Grad helps martial arts students overcome fears and limitations

Gene Fletcher BA ’05 is the founder and executive of Combat Ministries, Inc., whose mission is to create a compassionate and engaging environment that educates, challenges, and inspires students to new levels of holistic health and wellness through fitness and martial arts. Fletcher graduated from Anderson University in 2005 with a degree in Christian ministries and an emphasis on Christian religious education. 

Fletcher often jokes that he came out of the womb punching and kicking. “I honestly cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t drawn to martial arts,” said Fletcher, who started his first martial arts class when he was only five years old. Fletcher’s parents describe his fascination with martial arts as something he has always had. 

“Even before those classes, we have home videos of me bowing to my brother before play fighting and wrestling,” said Fletcher. “Martial arts has truly been a calling for my entire life.”

During his time at AU, a career counselor encouraged Fletcher to discover where his gifts, talents, and passions intersected with the needs of his community. After spending some time teaching martial arts to students in need at the youth center, Fletcher realized where it was that he wanted to spend his time, energy, and focus. 

“It was in this season that I realized how God uniquely gifted me to utilize my passion for ministry and martial arts in a way that inspires others to live healthier and happier lives,” said Fletcher. 

Mentoring Warriors became an official organization in the summer of 2009, after Fletcher had spent time serving students at the Madison County Youth Center. The official goal was to help boys discover true manhood. However, Fletcher realized that there were many more opportunities to serve his community, beyond exclusively serving boys. 

“We have now expanded our vision to that of Combat Ministries, Inc. that now focuses on utilizing a combat mindset when serving those who struggle with challenging and destructive life situations, such as high risk students or students who have been abused. Combat Ministries operates under two programs: Freedom Martial Arts and Fitness and Mentoring Warriors,” said Fletcher. This helps Fletcher and his ministry specialize their efforts to meet a diverse framework of needs for students, both young and old.

“My absolute favorite part of my role at Combat Ministries is engaging with students and witnessing them overcome fears and limitations. When I see students break chains of bondage in their life I am inspired in ways that words can never describe,” said Fletcher. 


Written by: Morgan Binkerd ’20

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.

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