Kumite with Butch Hiles Part 1

This new section is what I like to call Kumite. This is where I will go head to head (figuratively speaking) with a martial artist. The interview will be light hearted and fun. Some of the questions and answer will be meant to inspire, some will require deep thought, and others will be simple. The interview questions will range from life experiences, daily routine, to a particular technique. I’ll even let the readers chime in and asks questions for follow up posts with the martial artist.

This first Kumite match will be in 4 parts. I plan to post pieces of this interview over the next few weeks. For the first edition of Kumite I want to focus on a martial artist who has made an impact in the Charleston, West Virginia area in the last decade. His name is Butch Hiles. Butch is the owner of a gym in downtown Charleston that features a variety of styles such as Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Mauy Thai, Boxing, and Krav Maga. Butch is also a coordinator for the WV Games. For the international readers, Charleston is the capitol city of West Virginia in the United State of America.

Like most boys Butch was captivated by the martial arts in movies and TV shows he watched as a kid. From that interest he began practicing traditional form of karate and eventually getting involved in wrestling. Years later after watching a UFC fight he started practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts. While living in Ohio Butch took up boxing and kickboxing. After moving to WV he won sectional Golden Glove boxing championship. Afterwards got a black belt in Japanese Ju-jitsu where he received a black belt. Butch then started learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from Royce Gracie and earning his black belt. Unlike other parts of the world BJJ and MMA was not accepted in legally within West Virginia. Butch and many other martial artists in the area had to campaign within West Virginia to convince lawmakers to make BJJ and MMA fighting legal within the state.

For this first week of the Q&A below Butch talks about his morning routine and what he likes for breakfast. I asked these types of questions just to get an insight on a day in the life of Butch Hiles. Then we take a look into his past and see when and why he started his martial arts training.


KKD: Tell me about your morning routine. Is everything prepared the evening before you go to bed or are you rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off?

Butch: Times change, unfortunately. There was a time when I had a great routine and my wife had the weeks meals and everything else ready to go, but kids and life changed. I have a new job where I am on the road a lot so I don’t have access to blenders and microwaves. It’s been challenging but I recently started the intermittent fasting routine and it seems like it’s going to work out quite well for me.

Basically, you’re only eating for 8 hours of the day and fasting for the other 16. With this schedule, I can spend some time with the kids in the morning and then take off to whatever state or hospital I am going to. I eat from 12PM-8PM, so my eating schedule should get back to normal. The only thing I will continue to struggle with is workout times but everyone has to pay the bills.

KKD: I can relate with the whole kids and working. Trying to find time to workout has been hard for me. I usually practice kata’s while I am waiting to use the restroom at work.

I saw an article that had suggestions for staying healthy while on the road. One of the tips was to take plenty of multi-vitamins. Another article suggested that people maintain a minimal workout.  


KKD: What do you eat for breakfast?

Butch: More or less, I am skipping traditional breakfast since I don’t eat until 12PM. At 12PM I usually go to any restaurant and get a healthy meal, if possible. If all else fails, I usually have some and “Quest” protein bars waiting. Breakfast food is my favorite and I could eat it any time of day. So, that’s what I would order if given the opportunity, but in general I try to eat healthy and mostly paleo.

Besides owning a gym and traveling nearly every weekend teaching martial arts, I work with spinal cord stimulators. I am basically in a different hospital every day and I travel quite a bit. Staying healthy while on the road is quite a challenge, but I feel I do a decent job.
KKD: I try to maximize the amount of protein I can first thing in the morning with eggs, bacon and beans. Then I wash it all down with a cup of hot black coffee. I am a fan of breakfast food too. I like going to IHOP and Cracker Barrel. Now that MacDonald’s has breakfast 24/7 I can get the hook up at any time.


KKD: When and why did you begin practicing martial arts?

Butch: I have done some sort of martial art since I was a kid. I started with traditional karate and wrestling and eventually branched out into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts when I first saw the Ultimate Fighting Championship on pay-per-view in 1993.

I was pretty active into sports as a kid, so I just did whatever my parents put me in. Wrestling was pure luck to get into but I made a conscious decision to do karate because I loved martial art TV shows and movies. I just wanted to do what all those guys did, so I did my best to get started in it.

In 1993 the UFC introduced us to real fighting. It was style VS style. So, theoretically all questions were answered about what style was the best and what you needed to do in a real fight. From that point on, I slowly started to find the things that those guys were doing and practice whatever was winning the fights on TV.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu hadn’t really made it too far into the United States, even after the debut of the UFC, so I started learning some boxing and kickboxing in Ohio. I trained for a while and we were, more or less, doing our own form of mixed martial arts (MMA) back then. I had a couple fights in Ohio before moving to West Virginia, but I really started to learn boxing/kickboxing when I met Leon Ramsey in Glenville, WV.

I won the sectional Golden Gloves championship in boxing around 1997 and, because I tore my rotator cuff, I started to train in kickboxing and Japanese Ju-Jitsu more because those were the only limbs I had left. I excelled at Ju-Jitsu and eventually took on Royce Gracie as my primary BJJ instructor, after I received a black belt in Japanese Ju-Jitsu.

The journey in BJJ has been great. I have trained with virtually all the best guys in BJJ and MMA out there and my current instructor in Marcello Monteiro. I received my black belt in BJJ in 2009 and am currently still training as hard as I can.

As for why I started training martial arts, I think I started like everyone else. I enjoyed watching it on TV and thought it was something I should try. Eventually, I started understanding the practicality of it and decided I needed to learn as much as possible to protect myself and my family. Finally, I discovered I had a great ability to coach and help others, so that is where I am at today. I feel like it’s my duty to pass on what I learned and help others meet their goals. Martial arts can affect every aspect of your life.

KKD: Be sure to tune in next week for Part 2 of the interview with Butch Hiles.

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Divorced Martial Artists Club

“Class ended at 8pm! It is almost 9’oclock why has it taken you this long to leave class?” is what I heard one night when I stepped outside of the dojo. I was met with the fiercest look that even Master Ken could only appreciate. Instead of the “Kill Face” I call it the “Wife Face”. My wife was furious with me. I had stood around talking to the sensei and several other martial artists for almost an hour after class ended. – I couldn’t understand why it was not acceptable for me to chat with the sensei and a few of the other guys.

I explained to my wife that in my earlier years when I first began practicing karate, me and my friends used to stand outside the community center for several minutes after class with the instructor and his brother, my brother in law, and friends. When I was done explaining this to her she pointed out to me a few facts that I had not considered:

  1. When I was younger I wasn’t married. The only responsibility I had was to graduate high school and make it through college. So it didn’t matter if I stood around and hung out with friends.
  2. The reason why those guys could stand around the dojo all of the time is because each one of them were divorced. Their wives got tired of waiting on them to leave karate class so they left them instead.

To make matters worse for that night while I was standing around in the dojo talking; my sister was in town. The last time I had seen her was at our wedding three years earlier. She was at our mother’s waiting to see me. Plus she was hungry waiting to eat dinner. I realized I couldn’t do stand around the dojo after class anymore. I have a family now. I have a wife, kids, dogs, and mortgages. I learned that when class is over it was time to go home.

Many years later I began taking jujitsu class. One night while sitting off to the side of the room I was watching a randori match and noticed that most of my classmates were working out with a spouse, sibling, or with their children. This dojo was a family oriented place. When we bowed out of class that night, people changed their clothes and promptly left except for the ones who volunteered to put up equipment. Once they were done, they changed clothes and were out the door. Class ended at 9PM and at 9:15PM the lights were off and the door was locked.

The adults were reminded on a regular basis that family and career come before jujitsu (and karate). The kids were told that school comes first. The instructor always followed it up with we will be around for a while no need to put off responsibilities.

I can remember when I was 17 years old sitting off to the side with my sensei, I asked him why class was 2 nights a week and not every night. I told him that if he had a class every day I would be there to practice. He explained to me that everyone else has a life outside of karate. They had jobs and families, and other commitments. Fast forward to 2014 me almost at 33 years old and practicing jujitsu on a regular basis. I began to understand what sensei was talking about when it came to commitments, financial responsibilities, staying healthy, raising a family, and careers.

As my kids started school and they started to have after school programs to attend. My wife has her responsibilities, hobbies, and friends. Then there was the overall health of each individual member of the family. When one was sick, we all got sick. As I learned towards the last quarter of 2014 we had to deal with health related issues. Since then I haven’t been able to step foot in a dojo because of overall health of my kids, wife, and myself included. When we weren’t dealing with health related issues it was financial responsibilities that needed to be met first. I had to pay the bills before I could pay a monthly fee, plus the gas to drive 30-45 minutes round trip, and associated costs. In the end martial arts is a hobby you participate in when all other responsibilities in life have been met. End of story!

Then again; maybe I need to get creative and try to make it into a career. I could go around doing motivational speaking engagements, do a movie cameo, or develop training and fitness videos. Better yet become a martial arts consultant, blogger, writer, or journalist. Who knows the possibilities are endless, I could go on talk shows and demonstrate my awesome skills. But for now Karate Kickin Dwarf is a hobby and outlet to reach out to other to disabled people who are interested in martial artist and martial artists in general.

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