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Master Jake Swanson


Founder of Revolution Martial Arts

A Cedar Rapids man who died on November 2017 is being remembered by family and friends as a “legendary” ambassador for martial arts and positive role model for local children.

Jake Swanson, 37, died Sunday in his Cedar Rapids home from a heart attack, his sister Josey Swanson said. Jake was the owner of and instructor at Cedar Rapids’ Revolution Martial Arts. He also volunteered his time helping others compete and taught women self-defense classes, his sister said.

“He was the most amazing man I’ve ever known, the most giving and selfless person and genuine good person that I ever knew,” Josey said. “He really focused on empowering people, building people up. He just wanted people to be the best that they could.”

Jake Swanson is perhaps most remembered for his work at Revolution Martial Arts, 5309 N Park Pl. NE, where a variety of styles were taught. Friends and families who visited the studio have taken to Facebook to share memories of the instructor.

Martial arts were the nexus of Jake’s life since the age of 18, Josey said.

“He dedicated everything and gave up so much in order to pursue that dream,” she said. “He sacrificed himself in order to build that studio but he was so humble. I could never grasp the impact he had on so many families and children ... in such a positive way. He was a man of few words, stoic, but the way he related to those kids was unbelievable.”

Mike Gillette, who taught self-defense classes with Swanson, said Jake’s knack for teaching a disciplined sport to young children set him apart. Armed with “amazing amounts of patience,” Jake was able to teach children as young as 4 years old to have self-discipline and respect through martial arts. That is no small feat, Gillette said.

“You have to find the right teacher to make that happen, and Jake was that guy,” Gillette said. “He was just a very charismatic guy. Kids found him very charming and fun, adults liked the way he could quickly bond with kids.”

Makayla Tendall
The Gazette

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