Master Instructor / President- Sam Hunter
Mr. Hunter is a 37 year veteran of the martial arts and holds the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do. In addition, Mr. Hunter also holds Dan (black belt) ranks in Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Jujitsu, as well as Kung Fu. Additionally, Mr. Hunter is a licensed Tactical Master Instructor for CDT and LRT. Mr. Hunter began his martial arts training at the age of 10 in Nashville Tennessee under the direction of Mike Green. During his tenure with Mr. Green, Mr. Hunter attained the rank of 1st Degree blackbelt as well as won hundreds of open karate tournaments.
Upon graduation from high school, Mr. Hunter joined the U.S. Army as a member of the elite 82nd Airborne Division. During his time at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Hunter continued his training with Mr. James Johnson ( co-author of the Special Forces Hand to Hand Combat Manual) as well as assisted Mr. Johnson in instructing many of the fabled “Green Berets”. It was also during this time that Mr. Hunter served our country in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. For his meritorious service, Mr. Hunter was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
After completing his military obligation, Mr. Hunter moved to Kentucky and pursued a Bachelors Degree as well as an Army Officer Commission from Western Kentucky University. It was during this time that American Martial Arts Academy was born. Also during this time Mr. Hunter began training with Master Greg Lee and Master Richard Hackworth in various Korean arts. In 1995 Mr. Hunter graduated college and accepted an Army Reserve commission where he now serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
American Martial Arts Academy is a charter member of Black Belt Schools of America as well as the Martial Arts Industry Association. BBSA is an organization of over 1,000 schools dedicated to teaching mental benefits through the use of physical skills. As a member of these professional organizations, Mr. Hunter and his instructors have had the opportunity to train with some of the best and most recognized martial artists in the world.
In a short period of time, Mr. Hunter and his staff have built one of the largest and most successful schools in Kentucky. In 1998 AMAA was recognized by the World Head of Family Sokeship Counsel as the National School of the Year. In 2000 Mr. Hunter was awarded the prestigious Master Instructor of the Year Award by the same organization as well as one of the Top “50” schools Nationwide 3 times by the Black Belt Schools of America.
Mr. Hunter previously served for 8 years as an assistant coach for the United States Karate Team in competitions with the WKA, where he coached many notable martial artists to include: actor Taylor Lautner in international competition. Additionally, he trained and coached Barren County athletes Lauren Alexander and Tyler Maxey to gold medals as well as over 40 other local athletes who received silver and bronze medals in the WKA World Championships over the course of eight years..
Currently, Mr. Hunter is a member of the following associations and professional organizations:
Black Belt Schools of America
National Association of Professional Martial Artists
Martial Arts Industry Association
Korean Martial Arts Instructors Association
Korea Hapkido Federation
Tactical Master Instructor, CDT Training
Tactics Instructor, Last Resort Tactics
ACMA Certified Instructor
Level 1 Certified Instructor for Mixed Martial Arts by American Top Team
Assistant Instructor / Program Director- Jo Jessie
Ms. Jessie is a 12 year veteran of AMAA. Ms. Jessie began her training at AMAA in 1997, however prior to that time she was a supportive parent of her son Brandon who is also a blackbelt at the school. During Jo’s tenure at AMAA she has received many awards and accolades as a martial artist. Some of these include:
Two-time Triple Crown Winner in RSKC Competition
NASKA rated competitor multiple times
- Represented Team USA in her weight class three times in international competition in the WKA World Championships
ACMA Certified Kardio Kickboxing Instructor thru the Cooper Institute
- “Woman of the Year” award winner thru Black Belt Schools of America
In addition to teaching, Ms. Jessie is responsible for enrollments, student records, and in-house sales.
After School Program Director- Stephanie Riddle
Ms. Stephanie Riddle has been employed and responsible for the After School Program at AMAA since 2016.
Assistant Martial Arts Instructors– Dusty Walker (2nd Degree Black Belt) and Seth England (2nd Degree Black Belt