“We live in an Americanized martial arts culture in which anybody with enough money can receive a belt, masters hide their lack of skill behind lineage, and anybody who goes to enough classes can receive a title. Lineage, titles, and belts are meaningless. In the martial arts, the only true measure of skill is how well you fight.”


My martial arts journey goes back as far as I can remember when my father began training me at the age of five. My father had a knack for integrating fun childhood games with critical martial arts foundations. Most of the time when we were training it was just as much educational as it was physical. My father always disguised training in the form of games and fun activities. I didn’t realize that martial arts was not something that every child did until I was eight, and this helped me to appreciate the martial arts even more. I trained with him from the age of five to the age of eighteen. As a child, I gave my all in every lesson while fighting to keep up with a 6’1” 250 pound man with decades of military and real world experience. Now I don’t want to give the impression that I was getting beaten on or that I was receiving Singapore canes to the back. It was fun. Think: “What if a Navy Seal ran a day care”, then you’ll get a clearer picture. The root of my physical training was Krav Maga, which was taught to my father during his service in the military special forces. The root of my mental training was always to respect others and to avoid a fight at all costs. It was important to my father that I learn strategy and the arts of speaking so that I may avoid fights before they ever start. In the very few self-defense altercations I had as a teen, none of them ever lasted past the first strike. With time and experience I discovered that real-world experience is an absolute necessity in the world of fighting. Through observation we learn that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Most importantly, we learn that if we don’t have real experience then: “the bigger they are, the more bones they break.”At age twelve, I began to have multiple teachers. I learned Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do from neighborhood schools, which was very different from my father’s training. Having participated in many fighting competitions, my father had a saying: “Winning a trophy only means that you were the best on a particular day, at a particular event, at a particular second in time. It means nothing more.”Sadly, my father passed away when I was eighteen years old, which resulted in a loss of touch with my roots. My primary outlet became fighting. By the age of twenty, I totaled out dozens of real-world fights. At the time, I suppose I thought that if I fought hard enough that I could get him back somehow. Being in a number of physical altercations can change a person in many ways. In some cases, a person can develop a negative drive for violence. Fortunately for myself, it taught me the value of peace and the confidence that comes from walking away from violence and anger. From here, my mind shifted back towards my roots and I began training once more. I began to study Keysi Fighting Method with other training partners from the military as well as civilians. In October 2005, I began my quest to become a martial arts instructor. I chose San Diego’s largest franchise as my starting point. By February 2006, my years of experience earned a spot in their instructors training program. Having an average 75% drop out rate, thirty two started the program and only four of us finished it. I had officially became the lowest ranking student to ever become an instructor. I was a second degree white sash (belt) at the time. It was at this school where I learned to perform for a trophy, earning over twelve in less than a year. Several years into my employment, I left after being chastised for talking a student out of committing suicide and self harming behavior. I was told not to waste time with “suicidal idiots”. It was at this point I realized that martial arts needed a positive change in San Diego. For the price of ego and the potential loss of a dollar, I was burned. From those ashes, Red Phoenix was born. I am the only instructor of the entire thirty year history of the franchise to ever leave, start their own school, and succeed. Running a martial arts school is a dream come true and I know of no other way to live my life. I also greatly enjoy being a designated driver for Lyft and making sure that people get home safely. I try my best to take any opportunity I can to help others and nothing will ever change that. Without a doubt, the most important part of my martial arts journey, and of Red Phoenix, is the student body. Without our students, their could be no school. It is the people who come to learn that make the school what it is. Over the decades, Red Phoenix has become a school where a student can focus on true martial arts. Our students learn that the martial arts is just as much mental as it is physical. They also learn that life is not just black and white; that there is a vast grey area of balance. Most importantly, Red Phoenix students learn a martial lifestyle; not as a punchline but as a core belief. At Red Phoenix, we train harder.

What makes Red Phoenix different from other schools?

  • Phoenix Program
  • Two hour lessons
  • Living moving targets
  • Dynamic Visualization training
  • Child abduction prevention training
  • Born and bred martial arts instruction
  • We accept traditional challenges from franchise school instructors
  • All students work directly with the chief instructor
  • Lowest prices for the highest quality of one on one training