Global Martial Arts University Blog

A World Leading Distance Training Online Martial Arts University

Learn How One Martial Arts School Owner Launched a Successful Online Course

In this article, we meet Dustin Koppel. He has been a career martial arts instructor for over ten years and has owned a school for five years. He currently owns two successful schools in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, and teamed up with the Global Martial Arts University to  launch an online Krav Maga program. In this interview, he discusses what it has been like since starting the online program back in 2016. 

Dustin's GMAU Course Success Story

This is an interview between Michael Hodge, the Director of the GMAU, and Dustin Koppel, the Krav Maga head instructor.

Michael: Why did you want to launch your Global Krav Maga Course?

Dustin: So, I met Michael Hodge back in early 2009. He owned a school out in Texas and I was actually here in Tennessee working and we developed a friendship. A couple years later, he reached out to me and was talking about this idea that he had with Global Martial Arts University and teaching Krav Maga online.

At first, I was really hesitant with it, you know, thinking how can you do Krav Maga online and what the not? But the more I thought about it, and the more I talked to him, if you look at how things are nowadays and how everything is shifting, almost everything is done online now. You can get a personal trainer certification, you can get a college degree online, you can go on YouTube and learn just about anything online.

It really made a lot of sense to me and I saw the potential. You know, I own two schools here in Tennessee, but I saw the potential of having thousands of students and being able to reach so many people throughout the world, so that’s really why I dove right in headfirst and was super excited about making these detailed classes in the way that we’ve designed our classes and our interactions with the students. They get so much feedback from the instructors that it’s almost like having a personal training session, and they get to do so much work at home, just like a lot of students here at classes do. They practice in their class with everybody and then they go home and sometimes they’ll practice on their own. But now, instead of doing the class format, they do it online, and see these classes that are really designed for being at home. It’s a really unique opportunity and I just couldn’t say no to it.

Michael: Like how much time do you spend on the GMAU on a weekly basis or how do you juggle that and having a local school?

Dustin: I actually, like I said, own two schools in Tennessee. I run a show, which is called National Top Roller, which is for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and then I work with the Global Martial Arts University. At times it can get tough to juggle and my wife is always joking with me about how I’m always on my phone, but really, I’ve broken it down to where I spend about an hour in the mornings on Global Martial Arts, I spend an hour with National Top Roller, and then I’m teaching later that night at my schools and marketing, things like that. Usually, I spend about an hour a day.

Now, students will send their assignments. They’ll send in tests and I’ll watch those and then later that night after I’m done teaching, do a quick feedback video for them, which is anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, upload it to them and get it sent back to them, so it’s really become a daily routine for me. It’s become my everyday life. I spend that time watching, answering questions for them and as I said, I take about an hour and dedicate it to the Global Martial Arts University.

Michael: How has the income from GMAU course improved your life or changed your life since being a part of it?

Dustin: It’s been amazing to watch the growth from when we first started to where we are now. I’ve really been able to pay all of my personal bills from GMAU. From my house to some of our cars, to our normal, everyday bills, so it’s really changed that.

Plus, I still have the other income from my schools, my National Top Roller, and really, I’ve been able to invest and do a lot more things. It’s been an amazing thing even though it’s a couple hundred students right now, the growth and watching it every single month grow and grow and grow and having the opportunities of doing testing, exams, assignments, instructor certifications, and having people come in-person and test, so there’s always these small bonuses as well. It’s been very beneficial for me to continue invest into the schools and other projects that I do.

Michael: What do you like most about working with your home study students, since you’re not actually there locally with them? What do you enjoy about that?

Dustin: One thing that I absolutely love, is when I get to watch these videos and watching the growth of the students, from their physical abilities to actually taking what we give them, their feedback, and applying it. And it’s such a unique opportunity to be able to work with people in Australia, South Africa, Greece, and all over Europe. It’s really unique to me and exciting to talk to these students and give them feedback and work with them, but the most important thing is, watching their growth in Krav Maga and really seeing that doing this online can change their lives and help them out in the long run.

Michael: And the last one, from your opinion, what sets the GMAU apart from other online schools, like from what you’ve seen?

Dustin: As you guys know, there’s quite a few different online programs that are out there. A lot of them are just video banks and you pay a monthly fee and you can click on the video and watch it.

What we’ve done is—Michael Hodge and the team at the Global Martial Arts University—is really listen to our students and every single month - we’re trying to improve our website and our student feedback. We’re always giving them something new. We’re always giving them something to continue working on and challenging them and giving them new goals through the GMAU. It’s really awesome to see that.

From having a live feed of when students complete things, being able to give the students high-fives, kind of like a like on Facebook, it’s really almost becoming like a positive community for martial artists. It’s a very interactive thing, being able to find students that are near you if you want to train with them, you can reach out, you can message them, you can have a discussion on the forum and talk about your ideas. There’s so much that’s involved in it, it’s become very community oriented at the same time with the martial arts and being able to continue growing and continuing your learning.

You can learn more about the Global Martial Arts University Krav Maga course here. Are you a black belt martial arts instructor and school owner? Apply to launch your own course with the GMAU.

Is Your Personality Type Holding You Back from Succeeding in Online Martial Arts?

This is a guest post authored by Adam Bein, currently a yellow belt in the Global Martial Arts University Shotokan Karate program. He maintains a helpful blog for other shotokan home study students.

