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2020 Greatmats National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year

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ATA MARTIAL ARTS SAINT ANN

ATA Martial Arts San Angelo

Academy Of Okinawan Karate

Academy of Martial Arts

Altoona center for martial arts

Ambrose Academy of Wing Chun Do

America’s Best Defense Mansfield

Balanced Warrior MMA & Karate, LLC

Believe Martial Arts

Blast Martial Arts

Brian Mayes Karate

Brian Mayes Karate

C. S. Kim

C. S. Kim

C. S. Kim-McMurray

C. S. Kim-North Huntingdon

Carlson Gracie Coyote Team

Carolina Fighting Arts

Cobleskill Taekwondo

Derrico's Black Belt School

East Coast Karate

East West Karate

Eastside Kyokushin Karate and Self Defense

Everest World Class Taekwondo

Exclusive Martial Arts

Field Martial Arts Academy

Fighteria

Five circles MartialArts

GONZALEZ KARATE ACADEMY

House of Martial Arts

Impact Martial Arts

Indian Land MMA

International Karate and Self Defense

Jungle Boy Boxing Gym

Karate John's Martial Arts Center

Karate John's Martial Arts Center

Korean Taekwondo Institute

Krav Maga Experts

Kreimer’s Karate Institute Inc

Legacy Martial Arts

Legend Martial Arts ATA

Limitless Martial Arts

Long Island Traditional Tae Kwon Do

Martial Arts Advantage

Martial Arts The Training Center

Master Lewis’s Taekwondo

Master Shim’s World Class Tae Kwon Do

Mastermind Martial Arts

Maum Sin Yong Taekwondo

Mayers Karate and Fitness

McClellan’s Taekwondo Academy

Millenium Martial Arts Academy

Miller’s Martial Arts

Minnesota Star Martial Arts

Moo-Ju-Do Fighting Systems

Northwest Martial Arts St Cloud, MN

Oriental Martial Arts College

Peaceful Warriors Martial Arts

Pennsylvania Shotokan Karate Club

Premier Martial Arts

Premier Martial Arts

Premier Martial Arts- Hensley PMA North Augusta, SC

Premier martial arts

Riley’s School of Karate

SVega TKD

Scarborough academy of isshinryu

Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America (Beish

Shoto Kan Karate Club

Singewalds ATA

TaeKwon Do KICKS

Taecole Taekwondo and Fitness

Tatsu Te Ryu Karate Systems

The Dojang

The Next Element Academy

The ONE TaeKwonDo

Tiger Park Taekwondo

Toma Dojo

Total Self Defense LLC

Tracy’s Karate

UFC GYM Indianapolis/Whitestown

Victory Martial Arts

Villaris Self Defense Centers

Villaris Self Defense Centers

Villaris Shaolin Kempo Karate and Ju Jitszu

Wei Son Do Martial Arts

Wright Fight Concepts

Yong-In Martial Arts

ATA MARTIAL ARTS SAINT ANN

Na

Saint Ann Missouri

Joan Cather is an amazing person, great resilience, awesome leadership, never quits on you.

ATA Martial Arts San Angelo

September 8, 2020

San Angelo, TX

Master Randy Carvin is the best Taekwondo instructor you could ever ask for. He is kind and understanding, while also dedicated to ensuring his students rise to be their very best. He is a Master of not only Taekwondo, but teaching, guiding & instructing as well. I am truly grateful to be his student. Kris Hamilton (Brown Belt ATA Martial Arts)

Academy Of Okinawan Karate

2019

Burleson, TX

Since a kid I have always wanted to take karate. In my mind my karate instructor would be wise, patient, amazingly skilled, and just a really nice guy. Shihan Joseph Walker is all those things. What an honor it is to learn under masterful instruction. ------------ Shihan has changed so many people's lives. He teaches wonderful lessons on leadership, life skills, self confidence and the style. He has changed so many children's behaviors. He has autistic students that have overcome so many obstacles. You can look at those children and would never know they were autistic. He's wonderful and very deserving.

Academy of Martial Arts

October 4, 2013

Goose Creek, SC

Sabunim Allan Dela Cruz has been there for me over the past 7 years, not only as an instructor, but as a friend. He is always willing to push you further than you think you can go. I don't know where I'd be today if I hadn't joined Academy of Martial Arts in 2013. His guidance and support has been invaluable. -Emily Barnette

Altoona center for martial arts

November 9, 2019

Seven Springs, PA

My son is on the far right. Master Kevin Gates has been teaching him since he was 7 years old. My son is autistic and has ADHD. He just tested for his second degree black belt. Master Kevin has been pivotal in helping my son learn focus and discipline as well as helping him to achieve goals. He is an extremely skilled instructor and a wonderful human being.

Ambrose Academy of Wing Chun Do

10/1/2020

Livonia, Michigan

With 40 years experience in various Martial Arts and self-defense, Rocco Ambrose is currently the Inheritor and Sibok (Senior Instructor) in the Wing Chun Do system. Studying Wing Chun Do since 1982, teaching since 1988, Mr. Ambrose has been featured in Grandmaster James W. DeMile's book the Tao of Wing Chun Do and is featured on DeMile's video, Bruce Lee's One and Three Inch Power Punch. He serves as a Charter Board Member for Wing Chun Do International, headquartered in Rogue River, Oregon and as an instructor for DeMile Defensive Tactics. He has presented seminars on Wing Chun Do in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and is currently training Instructors for the WCD system. He is the founder of Ambrose Personal Protection Programs, offering safety awareness programs with the community in mind, such as Stranger Smart, Campus Safe Walk for coeds, Second Sight Self Defense for the blind, Women's Self Defense Programs, Good Bystanders Bully Busters Program and more. Ambrose is a freelance writer and has written articles for Inside Kung Fu magazine, Dearborn Press & Guide, and has written: Stranger Smart, Anti-Abduction Skills Your Family's Security. He has been featured on radio, television, and in print promoting the benefits of Wing Chun Do.

