About the Instructors
Sensei Amy Schwartz
I am a student of martial and healing arts, especially where they intersect. My foundation is respect for the ancient practices that have been passed down in the hearts, minds and bodies of our teachers. Maintaining health and rehabilitating injuries in the context of traditional practice: we grow through innovation; we work with what we have and find creative solutions.
Training since 2010, my martial arts teachers have been Sensei John Cisco of Watertown Martial Arts (tae kwon do), Grand Master Katherine Weiczerza (also tae kwon do), Sensei Liz and Master Cat Fitzgerald (tae kwon do, aikido, jeet kune do), Gurukkal Sudhakaran (kalaripayattu). Summer 2017, I tested for my 3rd degree black belt in Tae kwon do under Grand Master Katherine Weiczerza.
In the yoga world, Daphne and Tom Larkin, Gillian St. Clair, Cora Wen, and Shiva Rae have been my instructors. I have had a teaching certificate since 2010, which I earned from Yoga Sanctuary in Nashville, TN.
I have been teaching Dekalb County community yoga classes since 2010 and martial arts since 2013. My classes have always been donation based, with no one turned away for lack of funds. I have also been a yoga teacher and assistant martial arts instructor for KSA Martial Academy in Nashville, TN. since 2014.
I am excited about opening the doors of Center Hill Martial and Healing Arts Club in winter of 2018, looking forward to seeing where this takes us.
More about me at amypotter.com.
Sensei Mark Clark
I grew up in a family with a background in martial arts. An older cousin of mine studied Isshin-Ryu Karate and taught lessons to several of my family members, including my parents. Because the family was interested in martial arts, I grew up learning some of the fundamentals informally, and in a fun environment. We practiced at family reunions, in back yards, and other gatherings.
When I was around 8 years old, I convinced my parents to take me to a school where I could train formally. I began studying Tae Kwon Do with Clint Wallis of Triple Creek Karate. I earned my first black belt in that art at age 13.
Around that time, I got my first taste of the art that I would continue to study for the rest of my life. A friend convinced me to visit a Methodist Church basement where Roland Peterson Sensei was teaching. Sensei Peterson had trained directly under Saotome Sensei, a direct student of Aikido Founder, Morihei Ueshiba. I was only able to train with Sensei Peterson for about a year before he moved away, but he had a profound impact on my understanding of the martial arts, and after training with him, I was always on the lookout to train Aikido with another qualified instructor. Unfortunately my next opportunity didn’t come until I was attending graduate school at the University of Missouri, Columbia. There, I studied with Sensei Doris Evans until graduation. On her recommendation, I began studying with Senseis Tom and Mary McIntire after moving to Tennessee, and earned my 2nd Dan under them in August of 2015. I still drive to Nashville regularly to train with Tom and Mary Sensei, and attend Aikido seminars around the country with top ranking instructors.
In high school, I became good friends with a young man whose father, Dr. Thomas Carter, had tested for his black belt under film star Chuck Norris. We convinced him to train us privately, and shortly after graduation we tested for and earned our black belts in Chun Kuk Do. I’m still very proud of the certificate hanging in the office signed by Chuck Norris. Although the focus of my training will always be Aikido, I am very grateful to all of my instructors and the knowledge and training I received from them.
Sensei Hidenori Kato
Born 1972 in Sapporo, Japan, started Full Contact Karate (Kyokushin) in 1989, at 18 years old.
Joined Japanese Self Defense Force Infantry 1991-1995
~Ju-kendo bayonet Best Fighting Award 1993
1995 moved to Birmingham, Alabama to study as uchi deshi under legendary master of Kyokushin Karate, Saiko Shihan Oyama. Uchi deshi is a live-in apprenticeship. All day every day, seven days a week, this intensive training is a life of devotion to embodying the art. During his six years there, he achieved second degree black belt.
~1995-2000 chief instructor at World Oyama Karate.
Oyama Full Contact Ultimate Challenge International tournament champion 1997-2000.
Yoshukai Full Contact Open Tournament 1997-1998 Champion.
2002-2007 US Navy Master at Arms.
2007-2014 Law Enforcement Officer Spartanburg, South Carolina.
~Defensive Tactics Instructor
~Spontaneous knife defense instructor
~Ground defense instructor
~RAD Women’s Self Defense Instructor
Our Eternal Grandmaster
Shihan Douglas Ross
May 1, 1958 - May 10, 2018