You've signed up to learn Shotokan Karate through the Global Martial Arts University.  You pay your fee and you've begun to watch videos and practice.  Wouldn't it be nice to know what hurdles YOU face studying martial arts online due to YOUR specific personality type-that other people who have a personality type different from yours, do NOT have to deal with or face?  Another way to look at this;  how does your type of personality get in the way of advancing in online martial arts training?  Furthermore; how can you leverage the benefits of YOUR personality type to maximize returns and advancement in online martial arts training?  The big question is:  Is understanding your personality type key to excelling and progressing, and not dropping out of, online martial arts training?  I say "Yes.  Understand yourself and your chances of advancement in online martial arts training are significantly greater." 

So What Type of Personality Do I Have?

There  is a personality categorizing test called the 'Kiersey Temperament Sorter' (sometimes known as the Meyers Briggs Personality Test), that, through a series of approximately 80 questions, any individual can find what personality type they have/dominates them, how they function and perceive the world around them, how people with that personality type make decisions, what they prefer, their needs, and their motivation.  

The Member

Are you a person who leans towards membership, being part of a community, finds comfort in functioning in a group setting? You might excel in online martial arts training if you get other people to join your endeavor in a weekly meeting.   Ask family members, people from your church, youth group, other clubs or organizations to join you.  Together all of you can learn Karate.  This might be exactly what you, and they, need, is a good fit-group learning Karate with Global Martial Arts University.  Succeed and advance as a group or a team.

The Perfectionist

Are you a person who strives on improving, perfection, to have skill or knowledge, to understand?  Are you extremely self-critical, self-doubting, yet you have an inquiring attitude?  Consider toning down your tenseness.  You more than the other personality types must learn to accept the mistakes and imperfections that you exhibit on your way to being proficient. You WILL reach competency!  You WILL excel at Karate!  You are never on the verge of failure-you are an exciting, brave individual and you WILL be skilled!  You might need to 'take it down a notch', and 'relax'.  Enjoy the process, enjoy the journey - with Global Martial Arts University. 

The Butterfly

Are you a butterfly?  Do you go from exciting endeavor to exciting endeavor? Are you quickly bored with the mundane?  Incorporate your Karate training into the pursuit of your own identity.  Help YOU become a finished, significant self. Global Martial Arts University can help you bring out the best IN you.  Time your learning and enthusiasm in the correct dosages and stick with it and you will ever closer get to perfection in the art of Karate and towards being a finished self, the you you really are!

The Action Star

Are you a person of action?  Repetition-boring!  Freedom to do as you wish-exciting!  YOU can work or practice for hours!   Karate is fun!  Karate is exciting!  The kicks, the blocks, the striking!  Look at you!  Preciseness, boldness, timing!  But one thing you must learn-leveling up in belts and improving in Shotokan Karate is not an accident and is not done simply by repetition.  Instead, success requires analysis, success requires setting and meeting goals, and improving-and not abandoning this endeavor when boredom strikes (you know you get bored easily!) you need to look BEFORE you leap.   One of the keys to YOUR success in learning Shotokan Karate with Global Martial Arts University is for you to realize that this race is not a sprint, it is long-distance and as such, requires levels of attention to which you would prefer, if given the option, let's be honest, to completely avoid.  You're a do-er after all.  Hate to break the bad news to you but it's time for less scattered doing and more thinking, focusing, planning, and sticking with the plan. 

So GMAU student, which type of person are you; the Member, the Perfectionist, the Butterfly, or the Action Star?  It may be important for you to understand yourself and your personality type so you can custom tailor your learning to fit YOUR personality and to steer away from pitfalls unique to your personality type, so you can excel in the online learning of Shotokan Karate. 

My Karate Journey with the Global Martial Arts University (Guest Post by Jonas Bieri)

This is a guest  post written by Jonas Bieri, of Switzerland. He is currently a 3rd kyu brown belt in Shotokan Karate-Do with the Global Martial Arts University. He also maintains a blog about his karate journey.

When my kids started Karate at a local dojo, my interest in the Shotokan style started. Watching them train, learn and grow made me want to practice Karate, too. Observing their world-class japanese instructor teach them techniques, mindset and stamina, and seeing all the kids improve, rank, sometimes fail and retry, motivated me enormously.

Being already a student in a local Goshindo Jiu Jitsu dojo and training once or twice a week, I did not want to spend yet another weeknight away from the family to practice Karate, so in 2016 I joined the Global Martial Arts University with their distance learning course to learn Karate at home via video lessons instead. We have some free space in the corridor between the kids’ rooms, that’s where I placed a mirror and now call it my home dojo.

The beginning was easy. Every free minute I slipped into my Karate gi and practiced along the lessons and classes of Sensei Jon. I already knew about the techniques from watching my kids, so I progressed fast, and soon I was able to test for yellow belt. I made space in the living room, started the camera on my phone - and felt horrible stage fright creep up on me!

I have never had problems with oral examinations at school or uni, but demonstrating my Karate on video for my Sensei, that was different territory. It really is hard for me to keep calm, breathe, and stay focused while still relaxing my body during an exam. Never before have I experienced a mental blackout, but in Karate exams this happens regularly to me (as you can observe in my latest examination video at 3:00). Thus for me practicing to overcome the blackouts is a great lesson for life.

