Exercise science pair turn martial arts passion into business
Jake Fox began training in martial arts as a teenager, taking basic judo classes through the Wichita Park and Recreation Department. Kimberly Fox started boxing in 2005 during a deployment in Iraq for the U.S. Army.
Both credit their martial arts passions and real-world experiences they received as Wichita State students as two key components for their current business success.
Married couple Jake and Kimberly recently opened Fox Fitness, a martial arts gym in northwest Wichita that provides clients with specialized training options. Fox Fitness offers adult and child Brazilian jiu jitsu classes, a cardio class, sport-specific conditioning, kettleball training and personal training.
“I really love the connections you get from clients,” said Kimberly. “You get to find special things within each person that you see, and they may not.”
Jake has about 17 years of martial arts experience, including training in judo, muay thai and karate, with expertise in Brazilian jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts. Kimberly has also trained in muay thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu, along with boxing.
In 2008, Jake graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and, in 2011, received his master’s degree. Kimberly, who worked as an Army medic for 10 years, graduated in 2010 from WSU with a bachelor’s in general studies.
“My experience at Wichita State, along with my passion for martial arts, has given me the tools to be in the position I am in today,” said Jake.
Learning from every experience
As an undergraduate at WSU, Jake interned at Player Development Solutions in Wichita, where he focused on exercise training. While working on his graduate degree, he held a cooperative education position with Janjira Muay Thai of Kansas to study the business portion of running a gym.
“The key is to learn from every experience, good or bad,” said Jake. “Real-world experience benefits the student who has only been exposed to classroom lecture.”
Kimberly, who is working toward her master’s in exercise science at WSU, was an intern at Fox Fitness under Jake’s supervision.
She commented that, although it might sound like an easy job, she was required to learn about business taxes, marketing schemes, networking and bookkeeping, along with cleaning and assisting in personal training and class sessions.
“I learned more from that internship than I think I would have ever learned anywhere else,” said Kimberly. “With this, it was sink or swim because there was actually something on the line — our livelihood.”
Kimberly said that because of her hands-on experiences outside of the classroom, she realized she wants a different career path than she originally planned.
“When I first started college, I wanted to go to med school,” she said. “Honestly, now that I own a gym and have the experience of training people, I find I like it way more than I ever would have thought.”
Jake said that knowledge he gained outside of the classroom has helped him create a better training environment for his clients.
“Empathy has been one of the most valuable attributes I have learned when dealing with clients,” said Jake. “It isn’t highlighted in any text, but necessary to learn through trial and error.”