Instructor Staff



13184789_1720110451602701_1938000494_oSensei Joe Cayer, Kudan, 9th Dan

Head Master

master CayerHOF Mr. Cayer began his journey into the arts at the age of ten in 1972 with Praying Mantis Kung Fu. He continued his journey with the hard arts in 1975 with Sensei Jim Rodriques . Sensei served as a Police Officer in Ft. Walton Beach, FL and as a professional bodyguard in the 1980’s and early 90’s. In 2003 Joe traveled with his Ko Sutemi Seieikan Grand Master, Don Madden on the A.K.J.U. Team America to the 7th Irish Cup and won the Grand Championship in the Randori division in Dublin, Ireland.   In 2007, Joe was awarded The President’s Bronze Volunteer Service Award by President Bush for his 25 years of volunteering to his community and the local Police & Sheriff’s Office. He was also recognized by award and banquet by the U.S. House of Representatives for his free protection seminars and community service. The Mayor of Ft. Walton Beach gave Joe the key to the city in a ceremony for his self-protection seminars. In 2010 he was awarded his 9th Dan in Shotokan Karate from his instructor, Master Jim Rodriques and received his Doctorate degree in Martial Art Science from the College of Martial Arts.  In 2012 Joe earned his Florida Dept. Of Law Enforcement Instructor Level Certification in Police Defensive Tactics. Grand Master Cayer has taught over 25,000 women via his free self-protection clinics in his career and was honored with the Florida Crime Prevention Leadership Award & a special recognition from the Okaloosa Co Sheriff’s Office. He has taught Military Special Forces at Camp Rucker, Eglin and Hurlburt Air Force Bases and received several commander coins for his voluntary efforts. Joe is a member of the European Jujitsu Union and Seieikan AKJU and a charter member with E.U.S.A.M.A.A. He is also a founding member of ASAI (Asai Shotokan Association International). Master’s personal association is IKI (International Karate Institute) in which he founded in 2013.   IKI


Master Benny Sledge

5th Dan

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Benny began his martial arts career in 1972 at age 12 in San Francisco, CA where he studied White Crane Gung Fu.  In 1975 at age 15, he studied Tae Kwon Do (Moo Duk Kwon style) with Master Jose M. Santamaria.  Mr. Sledge began training under the Jhoon Rhee Institute of Martial Arts in 1986.  In 1989, he was honored as the Outstanding Student of the Month in recognition for outstanding achievement in the field of martial arts–Tae Kwon Do.  Shortly after this he received his 1st degree black belt in the Jhoon Rhee system, presented directly by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee.

Mr. Sledge trained briefly under the ATA Tae Kwon Do system and the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF), an affiliated Jhoon Rhee system.  His travels included relocating to R.A.F. Chicksands, England, where he instructed members of the Royal Air Force at R.A.F. Henlow in the Jhoon Rhee system for three years.  He returned to the United States briefly in 1992 where he was awarded his 2nd degree black belt by Grand Master Jhoon Rhee.

Sensei Sledge holds a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in the SeieiKan system and a 5th Dan in Shotokan under Grand Master Joe Cayer.  He is a member of the European Jujitsu Union and Kosutemi SeieiKan AKJU under Soke Don Madden.



Master Barry Cook

6th Dan

Registered (IKI) International Instructor (UK)


Master Barry Cook began his Martial Arts career in 1979 at the age of 9 in Lancashire, England. His early Martial Arts career consisted of high level Karate and Taekwondo competition which resulted in multiple Gold and Silver Medals that culminated in selection for the Great Britain National Taekwondo Team, where he competed at both National and International levels. He is also the former Southern Technical Synchron and Individual Freestyle Champion, which gained him a National Ranking of 3rd overall in Great Britain and after retiring, Master Cook became the National Technical Team head coach and senior Technical Advisor for the Jin Moo Kwan Taekwondo Association.  Master Cook’s proudest accomplishment is the founding of his Martial Arts method called the “Cheongye Kwan”. Its curriculum and system embodies all his lifetime of training, experience and knowledge, which continues to grow and develop month by month. Master Cook currently holds the Cheongye Kwan grade of 7th Dan, as well as a 6th Dan in Kukkiwon Taekwondo and a 6th Dan in Shotokan Karate under Grandmaster Joe Cayer. “Sensei Cayer has been and remains to be a great inspiration to me for all the years that I have known him, his teachings are an inspiration to me and his personal students and he continues to guide me each time we speak. More than a teacher, he is a friend”.  Master Cook is a published author and holds a PhD Degree. To add to this, he has a Martial Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and is also the recipient of an Outstanding Commendation Award from the President of the World Taekwondo Headquarters (The Kukkiwon) in South Korea.  2014 sees Master Cook’s 35th year in the Martial Arts and still at only 44 years of age, there is plenty more to achieve and to give back. 