The level of stress may be lower than what my kids experience during their exam in front of their Sensei and parents, but I think this is compensated by the much longer and physically more demanding video exam the GMAU requires. With each belt level, new techniques are added to the syllabus, and it gets more demanding. Even though with the addition of the different kicks the training gets harder, I now prefer longer training sessions than I did at the beginning. At yellow belt level I usually trained 30-60 minutes, while I now prefer 1-2 hour sessions. The longer the session, the more important it is to vary training intensity, so I had to learn to listen better to my body.

I usually do not plan my training session ahead - I begin with a short, 30 seconds meditation to calm my everyday thoughts and worries, focus on the state of my body and mind, what feels good and what not. Often I start with one of the video classes for the warm up, no matter what belt level they are targeted at. Depending on my mood and how much my legs can take, I vary the intensity of the basic techniques (Kihon) that follows. Sometimes I control myself in the mirror, sometimes I trust my body feeling alone. Towards a belt exam, I remove the mirror to gain confidence in what I do and how it feels, and shoot a video to check if what I feel matches how it looks from the outside.

I never do a training session without Kata. Usually I repeat every Kata twice, finishing with that required for the next belt level. Learning a new Kata is always hard for me, I’m not the fastest learner. It takes real dedication, perseverance and many hours of watching videos, checking my Karate books over and over, visualizing myself working through the techniques several times a day (e.g. before drifting off to sleep at night), and of course physically training the form dozens of times. Yet it’s worth it.

With my Kata training I think I now understand and feel what C. W. Nicols describes as “Moving Zen” in his Karate Memoirs. I often reach that state Sensei Jon describes as “No Mind”, where Kata movements just flow without thinking about what was and what’s next, and my mind is completely focused on the here and now. After such a session I feel reinvigorated, relaxed and full of energy for life.

And for me, that’s what it is all about.

Jonas is an active contributor on our Discussion Board, and has also filmed a "Student Created Class" for the entire shotokan student base. When you login to a free or enrolled account, go to Extras, then "Student Created Classes" to see his class.

Finalists of the 90 Day Student Challenge - Who Will Win?

It has been an exciting 90 day challenge! We started with 34 energized participants three months ago. Students who had set the goal of earning their next belt within the next 90 days, and to document their journey along the way. For some, they were off to a strong start. Training with intensity, blogging, making videos, and making progress. For a few, life got in the way, and they were not able to continue to make blog posts and train as regularly as they would have liked. Our initial group dwindled down to 6 finalists. Six students who not only trained with consistent intensity, but also documented their journey along the way for you to follow. Six students who put it on the line, and submitted their next rank exams.

Now, it is up to all active Global Martial Arts University students to vote for the winner. Remember, the grand winner will receive a $400 cruise gift certificate (its about time for a vacation after all of that training), the runner up will receive a custom GMAU training kit, and all finalists are receiving a special edition "Challenge T-Shirt." Here is an overview of the challenge and prizes.

And now, the finalists. Take some time to visit their blog or youtube channel to see what their 90 day challenge was like. Watch their rank exam video, and take notes for yourself. And then, login to your GMAU student account and vote for the winner! Are you not an active GMAU student yet, today is a great day to being your own challenge.

Nathan Douglas

Jonas Bieri

Conray Paul van Biljon

Adam Bein

Matthew Allen

Ambreen Khan-Evans

Voting Begins Now!

If you are an official (active) GMAU student, you will be able to cast a vote. Consider the student's overall challenge. Read their blog or watch a few of their video updates. Contrast their improvement over the challenge to their test. Take into account their testing video, and overall journey. Thanks for voting!

The Participants of the 90 Day Challenge (Follow and Encourage Your Fellow Students!)

We are so excited to see that 35 students have entered the GMAU 90 Day Student Challenge. We were able to donate $350 to GlobalGiving, as promised, to help alleviate hunger and disaster relief. Now, the real work begins. Each and every student will wake up in the morning, with a real goal in their mind and body. What can I do today to get better? How hard will I push in this class, in this practice, in this punch, in this kata, in this defense? 

I encourage you to learn more about the students who are participating in the challenge. Like, share, and comment on their blog posts and video updates. Let them know about your own struggles and victories. We are all on this journey of self-improvement together, especially via the vehicle of the martial arts. Here are the participants:

Robert Hughes

Nathan Douglas

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Black Chevron
  • Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Spencer Bath

Derek Smith

Calvin Couch

Jonas Bieri

Conray Paul van Biljon

Cruz Uriarte

Theresa Kammermeier

Tom Hotz

  • Ultimate Bo & Shotokan Karate
  • Next Ranks: Yellow Chevron & Yellow Belt
  • Wakefield, Massachusetts, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Sara Erickson

Andrew Darragh

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Purple Belt
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Tanguy De Backer

  • Shotokan Karate & Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Black Belt & Yellow Chevron
  • Namur, Belgium
  • Youtube Channel

Adam Bein

Christopher Beckman

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Orange Belt
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, United States
  • Instagram

Jill Connolly

Michael D. Milson

Joe Calamaio

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow Belt
  • San Antonio Viejo, Texas, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Rachelle Gipson

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow
  • Burlington, Wisconsin, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Justin Mitchell

