619-228-3706
San Diego
619-342-5548
Eastlake/Chula Vista

Instructors

USKA INSTRUCTOR QUALIFICATIONS

  • Personally Selected and trained by Master Instructor Sal Convento
  • Professionally Certified and Yearly Tested
  • Friendly and Intuitive
  • Instructor Training Based on Naval Aviation Standards
  • Minimum 5 Years of Martial Arts Experience
  • C.P.R. and First Aid Certified
  • Background Checks Performed on All Staff and Instructors

Master Sal Convento
Owner and Chief Master Instructor

Master Sal Convento is a Two-Time World Champion, Fourth Degree Master Instructor in Tang Soo Do and a Fourth Degree Black Belt in Karate-Do. He has over thirty 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. Master Convento holds a MS Degree in Executive Leadership (University of San Diego) as well as a Master of Arts in Management (University of Redlands). He is also the author of the book, Black Belt: The Winning Edge!

Martial Arts Accomplishments:

  • Overall Grand Champion at the 2002, 2004, & 2010 WTSDA 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 (forms) and Charlotte, WV (sparring)
  • Captain of the United States Naval Academy Karate-Do Team in 1996 and once recognized as the “Athlete of the Week”
USKA Master Sal Convento

Stephanie Spears
COO
Head Instructor San Diego

Ms. Spears is the head instructor at USKA San Diego and is responsible for daily operations and class instruction.

Ms. Stephanie Spears began her martial arts training at the age of 15 in Northern California. She currently holds a Third Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, and First Degree Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do and Judo. She has trained extensively in several disciplines, and has traveled to Thailand to compete in Muay 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 U.S. Karate Academy.

As the Chief Operating Officer of USKA she is responsible for instructor certification and staff training, event planning and coordination, and overseeing day to day operations. She also leads the USKA Point Loma 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 Tang Soo Do Championship
  • Female Black Belt Champion at 2012 West Coast Classic
  • Female Black Belt Champion at the 2013 Region 20 Championship
  • Gold and Silver Medalist at 2014 World Tang Soo Do Championship
USKA Stephanie Spears

Robert Norrie

Mr. Robert Norrie was born in Nottingham, United Kingdom and moved to Albany, New York in 2001. He is the main instructor for Eastlake. He is a fourth degree black belt in ITF Tae Kwon Do, 1st degree black belt in Yi Tsung Shaolin, a 1st degree black belt in freestyle kickboxing, and has also trained in Wu Shu. He has 20 years of martial arts experience and has competed nationally and internationally in multiple different styles and divisions.

He has won many competitions across the Northeastern US and has taught seminars across the Northeast. He was captain of performance martial arts team, Team Pil-Sung, and was an assistant coach for the team up until he moved to USKA in April. Mr. Norrie’s specialty is teaching advanced kicking techniques, point sparring, and demonstration martial arts. He is incredibly excited to be a part of the USKA family and the San Diego community. He hopes to train with you soon!

Martial Arts Accomplishments

  • 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal at the WOOMA World Championships in 2010
  • Top competitor at the prestigious North East Open in Albany, New York from 2007-2011
USKA Robert Norrie

James Tanagras
Head Instructor Eastlake

Mr. Tanagras is the head instructor at USKA Eastlake is responsible for daily operations and class instruction.

Mr. Tanagras is a 4th Degree Master Black Belt in Taekwondo and a 1st Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do. He has over 28 years of experience in the Martial Arts which includes Muay Thai and Filipino Escrima.  A well versed educator from children to adults, Mr. Tanagras has a genuine passion for teaching.  He is a devoted believer in the positive benefits of what the Martial Arts can do for its practitioners and he wishes to spread these benefits to all students.

Martial Arts Accomplishments:

  • 2016 Muay Thai Instructor Certification under Kru Mark (Boungnaphonh Makthepharaks)
  • 2015 United States Karate Academy “Instructor of the Year”
  • 2014 San Diego Taekwondo Championships “Best Master”
  • 2013 US Open Elite Taekwondo Championships Jim Wood Mayoral Commendation for Outstanding Service
  • 2009 San Diego Martial Arts Open – Gold Medalist, Adult 28+ Sparring Division, Gold Medalist 18+ Sparring Division
USKA James Tanagras

Chris Fager

Mr. Fager earned his First Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do on December 2013. Mr. Fager 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. On October 30th 2010 he began training at the United States Karate Academy under Chief Instructor Sal Convento.

M. Fager 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. He currently holds a Second Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do and a First Degree Black Belt in Hapkido.

Martial Arts Accomplishments

  • Gold and Silver Medalist at the 2012 World Tang Soo Do Championship
  • Gold Medalist at the 2013 Region 20 World Tang Soo Do Championship
  • Adult Male Colored Belt Champion at the 2012 and 2013 West Coast Classic
USKA Chris Fager

Nate Church

Mr. Nate Church is a Third Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, Second Degree Black Belt in Sei Kan Ju Jitsu and First Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do. He began studying martial arts in high school.

Mr. Church has his personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as well as cardiovascular specialty and TRX Suspension Trainer certification. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree from Wright State University in Business Management.

He is excited to be part of the USKA family and looks forward to being able to continue to pass on the knowledge of the martial arts. It has had a great impact on his life and he wants to share that with others. According to Mr. Church, “USKA has the balance of discipline, motivation, education, fun and family that I have been searching for since coming to California. I look forward to expanding my knowledge and helping everyone at USKA become the best they can be”.

Martial Arts Accomplishments

  • Member of the AKJU Team America
  • Gold Medalist in 1996 US vs Ireland Friendly Competition
USKA Nate Church

Juliana Guidi

Ms. Juliana Guidi joined the USKA family in early 2008. Her diligent training earned her a Second Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do in July 2013 and First Degree Black Belt in 2011. Ms. Guidi began helping with classes in 2010 and in 2012 became a certified World Tang Soo Do Instructor. All this while being a busy mom to two kids who also train at USKA. Ms. Guidi is very patient with the students and enjoys teaching all ranks and ages.

Ms. Guidi is a native 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.

USKA Juliana Guidi

Susan Townsend

Mrs. Townsend earned her First Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do on October 2013 and began her martial arts training in college in the late 1960’s under the tutelage of two National Japanese karate champions. Although she was offered a scholarship, she left karate to teach high school biology. In the early 70’s she continued her martial arts training while on active duty in the U.S. Navy, taking Kodokan Judo under the instruction of Sensei Al Holtmann earning her brown belt. In November 2008, she joined the United States Karate Academy and currently holds a Second Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do.

USKA Susan Townsend

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