America’s Best Defense Mansfield

12/2019

Modesty, Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, and indomitable spirit. Sensei Matthew Nordberg truly embodies these black belt principles every day in and out of his dojo. As a lifelong martial artist and instructor, he shares his unwavering passion with his student and community daily. From young kids to adults, he is able to bring out the very best versions of each and every one of his students while instilling a healthy life style. His leadership is beyond words, while his patience and kindness allow his students to absolutely fall in love with martial arts. His students are his highest priority, he is there for them no matter what they may need. Sensei has a vast knowledge base to reach all students with a particular focus in American Kenpo Karate for younger students and Krav Maga for adults. Equally as important, Sensei always creates a welcoming family atmosphere on and off the mats. Both him and his students engage in building community connections including donating, fundraising and safety education regularly as well. The lessons I have learned from Sensei during my training journey have unquestionably changed my life forever. This story is shared not only by myself, but by many of his life long students. Sensei Matthew Nordberg is a nominee that Greatmats would with out a doubt be proud to name as a finalist for the 2020 Striking Martial Arts Instructor if the Year. Video : https://www.facebook.com/340466512782504/posts/1573321982830278/?vh=e&extid=0&d=n

Balanced Warrior MMA & Karate, LLC

7/21/18

St. Louis, MO

Chris Wetherington is an anti-bullying advocate that strives to help others.

Believe Martial Arts

July 25, 2020

Chipley Florida

We nominate Master Jason Smith from Chipley Florida. In addition to being a motivator and mentor to his staff and students he puts community involvement first and foremost. He has done an amazing job with my children along with all his students motivating them to be the best they can be on and off the mat. His service and dedication to his community involves involvement in community festivals, lessons themed around positive character traits, as well as providing services for children and parents alike. Parents night out, teen dodgeball and summer camp opportunities allow everyone in the community to participate in a friendly family atmosphere. Amidst hurricanes and pandemic challenges Master Smith has risen above both and has inspired others around him to stay positive and believe in yourself and others. He is a blessing to our family and our community. --------------- Jason Smith is such an amazing instructor I've been training with him for 13 years and now I am an instructor at his school. He teaches more then just punches and kicks he is a true leader and friend he inspires others to be their best and fully reach their potential

Blast Martial Arts

10/10/2020

Chesterfield, VA

Master Lewis Sutton is the best of the best. He teaches kids the fundamentals of Taekwondo in the best way. Not only that, he teaches kids to be the best they can be, to never give up, and hard work pays off. He deserves this achievement because at the end of the day, winner or not, he will have the biggest smile on his face -------- Master Lewis Sutton and Master Taylor are the best around. Blast Martial Arts teaches a great group of kids the fundamentals of being the best, never giving up, and hard work pays off.

Brian Mayes Karate

May 2019

Brian Mayes Karate, Harmony Square location

Mr. Matt Heinemann has always been a great instructor with my family, saw me and my wife through to Black Belt and is doing the same with my son.

Brian Mayes Karate

Aug 2020

Brian Mayes Karate, Betts Court location.

Mr. Bill Kempton is an old school instructor focusing on techniques that will help you survive, he believes in curriculum with "options" suited to the individual.

C. S. Kim

4-30-2017

Monroeville PA

Beyond Julia Felton being a multi championship winning martial artist, she is epitome of a role model. Dedicated to mastering the art. Exemplary student. The hardest working employee that truly loves her job. An instructor that has surpassed so many of her seniors. Striving for that next level. Desiring perfection in her forms and weapons. Breaking boards has become second nature. Teaching Tang Soo Do has given her so a way to keep the art alive, mentor others, and be the role model we all wish we had. Always taking joy in her own accomplishments, as well as all those around her. Julia has set the bar high, and earned the respect and admiration of all those around her. She has earned the right to be proud of all she has learned. Her drive will take her even further in all she does.

C. S. Kim

5-22-2016

C. S. Kim Mcmurray

More than an instructor, Master Dean Kelly is a mentor to his students, dedicated instructor for all C. S. Kim Schools, and a role model for us all.

C. S. Kim-McMurray

August 2, 2018

McMurray, PA

There is no one that Master Jeremy Kelly can't charm with his skills. His teachings entice even the most reluctant children. There is nothing he can't do. His skills are beyond that of any I've seen. His methods of making class fun bring all the students to his classes. He is someone that we all can rely on in and out of class. Master Jeremy Kelly is a one of a kind that we are lucky to have in our lives. He is truly loved in and out of class.