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: 3rd Kyu Brown Belt
  • Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Shalini Gupta

  • Shotokan Karate
  • Next Rank: Yellow Belt
  • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Matthew Allen

Andrew Toscano

Margrett Toscano

Paul Gorvin

Oliver Majchrzak

Oliver Sayago

Maria Perez

Chris Shoemaker

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Yellow Chevron
  • Jackson, Mississippi, United States
  • Youtube Channel

Sofya Alsalman

  • Ultimate Bo
  • Next Rank: Yellow Chevron
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Youtube Channel

Stanley "Doug" Rhoades

Kathleen Ramirez

Ambreen Khan-Evans

Amanda Reimers

There we have it, what a great group of students who have entered the challenge. Keep in mind that the participants will be updating you with a new blog post or youtube video every week, throughout the 90 day challenge. Their goal is submit their next rank exam before the time is up. In late December, we will open up voting. You will be able to vote on the best student, based upon their rank exam video. 

Please take time to visit their blogs, and channels. Subscribe and follow students that you want to encourage and root on, leave comments, and give each other a little push in the right direction. Learning and mastering martial arts at home is not easy. It requires so much more internal self-discipline. With a local martial arts school, you have certain days of the week that you know you have to show up for class, you could drag yourself through the door, but your instructor will teach you and get you moving. We try to do the same thing for the GMAU students, but, ultimately it is up to them (you) to turn on your phone/tablet/TV/computer, choose a class, and start training. 

Remember, the first place winner will receive a $400 credit to the cruiseline of their choice (you'll want to take a relaxing vacation after all of this training), the runner-up receives a custom GMAU training kit, and all who complete the challenge will receive a special limited edition t-shirt. Let the challenge begin!

90 Day Challenge: Earn Your Next Belt, Win Prizes, Level Up Your Life

Introducing the 90 Day Student Challenge. We are challenging you to earn your next belt within the next 90 days. Whether it is your white belt in shotokan, yellow belt in krav maga, or even red chevron in Ultimate Bo - everyone is welcome to enter the challenge. You simply need to be an enrolled Global Martial Arts University student.

The winner of the challenge will receive a $400 gift certificate to a cruise line of their choice (such as Carnival or Royal Caribbean). The runner-up will receive a custom GMAU training kit with two practice targets, boxing gloves, and a bag. All participants who complete the challenge will also receive a limited edition t-shirt, no one else in the world can wear this shirt. Not only that, but if you complete the challenge, it meant that you took your rank exam, and hopefully passed it! Even if you don’t pass, your instructor will give you kind and detailed feedback, so that you can re-submit corrections.

We are also donating $10 for each student that enters the challenge, to Global Giving. Global Giving collects and administers funds to those affected by natural disasters around the world. We hope to have some impact on those in the wake of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and other emergencies.

How it Works

  1. You will register for the challenge. You have until September 22nd to register to be included as a participant.
  2. You are required to write one blog post or upload one video each week. You will be documenting your journey during the challenge for others to watch and learn from. You can start a blog or use your youtube channel, whatever makes more sense to you.
  3. Take your rank exam within the next 90 days.
  4. In late December, GMAU students will vote on all rank exam videos from the challenge participants. The winners and all participants will receive their prizes.

Step One - Register for the Challenge

First of all, you have to be an enrolled GMAU student in order to enter the challenge. In case you are not yet an active student, this is the perfect time to join! Simply go to the course page of your choice, and enroll with the monthly or biannual membership option.

If you are an actively enrolled student, then scroll down to the bottom of this page to register.

Step Two - Document Your Journey Each Week

Part of the challenge, is letting your followers and supporters see the ups and downs of your training experience on your way to the next belt. It is required that you do at least one blog post or video each week along the way. We realize that you might test before the 90 days is over (12 weeks). You are required to post at least 6 updates along the way, if you happen to finish and test early.

So, for example, if you are already have sufficient traning hours when you begin this challenge, and will test soon, you will at least need to post 6 updates. Maybe a blog post or video every three days for example.

But, for everyone else, who trains for the entire 90 days, once a week is required. Also, definitely post something after you have taken your exam and received feedback from your instructor!

Option One: Document with a Blog

The first option, is to create a blog for this challenge. This is a great way for you to write a post, include some photos or a quick video even if you would like to. We recommend creating a free blog with: Wordpress, Blogger, or Tumblr.

We ask that you name the blog something relevant to your training. Who knows, you might gain so many followers and be touching, and inspiring others, that you continue writing on this blog throughout your entire journey to black belt! Here are some name ideas:

  • Michael’s Martial Arts Journey at Home
  • The Smith Family Learns Krav Maga
  • Tim’s Krav Maga Training at Home
  • Cindy Learns Bojutsu

Make sure and mention that you are training with the Global Martial Arts University and also the 90 Day Challenge.

Some things to write about in your posts:

  • What you have been training on that week (techniques, stances, certain defenses, types of drills, exercises)
  • What has been giving you problems, where are your weak areas?
  • Did you do anything special that week, watch a movie, read a book, or anything that affected your martial arts training.
  • Include a photo of your training space, talk about what you wear when you train, your gloves, mirror, mitts, mats, etc.
  • Talk about any interactions that you have had with your instructor or others students.

