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Our Story

Our Director Kraig Hollingworth started over 40 years ago with a passion to become the best karate student.

Kraig Hollingworth began his martial arts journey in high school as a way to build positive momentum in his life. He picked up the phone and in his words, “lucked out” when he stumbled onto the most prestigious martial arts studio for Toushi Kan Judo in the state of Montana with only his second phone call. Upon joining the school, he quickly discovered a second family where students trained daily with the goal of becoming professional athletes (one instructor took bronze in the Olympics) or heading a dojo. The school also switched from Judo to Karate training in the late 80s enabling Kraig to expand his martial arts expertise.

Kraig Hollingworth Karate instructor
Kraig Hollingworth practicing karate in the desert
Kraig Hollingworth
Kraig Hollingworth as a young instrctor

During Kraig’s training, he attended school at Montana State studying electrical engineering. Because Boeing left Montana for Phoenix, Kraig decided to continue his education at ASU and DeVry Institute. It was during his studies in 1991 that he joined ActivStars Athletics, known then as Young Olympians which was founded just 7 years earlier. Kraig was one of six instructors and quickly discovered that he had a knack for teaching. He helped the Phoenix operation grow from 40 kids to 100 per semester and then ultimately began teaching 1,500 kids a week.


Upon graduating in 1994, Kraig was approached by the founder of Young Olympians to lead the karate school. Kraig had a very important decision to make. His grandmother advised Kraig that he could follow the safe path of becoming an engineer and build missiles or he could follow his passion and build and save kids. He chose kids and since that fateful decision, Kraig has gone from Phoenix to Kansas City, to Denver, and eventually back to Phoenix opening schools, hiring instructors, and building the company to over 10,000 students. Kraig has overseen several rebrands of the company from Young Champions to ActivStars, and now to ActivStars Athletics.


He has led the company through challenging times including a fire that burned down the entire office causing the company to have to rise literally from the ashes. Through it all, Kraig learned that persistently focusing on his passion for kids and families, provided the needed drive to keep going and successfully grow the school. Kraig’s fighting spirit continues to be at the heart of ActivStars Athletics and is the foundation that motivates the entire team which includes his wife Cherokee and his two daughters who are current and past students.

The initial focus on quality instruction remains true today as ActivStars Athletics is one of the few company-owned, company-operated organizations to consistently deliver the highest quality trained coaches and instruction for martial arts.

Taught in more than 5 states, ActivStars Athletics is the leading US provider of youth karate for families with children 4-17 years of age. Students not only learn martial arts at the highest level but also have the most fun doing so. Unlike franchised or studio-based martial art programs, ActivStars Athletics is the only company-owned youth karate provider to partner directly with schools to deliver affordable after-school programs. 


Providing what kids and families need most ‘beyond the classroom’ with positive programs which build skills, friendship, family values, and character for life, ActivStars Athletics is on a mission to help everyone work first towards becoming black belts in life as well as in martial arts.


Our Vision

To help every kid and family become black belts in life.

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Our Mission

Provide the most fun and affordable after school karate program with instructors who are not only experts in martial arts, but who are also black belts in helping children improve through activities that develop mind, body, and life skills. We partner with schools and the community to create a space where people feel a sense of belonging and learn how to make their families and community a safer and better place. 

Our Values

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Being true to oneself and true to others is the path that leads to progress.

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Fighting Spirit

We all get knocked down in life, but getting back up, again and again, is what matters.

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When we honor and pay respect to the values of others, we in turn earn respect. 

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United together with purpose and desire to help one another.

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The strength to treat others with compassion, particularly for those who may not be strong.

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Look at one’s circumstances with optimism for a brighter future.

karate instructor and student at competition

Our Teaching Philosophy

Central to our teaching and coaching is involvement in our local communities. That’s why all of our instructors are hired locally within the community. We have strict requirements for demonstrated knowledge as well as a commitment to training every member of our team.

All instructors are screened and fingerprinted, as part of our extensive background and reference check process. As employees, they attend training sessions to learn our safety procedures and programs, current sports rules and regulations, innovative teaching techniques, and curriculum development.

ActivStars Athletics wants to make learning martial arts so easy and fun for every student and family. That is why we have no contracts. Our sessions usually run in 3-month windows and families can sign-up anytime during the first three weeks and even pay class to class. We also offer a 10% discount towards the first merchandise purchase for every new student/family, so join our martial arts family today.


Every Karate Class integrates the following programs

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karate family

Family Training

Find a Karate Class Near You

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