Categories
Greatmats is Open and Operational to Serve You
Greatmats is Open and Operational to Serve You

2019 Greatmats National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year

Vote for the martial arts instructor you think should be named the 2019 Greatmats National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year!

Winner to be announced Dec. 13, 2019

4GK Martial Arts

Academy of Kempo karate

Flores Kenpo Karate Studios Oxnard Ca

Florida Taekwondo College

Ft Hood Shotokan Karate

Inwan Kim Martial Arts Academy

Jacked Martial Arts Academy

KickStart Kids

Kim's Karate Shrewsbury

Kuk Sool Won of Richmond Indiana

Lacy’s shotokan Karate

Martial Arts Of West End

New Visions Dojo

Premier Martial Arts, Huntingdon Valley

Shinkyokushinkai Karate Las Vegas, NV

Shotokan Karate Academy

UCS Martial Arts

Zanshin Shotokan Karate

4GK Martial Arts

4/20/2019

Patchogue, NY

Sifu Mike Evans not only cares about teaching children and helping them become the best versions of themselves but he is also a caring and honorable human being. In the years I have known him he has helped countless, families and moms in need, martial arts owners and children that needed an ear to listen and someone to trust. He is a wonder to watch when he teaches or when he trains. His passion and love for martial arts shines through in his training and his teaching. I consider myself lucky to have known him for the last 15 years, he helped me find myself and helped me find the courage to go back to college and follow my dreams. ---------- I can't say enough about this man highly diversified Kungfu expert 5th degree black belt. Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Skills program Eastern seaboard representative. One of the most highly diversified Kung Fu formats I've ever scene in a classroom. His form mastery is 2nd to none. Sifu Michael Evans, Is actually xi gong Michael Evans. Humble compassionate powerful martial artist.most traditionably knowledgeable combat tactician I've had the the honor of being in the presence of. He has been a highly intricate part of turning my daughter into a straight alpha. leader of every group she joins, grades off the charts. As I'm sure there are better qualified individuals to nominate sifu, i saw it first.
11800 Votes

Academy of Kempo karate

12/ 2006

Charlotte, NC

Unsure of the date of photo. My child trained with Soke Ray Ferrell for 4 years and his training supplied her with the understanding of how to train and the discipline to train effectively. We moved, and she no longer trains there, but she is still training and her teacher always compliments her training skills. She was 5 when she started training and is 11 now. His dedication has made a future of training possible for her.
2 Votes

Flores Kenpo Karate Studios Oxnard Ca

10/26/2019

Oxnard Ca

Sifu Jesus Flores is a great instructor his a 10 degree black belt in American Kenpo karate under Ed Parker his a 3rd Degree in Fma under Guro Dan Inosanto and a Blue Belt under Rickson Gracie Juijutsu and his the owner of Flores Bros Kenpo Karate Studios Oxnard and his been teaching for 40 years and on he started teaching at 1977 until now and he made a lot of black belt and growing also he was in the black belt magazine and when he teaches the technique sets and for he teaches it step by step and by detail and when he does his kenpo its like Poetry in Motion
4 Votes

Florida Taekwondo College

11/2017

Miami, Florida

Guillermo Mosquera is an awesome instructor, who has inspired many to go on their taekwondo journey. He made me into a black belt instructor and competitor.
2 Votes

Ft Hood Shotokan Karate

07/21/2017

Kileen, TX

Would like to nominate Lee Aarhus, he is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Shotokan. He volunteers to teach dependent kids on Ft Hood. He has taken the kids to tournaments and coached them as well as spent numerous hours preparing the kids for tournaments, does Birthday cupcakes for all the kids birthdays and puts together the Christmas, before school bash and after school bashes. He always works with anyone before class and after class and even with the parents. For the last 4 years has put on a karate demonstration for the National night out for kids on Ft Hood. His willingness to pass on knowledge and share of his time with everyone has made the kids and parents respect and rely on his help. His dedication to teach Para-Athletes is awesome. He participated in the Para Division at the USANKF and also is a Certified USANKF National Judge/Official and Coach. All I can say is that his energy, humor, humility with no Ego is what makes him a great Instructor, Coach and a great person. He served his country in the US Navy as an EOD and now serves the Karate Community!
2 Votes