Karate Grades

1st Dan Black Belt – 24th November 1989

2nd Dan Black Belt – 30th July 1993

3rd Dan Black Belt – 29th October 1999

4th Dan Black Belt – 25th November 2005

5th Dan Black Belt – 27th July 2012

                                                                                                                      6th Dan Black Belt – May 2016

Sensei Travis Carney

4th Dan

B 050 Sgt. Travis Carney began his martial arts journey studying Isshin-Ryu Karate then enlisting in the military after high school. Sensei Carney trained in various styles throughout his travels until the Air force moved him to Fort Walton Beach, FL where he began intense training in Shotokan at the Emerald Coast Martial Arts Academy.  He has also crossed trained in Taiho Jitsu, Iai Do and mixed martial arts. Sensei Carney has help instruct hundreds of women self defense clinics with Master Cayer and has done specialized training for our troops on Eglin Air Force Base. In 2007 Sgt. Carney entered the U.S. Army as a combat medic and is currently attending the Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal School.  Travis maintains Certifications in CPR, First Aid, Emergency Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer, and Modern Army Combative’s Level 1.  Travis obtained his 4th Dan ranking in Shotokan Karate under Grand Master Cayer and is a member of the European Jujitsu Union and Seieikan under Soke Don Madden.

Sensei Walt Knochenmus “K-9” 

4th Dan

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My journey in martial arts began in 1973, after I reported to flight school at Mather AFB, Cal. While there, I studied Shotokan Nippon Do five days a week, under Sensei Kerry Waite. Just prior to deploying to Southeast Asia, I earned my black belt in November 1974. Stationed at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand flying AC-130 gunships, on non-flying days, I studied Tae Kwan Do under Mr. Parks. After returning to the United States, I remained in the special operations and reconnaissance career field flying a variety of aircraft. In 1978, I was selected to a joint operations special duty assignment under Commander in Chief Atlantic. While on this assignment, I introduced to Airborne, Ranger, SEAL, and Force Recon martial arts tactics. This training was very useful after being assigned to a strategic reconnaissance unit for another government agency. After retiring from the USAF at Eglin AFB, Florida , I started studying traditional Shotokan under Master Joe Cayer earning my Shodan black belt. After earning my Shotokan Nidan black belt, I started studying Kajukenbo (earning my Nidan).  Today, I truly enjoy the opportunities to study other styles of martial arts at numerous local and national seminars.

Sensei Ricardo Perdomo

2nd Dan


Ricardo joined the U.S. Navy Seabees in September 1999 and spent 5 years with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 until his Honorable Discharge in January 2005.  He was a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sensei Perdomo has earned a Nidan black belt under Grand Master Joe Cayer and a teaching certification.  In 2013 Ricardo also earned his Shodan black belt in Kajukenbo.  Currently he is training and ranking in Krav Maga.  Ricardo has volunteered his time and talents while assisting hundreds of student’s in free self-defense clinics as a registered volunteer with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.  He is a member of the European Jujitsu Union and ASAI Association and continues his training in kubudo and advanced studies in Shotokan at the Emerald Coast Martial Arts Academies in Florida.