Option Two: Document with Videos

If you are not much of a writer, and prefer to just talk about your experience, the video option will be great. Simply film a video with your smartphone or a camera, and then upload it to your youtube account. If you would prefer not to mix this with other videos on your channel, you could create a separate channel for this challenge. The videos do need to be set as public, so that others can find them and learn more about your training.

We ask that you name the videos something relevant, such as:

  • Global Martial Arts University Shotokan Challenge: Week 1
  • GMAU Krav Maga 90 Day Challenge: Update 1 - Burpees, Hammer Fists, and Groin Kicks!
  • GMAU Ultimate Bo Student Challenge - Week 1

You can talk about what you have been doing that week, give your followers an update on how you feel about your progress to the next belt, anything else that is relevant, etc. Make sure and include links to the GMAU site.

Share Your Posts on Social Media

After you post each blog article or youtube video, make sure and share it on social media. You can share it on facebook, instagram, or twitter (for example). Use the hashtags: #GMAU90DayChallenge and #GlobalMartialArtsUniversity so that we can find your posts. This way we can confirm that you are completing the requirement of documenting your journey.

Step Three: Take Your Rank Exam

Once you have completed the requirements, and feel ready to test, then you can submit your rank exam on the GMAU site. The instructions for filming your rank exam video can be found on the testing tab while logged into your student account.

Your instructor will do a detailed grading, and get back to you with a personal feedback video. If you pass, we will mail you the certificate of rank! If you do not pass the first time, you will be given feedback and instructions on how to re-submit your exam corrections (there is no cost for re-testing).

Step Four: Students will Vote on the Best Test Video

We are going to send a message to all GMAU students at the end of the 90 days. They will have the list of participants and a link to watch each rank exam video, along with a secure voting page. The votes will be tallied, and we will award the prizes!

Challenge Winner: $400 Credit to a Cruise Line. If you do not live in a country where you can take a cruise, we can give you a credit for airfare or hotel.

Runner-Up: Custom GMAU Training Kit. 2 practice targets, pair of GMAU boxing gloves, and a drawstring carry bag.

All Who Complete the Challenge: Challenge T-Shirt. All who enter and complete the challenge (submit their rank exam, and documented their journey with a post each week), will have this shirt mailed to them.

Register Below

Journey to Shotokan Black Belt with Charles

Charles Penoyer, who hails from a small town in the hill country in Texas, has taken the first step toward earning his shodan in Shotokan Karate, by enrolling into the Global Martial Arts University. His entire journey from white to black belt will be documented in a series of “private lesson” style classes taught by Sensei Jon Hodge, the head instructor of the GMAU Shotokan course.

New Follow-Along Classes at Every Belt Level

This is not only a way for you to watch a true beginner to the martial arts, as he goes through the ups and downs, mistakes, challenges, and victories at each step; but also a way for you to re-energize your own home training. The GMAU Shotokan Course already provides the entire syllabus in easy to follow instructional lesson videos, as well as dozens of follow along classes. But, this new “Journey to Black Belt with Charles” series will allow you to take every step along with him, as you grow and progress through the ranks.

We will be filming a special white belt introductory course, with a few classes just to get you started. You will then be able to test to earn your white belt.

After this, the real training to the first color belt (yellow belt), will be begin. We plan on filming around 24 classes at each belt level. This will give you two classes a week to do at home, for three months, at each belt level (along with the other instructional lessons and classes at your disposal).

Vlog and Blog Posts

Charles will also write and film regular updates along the way. He’ll discuss how shotokan training is affecting other aspects of his life. He’ll talk about the good, bad, and ugly. This will be the first time a student’s real journey through the ranks will be documents.

Make sure and subscribe to the Global Martial Arts University Youtube Channel for updates, or simply login to your GMAU account. If you don’t have a free GMAU account yet, get one! Free accounts will be able to watch his updates in the “Extra Training” section of the website.

Interact with Charles on the GMAU & Social Media

Charles is an enrolled student in the Global Martial Arts University. Not only will he be taking private lesson style classes with Sensei Jon in person, but he will use the website, and train at home with the videos. We have a new “Discussion Board” feature coming soon to the site. You will be able to interact with Charles, get to know him, and discuss your own journey.

Charles will be posting other updates on social media. Be sure and follow him:

Twitter: @CharlesPenoyer

Instagram: @Charles Penoyer

Facebook: Charles Penoyer

Now is the Time to Begin Your own Training

This is the perfect opportunity to begin your own journey to black belt, to become the best version of you, through the life-changing benefits of the martial arts. Be sure and create a free GMAU Shotokan account today to begin training, and then enroll as an official student.

Launch an Ultimate Bo Program in Your School to Increase Excitement, Retention, and Revenue!

As a career martial arts instructor and school owner, it is easy to get stuck in the same routine. Clean the mats, return phone calls, check emails, handle customer service issues, write out some class plans, and go teach. What happens is when tend to fall into a comfort zone.  A place where we do, more or less, the minimum effort to achieve our short term goals and complete our daily tasks. This makes life more comfortable, less risky, and also, less rewarding.

What does this have to do with launching an Ultimate Bo program in your martial arts school? By injecting new life into your school, via an exciting new class and add-on program, you will be keeping it fresh. Your students will have something new to work toward or to begin training in. They will become more well-rounded martial artists, you will improve your own understanding of weapons combat, and will have fun and grow your business along the way.