Inwan Kim Martial Arts Academy

Oct. 9, 2019

Valrico, Florida

I am nominating GM Inwan Kim, who has devoted his life to teaching authentic martial arts. He is a former ROK Army Ranger, a Taekwondo Moodukkwan 7th dan, a Sinmoo Hapkido 10th dan and direct student of Dojunim Ji Han Jae, and is also in the fight of his life as he battles stage 4 lung cancer. He doesn't let his cancer get in the way of him teaching anyone and everyone he can, and has even started a YouTube channel called "Hapkido University" to pass on Sinmoo Hapkido to the next generation of practitioners. GM Kim has every right to claim titles and accolades but humbly calls himself "a simple martial artist" and lives out the mudo spirit and encourages all his students to do the same.
3 Votes

Jacked Martial Arts Academy

1/4/18

Derby, Ks

Jackie Tolley - Fun times
93 Votes

KickStart Kids

2011

Carrollton, TX

Ms. Cristina Rodriguez is an amazing instructor. She stays hours after a long school day to teach the students that graduated, and help them get their black belts. She puts her whole being into our demonstration teams. Most of all she gives her students opportunities to grow as people and martial artists everyday she teaches.
95 Votes

Kim's Karate Shrewsbury

Circa 2017

York, PA

Master George Kapterian is as humble a person as they come, who instills dignity, respect, and leadership in all of his children and adult students through training and example.
2 Votes

Kuk Sool Won of Richmond Indiana

October 2018

Richmond Indiana

Gary Phillips is a fifth degree and has been in Kuk Sool for 30+ years. He deserves to win an award as he has changed my life considerably and has changed many others as well.
306 Votes

Lacy’s shotokan Karate

March 2019

Tyler, Texas

I Nominate Wayland Lacy of Lacy's Shotokan Karate. 3X USKA national champion 7th degree black belt Shotokan. Over 50 years teaching
2 Votes

Martial Arts Of West End

10/2019

Henrico, VA

Master Erik Hubley 6th Dan. He has been teaching for 20+ years. Making a really different in our community. ---- He's a great well rounded martial artist. As well as a great leader. He's very humble take care of his students like they are apart of his family. ----- With almost 25 years of experience teaching both children and adults, and as a 6th degree black belt, Master Erik Hubley spends his life in the pursuit of bettering himself, and those around him. Master Hubley's greatest strength is not his skill on the mat, nor the Dans on his belt, but his strength of character. He is the type of man that lives by his word, and silently shows others the way; by living by example first and foremost. When it comes to his connections with his students and friends alike, he always goes the extra mile to make them feel special and important. He has an effortless gift to endear himself to those around him, and make them want to be better by his example. Over the years he has worked with dozens of Henrico County Schools; volunteering countless hours assisting in the growth and development of the youth. He has supported countess community events, initiatives, and causes, all to strengthen his local community. His impacted he has had on the community around him is truly measurable, and would be a different world without him. He also champions those who struggle with disabilities in our world. He has partnered with many local and state organizations in the goal of supporting those in need. Most notably by working closely with, and donating financially, to The Autism Society of Central Virginia. He does all he can with the talents he has to give help to those in need, and show them how to stand tall.
1845 Votes