 Sensei Luis Fernando Vallejo Irias,

2nd Dan


Sensei Luis was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and began his martial arts journey at the age of 14 in 1999 at the Red Dragon Kempo. Being a natural athlete, Luis started competing internationally in 2000. By 2002 he had a string of 1st place wins and worked his way up to also win 1st place in the coveted Gran Jaguar Competitions. With consistent efforts Luis earned his 1st Dan Black Belt in 2003 at the Red Dragon Kempo. After this Sensei Luis entered many more competitions and consistently placed 1st . In 2004 he served his communities and began traveling Central America teaching Women Self Defense Seminars. In 2005 Luis made a big move to the United States, where he now calls home. Once settled and back in top shape, Sensei Luis started competing and teaching again in 2008 and met with great success. In 2010 he placed 1st at the US Open in Orlando, Florida. In 2012 he conquered 1st place at the Gators Competition in Tampa, Florida. In 2012 he won the Grand Champion title at the Gulf Coast Martial Arts Competitions in NW Florida and also took 2nd place at the US Open in Orlando. And most recently, July 2013, Sensei Luis, again triumphed with a huge win with another 1st place at the highly competitive US Open in Orlando, FL. Sensei Luis to this date has won countless local competitions and seeks out reputable tournaments throughout the United Sates. Sensei is the Kubudo (weapons) instructor at ECMA and also the weapons demo team leader. He continues his training with Grand Master Cayer and many legends in the business of sport competition.

Christina Henry

1st Dan


Sensei Gary Hill

2nd Dan


Gary began his training under Grand Master Joe Cayer in Shotokan karate and recently achieved his 2nd Dan.  He also received his black belt in Kajukenbo under Grand Master Cayer.  As an assistant instructor at Emerald Coast Martial Arts, Gary has assisted in teaching women’s self-defense clinics and also many school demonstrations.  Mr. Hill has coordinated all of the vehicles and floats in the local parades and community events for the dojo.  Mr. Hill’s is currently training for his 3rd Dan in Shotokan.

Sensei Alex Gray

2nd Dan

Alex Gray

2016 Bio for Alex Gray

Alex began his journey in Shotokan Karate under Master Butch Galant and achieved his Blue belt.  Master Galant retired and Alex began his training under Grand Master Joe Cayer.  In 2016 Alex received his Nidan Yudansha.  He has assisted in dozens of women self-defense clinics, and has also trained in Krav Maga, IaiDo and Kajukenbo.  Alex is in training for his Sandan black belt and is an instructor at Emerald Coast Martial Arts.

Senpai Abel Colon

2nd Dan


Abel began his training in Shotokan Karate at Ellsworth AFB South Dakota, 1979. In 1982, working as a security Police Officer at Andersen AFB Guam, he studied Tang Soo Do.   He continued his martial arts training in Aikido at Misawa Air Base in Japan in 1993.  In 1996 Sensei Colon Earned his Shodan Black Belt at Kadena AB Okinawa, Japan in Seidokan Karate.  In 2013 Sensei earned another black belt in the Filipino art of Sikaran and in 2015 was appointed as State Ambassador of Florida for the association.  In October 2016 Sensei earned his black belt in Kajukenbo. Sensei Colon earned his Nidan Black Belt under Grand Master Joe Cayer in Shotokan Karate. He is also awarded the title of Sempai for Emerald Coast Martial Arts Academy.

Eliana Cayer

Jr Black Belt


Eliana has studied the arts for over 10 years and assist all Kid’s Shotokan Karate classes. She has assisted in dozens of women’s self defense clinics as well.  She has also studied Krav Maga.

Sifu Henry Patterson

(Tai Chi & Qigong instructor)

12325965_1669507623318299_1674766326_opreview2  Sifu Ed Berry

    (Tai Chi & Qigong instructor)

FullSizeRender1Sensei Brian Welch

Sensei Welch is our newest black belt and instructor (kids & adults). As a Major in the USAF, Mr Welch flew helicopter combat missions and today is an instructor in that field.  Brian has a successful 2-0 amateur MMA caged Fight record.  His training includes Judo, Jujitsu, Shotokan, Krav Maga and other various martial arts.  Brian has attended any martial art seminar he could attend and is a student of the arts.  He continues his training at ECMA for his Nidan in Shotokan.

 Sensei with his first Shotokan Karate instructor, GM Jim Rodrigues and fellow classmate-GM John Liptak

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Soke Madden & GM Cayer @ the Black Belt Hall of Fame 2015

Soke Madden & GM Cayer @ the Black Belt Hall of Fame 2015

Sensei with his Grand Master, Soke Don Madden

263584_506238739401176_145365308_nWith Soke in Dublin, Ireland @ the 7th Irish Cup World Competitions in 2003 receiving the Grand Champion award (a sword).

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