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Conversations with Tammy Bauer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tammy Bauer.

Hi Tammy, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I am the owner and head instructor at Blue Wave martial arts and fitness. It is really true to say that my children and the hardships that come along with living life are the reason that Blue Wave Edwardsville exists today.

When my children were 4 and 6, I started them in a martial arts program. I began attending fitness classes at the same gym. With some encouragement from my children, I began training with them in the Tae Kwon Do program as well. I knew immediately, watching my children train, that there is something very special about the development of a person through this style of training. When I began to train, I knew I had just begun a life-changing journey, but I had no idea just how life-changing.

I watched my children develop and gain confidence, form life-long friendships, true usable self-defense skills, fitness, and athleticism. I gained all of those things as well, in addition to finding my own self-worth.

After several years of training Tae Kwon Do with my children, I quickly realized I had been learning a gift not only could I share but felt responsible to share. Life has a way of nudging us in our proper direction, sometimes in harsh and seemingly traumatic ways. I was suddenly let go from my corporate IT job. This was the springboard for Blue Wave Edwardsville. With the encouragement of my husband, my family made dramatic life changes, moved back to our hometown, and I began working for my teacher. At that time, as a brown belt student, I started teaching in a small-town community center just outside of Edwardsville. During that time teaching in the community center, I earned my first-degree black belt.

Within that year of earning my black belt, I was involved in a bike race accident that brought fully to life a dormant chronic illness called Chiari Malformation. This illness caused severe neurological symptoms and nerve damage which were seemingly random, had significant impact on my daily life. I have no doubt my martial arts training allowed me to still continue daily with a positive attitude and have an active lifestyle despite my illness. Once the diagnosis was found, the treatment was brain, skull, and spine surgery. The recovery from this surgery took several years. With the exception of a handful of weeks after the surgery, I never stopped training. There was no question in my mind that my tae kwon do training gave me everything I needed to endure the hardships of the illness and recovery and to never give up.

It was this realization that gave me the encouragement to open a fully operational martial arts gym in the heart of Edwardsville, the town I grew up in. It has been over nine years now since I taught my first class in the community center, and I am proud to say that we have developed a martial arts school that allows people to develop into the best versions of themselves, teaches usable and effective self-defense skills, allows families to train, develop, and grow together, has an environment where the collective goal across all instructors and students is the success and development of one another.

I am very proud to be the owner and head instructor of Blue Wave Martial Arts and Fitness Edwardsville.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Nothing worth doing well is easy or smooth. In fact, it has been my experience it is exactly the opposite. There have been many challenges along the way. There are so many unknowns. To be honest, more hard-learned lessons then I would care to admit. Being flexible when the unknowns occur and creative to work through problems has been instrumental in moving forward. It is no secret that COVID has been hugely impactful on the functioning of small businesses. Our students, staff have been fantastic navigating the changes and challenges thrown our way. Without a doubt, this has been my most challenging year as a business owner. However, the lessons this year has forced me to experience have been invaluable to me as I look toward the future of Blue Wave Edwardsville.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My early professional career was in information technology.

As a martial arts instructor, I think my students would say that there is no question that I care about them deeply, and I am no nonsense when it comes to the development of their martial arts skills and respectful treatment of one another. It is an extremely important part of our environment that instructors and students not only want the successful development of each other, but they play an active role in their development and the development of their fellow students. Constructive feedback is a daily and crucial part of our training, and this helps produce successful people no matter how that individual defines success. When I began training with my children, the amazing relationship that developed between my children and I was phenomenal. I wanted to make sure that this was available to families who were interested in that same experience. Blue Wave Edwardsville has a large number of families that train together and get the share the same solid relationships that exist as a product of training together. There are really no barriers to training, all people of all ages, fitness levels, physical and mental ability who step onto the training floor can be a successful tae kwon do student if they are willing to put in the work and never give up.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
If you are thinking about getting started developing and running a business, I think my biggest advice is to take the risk. Know it is a risk and a big one, but it is worth it. Love what you decide to do!

Understand that a small business is very much the same as raising a toddler. When if you look away for a moment or let your guard down, things can and will go wrong. In fact, even when you are watching things will go wrong. Be creative when facing challenges, and ask for help when you need it.

Treat your customers/clients like family. Their choice to give you their families’ money supports your family, and it is their choice. The way you make them feel while doing business with them will encourage them to come back over other options available to them.


  • $125 a month unlimited martial arts training
  • $99 a month unlimited fitness training
  • $125 10 class fitness punch card.

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