ISCA is a fitness organization focused on preparing individuals for a career in the fitness industry
Thomas the Promise and the ISCA journey started many many years ago. Thomas, one of
seven children, spent a lot of time with his cousin Paul who trained in martial arts. The
style of karate was called Shorin Ryu and the school name was SEIBUKAN. Sensei Dan
Smith learned this style of karate while stationed in Okinawa Japan . His cousin used to
practice his martial arts on Thomas everyday. Thomas eventually asked his cousin to
teach him some martial art techniques. After several beatings, Thomas actually became more interested in
martial arts and started to go to the SEIBUKAN dojo.
During his high school years, Thomas got serious about his sports training and martial
arts by traveling and competing in karate tournaments. He even decided to build a gym in
his backyard. Where the golf green once was, now stood a full fitness gym.
After Thomas graduated from the University in 1986, he moved to Florida to start work
but soon realized that he was more interested in training especial in the sport of kick
While Thomas was training himself for fights and stacking shelves at the local grocery
supermarket, he started teaching boxing and kick boxing workouts at a local fitness spa.
Working there full time as a towel boy, he would hit the boxing gym and run on the
beach everyday and train for his next fight. At this spa and several others in Miami FL is
where Thomas taught his first boxing and kick boxing fitness classes.
The creator of the future “Boxaerobics” program was beginning to emerge. He ordered gloves,
wraps, mitts and heavy bags and started teaching in all of the spas and fitness center in
the area. The program was becoming so popular that the spa guests would invite him to
their studios all over the country and even around the world.
Working 7 days a week, training to fight, and now traveling to teach the Boxearobics,
program, Thomas hired amateur boxers and fitness instructors who he personally taught
to help teach the many classes on his schedule. They all had their own bag of gloves,
wraps and ropes. Thomas had a crew of 6-10 instructors teaching 15 classes a day in
many different studios towards the end of the 80’s.
Boxaerobics was getting more and more press. It was in magazines nationwide and all
over the television networks, He presented at his first conference….. Club Industry with
a company named “Hitman” in Chicago in 1990-1991.
While his name in the fitness industry was becoming more familiar so was his name in
the boxing and kick boxing world and everywhere else. “Thomas the Promise” went to
Russia to fight and debuted on Sports Network for a few televised flight in the early 90’s.
Thomas with the guidance and knowledge of Dr. Joe Signorile from the University of
Miami wrote the standards and guidelines for the fitness industry for sport specific
training and interval training.
Thomas was teaching a series of intervals within intervals increasing the intensity as the
workout progressed. Thomas was teaching “interval training” as it is known today. Dr,
Signorile added the terminology and the substantial research on the benefits of interval
training. Thomas would meet Joe everyday in between classes to learn about work/rest
cycles, nested intervals and more. The manual that started as the original Boxearobics
program now, with Dr. Joe involved, made sense and had clarity……Now Boxaerobics
had research and statistics behind it.
Hence the start of the ISCA – International Sports Conditioning Association
Thomas and Joe traveled all over the USA and internationally certifying the fitness
industry in this Sport Specific concept of interval training.
On May 20, 1994, Thomas organized the first ISCA annual trainer’s event in Florida. His
company was growing and he needed a front line. He needed a group of solid strong
instructors that could learn how to teach the ISCA Boxaerobics certification.
He hand picked 13 original ISCA trainers. Thomas invited them to come to Florida for the weekend.
This training was a three day physical and mental boot camp. The Trainers went through the whole certification.
They were taught proper form and learned how to properly execute boxing punches.
Dr. Joe drilled the science, biomechanics and theory at the same time. On Saturday of
every ISCA yearly trainer event, the trainers are put into the boxing ring to fight multiple 3-
minute rounds with a real boxer. As intense as it was, it was exhilarating and when all of
the hard work was done the group they had a better understanding of what the sport of
boxing, kick boxing and martial arts were all about.
Today, the ISCA carries out the tradition that the “originals” laid out before them:
“WORK HARD, PLAY HARD”! Celebrating 30 years, the ISCA has over 300 master
trainers and more than 22 certifications content based programs. The convention is now
four days, with still the same intensity and still just as much fun.
Thomas the promise sent a message to the Fitness Industry; teach them HARD but keep
it real and fun. He took fitness to a place where it was ready to go and he did it with no
shame and no excuses.
His programs were as intense and playful as his personality.
Thomas was relentless but a gentleman. He was stubborn but kind; harsh but considerate.
He was that 400 lb gorilla but with class and personality and he had a perfectly stacked
And that was a recipe for success!!