C. S. Kim-North Huntingdon

11-9-2014

Monroeville PA

I can think of no one with more spirit than Master Elizabeth Lindsay. She has inspired more people, youth to adult, to practice Tang Soo Do. A superior role model in class and out. Her encouragement has brought so many students to grand achievements. Her passion for living is unmatched. It seems nothing can dampen her spirit. Even through pandemic, she made sure her students had virtual classes, trivia games, and loads of fun to help everyone through. Her endless positivity and laughter are contagious. Master Lindsay's performances are perfection. Her dedication to the art is unmatched. We are all so grateful for her hard work and commitment. We rate truly blessed to have her in our school and lives. ------------- People are drawn to martial arts from different backgrounds and for a variety of reasons. They may be seeking benefits such as coordination, strength, self-confidence, stress-relief, or maybe just want to socialize and bond with other people. The amazing thing about Master Elizabeth Lindsay is that she has the emotional intelligence and dedication to engage each and every person who comes to her dojang. She has patience with those who do not catch on as quickly and sets reasonable goals for each individual to be the best version of themselves both inside and outside of the gym. My son has been receiving instruction from Master Lindsay for eight years and I have seen him grow so much physically, mentally, and emotionally during this time not only at the dojang but at home and at school as well. He has learned the concepts of respect, hard work, patience, and individual success. I am grateful to have found a place to help him thrive in life because before starting karate he was not. His story is only one of many who have learned from Master Lindsay. At the start of the pandemic, the gym was initially closed per state and county regulations. Master Lindsay continued to teach classes not only for not just her students, but those from other C. S. Kim sites as well. As some of the students were anxious about returning to karate after the restrictions were lifted, she continued to offer online classes, mask mandatory classes and even met students outside for instruction. She is truly an inspiration to all of her students and their families.

Carlson Gracie Coyote Team

10-20-2020

Albuquerque, NM

Daniel Souza is the Best Brazilian Jiu jitsu Black Belt in New Mexico. Wealth of knowledge that you can't get anywhere else.

Carolina Fighting Arts

12/22/2019

Wake Forest NC

Quintin Byrd is the greatest instructor of Martial Arts. He trains all ages from children to Senior. He is patient and kind, but makes you work. He is also community minded, giving to the forgotten from abused women to the homeless. He is the greatest all around person.

Cobleskill Taekwondo

July 2020

Cobleskill Taekwondo NY

Through COVID and all the restrictions, Master Laura Gross came around with belt stripes. We were training via Zoom. She is very patient and goes out of her way to help each and every student. She never gives up on us.

Derrico's Black Belt School

6-8-2018

Medford, WI

Mr. Frank Derrico and Mrs. Sarah Derrico are a couple of the best people you will ever meet. Their passion for Taekwondo and passing on their knowledge is unrivaled. They are amazing with their patience for working with adults and children alike. They are both there to help you with your kicks, punches, and forms but it goes far beyond that. They are there for someone to talk to if you need also. The best part about being at Derrico's Black Belt School is that it is a family. The excellence and leadership starts right at the top and they will both do anything that is needed to help you succeed. I have seen many times where a child has come in the door and they can barely get them in the may for their first class and then 6 months later they are absolutely killing it in classes and private lessons. If it wasn't for the Derrico's, I know there would be a lot of people in much worse places than they are now. I am one of those people.

East Coast Karate

12-20-2019

East Coast Karate

Sensei David Ahrens is a masterful teacher. He is remarkable for his knowledge and takes time to learn how best to teach each of his students.

East West Karate

2020

Warminster, PA

Sensei Joe Weber has not only taught his students martial arts but he has instilled the 6 fundamental teachings modesty, courtesy, integrity, self control, perseverance and indomitable spirit. He has become a confidant and is a big supporter of our kids. He has helped my daughter become more confident in herself. ------- Sensei Joe Weber is one of a kind inspirational mentor to many students, as young as 3 yrs. through adults. He encourages students to over come their obstacles through his teachings of Martial Arts. Sensei Joe continued to instill the beliefs of "perseverance" and an "Indomitable Spirit", even during the challenges of 2020. Never let anything interfere with what you are capable of doing. Believe in you! Together we are strong! My daughter, Olivia has been part of EWK for 5 years & my youngest, Callie for 10 months. Sensei Joe not only teaches them to be physically strong but mentally as well. The confidence he instills in a child is truly a life time gift!

Eastside Kyokushin Karate and Self Defense

09/2019

Kirkland, Washington

Shihan Jonathan Campbell is a volunteer instructor providing high quality, affordable martial arts to people in many walks of life. He tirelessly trains others after a full day of work at his regular day job. Shihan Campbell makes an impact in providing a safe training place for students to not only grow as martial artists but as citizens of character. An example of his dedication, and due to COVID we are restricted to training outdoors. To make sure there is proper training place, he leaf blows the basketball court we use and even trains in a torrential downpour, whether it is 20 students or one student. Shihan Campbell is the United States Branch Chief for IKO Matsushima; he is also the head referee for our Branch and travels internationally taking fighters to tournaments.

Everest World Class Taekwondo

March 25, 2019

Baltimore, Maryland

Master Kumar Karki has been dedicated to the art of Taekwondo for 32 years. Having grown up and mastered the sport in Nepal, Master Karki gained international recognition and extensive network of fellow martial artists, as international referee. Immigrating to the USA in 2008, Kumar was named general manager for H.K. Lee Taekwondo in Herndon, Viriginia under the Grandmaster Hyeon Kon Lee. In June 2015, Kumar and his wife, Kalpana (both National Taekwondo Champions for Nepal), opened Everest World Class Taekwondo Academy in Baltimore, Maryland. Master Karki is a dedicated expert of Taekwondo, a committed member of his American and Nepali communities, and beloved mentor to young and adult students alike. I speak for many in expressing my absolute admiration and love for my Nepali brother and sister, Kumar and Kalpana Karki. No better Master deserves recognition as the Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year 2020.

Exclusive Martial Arts

October 15

Exclusive Martial Arts

Master Matt Young showing off how great of an instructor he is

Field Martial Arts Academy

1/29/19

170 Kerry Place, Norwood, MA 02062

Field Martial Arts Academy has a wonderful staff that cares about it's community. The community has bonded and become friends outside of the dojo and support each other inside of the dojo. Derek Field and the staff are all amazing individuals. Derek is the leader of such a wonderful team and his community loves him. --------------- I think Derek Field deserves this title, I have been a student of his for 6 years. He is always patient and motivating with every person who walk through his doors. He is always bettering himself to make sure all of his students get the best. He is the best. ---------- FMAA has been amazing since the day we started there. My kids and I have become healthier, stronger, and more skilled. They have adapted through the pandemic with virtual classes and kept us focused. We are forever grateful for the entire FMAA team and community.

