Empowered Martial Arts Academy proudly serving Springfield & Rochester since 1982

Empowered Martial Arts Academy has Classes in Springfield & Rochester, Perfect for Kids, Teens, and Adults Martial Arts Lessons.

Who we Are And why You Should Train Here

Since we’ve opened, we’ve been dedicated to changing the lives of people one person at a time, through martial arts, education and coaching. We strive to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for all students and family members. We take pride in creating an environment for individuals to achieve, develop and succeed in their personal goals.

We strongly believe that martial arts can be for everyone, regardless of age, gender or experience levels. Throughout all of our programs, students will not only learn the necessary skill sets to protect themselves, we stand behind our realistic and practical approach, confident it will enable every member to achieve greatness and live their best life..

Get To Know Our World Class Instructors

Renshi Rick Christie, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Renshi Rick Christie,
4th Degree Black Belt

I started boxing training with my Father at age 5. At age 16, I started training in Martial Arts and earned my blackbelt in 1993. I had the privilege and honor of meeting Hanshi Geyston in 1993 and I owe alot of my skills and training to him.

I have been a student, teacher, dojo owner and full contact competitor.

My 32 years in Martial Arts has allowed me to train and gain experience in several different systems including, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, American Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, MMA and hand to hand combatives.

I am truly honored to be a part of this amazing Organization! “

Renshi Zach Hecht, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Renshi Zach Hecht,
4th Degree Black Belt

I have studied under Hanshi John Geyston since I was six years old,  I am currently a 4th degree black belt in Nippon Ketsugo Ryu Kenpo Jutsu and a 2 stripe purple belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  

I joined the leadership program when I was younger then as a teen the instructor certification program.  I went to college to pursue an engineer degree however my real passion is the martial arts so I have pursued that career.  I currently am head instructor at the Rochester location and teach the level 2 and 3 Gracie Jiu Jitsu program.  

I know what the arts have done for my life. Growing up at the academy I am product of the program and I appreciate every opportunity to share the art with others and empower their lives on and off the mat. 

Sensei Mason Christie, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Sensei Mason Christie,
2nd Degree Black Belt

I started my martial arts journey at the age of 4 under the direct instruction of my father, Renshi Rick. I have over 21 years of experience in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, as well as Jiu Jitsu.

I was a competitive fighter from the age of 11 to 17.  I earned my blackbelt under my father, Renshi Rick Christie at the age of 15.  I am currently 2nd degree black belt. A former kickboxing champion and also holdsa blue belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

I am very proud and  honored to be here at Empowered Martial Arts and a part of this amazing family! 

Sensei Austin Simmons, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Sensei Austin Simmons,
2nd Degree Black Belt

I have trained at Empowered Martial Arts since 2016 and I began instructing soon after. Before I joined the academy, I was an overweight teenager with very little confidence. I was just getting out of the house after refusing to leave for over a year because of my high anxiety. I was over 250 pounds at my heaviest and dropped to about 220 by cutting animal products out of my diet but my confidence and weight loss hit a plateau. Martial arts was the first thing I found that I felt driven to leave the house for and I made every class. I dropped down to 185 pounds by my first few months and quickly gained the confidence to do everything I wanted to and more. I’ve since turned my success into fuel to help hundreds of other students over the years because I know first-hand how effective our program is!

Sensei Scott Bayles, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Sensei Scott Bayles,
1st Degree Black Belt

My martial arts journey began as a kid in junior high when I studied Kyuki-Do under master Kim. After only two years, however, my journey took an extended detour. I didn’t return to martial arts until I was an adult with kids of my own. My son, daughter and I began training in Tang Soo Do under master Rick Brown in 2014, where we eventually became instructors and earned our 2nd degree black belts.
 
I joined the Empowered Martial Arts team at the Rochester location in early 2021, where I enjoy instructing kids classes and continue my own training under Renshi Zach Hecht.
In addition to being a martial artist. I’m also a husband, pastor, author, and a huge comic-book nerd. I’m very honored to be a part of the stellar staff and supportive martial arts family at Empowered.
Sempai Gage Blevins , Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

Sempai Gage Blevins

My Martial Arts journey started at about 15 years of age with Shorin Ruy and Wing Chun under Sensai Cryderman who is direct lineage of Yip man and Bruce Lee. The confidence instilled in me from that day forward with martial arts has allowed me to pursue various passions and dreams such as EMS, Security logistics, resort manager, world travels, and various music endeavors.
 
I proudly responded to New York City at the peak of Covid 19 with the confidence and quick judgement demeanor that Martial arts had instilled into me.
 
Soon after a forced move to Illinois due to a natural disaster I read about an opening at Empowered Martial Arts where I have been happily positioned as the assistant instructor where I can continue to pursue my first passion in life and instill such discipline, decision making, and leadership skills in future generations.

12509306 10208728155989634 7377334128014311978 N, Empowered Martial Arts Academy Springfield & Rochester

 

Hanshi John Geyston, the owner and Chief Master Instructor, started teaching martial arts at age of 19 in 1982 when his instructor offered him the chance to step up and run an off-site program at Lincoln Land Community college. He has been teaching every day ever since.

Hanshi John is a 9th Degree Black Belt in Nipppn Ketsugo Ryu Kenpo-Jitsu. He was appointed Soke Sai Dai 3rd Successor and inheritor of the Nippon Ketsugo Ryu Kenpo Jutsu system by his instructor Grandmaster Larry Hilton 10h degree, the Founder of the system. 

He was highly active competitor who competed from 1981 through 1996 throughout Illinois, Missouri and the Midwest. Placing in close to 200 tournaments with over 250 1st and 2nd place wins and winning 7 Grand Championships.    In AAU Hanshi John Geyston fought in the Nationals twice and represented TEAM USA-IL in 1985, 1986 and 1987, being the only American to win against the Greece team in 1987. He Fought Full Contact Kickboxing as a Welterweight for the NKA and PKA with a 2-0 record  In 1996 Hanshi John retired from Competing in Karate tournaments. 

January 2022 he began his 40th year teaching in the Martial Arts with Black Belt Ranking in 5 systems total, BKF Kenpo, Shudo Kan, Goju Shorei Kifaru, Nippon Ketsgo Ryu Kenpo Jutsu,  Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Kifaru Karate  and is a certified instructor in Gracie Jiu Jitsu formerly under  Master Royce Gracie and now under Professor JW Wright, under Royler Gracie.  He is also a certified coach in both Krav Maga and Muay Thai Kickboxing.

Hanshi John was born and raised in Springfield Illinois and is a dedicated family man. He and his wife Aimee have 3 children: Jett, Jayden, and Jianna. He splits his residence now between his Hometown of Springfield IL and Tampa FL 

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