key source of personal development for both youths and adults alike. The gym's various programs have played a key role in spreading awareness of self-defense techniques through the application of various martial combat forms. For 40 years Bunny’s Gym has espoused and expounded one main theme: no one is helpless.
Anyone should be able to and can learn to defend his or herself, and Master Hawkersmith is a firm believer that anyone can learn to harness and control their latent potential for power by learning to use their body effectively.
Bunny’s Gym and, more specifically, Bunny’s MMA program, has gone on to world-wide acclaim. Bunny’s Children's MMA program has been featured on network television in multiple countries, including the U.K., France, Spain and Germany, as well as having been featured on such shows as Inside Edition here in the United States. More of such accomplishments and recognition are listed in the bio for Master Hawkersmith.
Our philosophy at Bunny’s Gym is a twofold one: 1) Develop our students into the best fighter he or she can possibly be, while 2) instilling in them the appreciation of the art of non-violence. Knowing and realizing your potential are two aspects in living a happy, full, safer life. Abusing your power is something our school never condones, nor accepts. We make it our goal to help in the development of people, not bullies and animals.
About Master Bunny Hawkersmith
Master Bunny Hawkersmith
Master Trainer, Founder & Owner of Bunny's Gym
Master Bunny Hawkersmith became fascinated with martial arts in the late 60s at the young age of 12 while working at a pool hall in his hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, where regular fights were held. As a teenager, he saw his first film with martial arts, Our Man Flint, starring James Coburn. From that day on he had a burning desire to learn martial arts. Other films such as Billy Jack and those starring the legendary Bruce Lee only helped fuel that desire.
At 17 he started his martial arts career with a Korean master of Taekwondo. After several years of strenuous training and changing Masters a few times, he fell under the tutelage of Korean Grandmaster Seoung Shin, of the World Taekwondo Federation, who he is still with today.
At first he had assumed—thanks to all of those films he had eaten up—that martial arts were all about fighting. He soon learned this was not the case, however. In fact there was much more to martial arts than simply having “fighting skills”. He learned that martial arts are a way of life that teaches life skills and aids in the development of positive thinking, self-esteem and confidence, that helps build the strength of character necessary to not just survive, but to grow and succeed.
In his Taekwondo training he learned of inner peace and the true strength of non-violence when confronted with a potentially violent situation, to resolve a situation with physical contact only as a last resort. Conducting oneself with honor has become a staple of Master Hawkersmith’s teachings.
He would go on to create the very first ranking system for Mixed-Martial Arts as recognized by the International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association (ISKA) as well as the first children’s MMA program in the country. He also created the United Fighters Alliance, dedicated to bringing together all MMA training schools.
Master Hawkersmith’s continued motivation for all he works tirelessly to accomplish is best summed up in his own words:
"My biggest reward in my career has been seeing the development of the children I have worked with. No reward comes close to seeing our children develop the manners, attitude, morals and self-confidence necessary to succeed in life, and knowing I played some small role in helping guide them to that place.
I have spent the majority of my life helping others to be happy and live more productive, satisfying lives. It will always be my firm belief that family and love for one another comes first."
--Master Bunny Hawkersmith
Accomplishments and Recognition
- Has dedicated his life to martial arts for over 42 years, working hard the entire time to help continue the growth of martial arts in this country.
- Has had a prolific MMA career, with many championships and awards under his belt. His MMA and children's MMA programs have been the subject of numerous magazines and TV shows.
- Has studied many styles of martial arts and is a 6 Dan black belt in Taekwondo, holding a Master’s Degree with the World Taekwondo Federation.
- Has won many martial arts championships as a competitor during his career.
- Has spent his life training others in the martial arts, including competition champions, members of all branches of law enforcement, district attorneys, circuit, sessions and city judges, country music singers, and movie stars.
- Held seminars on rape prevention, elderly protection and child safety.
- Held demonstrations for schools, corporations, colleges, clubs and organizations.
- Has given lectures to circuit drug courts to help motivate and change the lives of people who made mistakes and needed positive guidance.
- Held martial arts tournaments for charity.
- Judged hundreds of martial arts tournaments.
- His Taekwondo team won gold medals at the U.S. National Olympics.
- Was named instructor of the year for the Southeast in 1988 by the Tennessee Taekwondo Association, and his school was named school of the year the same year.
- Was on-hand to witness Taekwondo’s first appearance as a demonstration sport in the world Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988, where he was tested for—and attained—his Master’s Degree in Taekwondo.
- Was invited back to Korea in 1989 by the Korean Taekwondo committee for the world Taekwondo games. While there, he was asked by the Korean Taekwondo Olympic committee to host the 1989 Tennessee Junior Olympics.
- Was recognized by the State of Tennessee House of Representatives (Resolution #331) for outstanding achievements in martial arts.
- Has been honored by multiple Tennessee governors for his accomplishments in martial arts.
- In 2008 developed the United Fighters Alliance, an organization dedicated to bringing all Mixed-Martial Arts training facilities together.
- Created the first ranking system in Mixed-Martial Arts.
- Created the first children’s Mixed-Martial Arts program and competition in the U.S. under the United Fighters Alliance that got national and world attention.
- Honored by the Franklin County, Tennessee Government for his contribution to his community in 2011.
- Honored by the City of Winchester, Tennessee with keys to the city in 1993.
- Honored by the ISKA (International Sport Karate Association) for outstanding Mixed Martial Arts fight promotions in 2011.
- Is a certified ISKA judge, referee, and time-keeper.
- Has been listed in the USA martial arts Hall of Fame in 2013.
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