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Greatmats Annual National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award

Greatmats Annual National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award

2019 Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Nominations Start in Oct.

Congratulations to Erich Podbielski for being named the 2018 Greatmats National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year! Read about Erich and fellow 2018 Martial Arts Instructor of the Year finalist John Morgart Jr.


Want to honor a 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. 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 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 in Nov. 2019 for the Fourth Annual National Martial Arts Instructor of the Year Award. 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
    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 in December 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 4th 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.

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 demonstration of service, integrity and quality.

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

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



Renshi Lennis Darby - MojuKai Karate-Kobudo - Enterprise (2017)
Jeremy Booth - Wolfpack Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Hamilton (2016)


Spencer Nolan - Gracie Arizona - Phoenix (2016)


Manny Bujold - Agoura Hills World Champion Karate - Agoura Hills (2018)


Matt Stewart - Three Dragons Martial Arts Academy - Orlando (2016)
Bryant Harrell - High Point Neighborhood Family Center, Clearwater (2016)


Ken Blumreich - AKF Athens Martial Arts - Athens (2016)
Angie Wilson - Choi Kwang Do - Cartersville (2018)
Matt Pattillo - Master Pattillo Martial Arts School (2018)


Brent Williams - Aiki Academy - Boise (2018)
Sterling Crawford - Treasure Valley Taekwondo - Nampa (2018)


Master Ron Poholik - Pride Martial Arts - New Lenox (2017)
Aaron Wayne-Duke - Galesburg Academy of Martial Arts - Galesburg (2016)


Brooke Harrington - iKick Martial Arts - Demotte (2018)


Master Chip McClellan - Legacy ATA - Topeka (2017)


Michael Tull - Champion Karate - Gaithersburg (2016)


Rita Pasquale - United Martial Arts Center - Danvers (2018)


Crystal Baetz - Grey Jiu Jitsu - Houghton Lake (2018)


David Younglove - USA Karate - Rosemount (2017)

Alex Arnall - Springfield Martial Arts Center - Springfield (2018)


Doug Bedsaul - Downtown Martial Arts Academy, Starkville (2016)
Jae McIntosh - No Limit Jiu Jitsu, Starkville (2016)


Beverly Channer - Nebraska School of Martial Arts - Kearney (2018)

New Jersey

Vic Teran - International TKD Academy - Jersey City (2017, 2018)

New York

Shawnie Brown - American Family Karate - Elmira (2018)
Michael Dones - Madmic The Mechanic - Bushwick (2018)

North Carolina

Johnny Edwards - Hickory Grove PHC Jiu Jitsu - Candor (2016)
Don Newell - The Martial Arts Training Institute - Charlotte (2018)


Duyane Ernest - Championship Martial Arts Academy - Milford (2018)
Jason Gehring - Mentor Martial Arts and Karate for Kids - Mentor (2018)


Alex Evers - Stillwater Martial Arts - Stillwater (2018)


Brock Genevro - Silver Dragon Martial Arts - Saint Mary's (2018)
John Morgart Jr. - Wei Son Do Martial Arts - Irwin (2018)

Rhode Island

Larry Martin - Rhode Island Shotokan Karate - Providence (2016)

South Dakota

Robin Buckingham - Buckingham's Karate for Kids - Rapid City (2017)


Mike Tobin - Tobin's Elite Academy of Martial Arts - Clearfield (2017)


Bob Nuttall - Karate University - Weatherford (2018)
Dennis Livotto - The Woodlands Shotokan Karate - The Woodlands (2018)


Matt Larsen - Matt Larsen's Combat Fitness Academy - Springfield (2016)
Melvin Stewart - Westmoreland Family YMCA - Montross (2016)

West Virginia

Eric Swick - Dragon's Den Mixed Martial Arts - Grafton (2016)


Erich Podbielski - American Taekwondo West Bend/Kettle Moraine YMCA - West Bend (2018)
Robert Benton - World Martial Arts Academy - Muskego (2017)
Hanna Podbielski - Kettle Moraine YMCA - West Bend (2017)
Ian Jensen - Lake Country Martial Arts - Hartland (2016)

For more on this topic please review our Martial Arts Mats product page.