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Martin Johnson
  • Male
  • Maple Heights, OH
  • United States
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Martin Johnson's Page

Martin Johnson has devoted over 20 years of his life to the Martial Arts. He has received rank and still trains in multiple different systems such as Kali, Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Silat, and Shaolin Kung Fu.

Martin Johnson began his training in the martial arts in 1986 and has been actively teaching since 1994. Martin first studied Shaolin Gung Fu with Bruce Ledger at the Shaolin Temple in Cleveland Ohio. After six years of training at the Temple of Shoalin Martin began and finished his Tae Kwon Do training at Kim’s Martial Arts School in Mayfield Ohio.

In the summer 1994 Martin opened The Fighting Dragon Academy and began teaching Tae Kwon Do in Maple Heights. The Fighting Dragon Academy produced several tournament champions.

In the fall of 1994 Martin began studying the Filipino art of Kali under Punong Guro Tony Marcial. Guro Tony studied Kali in the Philippines under Punong Guro Roberto Sarmiento and In 1998, Guro Tony Marcial was inducted into the Filipino Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Martin continues to study with Guro Tony on a limited basis to further his knowledge of Guro Tony’s system of kali which is called Marcial Tirada. Marcial Tirada is a composite of different Kali styles taught primarily in the Pangasinan region of The Philippines. Marcial Tirada Kali offers efficient and practical self-defense principles and techniques with both empty hands and the blade.

Martin further enhanced his knowledge and understanding of the art of Kali with training sessions with well known martial arts author and master Edgar Sultie founder of Lameco Eskrima, Bruce Lee’s student Sifu Larry Hartsell, and studied Silat with Mark Harrell. Martin rounded out his personal training with knife fighting instruction from Master At Arms James Keating.

Since 2007 Martin’s main focus has been teaching instructors, students and MMA fighters how to integrate Kali into their training. The result of years of research and development, Martin’s Kali program consists of simple, direct, quickly learned principles and drills that help people along the path of discovery of how Kali and other arts like it can help to broaden one’s understanding of most any martial art.


We believe that martial arts training should be FIT, FUN, AND FUNCTIONAL. The training should be FIT in that the workouts should help students to become more healthy, achieve better conditioning, and enhance their overall fitness. The training should also be FUN in that classes should be fun and enjoyable. Finally, the training should result in the development of FUNCTIONAL SKILLS, that is, skills which students can actually use for self-defense.

Toward these goals, we employ specialized training methods and equipment that are designed to strengthen a student’s fitness, conditioning, and martial art abilities. In the majority of classes, focus mitts and sometimes Thai pads are used so that students can develop power, speed, accuracy, and use of distance. We use kali/escrima sticks and safe training knives to help students learn how to deal with blunt and sharp weapons, with an emphasis on learning proper footwork, zoning, defenses, timing, and distance. These training methods are not just for the young and athletic, but can help the average person become more fit and confident in a short amount of time.

While we want students to develop useful skills that they can apply in real self-defense situations, we also want students to enjoy what they are doing and learning. Thus, we generally shun the military, drill-sergeant, fear-based type of approach, as well as the more traditional, authoritarian master/student way of training. Instead, we provide an informal, relaxed, and safe atmosphere where students can obtain a good workout within a structured, disciplined learning environment.


The art that we teach is Armas-Kali. Armas-Kali was developed by Sensei-Guro T. Kent Nelson.

Literally translated it means “Weapon Hand Motion” It is his own personal interpretation and arrangement of the material he has learned over years of study in the Filipino Martial Arts.

The art consists of Slashing, Thrusting, Hacking, Striking, Disarms, Trapping, Locks & Tie-Ups. Students will learn all these elments as well as develop coordination, timing, range, foot & body movement, speed, power and grace.

Some of the Training Weapons of Armas-Kali are:
Single Stick, Double Stick, Single Knife, Double Knife, Stick & Knife Combination, Single Sword, Double Sword Staff, Sarong/Malong and Karambit.

Guro Kent has had multiple teachers and influences in this area.

The largest contributor to the Armas-Kali is the “Inosanto-LaCoste Blend”. Most of his knowledge & training has come through his own personal research, over 200 seminar hours with Guro Dan Inosanto himself, and consistent private instruction under Sifu David Hatch (Full Instructor under Guro Dan Inosanto).

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At 5:15pm on May 5, 2011, David Wilson said…
Guro Johnson! I injured my shoulder pretty badly a few weeks back but am ready to come back next week. I'll see you Wednesday!
At 6:00pm on April 7, 2011, David Wilson said…

sorry i wasn't in class yesterday Guro- have a head cold and i didn't think anyone wanted me getting them sick!


At 9:50pm on April 2, 2011, David Wilson said…
Guro Johnson you need to give me some business cards. I recomended Cleveland Kali to six people today!
At 11:04pm on March 28, 2011, David Wilson said…
Hey I decided I'm going to work as hard as I can to enable myself to go to the weapons camp!
At 8:50am on March 18, 2011, David Wilson said…

Yeah she'll have the baby with her if she comes so I wouldn't count on that. I'd like her too believe me! I show her practically everything I learn!


At 11:35am on March 17, 2011, David Wilson said…
Do you know if there's anywhere local that I can get some Ratan sticks for a decent price?
At 9:33am on March 17, 2011, David Wilson said…

Hey that was a great class! I'm going to bring my wife to watch next week if I can. How much are the shirts?


At 4:14pm on March 15, 2011, David Wilson said…

Hey Guro Johnoson! You might have trained Hung Gar with my instructor- he's one of Sifu Bruce's 3 black sash students!

I'll see you tomorrow!

At 5:58pm on December 17, 2010, Ron Colvin said…

Mr Johnson I know you; sent this request last  year, hope the friend offer is still on the table. I had to put everything in hold and unfortunately it affected my martial arts training as well. My youngest son has a very rare liver disease which had required a lot of our family's time.

At 5:05pm on April 8, 2010, terry joven said…
happy birthday Martin

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