System Founder and Sr. Grandmaster - Jeff Sprawls - Carthage, MO

My martial art journey; For me, it started with Kung Fu the TV series and Wide World of Sports in the early 70's. I was 12 or 13. I remember seeing the David Carradine & his flashbacks of the Shaolin monks who raised him & being awestruck at their fighting skills & their apparent supernatural skills. That was something. But one day watching Wide World of Sports there was a team of Wushu athletes & Karate team because the show was covering a martial art tourney. Amazing fighters, lots of breaking & most impressive was the Chi demonstrations...resistance against sharp & pointed weapons with no visible damage to the competitors?!?!?Mind blown!!! I was hooked! 

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At the same time I, was a small thin kid getting picked on by bigger kids & hating my life when I notice a Karate school was opening in our small town. Imagine my excitement when my dad came the n one day & said " This bullying crap stops now. Do you want to join the Karate school? “Outside I was cool as a cucumber & calmly said, "I guess so?!" But inside I was jumping through my face. lol. I want to point out that this was a satellite GoJu Ryu school under GM Lou Angel & my teacher was really cool young man names Olen Swayme. Sadly, due to lack of interest, the school shut down after a few months (there were 5 of us students) because after all … rednecks "Don't need no damned Kurodee crap, when ya got a gun! Sides, only gurlz & sissies fight with thur dayum feet!" Fortunately, this mindset had no effect on me & I would practice what few techniques I had learned. These amounted to Basic blocks, reverse punches, ridge hands, shuto, front snap kick, sidekick, back kick & most importantly Lone Kimono. A defense against a front grab. Little did I know then that was actuallya Kenpo technique Mr. Angel had picked up from his best friend the Late SGM EdParker. How funny that many years later I would pick up Goju (but this time itwas Okinawan Goju) & Ed Parkers American Kenpo from my dear friend Sifu RayKellison. I guess we do come full circle after all. Anyway back to the bio. Atthe age of 18, I hooked up with some guys in Joplin MO, who did Shito Ryu. Theywere not black belts quite yet so my lessons were on the down low & they weremore like impromptu instances of, "Hey check this out" &"Hey how do you do that rear choke again?" Then I took up Shorin Ryuwith my friend & roommate Mike Waterman. After a couple of years workingout with Mike (it was mostly him practicing on me but I paid very closeattention & imitated everything he did), I moved on to Tae Kwon Do with aguy named Daniel Perez who suddenly moved & told no one. Never did find outwhat that was about. lol. Enter Rocky Artym, an exceptionally good 4th-degreeblack belt with a background in boxing, wrestling & Filipino Kuntaw fromhis time in the Navy. This dude was bad to the bone, a great guy & myfriend to this day. When I got married to my future ex-wife, moved away &was without a teacher yet again. A couple of years passed & I joined a JKDschool & at the same time, I joined an Aiki Jitsu school headed by ShihanJohn Karriman. After the divorce, I went a little overboard I guess. This iswhere I reconnected with Ray Kellison and became a student/training partner. Iknew Ray through friends in the music scene previously. Around this time Ibecame a patient & later a student of Dr/GM Ray Weathers in his art ofSingtong Te Goshen Jitsu Do & traditional Chinese medicine. I alsoconnected with Steve Todd as my JKD/Kali/Silat teacher. A relationship I stillhave to this day. Through Steve, I got to attend seminars by none other thanGuro Dan Inosanto. Pendekar Herman Suwanda & was later introduced toPendekar Agung Paul DeThouars, his brother Ba Pak Willem (Uncle Bill) DeThouars,Lao Shr Wayne Welsh, GM Shelley Millspaugh who introduced us to GGM Ernesto A.Presas Sr. Those introductions by GM Steve were how I became a student of UncleBill, Uncle Wayne, GM Shelley, GGM Ernesto all of which are lineages I amextremely glad to belong to. Obviously, a large part of my training has beencatch as catch can due to long distance, marriage, divorce, job, moving ...just life. But I have spent many consistent years training weekly with GM Steve& Sifu Ray as the bulk of my training & every chance I got I was hotfootin it to train in Arnis, Kuntao Silat, JKD, American Kenpo with my goodfriends & teachers GM Shelley(the most), Uncle Bill, Uncle Wayne, & GGMErnesto. Well, that's been my journey which continues still as I seek out newinstructors & new experiences from such people as GM George Morin, GuruBahati Mershant. I always have been & always will consider myself to be astudent. A Murid. Never ever thinkyou've arrived ... Jeff Sprawls.

