BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — On Dec. 11, 2021, an EF-3 tornado swept through Bowling Green, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses. 

Marty Eubanks is a World Champion martial artist. He’s owned and operated World Champion Karate Academy for 10 years on Magnolia Street until a tornado left it in rubble.  

“Devastation set in, you know, of just watching," said Eubanks. "You can’t really fathom, until you go, ‘what happened?’ you know? Ten years of just all the savings and the work and the stuff. Bam! In 30 seconds.” 

What You Need To Know

  • On Dec. 11, 2021, an EF-3 tornado swept through Bowling Green

  • The  World Champion Karate Academy, owned by Marty Eubanks, was heavily damaged

  • Marty has since reopened with a studio in a nearby location

  • Eubanks remains resilient and continues to teach martial arts

The twister’s path split the building in two, taking out the back half of the structure. 

“[I] Lost a good landlord, lost a good building, so that was a little hard to swallow sometimes,” Eubanks said. 

Eubanks said while he only lost material items, most he can replace, he did lose some rare sentimental items. Still, he remains optimistic. 

“Now the ones in the back, my big grand champions and a lot of the ones I’ve saved in safe keeping in the back, [laughs], and it wasn’t too safe of a keeping. So that’s OK too. So I lost a bunch of those, but the memories are still there,” Eubanks said.  

Through a GoFundMe, the studio raised over $10,000 to rebuild. In March 2022, Eubanks moved his studio one street over, giving his 100-plus students a permanent place to practice. 

“The other mats were glass-ridden, you couldn’t use that. Stuff was just blowing and you couldn’t use that. I lost 16 punching bags, which were hanging bags. And when the beam and the building flipped, they just went every which way.” 

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the destructive tornado, Eubanks has stayed resilient and continues to pass along his mastery of the art. 

The city of Bowling Green is helping small businesses recover with a tax break. Businesses can apply for a rebate on city property tax for commercial property. You can find the application here.