WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Sunday, people from all walks of life came to the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club to learn about different forms of martial arts.

22News was at the annual event and found out what the founders have to say about the seminar’s purpose. In 1996 Mark Whitley founded SMART, the Springfield Martial Arts Rally for Togetherness.

Whitley designed this group to bring different martial arts disciplines in the greater Springfield area together in a united front to formulate a platform of support for all martial artists, and the community. Six years ago, Whitley along with others began an annual event full circle seminar.

The Founder of SMART, Mark Whitley told 22News, “The purpose was to let the community know what disciplines are out there. So we have; boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, jujitsu, kung-fu, and so we have them all in one place so you can spend 15 minutes at each station.”

Kids, adults, boys, and girls got to learn from experts in all martial arts disciplines including Olympian Rodney Smith, and multiple professional boxers. While some participants were experienced, some were here to test themselves and try something new.

And because all of these disciplines are thought at this event people are able to best choose which one they like the most. 22News spoke with Israel Lopez, who talked highly of the Springfield Martial Arts Rally for Togetherness.

Lopez shared, “It’s almost like… the thing I liken this to is like a science fair, or job fair for martial arts. Where you come in, test it out, see what it is, and look at some of the similarities and differences that each artist has to offer.”

Both Lopez and Whitley told 22News that they look forward to continuing this tradition in the years to come.