Conditioned to succeed: One local Marine teaches safety – and life lessons – to his students at Condition 1 Combat Center

By: Sean K. Thompson
| Published 09/20/2022


THE WOODLANDS, TX – Former United States Marine Joe Morris dedicated his adult life to defending people. Today, he’s taking his training, his dedication, and his passion and teaching these same people how to defend themselves.

Regardless of age or skill level, Joe Morris will teach you how to defend yourself

Just a few short months ago – on May 28 – he and his wife Tia opened an innovative multidisciplinary martial arts training center, Condition 1. Since then, he has recently garnered more than a hundred students of all ages, with more signing up each day.

“So that 100-member mark was kind of a first milestone we were trying to achieve, and we achieved it in two months,” said Morris. “So we're very happy, very blessed and grateful.”

Morris has local roots, having been born in Baytown and growing up in the Crosby area. He served in the USMC from 2001 to 2006, conducting battle operations in Iraq. Upon leaving the Corps, like so many of his compatriots who left battle behind but subsequently brought its ramifications into their post-military life, he found himself in need of direction and focus.

“After I got out in 2006, I was kind of lost, like a lot of us are, you know, trying to figure out how to be what our new normal is,” he said. “I bounced around a little bit. But like a lot of us who came back from those places, you know, there's a period of adjustment. So there were some struggles there.”

Morris decided to make new use of his previous military training. “In the Corps, we got defensive tactics training, learned shooting, and were taught basic martial arts and discipline. So you can never go wrong with the former Marine team. And a lot of my strengths came from the confidence that was instilled in me in the Marine Corps. So I took some steps to start rebuilding. I quit drinking and embraced the martial arts once again,” he said.

With a dedication and strength born in battle, in 2008 he started training in Krav Maga and at the same time trained in mixed martial arts (MMA) at another school. Following a self-professed calling from God, he decided to pursue this path for 10 years. “And some of it was some of the best ten years of my life with some of the people I met,” he said. “I developed fostering long term relationships with great friends.”

However, over time, Morris felt that there were holes in his Krav Maga training. “I started training outside of that bubble and I started to realize that there's more to martial arts discipline than what I was learning there. So I started branching out and training in other places, and whenever I got outside that comfort zone, there was a lot of growth there.”

This was the catalyst for Morris to decide to stop being the student and become the teacher instead. “I wanted to make sure I was providing the best product that I can for the people, to take what I learned and then bring in and the things that benefited my life and pass those lessons on to others.”

Morris and his wife decided that The Woodlands area would be a perfect location for his newly ideated school. They live with their children in Montgomery County and recognized that The Woodlands was the epicenter of an ever-emerging area. “There was a space available in a perfectly situated central area,” he said. “It took about a year to get the capital together, and that put our dedication to the test.” Apparently, selling lenders on the concept of a martial arts studio that didn’t simply provide taekwondo lessons for toddlers was tougher than they had anticipated.

“Don’t get me wrong; there’s absolutely a market for those types of schools – my own daughter took local taekwondo classes for years. But what I was proposing was next-level for a more niche crowd. It was outside the normal business box, so we got told ‘no’ a lot.”

In the motif of life imitating art – or martial art – Morris took some of his own life lessons and applied them to his investment situation. “You have to have confidence to fight; defending yourself is a byproduct of learning to fight. So I defended the concept of my school to the lenders, and projected confidence doing so. And eventually we won.”

With funding and the ability to open the school secured, Morris and his family toiled to turn the workspace into a cutting edge, fully stocked, viable martial arts studio – Condition 1 Combat Center. “The phrase ‘condition one’ is a military term that means ‘being ready,’” said Morris. “We opened our doors to people of all types, particularly non-professional fighters wanting to protect their families.”

With that mindset, the classes that Morris and his crew set up brought a reality to the typically academic lessons taught at other schools and dojos. “We don’t break boards here; when you’re in a real situation, your opponent doesn’t hold up a board for you to kick. Here, we’ve added components like grappling, and how to take a blow as well as you give one. We want to teach you real world responses to real world situations.”

Morris’ instructors include two combat veterans – one with a third degree black belt in jiu jitsu. Having instructors specializing in different disciplines is one of the aspects that makes Condition 1 stand out. Grappling, ‘dirty’ boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, clinching, and more are melded into a fighting style that can answer a myriad of scenarios.

Currently, Condition 1 offers numerous classes for adults of all ages and abilities, as well as after-school kids classes, split between ages 5-8 and 9-13. A upper-teen class program is on the horizon.

Morris hopes that even more potential students come through his doors, for their own safety and security. “If you can't fight, then you're not going to have the confidence to do the things that need doing when it gets to a certain point. You have to have the confidence in your ability to fight someone. So that's what we concentrate on in this school. We're going to teach you how to defend yourself. We're going to teach you those skills. We're going to teach you those techniques. We're going to take those principles, and we're going to apply them to all aspects of your life.”

Condition 1 Combat Center is located at 606 Rayford Rd A, in Spring. The school is open Mondays through Saturdays, with special evening hours Mondays through Thursdays. Learn more at

Comments •
Log In to Comment