Instructors & Staff
Sal Convento – Sal Convento is a Two Time World Champion, President and Chief Instructor of the United States Karate Academy. He is a Fourth Degree Master Instructor in World Tang Soo Do and a Fourth Degree Black Belt in Karate-Do. He has over twenty-eight years of martial arts experience and is a highly-respected World Champion. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy who went on to become a Surface Warfare Officer and eventually a Naval Aviator. He took part in missions flying the EP3 Orion over Iraq and Afghanistan during “Operation Enduring Freedom” and was also stationed at the Omaha MEPS and was a Surface Warfare Officer in San Diego, California on three different amphibious ships.
Martial Arts Accomplishments:
- Overall Grand Champion at the 2002, 2004, & 2010 World Championships
- Overall Grand Champion at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship
- Overall Grand Champion at the Southern California Regional Championship
- Overall Grand Champion at the Mid-West Regional Championship
- Overall Grand Champion at the East Coast Championships in Queens College, NY and Charlotte, WV
- Captain of the United States Naval Academy Karate-Do Team in 1996 and once recognized as the “Athlete of the Week”
Ms. Stephanie Spears began her martial arts training at the age of 15 in Northern California. She currently holds a Second Degree Black Belt in World Tang Soo Do and First Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and Judo.
She has trained extensively in several disciplines, and has traveled to Thailand to compete in Kickboxing and Muy Thai. She has also traveled to Japan to study the art of Judo.
She brings an extensive knowledge of these martial arts to the mat at US Karate Academy. As the Studio Manager, she is responsible for instructor certification and training, as well as managing day to day operations. She is also a vital member of the USKA Demonstration Team. In May 2013, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship at San Diego State University.
Martial Arts Accomplishments
- Gold Medalist at the 2008 World Championship
- Female Black Belt Champion at 2012 West Coast Classic
- Female Black Belt Champion at the 2013 Region 20 Championship
Mr. Chris Bernal began his career in Martial arts at the age of 5 in the art of Tae Kwon Do. He studied in Tijuana for years, until his move to San Diego at the age of 17.
When he was 18, he began training at US Karate Academy. Before earning his Black Belt, he was a volunteer instructor who spent countless hours helping instructors and students. He earned the rank Second Degree Black Belt in World Tang Soo Do in March 2013 and First Degree Black Belt in World Tang Soo Do in January 2010.
He became a certified instructor in 2011, when he became a full time staff member. Mr. Bernal also teaches all our Warrior Weekends, and loves to be the instructor who works at birthday parties. He is a dedicated and enthusiastic instructor, who enjoys teaching kids and adults alike.
Martial Arts Accomplishments
- Adult Male Gup Grand Champion at the 2010 West Coast Classic
- 3rd Place Weapons at the 2012 WTSDA World Championship in Greensboro, NC
Christopher James Fager was born on July 26th, 1979 in Fallbrook, California. He earned his First Degree Black Belt in World Tang Soo Do December 2013. Chris began studying martial arts at the age of 15. He trained in traditional Tang Soo Do for 3 years under Master John Gehosky at Pacific Karate in La Jolla, California. During that time he attained the rank of 1st gup and was fully prepared to test for his black belt. However, before the next black belt test occurred Chris graduated from high school and moved to central California to attend college.
On October 30th 2010 he began training at the United States Karate Academy under chief instructor Salvador Convento. A few months after joining the studio, at the rank of 9th gup (orange/white belt), Chris was asked to become a voluntary assistant instructor. During that same time period he was also invited to become one of the first original members of the current USKA Demonstration Team. On October 12th 2013 Chris successfully tested for the rank of Cho Dan (black belt).
In his time with USKA Chris has distinguished himself as a top student. He has been recognized as the USKA 2011 Adult Student of the Year, the 2012 Student Volunteer of the Year, and the 2013 Instructor Trainee of the Year. At the 2012 WTSDA World Championship Tournament held in North Carolina Chris won 1st place in weapon forms, 2nd place in open hand forms, and as part of the USKA Demonstration Team he won 3rd place in creativity. During the 2011 and 2012 WTSDA Region 20 annual tournaments Chris placed in the top three positions for open hand forms, weapon forms, and sparring. During the 2013 Region 20 annual tournament Chris won first place in all three of those categories. Chris was the Adult Male Colored Belt Champion at both the 2012 and the 2013 Southern California West Coast Classic tournaments. At the 2013 West Coast Classic Chris also won the flying side kick competition by successfully clearing a distance of 20 fully raised hurdles while performing the technique, a feat unmatched by anyone at USKA.
On January 10th 2013 Chris Fager was officially hired as an employee of the United States Karate Academy. He currently works full time as the studio’s main recruiter and as a Instructor. Chris loves to teach Tang Soo Do to others (especially children) so that he can pass on the life-changing knowledge and skills he feels very fortunate to have received himself.
Mrs. Guidi, is a native to San Diegan. She is a graduate of University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. She also has a background in gymnastics.
Among her Martial Arts Accomplishments:
Senior Female Colored Belt Champion for the West Coast Classic in 2012.
Second Place in Weapons Forms and Third Place in Open Hand Hyungs (Forms) in 2010 at the World Tang Soo Do Championship at Greensboro, North Carolina in the Executive Division.
Second Place in Weapons Forms and Second Place in Open Hand Hyungs (Forms) in 2012 at the World Tang Soo Do Championship at Greensboro, North Carolina in the Executive Division.
During her time at the USKA Susan Townsend served on the Demo Team for a year but left to study for her black belt. She also was awarded the USKA 2009 Adult Student of the Year and the USKA 2013 Outstanding Student Volunteer.