It doesn’t have to be hard, confusing, or expensive. Then it would not be worth even attempting. At the core, martial arts school owners choose to add the Ultimate Bo program to their school for the love of the arts, for the love of being a white belt again, for the love of training, sparring, and fellowship.

What is Ultimate Bo?

Ultimate Bo is the world’s only white to black level officially recognized style bo instructional style. The founder and head instructor, Michael Hodge, wanted to create an organized training system that would give his students a clear training path. Rather than just teaching a few random katas here, and some sparring drills there; he organized an entire syllabus. The Ultimate Bo style is rooted in Okinawan bojutsu, with influence from staff styles from around the world. Students learn traditional techniques, a traditional kata, and realistic combat bo at every level. Sparring (free sparring and competition sparring) is a big part of the program, and can lead to tournament and practical self defense training. Ultimate Bo is very accessible, for both children and adults. The bo was recently found in an industry report to be the most popular martial arts weapon in the world.

Why should you launch a bo staff weapons program in your school, namely Ultimate Bo?

  • You’ll create a buzz and a newfound excitement within your student base. Everyone will be dying to attend Ultimate Bo class. School owners quickly find that Ultimate Bo becomes the most popular class, beating out their core traditional program!
  • In my experience, once students reach the intermediate level and early advanced belts, they are more susceptible to dropping out. They feel, “Is this all there is?”, “Why do we keep doing the same thing over and over again?”, “Ah…new white belts, now we have to review again.” By having a new program to enter, they can begin a new rank journey from white to black chevron, all while continuing in their core program.
  • Ultimate Bo is an official ranking system. Your students get to display their chevron patch rank on their gi sleeve. They will obtain new and higher levels of mastery at each chevron.
  • You can charge a sizeable monthly fee for the new Ultimate Bo class. All students will buy a bo upon signing up, a sparring bo a little later on, and can even upgrade to a competition bo in the advanced stages. Along with mini camps, tournaments, and other opportunities to generate revenue from the course. You can easily add a $1,000-$5,000 to your monthly revenue immediately (depending on your school’s size).
  • Differentiate your school from the competition. How many schools in your area teach weapons, let alone have a complete ranking system and curriculum to black belt?
  • There is no monthly or yearly licensing fee. This is an extremely affordable, low-cost way to add a robust, ready-out-of-the-box program to your school.


How to Add Ultimate Bo to Your School

If you are a black belt instructor, even without any bo experience, you can get started now. Clearly, we are going to make sure you first learn and master the bo material as a student before you begin running your own classes. Our world-class online martial arts university course, the Global Martial Arts University Ultimate Bo course, will teach you all of the curriculum in a simple step-by-step format.  So, here is what you need to do.

  1. Enroll as an official Ultimate Bo student in the Global Martial Arts University.
  2. Begin learning the yellow chevron curriculum (basics, stances, traditional bo, kata, and combat bo). You can train on any device, at any time, with or without a partner.
  3. Go ahead and purchase the Ultimate Bo Instructor Certification Course. This includes all instructional videos on how to teach Ultimate Bo classes, planning classes, testing students, a full live example class, and more.
  4. Once you have earned your blue chevron in Ultimate Bo via the GMAU, you will be eligible to take your instructor certification exam. Your instructor test can be taken by submitting video(s) for grading.
  5. Once you pass the certification, you will be mailed your official instructor certificate, and can open your own official Ultimate Bo class in your school.

How to Become a Certified Krav Maga Instructor


If you’re reading this, I imagine you have the desire to spread the positive benefits of Krav Maga to your local community and help to make the world a safer place. Teaching Krav Maga is incredibly rewarding, whether you are doing so as your full-time profession or just out of passion in your spare time. People from many different backgrounds end up becoming krav maga instructors, but the uniting factor is their desire to teach and uplift.

Are you a martial arts school owner,  a current black belt in a different style, a krav maga student, a fitness/gym owner, personal trainer, law enforcement personnel, have a career in the military, or some other similar situation? If so, you are already more prepared to learn and then teach the style of Krav Maga. Below, I will line out the basic steps you will need to take to become a legitimately certified and qualified instructor of Israeli Krav Maga.