New Visions Dojo

9/2017

Nashville, TN

I'd like to present for nomination sensei Ryan Guillemet, my teacher of 20 years. Guillemet sensei is a huge influence in our greater Nashville community, having taught in areas north, east, and south of town over his 33 years in Wado Ryu Karate-do. Many of us in this area would not be the karateka or the teachers we are if not for our experiences with Mr. Guillemet. He became my teacher when I was 11 and now, as an instructor in my thirties, I am continually inspired by the time, intentionality, and energy he gives to his students. The main quality I look for in my teacher is trustworthiness. I feel this comes through authenticity. Guillemet sensei is a highly qualified Wadoka in his own right. I've seen him demonstrate full speed/power and I've seen him compete in a controlled environment. He is lethally dangerous (as all karateka should have the ability to be), but calm, collected and always under control. I've seen him tested in this regard. He keeps his sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously. His patience and compassion for others is incredible. Over the course of his teaching years, sensei has also remained a student, continuing to advance his understanding. He seeks out knowledge with humility and sets the example for training with beginner's mind. Because I've seen what he can do and experienced the truth of his teaching in my own training, I trust his guidance. He is a true leader and teacher of teachers in our karate community. Guillemet sensei connects with his students in a way I've never seen or experienced from another instructor. He brings out the best in his students by knowing their best, expecting it, and taking the time to make sure they achieve it. He has students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, yet he's able to meet each of them at their level. He actively observes and communicates with his students and finds just the right training protocol, word of encouragement, or well-placed critique to keep students moving along their journey. Those who train under Guillemet sensei are markedly different. We've learned to apply our training to our lives and as a result, we've made it a habit to keep growing, learning, and developing ourselves. Sometimes it's parents who come to the dojo seeking assistance with their children's behavior or mentality. Sensei teaches to the observers as much as the students! He is always willing to team up with parents to create healthy, happy families. It's bitter work sometimes, growing up generations of people and seeing their journeys ebb and flow, but sensei stays true to his course. This is such a mark of his commitment to his students, and to his art. Sensei is always looking for a way to make training work for students - to change lives and communities through the study of karate. As a "poor kid" growing up, his karate classes were made possible through a scholarship program. Because of the tremendous impact karate made on his life, scholarships are continually made available at his dojo. Sensei always says he'd teach karate for free as long as his bills were paid. He feels that students who want to learn deserve great instruction, and often, those who need it most have the least opportunity. He keeps karate and his amateur sport karate team affordable, often at his own expense. Because he embodies this larger perspective, so many kids, teens, and adults are able to benefit from karate training, follow their passions, conquer challenges, and reach goals. I think his prolific example is one to follow and for that, he fully deserves this recognition! --------------- Ryan Guillemet is the best wado teacher in middle TN! --------- Best sensi ever, caring and competent. --------- I've been enrolled here for about a year and 2 months now, and I could not be happier with New Visions Dojo. I'm always learning and always bettering myself everyday at the dojo as an athlete and karate-ka, and am always given opportunities to get even better. When I first came to the school, I was so inspired that I knew that I wanted to do this for life. The Guillemet's teaching style cannot be compared to other experiences. Always encouraging, attentive, and amazing! My 4 year old brother loves going here and he cannot go a day without it (takes after his big sis). I 100% recommend NVD! --------- He's an amazing instructor and goes in- depth about the world of karate! I've learned so much under his instruction because not only does he have the knowledge of the curriculum, but the motivation to teach it.
523 Votes

Premier Martial Arts, Huntingdon Valley

2019

Huntingdon Valley, PA

Sensei David Pantano teaches the PMA curricula (Krav Maga, Kickboxing, Kali, Adult Self Defense, and ground) and Counterstrike Kenpo to all age groups. David is dynamic, and nurturing, not just of the striking, but of the maturation and leadership development of his students. He has developed training programs, often offered as a public service, such as a Women's Only self defense, Digital Dangers for kids, anti-bullying training, adult Survive or Die, amongst others. He constantly strives for perfection of his art, and to promote self respect and self confidence in his students. -------- Mr David Pantano is the utmost of what a martial artist is. He is a teacher, confidant, friend, motivator and countless positions. His following is endless. His dedication to his school is paramount. He trains regularly locally and internationally to bring the most up-to-date curriculum to his students. Community is an important component of his business. He holds free, (did I mention free) classes for kids abduction, women's self defense, and teacher defense seminars. This man has built a legacy in this community. He is beyond what can be expected of a leader/owner of a school. This is a life choice for many. He should be commended for his numerous efforts and successes to help the police, fire and residents of the community.
107 Votes