Fighteria

08/11/2018

DWCS gym

Poney (Gleidson Moraes Cutis) is an amazing coach and martial artist. The best coach I've had in a decade of training. Understands the mental game as well as the physical. Very lucky to be his student.

Five circles MartialArts

1/2/20

Tulsa ok

Geoffrey Beeson is the Best Japanese Instructor

GONZALEZ KARATE ACADEMY

August 26, 2017

Laredo Texas

Grandmaster Joe Gonzalez is a wonderful instructor. He is always going out of his way to help anyone in need. He inspires his students in and out of the dojo. He is not just a karate instructor; he is also a high school teacher, inspiring his students to do more in life. Furthermore, he is someone you can count on when you need someone to talk to and need some wisdom. He is more than an instructor; he is a friend, father, brother, husband, teacher, mentor, and so much more. Grandmaster Joe is 1 in 10,000 (For every 10,000 people who start martial arts, only one will go on to become an instructor and teach others the way.).

House of Martial Arts

06/15/2019

House of Martial Arts Dojo - Carmel, Indiana

Sensei George Nae is the reason you fall in love again with martial arts. His passion, kindness, patience, and exemplary leadership is what ignites (or re-ignites for those adult students) the martial arts flame on his students. Regardless of how long you've been at his dojo, he always has an open door policy for any question and always checks up on students to ensure they are learning, that they understood the material covered during instruction and drill, and foremost that they are enjoying their time in the mat. His understanding and vision of Hawaiian Kenpo is what made me fall in love again with the striking arts. His legacy speaks for itself by having students that have been within him since they were kids all the way to their adult life. Sensei George is the instructor any aspiring martial artists wants to be involve with and absolutely deserves to be considered as one of the finalists for the 2020 Striking Martial Arts instructor of the Year.

Impact Martial Arts

2008

Pelham, Alabama

Mrs. Karen Mitchell is held to a high standard of quality, integrity, while leading a community to help in defending and protecting themselves! She is such a class act!!!

Indian Land MMA

October 17, 2020

Ft. Mill, SC

Coach Avery Richard, Is ultimately the best BJJ coach. He really takes his time with the kids and is always open to help from fellow peers. He has implemented Judo, BJJ, Kick Boxing, MMA & Self defense to his dojo. He is expanding faster than we thought and are now looking at doubling the location. All of his children and adults can take as many classes as they want in any discipline. Avery is an amazing coach and I look forward to the future.

International Karate and Self Defense

10/7/2017

International Karate and Self Defense

My son started karate as a young child. When he started he did not have any coordination. My son is also autistic. I think that Mr. Mike Ashwood has an innate talent working with special needs kids. I think that getting my autistic son to the second-degree right that he is now is a monumental task. Mr. Ashwood is awesome with all of his kids. Not only did the kids learn self-defense they also get to have fun. I am so glad that my child has this amazing man to look up to.

Jungle Boy Boxing Gym

9/17/20

Jungle Boy Boxing Gym, Duluth, MN

Mr. Zach Walters is an uplifting instructor, dedicated to molding every one of his students into greatness and helping us all reach our highest potential. His gym is a pillar of excellence to be emulated not only in martial arts or fitness circles, but throughout the entire community.

Karate John's Martial Arts Center

Dec. 2018

Karate John's Martial Arts Center, Cicero, NY

Jared Webb is one of those special instructors that not only teaches his students about martial arts, he instills the values of martial arts and most of all, he inspires. He constantly challenges his students and encourages them to challenge themselves. His belief in his students is unparalleled. He loves them and they love him back!

Karate John's Martial Arts Center

Sept 2018

Karate John's Martial Arts Center, Cicero, NY

There are more recent pictures I have of Mr. Matthew Barnell and my daughter, but this one more than any other picture shows who he is as a martial arts instructor. He cares for the kids, he listens to them, they trust him. He is a mentor for so many of the kids at the dojo. He recently left to pursue a degree in youth and adolescent psychology. I cannot think of a better career for him. He deserves to be martial arts instructor of the year because he embodies everything that martial arts is and passes it so carefully and lovingly to his students.

Korean Taekwondo Institute

09/14/202

Irving Tx

Master Jennifer Landers is one of the best instructors. She takes time to make sure all her students feel special. She trains them hard and still makes it fun. She makes sure to speak to her parents as well even if it is just a simple hello. The students are excited to come. She strives to work hard to help her students from 3 year old to adult work hard to earn their black belt one day, not just receive it. --------- Master Jennifer Landers makes sure her students are happy and having fun while learning Taekwondo. She instructs her students no matter how old or young to train like a black belt while having fun doing it. Every one loves coming to class because of her. She loves teaching Taekwondo and helping people love it to. We look forward to learning more and more every day. Win or not, she is our martial arts instructor of the year.