  1. Become a Krav Maga student. This is the essential, obvious first step. There are actually some associations that will claim that you can simply attend a short seminar or training to become an instructor without first being a student. Of course, if you are an experienced martial artist, and hold a high rank and proficiency in a similar combative self-defense system or other fighting style, there is the possibility of an accelerated path. Here are your options for becoming a krav maga student, on your eventual path to being an instructor:
    • Enroll in a Local Krav Maga School – Find a qualified instructor in your area. Make sure and try a free class to get a feel for the instructors, curriculum, environment, and overall culture of the academy.
    • Attend a Krav Maga Seminar – Some associations offer seminars or short training programs that will introduce you to the style, and give you the opportunity to get in-person training from time to time.
    • Enroll in an Online Krav Maga School – Find a qualified and accredited online (or hybrid) krav maga school that allows you to train and earn rank from a distance, such as the Global Martial Arts University Krav Maga course.
  2. Train and earn rank in Krav Maga. Take your time learning and training in the style. Don’t consider that your goal is to someday teach the material that you are learning, but rather, to fully engage, use, and understand the methods and philosophy. Teaching is an after-thought, a natural progression, after you yourself have experienced. Take your first exam to achieve your Level 1 or Yellow Belt certification (different schools have different names for the first level).
    • In some associations, after earning your first rank (and being an advanced belt in a different martial arts style), you are eligible to attend an instructor certification program.
    • Some associations and schools require that you first earn a brown or black belt in krav maga, before you can ever become an instructor.
    • And some do not have a student rank requirement, and just let you jump to instructor, which you should be weary of (due to your own lack of experience in training, and time spent mastering the material and embedding it into your muscle memory).
  3. Find the right Krav Maga Instructor Certification event. If you have already been training for some time as a student, or have previous experience, you can now search for the right instructor certification course for you to take part in. The purpose of attending an instructor course is not just to learn the krav maga curriculum. You should have already learned the curriculum which you plan on teaching, in your own studies as a student. A krav maga instructor course should encompass:
    • Principles of Teaching – Overarching principles that will make you an effective teacher, regardless of what subject you are instructing.
    • Martial Arts Instructor Techniques – How to effectively instruct a technique (the cycle of instruction), manage a classroom floor, execute warm ups, various types of drills, class formations, teaching different age groups, working with disabilities, motivating students, correcting students, testing, feedback, and many other aspects that are specific to martial arts.
    • Krav Maga Philosophy and Methods – Specific to the style of Krav Maga, learning how to not just teach a collection of techniques, but stringing together all movements into a fluid philosophy that students can truly understand, at a cellular level, as well as intellectual level.
    • Class Planning, Curriculum, and Testing – Learning how to plan effective, fun, and exciting classes. Teaching and following a curriculum that keeps you consistent, while allowing for dynamic evolutions. And testing and promoting students while maintaining high standards and a clear-cut path for advancement.
    • Basic Business Management and Krav Maga Class Implementation – At the least, a quick course on how to introduce a new Krav Maga program, and different formats for instructing your target student base. This can vary greatly if you plan on teaching law enforcement, youth classes, or fitness-oriented programs to young adults.
    • Instructing Specific Techniques and Concepts – Now that you already know the techniques, you will need to learn the nuances, variations, drills, and implementations for techniques within the curriculum that you plan on instructing.
  4. Choose the right Krav Maga association to align with. Think beyond the initial krav maga instructor certification event. Which association is the best fit for me and my goals as a krav instructor? There are different types of associations, that offer varying levels of products and services:
    •  Franchisors/Licensors – These are large organizations that not only allow you to become an instructor, but also open up a full-scale academy with their namesake. There is a much larger monetary investment upfront, as well as a sizeable monthly fee for all benefits. This option will give you full support in managing your krav maga school, advertising guidance, marketing advice, business systems, curriculum, and much more. $500+ a month
    • Business/Marketing + Instruction Focused Associations – There are other, mid-sized associations that have an emphasis on business building ideas, marketing, sales, as well as the instruction of krav maga. These groups tend to charge a monthly fee to stay active as an instructor in their organization, along with the other benefits they provide. $150-300+ a month
    • Instruction + Curriculum Focused Associations – These associations exist to teach and support the certified instructors with a focus on the Krav Maga curriculum, high quality instruction, and instructor support. The Global Martial Arts Association Krav Maga division is a great example of this, which does not charge a monthly fee to be an active instructor, and just have a lower cost certification event to become a part of the association. This makes it ideal for schools who want to add a krav maga program to their academy, or for personal trainers or gyms wanting to add a new program, without adding a large monthly expense. $0-$100 a month
  5. Attend a Krav Maga Instructor Certification event. Now that you have been training as a student, have earned rank, researched certification options, and done some more research on the association that you want to align yourself (and your school) with, it is time to commit to an event. You will need to attend a local, in-person instructor certification, so that you can have hands-on guidance, feedback, and an intensive learning experience with the instructors. Some associations offer a 2 day event, a one week program, and some can be in-between. Study, prepare, and train hard at the event so that you can pass!
  6. Begin teaching Krav Maga! You’ve done it! You have just joined a small (but growing) group of honorable and determined individuals who set out to become wonderful practitioners as well as teachers of this incredible self defense system and way of life. Make plans to introduce a new krav class, or being instructing in whichever format makes sense to your situation.
  7. Continue training as a student, and certify to the next instructor level. Chances are, you were certified in the first level, which means that you can now begin to legitimately train, test, and rank your own local students. But, you need to continue to learn the next levels of curriculum on your own, and never stop training as a student. You will also want to prepare for the next instructor course, so that you can become certified to teach higher levels, and stay active within your association.

Can You Learn Martial Arts at Home Without a Partner?

I feel like I just opened up a can of worms. Well, let’s let them all out, then. To properly answer this question, I would like for you to take into account two variables: the martial art style being learned, and the goal for learning this martial art. These answers can range from a stay-at-home mom wanting to finally reach black belt in shotokan karate (because she had to stop at blue in college), to a police officer wanting to increase his personal knowledge of self-defense for true on-the-job application with krav maga. And everything in-between.