Shinkyokushinkai Karate Las Vegas, NV

April 2017

Las Vegas, Nevada

Leo Liuzza has been instructing my 7 year old for 2 years and my 4 year old for a few months now. He really encourages his students of all ages to work hard, do their best and don't give up. He is an inspiration to those around him as he takes the time to build others up, help them gain confidence and to believe in themselves. He has built a wonderful dojo and makes everyone feel like family. --------------- Leo is committed to making every class, tournament, and experience positive and fun. He promotes a family atmosphere while pushing every single student, regardless, of age and gender to be their personal best. He has made EVERY single person in his dojo into a "Vegas Warrior" and creates a bond like no other. He asks nothing of his students he would not do himself! --------------- I trained with him for a little over three years and I saw him train anyone from 3 year olds to 50+ year olds who have very little no experience to develop proper form, power and stamina. He dedicates his life to his dojo and is an inspiration to not only his students but the parents and siblings of his students as well. --------------- He is such a phenomenal person in general. My 12-year-old son, Adam looks up to Leo. Leo takes his time and ensures that every single student of his realizes his or her potential. To prepare my son for his grueling black belt test, he is training him in the gym, just as he is doing for any other students who ask. He picks my son up once a week from school so that he can student teach the class for the day (a requirement for his black belt). He jokes with the kids, he lets them have fun just as much as they need to be serious. He encourages the kids. When he sees them struggle, he takes the time to teach them what they need to know to succeed. He also allows the kids to fail, but he helps them learn from failure and teaches them what they need to know to grow from that for next time. He does not take himself too seriously. He has such a great time doing what he loves. He gets so happy and excited when his kids succeed. --------------- He goes above and beyond for all the kids and adults giving his best to get the best from each and every student. --------------- I met Sempai Leo almost 5 years ago when I happened to see his flyer for a brand new dojo. I was there on the first day and I was his first student. 5 years later, I consider him not just my instructor, but my family. He has created a sense of unity and family throughout our whole dojo. When everyone was yelling at me to keep pushing (at my black belt test), his was the only voice I listened to. He motivates me with everything I want in life. --------------- Sempai Leo is heavily involved in my progress as a karateka and my personal life. He uplifts me when I'm down and when I have no confidence, he builds it. His teaching methods are strong and they've been helping progress through college. He is a phenomenal instructor, parent, and friend. Osu --------------- Leo is an amazing instructor. Has has helped so many people over come obstacles. Klarissa is my daughter. She felt like she couldn't fight in her tournament. Leo went to her and told her she could do it. Just believe in yourself and you can overcome anything. She got up and fought her heart out. She had won her fight in tournament. Leo was so proud of her. He truly loves his job. He has done so much for my family. He has done so much for everybody. We couldn't have asked for a better instructor. This is an award he truly deserves. We all love and respect him. --------------- Hhe didn't only teach me karate; he also educated me life lessons. He attains the level of service by developing me new moves along the way of white belt through orange and more. Leo has interesting ways of explaining what the moves are for. --------------- A true, leader by example, a mentor, coach, friend, brother - he is the epitome of what a good martial arts instructor should be. The main reason our dojo is probably the best there is, in Southern Nevada, and his knowledge, passion, and compassion is instilled on everyone he instructs - he is the reason we're more than a dojo, or school - we're family. #VegasWarriors Never Give Up - and the reason for this, is the passion he instills in each of us, to never stop growing, never stop learning, and never stop seeking a higher level of potential in ourselves. If you ask 100 people in the Northwest Las Vegas area, where they would go to learn karate, I guarantee 99 of them would say " Shinkyokushinkai, Karate Las Vegas, with Leo Liuzza" and the remaining 1 of 100, probably doesn't understand karate is life. --------------- He is exactly the kind of instructor you would want for a child. He treats my son like his own. He's patient but tough and has taught my son so much in the least three years. He creates a bond with each and every student and motivates them to keep moving forward. My son loves going to karate and it is because of the environment Leo creates. There is truly no comparison when it comes to the best karate instructor! --------------- Sempai Leo Liuzza is a phenomenal karate instructor. He goes above and beyond - taking a personal interest in each and every student at his dojo. He leads by example teaching students the value and reward of hard work, discipline, and dedication.
20711 Votes

Shotokan Karate Academy

10-19-19

Lehi, UT

Jordan Diaz has dedicated his life to teaching traditional karate to everyone of all ages. He believes everyone needs to do karate because of the amazing lifestyle it teaches.
22711 Votes

UCS Martial Arts

9-10-19

Capac, MI

Joe Willis embodies his school motto, knowledge, duty, wisdom, and respect, in all areas of his life. He works tirelessly to instill these values in the next generation of students. Even though he is the instructor, he never stops learning or trying to be better himself, too. He makes everyone feel proud of themselves for trying their best. He does MMA, women's self defense, kids stranger danger, personal training, and strength and conditioning classes too. He's helped me lose almost 200lbs to date.
353 Votes