Krav Maga Experts

JULY 9, 2017

Krav Maga Experts Union Square

When I first began Krav Maga, I'm fairly sure almost everyone figured I'd quit within a week. I was the slowest, most out of shape, traumatized, overwhelmed student they had ever encountered. Raz Chen was one of the few people who saw something in me that made him think I would be successful. He saw that no matter how much I melted down or cried or failed, I kept coming back. Raz made a commitment to earn and keep my trust. He makes it clear in every lesson that he works for my benefit, and he is there to help me be the best I can be, and he believed in me. Raz Chen isn't just good. He's in the top .01% of teachers, based on his training. He trained personally under Gabi Noah, who trained under Grandmaster Imi himself. He's also an incredible teacher and warrior in his own right, who served in the infantry and was a senior combat instructor. That's not easy to find, and to have someone with that level of talent who had the patience to work with me? I'm very fortunate. In January, it will be three years of Krav Maga, and I'm still learning new things in every lesson.

Kreimer’s Karate Institute Inc

10/12/2019

Adam Kreimer Chief Instructor of Frederick News Post Best Martial Arts Studio: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Legacy Martial Arts

09/06/2020

Killeen Civic Center; Killeen, TX

Mr. Jake Davis is an amazing instructor. He engages all the kids and his patience with kids who behavioral issues such as Autism, ADHD and many others. He goes above and beyond to make sure every kid understands what is being taught in class. Since he's taken over the classes run smoothly and the kids stay engaged. He's just absolutely amazing. He deserves this recognition due to his unwavering patience and knowledge.

Legend Martial Arts ATA

07/01/2020

Legend martial arts

Jocelyn Herndon adding another student

Limitless Martial Arts

2019

Limitless martial arts

Cru Ali Hanjani is the best Muay Thai coach for someone who wants to learn their craft and grow as a person and a martial artist. When he's teaching, there is an emphasis on why you do something and what the bigger concept is not just punching people to punch them. He also inspires his team to apply this to life think about why you make the choices you do rather then just going through life swinging and hoping for the best. He's someone who is there for his students both on and off the mats everyone who walks through the door is treated like family. Many of his students have been training under Ali for 5+ years following him from one location to another until he was able to open his own gym, I think it takes a special kind of coach to create such a following.

Long Island Traditional Tae Kwon Do

3/6/2020

At the dojang

Walter Vendura: 50 years in martial arts and still the same passion that drives Sabum!

Martial Arts Advantage

August 2020

Martial arts advantage

Master Jim Hammons is an all around amazing instructor. He genuinely cares about all his students. The martial arts school is like one big family. My daughter started when she was 3 and has graduated up to the gladiators now. Not only is he teaching martial arts but also how to build a positive character in these kids and adults as well.

Martial Arts The Training Center

1/12/2020

Hot Springs Ar.

Miguel Hernandez is an awesome Instructor!

Master Lewis’s Taekwondo

2/12/20

Morehead City North Carolina

Grand Master Russell Lewis of Master Lewis' Taekwondo is the very best in his field! He is an incredible instructor, full of knowledge and brawn. No one else compares or could try! ------- Master Lewis has inspired my daughter to do better, become better and to have that goal to look towards. In order to reach it, it takes discipline and hard work and most of all love of the martial art. She tells me she wants to be a world champion like Master Lewis.

Master Shim’s World Class Tae Kwon Do

3/30/2019

Whitewater Middle School

Master Tyger Morgan is a hard working Master who devotes his whole life to Tae Kwon Do and to his students. He is the most amazing master and I couldn't think of anyone better to receive this award.

Mastermind Martial Arts

6/17/2018

Hesperia. California

Daniel Pollaccia: Best in the area.

Maum Sin Yong Taekwondo

2018

Aurora, CO

Mrs. Diana Hansen is an excellent instructor. She is patient and creative when working with the littlest students while inspiring her older students to strive for excellence. She embodies the tenants of taekwondo by continuing to grow and learn in her practice while sharing her knowledge with others. She makes everyone feel special and able to do taekwondo regardless of their skill level.

Mayers Karate and Fitness

March 21, 2014

North Haledon, NJ

Dan Scielzo is a sixth-degree Black Belt trained in Tang Soo Do. Physically small, he has outsized talent, as indicated by his nickname, Mighty Mouse. ---------------- Daniel Scielzo is great with adult martial arts and with children. Children continue beyond their teen years because of the sense of family Sensei brings to the art. --------------- Dan Scielzo is an outstanding karate instructor. He is an exceptionally hard worker who loves his job!! He definitely deserves this award!! -------------- I am selecting Mr. Scielzo because his Mentoring has inspired our son to do his Best and Be his Best Self. --------- Dan is wonderful with kids and students of all ages. He has been doing it for 15 years and it's obvious he enjoys it. With the virus, he has given lessons outdoors, in parking lots, in small rooms and large ones. Anything to keep the lessons going. He practically sleeps at the dojo.

McClellan’s Taekwondo Academy

9/26/2020

Gahanna, Ohio

Miss Christie McClellan is amazing and works so hard for all of her students! She is an inspiration!!

Millenium Martial Arts Academy

7/13/3019

Kansas City, MO

Master Mike Butler has proven to be a strong leader and an amazing example for martial artists. He seeks to develop not only our abilities but also our character and strength of mind. He truly is a great master to learn under.

Miller’s Martial Arts

8-2019

Johnstown, PA (Richland Community Days)

Christopher Miller had taught many students of all ages that martial arts is more than karate. It's about family, community, and commitment. He is committed to giving back to the community because they afford him the opportunity to be able to run his studio and share his love of martial arts with his students.

Minnesota Star Martial Arts

2020

Minnesota Star Martial Art, Coon Rapids, MN

I would like to nominate Master James Franklin from Minnesota Star Martial Arts, Coon Rapids, MN. Master Franklin is an exceptional leader and role model in the Martial Arts community. During this pandemic he has created online meetings to stay in communication with other dojangs to offer help and support. Also Master Franklin has stayed in contact with everyone of his students through this pandemic. In closing, if it wasn't for Minnesota Star Arts,and Master Franklin I would not have continued in Taekwondo.

