The Martial Arts Academy of Marin
At The Martial Arts Academy of Marin, we are a family of dedicated Karate practitioners committed to training the next generation of Martial Artists. Whatever your goals may be, you will have full support from a friendly staff and student body to guide you on your journey. Whether you are a beginner, or you are looking to restart your previous practice, you will learn a system that is complete with a rich tradition, health, and powerful combat skills. More than just fitness or sport, an integrated governing philosophy of our Shorinji-Ryu Karate is taught by our seasoned Instructors so that you may take your practice to the next level.
The Martial Arts Academy of Marin
Here at The Martial Arts Academy of Marin, our staff is the secret to our student success. Each instructor has a rich background in martial arts and is ready to train the next generation of martial artists. Meet the team below!
Will Yturriaga began his martial arts training in Sensei Richard Kim’s Dai Nippon Butoku Kai International Organization in 1987. There, he trained intensively in full contact Shorinji-Ryu Karate, Bagua Zhang and meditation. His studies eventually led him to Sifu John Kang’s East West Wing Chun Kung Fu school in San Francisco’s China Town, where he later became the main instructor. He taught the class for over 6 years, focusing on training a core group of instructors. In 2014, he founded The Martial Arts Academy in Marin County. There, he currently teaches Full Contact Shorinji-Ryu Karate. His approach is a blend of adaptability, modern innovation, while having a deep respect for tradition.
Spencer Lewis has been training with Will Yturriaga at The Martial Arts Academy for nearly a decade. He has practiced other styles of martial arts, including Wing Chun and Jujitsu. primary method is Shorinji-Ryu Karate, achieving the rank of Shodan after 7 years of study. Spencer has also competed in Ohana tournament in 2018, claiming a bronze medal. He enjoys spending time in the hills of Marin, using those times in nature as further study into the philosophies of the martial arts. He believes the body and mind should be equally trained, helping those that do to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
PJ Pereira is a Second Degree Black Belt in Shao Shin Hao Kung fu under Sifu Nilson Leão (in Rio de Janeiro), and a First Degree Black Belt in Shorinji-Ryu Karate. He is also a Wing Chun Instructor under Will Yturriaga, with whom he still trains. PJ teaches corporate classes in the Bay Area and sometimes assists in the classes at the main dojo in San Rafael. His passion for tradition, forms and technique, combined with his experience with multiple styles make him a great one-on-one support for the students, which earned him the nickname “The Doctor.”
JB has been training with Sensei Will Yturriaga at The Martial Arts Academy for over 6 years. He has practiced other styles of martial arts, including Wing Chun and Shaolin Kempo Karate. His primary method is Shorinji-Ryu Karate, currently holding the rank of 3rd degree Brown Belt (Sankyu). JB is a huge MMA fan who religiously watches events every week and has also taken BJJ and Muay Thai Boxing classes to help round out his fighting skill set and knowledge base. In addition to Martial Arts practice, he is also a Musician and a proud father of 4. He has delighted in coaching local youth baseball, soccer and basketball in order to spend more time with his kids, with the added benefit of mentoring other children as well. JB enjoys training in the Martial Arts as it is his belief that the rigorous training and the spirit of the Martial Arts community keeps your mind sharp, your body young and healthy, which in turn instills positivity into all aspects of your life.
Teaching and Dojo Philosophy
At The Martial Arts Academy, the martial arts are taught as an all-encompassing life skill. You will learn all aspects of the martial arts as a complete study, from tradition to health, fitness, realistic self defense, meditation, and competition. The idea emphasized is not just a 2-year quick study, but and in-depth immersion, where the idea is to develop over many years while maintaining your health, vibrancy and person growth.
There are many reasons for learning martial arts, and each person that takes up training is different from one another. After an overview of the general training program of their chosen art, the student is then given a training routine based on their individual mindset, body type, personality and goals. With expert Instruction from each teacher that have over 10 years experience, this open approach combined with traditional martial etiquette and discipline, allows each person to thrive and express themselves in their chosen fighting art.
An often overlooked factor, Lineage Systems are a very important element to consider when selecting which martial arts school you are looking to learn from. Much like looking for a reputable college like Harvard for example, many of the same aspects also apply when researching a martial arts school. At The Martial Arts Academy of Marin, our Karate lineage is authentic, making it a complete method, cultivated over centuries of the time tested Master to Disciple instruction. Not only will you be getting expert instruction, you will be joining the instructors side-by-side in their lineage as well.
I had always wanted to to get in to Martial Arts since I was young. When I was finally ready to become a member of a Dojo I began searching all throughout Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties. I spoke to many Sensei's and Sifu's and ultimately my search led me to a small Dojo on 4th Street in San Rafael. Sensei Will was very accommodating and inviting, while openly explaining the ethos of his Dojo. I was immediately impressed with the traditional teachings as well as the sense of comradery within the Dojo. Almost 2 years later I am still here and the Dojo has moved to a bigger and better location closer to downtown San Rafael. The benefits of this this new location are too numerous to list. Over the years I have grown mentally, spiritually, and physically as part of this Dojo and hope to to continue doing so in the future.
The Martial Arts Academy has it all--history and tradition, solid styles, whole-being conditioning (mind, body, spirit, soul), camaraderie, kumite, sparring, and quality people. The real deal!
Martial arts have been an important part of my life for many years. Since joining the Martial Arts Academy my skill and understanding of the arts has greatly improved; due to Sensei Will's in-depth and practical approach to teaching. I have seen how the well thought out curriculum works for both beginner and veteran practitioners to grow at an enjoyable rate, regardless of age. Also to be noted is the extensive knowledge of Wing Chun and Karate history that Sensei Will holds. If you are looking to practice authentic martial arts, this is the place!
My son has been attending classes here for about a year. We tried another karate class before this and I was blown away by how much better, more professional and fun this class was. My son works hard in this class. There isn’t a big emphasis on getting belts and competing, the class is about actually learning karate, its principals and way of life. I am so grateful we decided to come here. Highly recommend!
I tried many other dojos before selecting this one for my practice. What made the difference for me are three things: 1) how kind, patient, devoted, and genuine Sensei Will and his advanced students are; 2) the historical & philosophical contexts and spiritual power of the karate practice is always emphasized, making it a true mind-body practice; 3) the physical space is kept pridefully clean, which I really appreciate. This place is a gem.
My 13 year old had been doing gymnastics for years, but was looking for something different. They joined the teen/adult classes, and have absolutely loved it. The environment of the dojo is really positive, and you can sense the foundation of respect, integrity, and discipline in everything they do. The teachers are inspiring and have been really welcoming and encouraging. I'm super grateful we found this place, in just a few months it's become a new passion!