Zanshin Shotokan Karate

12/07/2018

Santa Clarita, California

Sensei Rocky Whatule teaches his students about karate, self defense, and the principles of Master Funakoshi to all students of all ages in his dojo. Along with this, Sensei Rocky also brings the word of God in his teaching. The Dojo runs charity events to raise funds for local children and families in the community that are in need. About Sensei Rocky: Sensei Rocky has been studying in the Martial Arts for the last 30 years.He continues to train and get his ranking from Master Bill Viola II at the Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club in North Huntingdon, PA. In 1997 he held the responsibilities of teaching and running the kindergarten curriculum at Allegheny Shotokan Karate School. Outside of the Dojo Since 1991 he has held State, National, and International titles in NBL, SKI, NASKA, USAKF, and the PKRA; In Kata, Kumite, Weapons, Self-defense and Team divisions. He has also served as Judge, Referee, and Coach at these levels as well. He was a member of "Team Yakuza" of ASKC that was Ranked #1 in the US and #3 in the World at the Schwarzenegger Classic Tournament in 1998. He has served as Tournament Coordinator and Entertainment Director of the Kumite Classic and Pittsburgh Fitness expo. He is currently a member as well as west coast coach of "Team Kumite". ------------ Dojo ministry, tournament judge and coach, amazing man and sensei.
62 Votes

Want to honor a martial arts instructor for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style or humanitarian efforts? Then nominate him/her for the 2019 National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. This includes but is not limited to those teaching Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira and Krav Maga. The award, part of the 5th annual Greatmats National Award Series, is designed to recognize martial arts instructors who have made a difference in the lives of their students and community through the virtues of service, integrity and quality.

Learn more about Greatmats National Award Series.

How to Nominate

(The nomination period has ended.)

To nominate the instructor for this award, visit the contest page or email the following information to brett@greatmats.com before Nov. 1, 2019. Nominators will not be identified.

  1. Instructor's Name
  2. Name and Location of the Martial Arts Academy (Must be located in the USA)
  3. A brief description of why you are nominating this instructor, including how he/she meets the criteria of high-level service, integrity and quality.
  4. A photo and/or video of the Instructor

How the winner is chosen:

  1. Voting will take place on the contest page from Nov. 14 through Dec. 1, 2019. The two martial arts instructors with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will judge the two finalists to determine the winner based on:
    1. Demonstration of Service/Community Impact
    2. Demonstration of Integrity
    3. Demonstration of Quality

Grand Prize

  1. $250 in Greatmats Products (or $150 Cash Option) for the Academy
  2. Instructor/academy profile to be released with the announcement of the winner on Dec. 13, 2019.
  3. National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Certificate

More than 8,200 votes were cast in the first three years of the contest, which is part of the 5th Annual Greatmats National Award Series. New in 2019, the Striking and Grappling Arts Instructors are separated into their own individual categories. The Greatmats National Award Series is designed to recognize instructors, trainers and coaches who have made a positive difference in their communities and the lives of their students.

Voting Instructions:

Visit Greatmats contest ballot page during the voting period to vote for this year's National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year. Click the vote button next to the photo of the Martial Arts Instructor you'd like to win. Feel free to share the gallery ballot with friends and family and encourage them to vote. The two martial arts instructors with the most votes will be named finalists. From that point, Greatmats will choose the winner (scroll down to see prizes) based on the criteria listed above.

Greatmats is a national martial arts flooring leader based in Milltown, Wisconsin, since 1999. Identified as one of the top 3,000 fastest growing companies in the USA three times since 2008, Greatmats gives back to its local community by donating 5% of its annual profits to local non-profit organizations. It also supports green initiatives through the use of solar energy at its Wisconsin headquarters and by offering a large variety of products made from recycled and renewable resources.

View all of Greatmats' martial arts flooring at http://www.greatmats.com/martial-arts-mats.php

This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.

All media submissions, including text, photos and videos become property of Greatmats.

Read about previous winners of the award:

2016 National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Grandmaster Bryant Harrell

2017 National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Master Ron Poholik

2018 National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Erich Podbielski