Moo-Ju-Do Fighting Systems

10/20/19

Burlington Nj

Master Duane Buck is an awesome instructor. He takes the time to train everyone and has patience. He is one of the best people I know.

Northwest Martial Arts St Cloud, MN

January 2019

St Cloud, MN

Master Bryce Tveter is the most patient instructor working with kids and adults and at the same time is strict with discipline and honor

Oriental Martial Arts College

Unknown

Unknown

My teacher, Joon Choi, has led an extraordinary life and has been great benefit to the martial art world.

Peaceful Warriors Martial Arts

June 10, 2020

Newcastle, OK

Cory Rose exudes selflessness. He and his wife, Brittani, have dedicated their lives to enriching their community through building up and encouraging both kids and adults alike. They have made a huge difference in countless lives here in central OK.

Pennsylvania Shotokan Karate Club

7/20/2020

Sewickely Pa

Sensei Dustin Baldis has been a major part of the sport of Karate for decades. He started off for a good workout and realized he had a true passion for it. Sensei Baldis eventually made the US Olympic Karate team from 1989-2000. He then moved on to coaching the US Olympic team in 2005 and was named the US OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT COACH OF THE YEAR in 2011. Sensei Baldis is an a amazing man and truly takes the time to make sure his students learn not only how to be a team, but also teaches them confidence, compassion, and how to he caring people of their community. Sensei Baldis' credentials speak for themselves, but I am nominating him for this because of his passion for the sport and his students.

Premier Martial Arts

9/28/2020

Raynham Ma

Sensei Johnny Gasdia is an amazing instructor, he works with adults and kids and has a perfect balance of keeping class fun but strict!

Premier Martial Arts

09/25/2020

Premier Martial Arts, Lebanon, Tn

Mr. Jason Warren has been a student/instructor of Martial arts for 30 years. His expertise is only matched by his passion and love for his students. When the question is asked, "What is Martial Arts?". The answer should be accompanied by a picture of him. He is an outstanding instructor and the only one I would train under. Please consider him for instructor of the year!

Premier Martial Arts- Hensley PMA North Augusta, SC

April 2019

North Augusta, SC

When he is not on the mat teaching, coaching the demo team, or giving private lessons, Cameron Smith can be found at his church, leading the youth programs there. Cameron has been involved in martial arts most of his life, starting classes himself at an early age. He is an instructor who genuinely loves and cares for betterment of all the future generations. He is definitely a "fan favorite" everywhere he goes.

Premier martial arts

09/12/2020

Bountiful

John South is an exceptional and unbelievably talented martial artist. He is dedicated to his students and goes above and beyond for each of them. The skills he teaches are beyond the classroom and he encourages and instill a sense of pride in each of his students.

Riley’s School of Karate

June 14, 2020

Bluffton, IN

Michael Riley is a 3rd Dan in Tang Soo Do, and also recently started studying Shuri Ryu. He puts his students first, teaching them the skills they need to be successful in martial arts. Michael works hard to study and bring that knowledge to his classroom. Michael teaches his wife, sons, and approximately 15 other students each week. He is patient and adapts to each one's individual learning style. We are grateful that Michael gives back to his community!

SVega TKD

September 20, 2020

Pflugerville, Texas

Master Sterling Vega is a hardworking, fun and happy instructor. She has a way with working with all her kids, regardless of age or knowledge. She provides a great Taekwondo learning environment for anyone who walks in the door. We love her greatly!!

Scarborough academy of isshinryu

April 28 2020

Scarborough academy of isshinryu

Master Randy Scarborough has helped to inspire all who train under him to achieve their best.

Shorin-ryu Karatedo and Kobudo Association of America (Beish

4/1/2015

Watertown, MA

Sensei Michael Pepe continually goes out of his way to help students who ask him for time. During this Covidtide, since March, Sensei Michael has worked with a group of us from across the country on Zoom. We meet 2-5 times a week We cover kendo, iaido, kata, drills, bunkai, judo, jiu-jitsu, and the whole gamut of weapons. Sensei Michael finds ways to overcome the virtual platform. Sensei Michael is constantly researching for us to answer our questions. He has gone above and beyond to support the martial arts.

Shoto Kan Karate Club

March 16, 2019

World Championships

Mr. Doug Dennis is a legend. His generosity and love for his students are expressed everyday. His dojo is family. ---------Sensei has been teaching Karate for 46 years. He is an incredible person, a phenomenal Martial Artist, and the world is a better place because of him. He is worthy of this honor. --------He is always there for all of his students on and off the mat. He is a great friend and wonderful teacher. ---------Sensei Dennis has been teaching karate for over 45 years. He has competed, coached students, and officiated at the international level. He is a great teacher, mentor, and inspiration to all of our students.

Singewalds ATA

7-20-19

Prior Lake, MN

Mr John Lodermeier is the most amazing instructor I know. He knows everything about every student. He knows names of students, parents, and siblings, and what is going on in their personal lives. He makes you feel incredibly welcome and a part of his ATA family. His encouragement for all students from the Tigers to the 4th degrees is unparalleled. He is what attracts new students and retains old ones. He is patient when teaching new skills and is also an unbelievable martial artist himself (World Champ!). He is an idol that I'm proud my kids look up to. He is very deserving of this award.

TaeKwon Do KICKS

August 17, 2019

Rutland County, VT

Master Kellie Thomas has worked with my son who is diagnosed with autism for over a year, and has taught him so much and made such a difference in his life and self worth. I can't think of a better person to nominate!

