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Instructors at Mid-America Martial Arts are fully qualified to teach adults and youth in their respective disciplines. 

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Aaron Cerrone

Head Coach

Aaron has been training in the martial arts since the age of 11.  His studies began in the 6th grade following an after-school altercation with 3 junior high students that did not go in his favor. His first exposure to the martial arts came under Sensei Tim Hoover in Pennsylvania. For the next 4 years Aaron progressed in the art currently known as Kwon Ryu Fu Chi Do at American Karate Studio (know called Hoover Karate Academy).  More Bio…

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Ed Shobe
Head Instructor

Head BJJ Coach
Ed is a successful competitor in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu having competed at the national and international levels. He is a Black Belt in BJJ under Rodrigo Vaghi.  Ed is a Pan Am Games gold medalist and was a member of the first U.S. National Muay Thai team earning a spot to compete in the Prince’s Cup. Ed has a long history of mentoring local youth at Children’s Square.



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Anthony Carlson
Program Lead

BJJ & Judo Coach
Anthony is a Brown belt in BJJ under Rodrigo Vaghi and a Brown belt in Judo under Sensei Mike Penny. He is one of the most active and decorated BJJ competitors in the MidWest having medaled at both the Pan Am and World Games as well as various NAGA, IBJJF, and Grapplers Quest events. Perhaps most impressive of all, Anthony is a stroke survivor who has experienced most of his competitive success post recovery! AC is a very active supporter of various charities in the Omaha area; he is a graduate of Bellevue East HS and UNO and is a computer programmer by trade.


Youth & Phase Instructor
Jeff has been with Mid-America since nearly our inception. He is the lead instructor for our youth classes and Phase class instructor as well. Jeff continues his training in Kickboxing, Kali, Jun Fan Gung Fu and JKD Concepts. He is an Apprentice Instructor under Sifu Marc McFann in Unified Fighting Arts system. Growing up Jeff took part in both judo and wrestling. Born and raised in Omaha, Jeff is a graduate of South High and currently works for Packers Engineering and Equipment. His daughter Brianna is MAMA’s first youth black belt!

Judo Coach
Sensei Mike Penny has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years. Mike Sensei started in the 6th grade practicing Aikido. He started practicing judo while in college under Dr. Paul Frayer and Dr. Shelby Hillis and continued while serving in the military also studying Kempo and Shudokan bojitsu during that time. Past instructors have included Dr. Mok Tokko, Mr. Bob Whelan, Ms Judy Williams and Dr. Delo Lee. Mike Sensei currently holds the rank of Yodan in Judo and has a blue belt in

Muay Thai Coach
Joel has been actively training and competing in muay thai, bjj, and mma for several years. As an amateur he compiled an impressive 7-0 muay thai record and 9-3 mma record. He is a 2-time TBA Classic Tournament Champion and held the Fury Fights 135lb title. His pro muay thai recored is currently 2-0.

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Kyle Nordstrom



BJJ Coach
Kyle is a purple belt in BJJ under Rodrigo Vaghi. He is an active competitor in both BJJ, MMA, Judo, Wrestling, and Strongman/Highland Games.





Judo Coach
Sensei John Kucirek first started Judo as a child in 1982 under Dr. Delo Lee Sensei and has been practicing martial arts for over 25 years. Kucirek Sensei presently holds the rank of Sandan in Judo and Shodan in Jujitsu issued by the United States Judo Association (USJA) and was an active competitor at the state and regional level in both Shiai and Kata. During college, Kucirek Sensei also trained extensively under Mike Denny Sensei in Judo and Jujitsu and also practiced Tae Kwon Do. In 1995 Kucirek Sensei began teaching Judo and Jujitsu with Mike Penny Sensei and continues to this date. “I enjoy teaching Judo and Jujitsu because it provides me with an opportunity to give something back to the arts that have given me so much.”

Muay Thai Coach & Youth Instructor
Kelsey has been training and actively competing in muay thai since 2009. She is the 2010 & 2011 TBA Tournament Champion. She is a graduate of Skutt Catholic and is a student at UNO.

Muay Thai Coach
Chessa has been training muay thai for roughly 4 years and instructs our women’s muay thai classes. She is the 2008 TBA Tournament Champion and 2010 runner up carrying an overall record of 6-1. Chessa is a sales rep for Cornerstone Imaging.

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Matt Lippold


BJJ Coach
Matt is a brown belt under Rodrigo Vaghi and a Pan Am Games gold medalist.  He is a Lieutenant in the Omaha Police Department.




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Scott Ferrero


BJJ Coach
Scott is a purple belt under Rodrigo Vaghi. He is computer programmer for CSG.





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Luke Schollmeyer


BJJ Coach
Luke is a purple belt under Rodrigo Vaghi and Judo Yellow belt under Sensei Mike Penny. He is a system administrator for Werner Trucking.


To schedule a Private Lesson with any one of our instructors

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