So, let’s break this down. Many critics would immediately claim that all martial arts are combative in nature, and thus need hands-on sparring practice in order for the style to be properly learned and mastered. This is not entirely true, with some martial arts teetering more on the “arts” side, or even “movement arts” side of the spectrum. We can see this with the rise in martial arts demonstrations, tricking, tournament competitions, and movement arts like tai chi or qi gong for health revitalization.

Otherwise, most martial arts are learned most effectively with some hands-on practice with a good training partner, a class, or in live experiences. A live training partner is reactive, dynamic, and can help you to practice many different possible outcomes. Feeling actual resistance to your strikes, bobbing, moving, bouncing, footwork, strength, and flow can arise with a live partner.

But what if you do not have a training partner to practice and learn with at home? Many people have the desire to learn martial arts in an effective and realistic manner, but also work full time, have a family, and many other responsibilities. You might live in a rural area, far from a martial arts school, work odd hours, or not have a school nearby that teaches the art that you would like to learn. This does not mean you should give up.

Here are my recommendations for learning martial arts at home without a partner:

  1. Find a qualified home study course or online martial arts program. One that has comprehensive video instruction (with multiple angles, breakdown, drills, and opportunities for home learning) and that has some sort of instructor interaction. If you are going to be learning on your own, you will need a guided system, and definitely a qualified black belt that can check your progress, give you feedback, and corrections.
  2. When training along with the videos, book, or your own regimen, be as self-aware as possible. Having a large body-size mirror in your training space will do a world of good in this department, as you can more easily check your alignment, hands and feet placement, stance, etc.
  3. Setup a great home “garage dojo.” By utilizing the right equipment, you can get proper resistance when practicing your strikes or you can even simulate attacks for blocking and reaction training. For striking practice, either get a hanging bag, a free-standing bag (like a wavemaster), or a B.O.B (a realistic body opponent bag).
  4. Be inventive with your training equipment. Do everything you can to create dynamic training situations. To work your blocks and counter-attacks, you could get a small recoil punching bag, or hang an old duffel bag from your ceiling. Any idea that you have for creating movement, and then forcing yourself to block without knowing in advance which strike is coming. If you are a real craftsman, you can probably come up with some interesting training apparatuses.
  5. Ask a family member to help. You might not have the “ideal” training partner to practice with, but that doesn’t mean your family cannot help. Ask your spouse to lay some attacks on you, and have some fun with it. Ask your son, daughter, aunt, cousin, or whoever, to pick up a pair of mitts and help you to practice for a few minutes. Just make it fun and guess what, you might have someone in your family that wants to train with you consistently!
  6. Go take a guest class, a private lesson, or attend a seminar. You might not be able to attend a martial arts school full time, but chances are, you can find a way to attend a class or schedule a private lesson once every few months, or at least a few times a year. Look for a school that is within driving distance, or make a trip to your association’s yearly training summit. Even just an hour of hands-on application of training, and feedback from a live instructor or partner will go a very, very long way in your overall growth and progression.
  7. Become involved in an online discussion board or martial arts community. If you are an enrolled online student, your online martial arts school should have some sort of forum for you to take part in. This allows you to ask compelling questions, get great ideas, and hear success stories from other students like yourself, who train with grit and self-reliance on a weekly basis.
  8. Film yourself for a critical review. Setup your phone on a smart-phone tripod mount, have some hold it, or just lean it against something, and film yourself. Watch yourself demonstrating the techniques or drill, and then compare this to your instructor or the videos that you are learning from. Take detailed notes, and use these in your following training sessions. If you can, send this video to your grading instructor so that they can give you advice and corrections.
  9. Don’t give up, consistency is the key. And not just training consistently, but consistent improvement and the desire to make yourself better. If you start out by doing 10 push-ups in your warm up, doing a ½ mile run, and 30 crunches; then a month later you should have doubled this! You can stay consistent by setting up a training schedule. 2-3 times a week for 45 minutes is a good place to start. Ask that your family respect your time, and that it is a chance for you to focus on yourself, learn something new, and get away from the normal pressures, stress, and tasks of daily life. They will soon realize that the martial arts training is helping to transform you into a new person, one who is more chiseled, focused, and capable.
  10. Keep a training journal. Make sure and log every training session in an online journal or a written journal. Put down the date, how long you trained, and a brief description of what you did. Along with any emotions or takeaways that you have from the journey. This will help you to keep track of your constant progress, so that you are truly getting better, and not just repeating the same thing over and over again.

What if you are learning a self-defense or fighting art? Such as Krav Maga, Muay Thai Kickboxing, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?  Arts such as these can be worked some solo, but to truly ingrain and practice the techniques, you will need a training partner. Having a good training partner makes a world of difference (that might be an entirely different post). With a martial art like Krav Maga, you can practice combatives solo, and get repetitions and embed the defensive techniques into your muscle-memory. But, you will need to find a good training partner to work with, even if you just meet up once a week for some intense reality drills.

In conclusion, I ask that you heavily consider the martial art that you are learning, and why you are learning it. If you are in the military, clearly, you need live hands-on practice; as your life depends on it. If you want to use martial arts as a form of purposeful fitness, and learn something along the way, perhaps solo training could work for you. If you want to grade and earn rank, solo practice, instructor support, and some form of live practice could be a good combination. With so many new tools in the internet, books, DVDs, training equipment, and a great deal of will-power and self-observation, you have the power in your hands to make great progress at home in your martial arts journey.