Taecole Taekwondo and Fitness

9/1/2019

900 willis Avenue, Albertson NY 11507

Master Maggie Messina is one of the most inspirational and selfless individuals in all of Martial Arts. She not only owns and operates the most successful Taekwondo school in Long Island, NY, but she generously gives up an incredible amount of her own time, energy, and money to those in need. In the height of Covid-19 isolation, Master Messina bought and donated toys and food to our local school communities, and then volunteered her time to deliver them personally to the families who needed them. This fall, Master Messina partnered with the Sunrise Association to create and record virtual lessons for children who struggle with cancer. These are two of countless stories we could share of Master Messina passionately supporting children, young girls, women, families in need, and minority groups. From all those that you have helped, we love you Master Messina!

Tatsu Te Ryu Karate Systems

06/05/18

Shiromatsu hombu dojo

Shidoshi Geoffrey Spohn reaches above and beyond criteria for nomination, not only does he work for law enforcement but also works with students that have disability, have struggled with socialization, and also those that have been rejected by society. In addition to this, he also has been in the martial arts for over 35 years and during that training he has formed himself into a master of his destiny and his life.

The Dojang

12/19/2019

The Dojang, Trussville, Alabama

My ATA Taekwondo instructor, Mr. Maxwell Tucker, is a pro at making hard work FUN! Plus, I have seen dramatic, positive results to my daily life and health, thanks to his commitment to his students. He has also motivated my daughter to do more than rely on natural ability and to become a leader and role-model for her peers. Our school is growing, which is to be expected thanks to Mr. Tucker's vision and seemingly endless hard work. We desperately need more mats to cover open floor space. The growth of this school in the community is a WIN for all involved! Thank you for considering my nomination of Mr. Maxwell Tucker for 2020 Greatmats National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year.

The Next Element Academy

2018-2019

The Next Element Academy

Derrick Kennington is a great mentor, teacher, and goes above and beyond to make sure his students have the best techniques provided to them. He teaches children from ages of 3 to adults. He has several community service projects he does in our area as well as advocating self defense classes and also is asked to help teach classes at international camps. His spirit is contagious and you want to work hard and learn and become disciplined in everything he teaches.

The ONE TaeKwonDo

October 2019

Santa Clarita, California

Master David Kim has been an outstanding figure within the Taekwondo and martial arts community. Through his school and works, the community has received over $20,000 in charitable donations for schools and children cancer services. Even during the times of COVID, his school has provided outstanding online and outdoor services to the community as well as licensed child care services for students not attending in person school.

Tiger Park Taekwondo

August 17, 2018

Tiger Park Taekwondo

Andy Park most definitely deserves the absolute best!

Toma Dojo

2018

Dojo

Sansei Phil Hoskins is a humble, dedicated, patient and knowledgeable teacher and person. He puts tradition over all else and teaches with a calm that instilled respect while also providing confidence. He is able to teach young and mature students and matches their skill levels and skill abilities, but his expectations are equal for all of us. It is never easy, but it is rewarding. I am extremely proud to be able to say that I have trained with someone as knowledgeable, demanding and sincere as Sensei Phil. Thank you. ----------- One of the best decisions I ever made was when I decided to join the TOMA Dojo! Sensei Philip Hoskins is an excellent teacher of Uechi-Ryu Karate, he's passionate about martial arts, and he strives to pass on his knowledge and experience to students of all ages. ------------ Sensei Philip is an outstanding teacher.From the little ones up to the seniors, he demonstrates patience, kindness, dedication and an unrelenting drive to guide his students to the top. His commitment to his dojo family shows through in all he does. During this time of Covid 19, Sensei Philip made sure his students continued to work hard providing online classes & park classes until he could get back in the dojo. He never stopped and he never gave up. Something he teaches his students every day.Being humble and respectful to each student, he is a wonderful role model and example to us all.

Total Self Defense LLC

August 29, 2020

Total Self Defense, 2737 N Packerland Dr, Green Bay, WI

Sensei Herb Blue has a way to empower and motivate every student he trains with. He measures his accomplishments by the Black Belts he has trained.

Tracy’s Karate

11-19-2019

Medina, Ohio

Master Todd Tomco has been terrific! From working with toddlers in little dragons, to the older population, and also ones with special needs, Master Todd has a teaching gift. He inspires you to be the best you can be, no matter your level, or your physical abilities or limitations. I've been to many dojos, and I can finally say, I found my home. My whole family has! I highly recommend him, and definitely nominate him!

UFC GYM Indianapolis/Whitestown

10/16/2020

Indianapolis/Whitestown

Dr. Kiko Suarez has an incredible passion for teaching and helping others. He has an incredible following of students that he trains. ------------- Kiko is the best of the best! He is the brightest light and teaches in a way that captivates and leaves his students wanting more!

Victory Martial Arts

06/2020

Victory Shadow Hills Studio

Kristof Navarro is the most dedicated instructor for his age

Villaris Self Defense Centers

10/31/19

Villaris of Chalfont

Me Leon Wiener is an excellent instructor with his depth of knowledge and his fun way of keeping things interesting. He is always willing to go the extra mile and help with organizing food drives and help with special events. He's a hard worker for his own martial arts skills, but when he's teaching, he's ALL about making sure the students learn, have fun, abs are glad they came!

Villaris Self Defense Centers

3/9/19

Mr Tom Waltrich, who is also a high school math teacher, excels at teaching all ages and abilities. He's knowledgable and motivational and is always ready with another drill to keep the class working hard on the lesson they should be focusing on, while keeping it changing enough to keep it interesting.

