Imagine this scene: At a local karate tournament in 1976, Mr. Dillard is waiting for his chance to compete. He is a tall young man with blonde hair, wearing a traditional gi tied neatly with a black belt. As the color indicates, he is a skilled competitor. An Oklahoma City native, he began wrestling in his teens before being introduced to Korean martial arts and karate.
Mr. Dillard, called Mike by nearly everyone who knows him, is attending this tournament with more than one goal in mind. Sure, he’d love to collect another first-place ranking. However, his trip here today was a business venture as well as an athletic one. With him, in the back of his van, are dozens of karate uniforms as well as belts of all colors to sell.
Forty years later, Mr. Dillard’s business has gone from the back of a van, to a 650,000 square foot complex. His company, which he named Century Martial Arts, now houses an on-site warehouse, showroom, corporate offices, and a manufacturing facility. It serves customers all across the globe and offers more than 11,000 products.
“Century exists to serve you, the thousands of instructors who pour your heart and soul out each day into instilling life values and martial skills into your students young and old,” says Mr. Dillard. “You are the heroes of our story and it has been, and remains, our greatest honor to serve you these past forty years.”