9th Dan Grandmaster - Coach Wayne Tedrick - Kollweiler, Germany

Coach Wayne began Maju Bela Diri training in March of 1996 with Grandmaster Sprawls. He was always passionate about learning and would spend several hours each day training. The instruction was an old style with classes taking place indoors on a splintered hardwood floor when it was warm outside and training on the hard-frozen ground during the winter. Contact was expected and the phrase “What if?” was always followed by a painful answer.

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After a year of intensive instruction, he began traveling with GM Sprawls to visit other Instructors for further and varied instruction. In October of 1998, he earned the honor of Instructor Level. He began teaching full-time and traveled with Grandmaster Sprawls, teaching seminar courses. In August of 2000, he relocated from Missouri to Florida. He continued teaching and commuting for instruction. In August of 2001, He earned the title of Master Instructor in Maju Bela Diri. He has also held Instructor Level ranking in other systems, however, his focus has always remained true to Maju Bela Diri. In 2005 he was again honored when he earned the title of Independent Master Instructor in Maju Bela Diri. In August of 2007, he began working as Law Enforcement Officer for Belleview, Florida. He was the agencies Defensive Tactics Instructor and in August of 2009, he became a Certified State of Florida Defensive Tactics Instructor. He was a member of the agency S.R. T. (Special Response Team) and trained with SWAT teams from other agencies. He continued teaching Maju Bela Diri- Self Defense classes as well as the Defensive Tactics course until his relocation to Germany in 2016. He is currently teaching Maju Bela Diri and a Women’s Self Defense Course in Kollweiler, Germany

9th Dan Grandmaster - Mike Denny - Joplin, MO

Started training with GM Jeff Sprawls in the spring of '96. Though he had previous experiences with other fighting arts and wrestling through high school, his real training didn't start until Coach Wayne came to him one fateful day, bruised, bloodied, and grinning from
ear to ear, exclaiming "I have found us a teacher".

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Mike had found a home, a teacher he could truly respect and fellow students he could call brothers. The training was brutal and as close as you could get to an old world experience. As in "mats? What are mats? And I know this technique works because you may or may not of blacked out from the pain"Through Jeff he was able to train with some of the best masters and instructors from around the world through seminars and class based teaching. Including receiving other instructor level black belts from GM Steve Todd and GM Shelley Millspaugh. In '98, he earned his instructor level black belt from Jeff in Maju Bela Diri and started helping with seminars by his teacher. In 2001 he was honored with receiving his master level practitioner rank and in 2005 gained his 6th degree and independent master status in Maju Bela Diri.Following his master's footsteps, he continues the brutal training on his own students and is constantly evolving and growing Maju Bela Diri.

9th Dan Grandmaster - Dustin Schlichting - Joplin, MO
6th Dan Independent Master - Bryan Joslyn - Carthage, MO
6th Dan Independent Master- Charlie Wishon - Rogers, AK
6th Dan Independent Master - Damon Abraham - New York, NY
6th Dan Independent Master - Sidney Bruenn
6th Dan Independent Master - Vincent Pernice - Kansas City, KS
5th Dan Master - Ahren Undernehr - Saligman, MO
5th Master - DeWayne Hixson - Bentonville, AK
3rd Dan Independent Instructor - Dan Lowman - Fort Meyers, FL
3rd Dan Independent Instructor - Tommy Adkins - Joplin, MO
2nd Dan Instructor - Marta Sprawls - Carthage, MO
2nd Dan Instructor - Tim Kivett - Joplin, MO
1st Dan Instructor - Aaron Kimball - Rogers, AK
1st Dan Instructor - Ben Thomas - Lenexa, KS
1st Dan Instructor - Joe Ciraco - Ocala, FL
1st Dan Instructor - Lonnie Stintson - Portland, ME
1st Dan Instructor - Paul Phillips - Carthage, MO
1st Dan - Instructor - Richard Mann - Spring Hill, KS
1st Dan Instructor - Thad Stintson - Fort Worth, TX