Richard M. Poage is the lead instructor at Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts. He has trained martial arts since the young age of four under Okinawan Grand Masters; Taika Oyata, Naonobu Ahagon and Shugoro Nakazato. Richard currently trains in Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan karate under Shugoro Nakazato and his immediate Sensei, Kyoshi Eddie Bethea. Richard holds a fourth degree black belt in karate and a third degree in kobudo. Richard also holds varying degrees of black belts in Shuri-Ryu, Shorei-Ryu and Ryukyu Kempo.
Richard began his training in 1989 under the number two kickboxer in the world, Dino Holmesy. In 1992 he began training Okinawa Karate. During this time he also studied shoot boxing and grappling with UFC coach, Richard Hamilton, in addition to Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. At age 14, Richard was the youngest student to receive black belt from Taika Oyata in Ryukyu Kenpo. In 2001, he began his study of Shorin-Ryu and traditional Japanese Jujitsu.
Richard has traveled to Okinawa to train in the birthplace of karate in order to consistently improve his art and teaching skills. He has been a full-time dojo owner and karate instructor since 2002. Richard has taught more than 10,000 martial arts classes so far.
He began competing in 1990 and has been an avid competitor ever since. He has won several Grand Championships in kumite, kobudo and kata. Richard has won more than 1,000 awards including National and World titles. He held #1 Instructor in Arizona five-years running. At age 25, he was appointed to the U.S. Team to fight at the Pan Am Games.
He has taught seminars around the country including Arizona, California and Washington DC, to name a few.
Tiffany Richards has been training martial arts since 1998. She began her study under Dennis Laycock at American Karate Studios in Kenpo, Shotokan and Tae Kwon Do. During that time, she also trained in Goju Shorei with Sensei Frank Sasso. In late 1999 to present, Tiffany took to Kensho-Do with Grand Master Alex Santa Maria. The system is a blend of both hard and soft styles, and combines Chinese Kenpo, Shorei-Ryu, Tai Liu Chuan Fa Kung Fu, Aikido, Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee's system), Pananjakman (a Filipino kicking art), Aiki Jujitsu and more. A short-term move back to her hometown in 2000 prompted her to open her own school where she taught kids karate and women’s kickboxing.
In addition to Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts & Healing Center, Tiffany owns an on-site corporate wellness firm, The Back Rub Company (www.thebackrubcompany.com). The firm provides companies' employees with chair massage, fitness classes, wellness workshops, weight loss programs, nutrition and more.
Tiffany began her career in holistic healthcare the same year she started training martial arts, and toured with Cirque du Soleil from 2002-2003 working with the artists as their personal massage therapist and fitness coach. Upon her return from tour, she transitioned into opening The Back Rub Company, and took a hiatus from training martial arts. In 2008, she went back to training and today credits martial arts as an integral part of her life. Martial arts has helped her to stay grounded, focused and in shape.
She has been on Arizona’s Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35 list and serves as one of the youngest members of an international executives’ business association.
Jeff Allred has studied the martial arts for more than 35 years. He has studied and achieved black belts ranks in several styles of martial arts but finds the greatest value in studying and preserving the traditional combat styles of Okinawa.
He says, “Don’t let being who you are keep you from being who you are.”
Michael Newland began training in 1976 in Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi and Chinese Kenpo where he earned a first degree black belt. In 1986, he continued his training in Kenpo and also took up Shorin-Ryu karate in Wisconsin.
In the 1970's, Michael began to participate in local, state and regional tournament competitions. He also competed in Kyoto Japan in 1991. Michael relocated to and opened his own dojo in Gilbert, AZ in 1994, where he continued to compete on local and state levels.
In 2012, he was promoted to sixth degree black belt in karate under Nakazato Shuguro, through Kyoshi Neil Stolsmark and fourth degree black belt in kobudo.
Michael believes, “as teachers, so much of our success is measured by not only the level of our own integrity and character, but by how we positively impact the lives of others. The gifts that have been shared with us need to be shared with others! When that happens, everybody wins!”
Andrew Wert has studied Shorin-ryu Shorinkan karate under Sensei Eddie Bethea since 1991. Prior to his karate study, Wert studied Tae Kwon Do for two years. His fourth degree was awarded to him in Okinawa in the presence of Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato and many other distinguished Okinawan masters. In addition to his karate rank, Andrew also holds a first degree black belt in Kobudo.
He enjoys the quote, “Three rules of self-defense: first, get out of the way; second, do something; third, there are no rules in self-defense.” Anonymous
Cameron Kessner has been training karate for since 2006. He considers himself a perfectionist, with a love for attention to detail. From form to power, he constantly tries to hone his martial art. Cameron teaches kobudo as well as beginner karate, including the little warriors program. He is on the tournament team and has competed on a national level, earning the title of national champion five consecutive times. One lesson he finds most important to understand and be aware of is that everyone is on their own path in martial arts. Challenge yourself to discover what your own strengths and weaknesses are, and take what works for you, not what works for someone else.
Noah Legel is originally from central Illinois, and began training in karate in 2006. Within a few months, he was also practicing judo, kobudo and iaijutsu, as well as assisting new students with their basics. After training for two years in Illinois, Noah moved to Arizona, where he continued his study of karate at home, while training in judo at a local club. In 2010, he began training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Poage, and has been training and teaching at Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts & Healing Center ever since. Noah's primary focus is kata oyo bunkai (analysis of the practical applications of solo forms) for self-defense training, and still regularly enjoys cross-training with martial artists from other styles.
Noah enjoys this saying: "There is an old Okinawan martial arts saying that states that karate is much like a pond. In order for the pond to live, it must have infusions. It must have streams that feed the pond and replenish it. If this is not done then the pond becomes stagnant and dies." - Chibana Chosin, Founder of (Kobayashi) Shorin-Ryu
Eddie Bethea is Sensei Poage’s immediate Sensei and visits Peaceful Warrior Martial Arts annually.
Eddie Bethea’s interest in martial arts was piqued years before he left to serve his country. Relatives who had served in the military would talk about judo after coming back from World War II. Later, the television show “Wild Wild West” caught his fancy with all the kicks and choreographed stunts. But it wasn’t until his first tour in Okinawa that Bethea took his first karate class. On the bus ride from one air base to another, Bethea saw a simple sign that caught his attention. The sign said “Karate Gym.” After he was processed into the new base, he started to take karate lessons.
Bethea began training with Shugoro Nakazato, a man who would play a significant role in Bethea’s life for the next three decades. During his training with Sensei Nakazato, Bethea never trained with any ranks lower than a brown belt. This accelerated his learning, although it was very punishing at times. With a newfound passion in life, Bethea had almost unknowingly taken the first steps in what he now calls his life’s mission. It didn’t matter where he was stationed; he found time to continue his training wherever he went. He took military leaves and returned to Okinawa to study with Sensei Nakazato. Although his time was limited, the visits and intense training sparked Bethea to continue with his training on his own.
By January 1968, just two years after his first lesson, Bethea was promoted to fourth degree black belt and received his certification from his Sensei to be an instructor. He currently holds the rank of eighth degree black belt and owns Bethea’s Karate Studio in Kokomo, Indiana.