Villaris Shaolin Kempo Karate and Ju Jitszu

6/15/2019

Chalfont, PA

Master Harry Pfister is not only an exceptional martial artist, but he is a phenomenal instructor. His knowledge of the different styles and techniques is vast, but one of his most impressive qualities is his ability to teach those techniques to students of all levels and all ages. He is able to take an extremely complicated technique and break it down into its basic components for his students to employ. He does an exceptional job teaching these skills to the younger students in a way that is fun and entertaining, keeping them engaged. With the pandemic, Master Pfister has moved many classes to an online format and has continued keep his students motivated and enjoying classes. There is no doubt Master Pfister is a phenomenal Martial Artist, but he is an equally astounding instructor which qualifies him for Instructor of the Year.

Wei Son Do Martial Arts

Match 2, 2019

Irwin, PA

John Morgart Jr. has been doing a great job navigating the difficulty of teaching while also in a pandemic. He's been holding separate classes and keeping his students spirits up. Not only does he teach his students how to defend themselves but also discipline and how to avoid and de-escalate first. All of friends and family are truly proud of him and are so grateful to be with him on his journey. We love you John!

Wright Fight Concepts

10/20

Wright Fight Concepts, New Egypt, NJ

He began training in Aikido in 1999 at a branch of Jersey Shore Aikikai at Pearl Street Gym in Long Branch, NJ and in Japanese Jujitsu and Judo in 2000 at Woodbridge Judokai in Woodbridge, NJ and pursued further training in Kendo and Aiki-ken (aikido swordsmanship) as well to supplement this. He continues his Japanese swordsmanship training actively and is currently pursuing a shodan in a method of Batto-do (a compilation methodology of several traditional sword arts). Additionally, he exchanges knowledge regularly with learned swordmasters and continues to exchange knowledge with Grandmaster Alan Simms (Karate N' Motion) on both hand to hand and weapon based study. After the Jujitsu program at Woodbridge Judokai closed down in 2005, Sensei Damien continued his Jujitsu education by training in Nagasu-Ryu Jujitsu at Edison Martial Arts Academy in Edison, NJ under the direct instruction of Wayne Ford Soke, founder of the Nagasu-Ryu School of Jujitsu and a practitioner of martial arts for over 50 years. In February of 2011, Sensei was awarded his Godan (5th Degree Black Belt) in this art by a committee consisting of Wayne Ford Soke (the final rank promotion awarded to him by Ford Soke while he was alive), and top ranking Nagasu-Ryu master instructors William Scott Hanshi (Owner and Head Instructor of Edison Martial Arts Academy), and Henry Alvin Kyoshi, and was conferred the title of Renshi (Master Teacher, 1st Rank) by Ford Soke. Additionally, in March of 2016, Sensei Damien was awarded his Shichidan (7th Degree Black Belt) and the title of Kyoshi (Master Teacher, 2nd Rank) by Ford Soke's direct successor Michael Burrowes Soke (Headmaster of Nagasu Ryu Jujitsu and C.E.O. of Tora Karate Federation), as well as the renowned Roger Hamilton Hanshi (Head Instructor of Hamilton Martial Arts Academy in California). -------- Damien Wright, Kyoshi Ranks and Certifications: Shichidan (7th Degree Black Belt) in Nagasu Ryu Jujitsu (under the late Wayne Ford, Soke) Title of Kyoshi (Master Instructor Level 2) in Nagasu Ryu Jujitsu (Certified by Michael Burrowes, Soke) Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (under Coach Chris Ulbricht) Blue Belt in Judo (under the late Sensei Marian Garbarek) 1st Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do Green Belt in Shukokai Karate-do Founder and Owner of Wright Fight Concepts Classes Taught: Japanese Jujitsu (Program Director) Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (Gi and Nogi) Japanese Swordsmanship (Program Director) Youth Jujitsu/MMA, Grade School (Program Director) Youth Jujitsu/MMA, Upper Grade School (Program Director) Youth Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (Program Director) Adult and Youth BJJ Competition Coach Classes Assisted: Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (Gi and No-gi) Adult and Teen Boxing Youth Boxing Youth Muay Thai

Yong-In Martial Arts

10/10/20

Yong-In 3900 Hixson Pike Chattanooga, TN 37415

Master Sebastian Silva is shown in the picture teaching me how to kick. He has also taught my son who is now a black belt
Want to honor a striking martial arts instructor for his/her outstanding achievements, unique style or humanitarian efforts? Then nominate him/her for the Annual National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award, sponsored by Greatmats. Starting in 2019, Greatmats began offering two martial arts instructor awards - one for those focusing on the striking arts and another for those with a primary focus on the grappling arts. Striking arts include, but are not limited to, Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Capoeira and Krav Maga. The award, part of the 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

To nominate an instructor for this award, email the following information to brett@greatmats.com or visit the contest page and fill out the online nomination form before Oct. 26, 2020. Nominators will not be identified.
  1. Instructor's Name
  2. Name and Location of the Martial Arts School (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 Nov. 2-16, 2020 for the Annual National Striking Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award. The two striking martial arts instructors with the most votes will be named finalists.
  2. Greatmats will interview the two finalists to determine the winner

Prizes

Grand Prize:
  1. $250 in Greatmats Products for the School
  2. National Dance Instructor of the Year Certificate
  1. Runner Up: $150 in Greatmats Products
  2. Third Prize: $100 in Greatmats Products
  3. 4th-10th Place: $50 Greatmats Coupon toward purchases of $200 or more

Voting Instructions:

Visit Greatmats' contest ballot page during the voting period to vote for this year's National Striking 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.

National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year History

More than 94,500 votes have cast for martial arts instructors in their first four years as part of the 6th Annual Greatmats National Award Series. 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.

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: