About Get Real Martial Arts

Tom Ridgeway — President

Welcome To Get Real Martial Arts

Tom Ridgeway, President and Head Instructor of Get Real Martial Arts, has over 32 years of experience in martial arts. Originally trained in the traditional arts, his passion now lies in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do Concepts. It has changed his whole perspective of the martial arts world.

Once Tom discovered Jeet Kune Do, he vowed to be the best he could be in this "non-traditional" arena. In 1994, after training under Bob Jones of "Progressive Fighting Systems", he became a certified instructor of Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial Arts.

In his desire to excel, Tom continued to seek out further opportunities to learn. As a result, he was fortunate enough to study under some of the most prestigious and well respected instructors in the martial arts world including:

Dan Inosanto:

Best friend and protege of the late Bruce Lee. He is now the "Torch Bearer" for Jeet Kune Do Concepts and Filipino Martial Arts.

Paul Vunak and Tom Cruse:

Founder of "Progressive Fighting Systems". Tom was also certified by Paul in 1995. Instructors for "Progressive Fighting Systems" include Tony Engle and Bob Jones.

Relson Gracie:

Eldest son of the well known Gracie family of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Burton Richardson:

Founder and President of "Jeet Kune Do Unlimited."

Edgar Sulite:

Founder of Lameco Eskrima (Filipino Martial Arts).

Matt Thornton:

Founder of "Straightblast Gym, Inc."

Luis Gutierrez:

East Coast Regional Director for "Straightblast Gym."

Tom believes that each instructor contributed something special and unique to his growth as a martial artist. He has brought it all together to offer the best possible training at "Get Real" Martial Arts.

Meaning of the Gorilla (Our Logo)

Often misunderstood as ferocious and aggressive, the gorilla is quite a peaceful creature. The gorilla is much more noble than face-value or surface appearance. Observe the regal reature in it's natural habitat. Gorillas are vastly sociable, and have intricate methods of communication with each other. Furthermore, there is a great deal of honor with their interactions with each other.

Gorillas are intimately aware of each member within the community. In fact, the responsibility to assist both young and elderly members of the troop are shared among all the members of the community. This is a message to not pass over debt to our elders - but be active participants in their lives. Likewise, gorillas show us that we should be raising our children (not TV sets or computer games).

A short list of animal symbolism of the gorilla includes attributes that can offer us profound wisdom in our lives.

Symbolic Meanings of the Gorilla


The gorilla also gives us a message of leadership but not of the aggressive kind. Rather, the gorilla manages other members within the troop with temperance, understanding, compassion and balance. Very seldom is aggression or violence required in order to get the point across. The gorilla reminds us that tyrannical leaders will never win respect. The message here is that  decency, honesty, and quiet charisma win loyal followers.

The next opportunity you have, look into the soulful eyes of the gorilla, and you will know there is depth of intelligence there that is undeniable. The gorilla reminds us there is more to knowledge than what is found in text books.

The gorilla represents the need to take action. When we dream of the gorilla it is a signal that we've been resting on our laurels, and it's time to start earning that which we want instead of waiting for rewards to fall into our laps. Invest time to think about the gorillas symbolism. You will find this amazing creature to be quite generous with its wisdom. You may also find the gorilla to be a life - long companion, it will remain loyal and devoted to you when you grat it the same respect. What's more, gorillas often impart a protective energy to those they love.

Tom Ridgeway - Creator/Head Coach Get Real Martial Arts

Before I introduce myself please allow me to thank some people for who I am today. I 'd like to thank my wife, mother, children,  grand-children and friends for what they have added to the texture of my life. i thank you all for your unconditional love and support.

I would like to thank all of the folks who have trained me in my martial arts life. Dan Inosanto, Paul Vunak, Tom Cruse, Bob Jones, Burton Richardson, Relson Gracie, Edgar Sulite, Matt Thornton and Luis Gutierrez.  I owe a great debt of gratitude to each of you for helping to grow as a martial artist and as a human being as well. If you don't know these gentlemen then by all means google them up and learn about there contributions to Real World Martial Art. I also want to thank Bruce Lee. Bruce has been gone now almost 40 years but his influence and teachings continue on. The rest of world struggles to catch up to Bruce's genius all these years later.

I am not your average run of the mill Karate or Kung Fu master, in fact I have nothing to do with Karate or Kung Fu at all, and I certainly don't consider myself a martial arts master but a student for life.

I stumbled upon Bruce Lee's martial art (Jeet Kune Do) quite by accident over 20 years ago, and I have never stop training and researching martial arts since. Bruce talked about ALIVENESS in martial arts, ALIVENESS means training and sparring against a FULLY resisting opponent. Bruce also talked about finding the TRUTH in martial arts. While the truth can change day to day, moment to moment, truth in martial arts can be acquired in the moment, simply by fighting (sparring) against a fully resisting opponent. This is a great way to test your art, technique and your personal attributes. While some individual styles of martial arts contain some of the truth ex.(Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Wrestling) it's not until these styles of fighting arts encounter ranges of combat they are not familiar with, that they show there weaknesses.

MMA would seem to the lay person to be the way to the truth, the way it combines styles to cover all ranges, but If you are training solely for sport combat competition you're only getting part of truth. The truth lies beyond styles and rules, so when I look at any art or style through my microscope to seek the truth, I can only see the expression of the individual martial artist as truth, and testing through ALIVENESS as the way... Styles divide, the truth brings us together.

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SBG Affiliate Gym

Get Real Martial Arts is an Affiliate Training Gym of the Straight Blast Gym International. Straight Blast President Matt Thornton is world reknowned and has trained some of the biggest names in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) including World Champions like Randy Couture and Forrest Griffin.


Tom, I just want to thank you again for the outstanding training and hospitality you and all your coaches and students showed us at Get Real. From the moment I walked through the door I felt like I had walked into the home of a friend. Your wonderful spirit showed from the first time you greeted us, thanking us for coming. However, it is us, the students who should be forever grateful to you for sharing your extensive knowledge and working so hard to put it into a format that can be easily understood.


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