Mike Dillard has a 40-year legacy that started small and exploded into a successful martial arts career. From an early age, Mike had an interest in the martial arts.
As Mike advanced in his career, he began to notice that the typical martial arts uniforms weren’t sized to fit Americans. He realized that this was a need that could be filled, and Century Martial Arts was born.
Mike began producing martial art products out of his garage in 1976. Today, Century has grown to be recognized as the largest supplier of martial arts products in the world. Mike expanded Century to include product lines for many martial arts styles as well as general fitness gear, yoga, home and office décor, and more.
At the same time he was expanding Century, Mike continued to study martial arts. In fact, in 1980 he began training under the best-known figure in American martial arts: Chuck Norris.
“It was a privilege to be taught by such an incredible and respected martial artist,” Mike recalls. “He took ‘try harder’ to a whole new level.”
Eventually Mike and Norris became great friends, and remain so to this day.
Mike is an 8th degree black belt in taekwondo and 5th degree black belt in chun kuk do. He credits his experience in martial arts with helping him run a successful company. He teaches martial arts classes at Century’s headquarters, and also takes part in various martial arts competitions.
Milestones in Mr. Mike Dillard’s Career
- 1976 – Mr. Dillard — then a first-degree black belt and regional karate champion — begins making quality uniforms out of his garage.
- 1977 – Century is incorporated, becoming an official, state-recognized company.
- 1980 – Chuck Norris begins endorsing Century, and Mr. Dillard becomes a student of Mr. Norris.
- 1986 – The United States Martial Arts Association promotes Mr. Dillard to 5th degree black belt.
- 1989 – Mr. Dillard wins his first National Championship as a black belt. He would win his second two years later, in 1991.
- 1990 – Mr. Dillard travels to what was then the USSR as part of a five-man United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF) team. Mr. Dillard captains Team 2 of the four U.S. teams that traveled and competed in the former Soviet Union. Team 2 would win every one of its matches, and Mr. Dillard himself went undefeated.
- 1992 – Mr. Dillard is promoted to 5th degree black belt by Chuck Norris in Chun Kuk Do.
- 2005 – The Martial Arts International Federation promotes Mr. Dillard to 6th dan in taekwondo.
- 2010 – Mr. Dillard earns the title of USMA Master Tang Soo Do Instructor and Examiner.
- 2011 – Mr. Dillard is named “Man of the Year” in the August issue of Black Belt magazine.
- 2011 – The United States Martial Arts Federation (USMAF) promotes Mr. Dillard to 8th-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.
- 2014 – Mr. Dillard is inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame and given the Golden Lifetime Achievement Award.