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about the instructors

"A great teacher is first and foremost a great student" - Sensei Chris

Sensei Chris SmithSensei Chris

Sensei Chris Smith has a deep passion for the martial arts and has trained in many systems including: Jujitsu, Karate, Arnis, Kali, Wing Chun, Tai Chi Chuan, I Liq Chuan, Systema and Silat. He currently holds a Black Belt in Small Circle Jujitsu which he received in 2002. 

Chris began his formal training in 1995 under Sensei Mark Tuthill in his hometown of East Hampton, NY. At that time, Sensei Mark was just making a transition away from Karate and into Small Circle Jujitsu which he began studying under Sensei Ed Melaugh from Woburn, MA. Sensei Ed was one of the top students of Professor Wally Jay and he is also the man responsible for shaping Small Circle Jujitsu into a viable street combat system. Sensei Ed and Sensei Mark continue to work together creating street practical applications of Small Circle Jujitsu. These two men have had a profound influence on Sensei Chris and will always be held in high esteem.

In 2003, Chris and his wife relocated to Port Orange, FL so that his wife could attend Chiropractic College. In a new town and away from his instructor, it was time for Chris to seek out a new teacher. Chris was always intrigued and impressed by the Wing Chun principles that Sensei Ed seemed to draw from in his application of Small Circle Jujitsu. It was this interest in Wing Chun that led Chris to find his next primary teacher, Sifu Karl Godwin of Seminole Wing Chun. Over the next several years that followed, Chris dedicated himself to Wing Chun and continually used his new found knowledge to refine and polish his own technique.

In recent years, Sensei Chris has had three other teachers which have influencedthe training methods he employs. These are teachers that Chris trains with only occasionally but who have deeply influenced him. The first teacher is Master Sam Chin of I Liq Chuan. Master Chin has helped fill in some major gaps in the practical use of sticky hands for combat. The second teacher is Vladimir Vasiliev, chief instructor of the Russian Martial Art known as Systema. Systema has manygreat training methods that help develop internal strength while keeping the body relaxed and responsive. The third teacher is Tuhon Ray Dionaldo, the founder of Filipino Combat Systems. Sensei Chris continues his Kali training under Tuhon Ray and and his top instructors.

This has been a short history of Sensei Chris' martial arts journey; Now it's time to start your own!


Coach Matt RobertsSensei Chris

We are pleased to have Coach Matt as part of the team here at Daytona Beach Martial Arts. Matt has been training in the martial arts for many years and his background is a perfect compliment to the teachings of Sensei Chris.

Matt's martial arts journey began in Morrisstown, TN back in 1998 when he started training in Shorin-Ryu Karate under Sensei Jay Setser. The following year, while still training in karate, Matt began to explore other martial arts and dicovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which is the art that he continues to teach and train today. Matt began his BJJ training under Phil Hurst in Knoxville, TN and dedicated himself to BJJ and MMA for the next 10 years. During that time he competed in and won metals at many BJJ competitions and also did a season of Golden Gloves boxing in 2001.

After years of competitive martial arts, Matt had a desire to learn more of the combat oriented martial arts and he decided to begin training in Krav Maga under Terry Bullman. Then in 2013, Matt had another turning point in his martial arts journey when he met Guru Jerry McCleary who opened his eyes to the world of Filipino and Indonesian martial arts. Matt was deeply impressed with many aspects of these combat martial arts and he knew that he wanted to continue training in these arts.

In 2014, Matt decided to move to Daytona Beach to pursue some personal goals. Matt started looking for a teacher in the area and one fateful Saturday morning he decided to show up for a Kali class at Port Orange City Center. This is the part of the story where two martial artist's journey converge and the rest of the story is still in the making.

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