I have been a part of ACTIVSTARS since 1998, when I started out as a White Belt in the Blue Springs Dojo where I worked my way up the ranks and earned my Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. Since then, I have continued in developing my martial arts including cross-training…
Instructor: Alexander Leith Rank: 1st Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate and training in Wushu and Shaolin. PROFILE/BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE: I have been with ActivStars since 2008. I started as a student and have worked hard to work my way up to be an instructor. I have had the pleasure of working…
Arthur D. Gildehaus
RANKS: Shotokan Karate 1st Degree Black Belt OTHER CERTIFICATIONS: AED and CPR certified Born in Kansas City, MO, I Joined ACTIVSTARS in 2004, when I was13, to learn how to defend myself against bullying in school and to gain confidence in myself. I received my 1st Dan Black Belt in…
Brandon Lee Kim
Martial Arts has been a huge part of my life ever since I was four years old. It has helped to shape me into the person I have become; a person that I am comfortable and confident being. Amongst the many things I have learned over the years, I feel…
CURRENT RANKS: 4th Degree; Shorie-Goju-Ryu: 2nd Degree Taekwondo: 1st Degree Shorin-Ryu: San Kyu Uechi-Ryu CERTIFICATIONS: Concussion; BO-3rd Level; NUN CHU KU-3rd Level; TONFA-3rd Level; SAI-3rd Level. PROFILE / BACKGROUND / EXPERIENCE: I began my professional study of Karate in 1967 at Ball State University under Bill (Superfoot) Wallace. I earned…
INSTRUCTOR: Colby Lalli CURRENT RANKS: 3rd Dan Kenpo Karate; Hanshi Rank with ACTIVSTARS OTHER CERTIFICATIONS: CPR, AED, Concussion and First Aid Certified. PROFILE/BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE: I am the ACTIVSTARS Karate Supervisor for the Midwest Region. My focus is the supervision, training and development of our martial arts instructors. I oversee…
PROFILE/BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE In 1962, I started on my Martial Arts life path in Jujitsu and Judo, under 4th Dan, Bill Elam. I trained with my father, Art Elam Sr. in boxing. I boxed and wrestled throughout my years of school. I am a United States Marine Corps Force Recon Veteran. While…
My name is Sensei Dylan Knoll, and I have been with ACTIVSTARS and under the instruction of Renshi Dave Elam since 2000. I took a short break, came back and grew up through the ACTIVSTARS Karate program to soon earn my 1st Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. I have…
Hello, my name is Sensei Erin Wagner. I started training in Taekwondo with my mother and brother when I was ten years old. I am now a 3rd Dan in the art. I have also trained in Muay Thai for four years, and am currently learning Judo and Brazilian Juijitsu.…
I have been in the arts since my time in the Navy (1991). I am ranked in Shobushido Jujitsu, which is an off-shoot of Sho Budo Jujitsu, steming from Okinawa, Japan (Master Nakasato). I have been with ACTIVSTARS since 2006. I am AED and CPR certified. I consider it a…
Hello, my name is Graham Leavell. I have been involved with ACTIVSTARS since I first joined a karate class back in 2001. After coming up through the ranks at the Blue Springs location, I achieved my Black Belt in the year 2011. Past that point, I assisted my instructor, Sensei…
My name is Heather Theiss. I am a 1st Degree Black Belt and an Assistant Instructor with ACTIVSTARS. I earned my Black Belt in 2016 through the ACTIVSTARS Program. I was a student at the UMKC School of Nursing and graduated in 2017 with my BSN and I currently work…
My name is Jenell Quigley. I reside in the Northland with my husband and my son, who is also a karate student with ACTIVSTARS. I joined the program in 1995 as a white belt when ACTIVSTARS arrived in Kansas City. After seven years of training, I earned my Black Belt…
I have been an instructor for over 15 years and earned my 1st Degree Black Belt with my son, Brandon. We both love teaching.
I am Jon Theiss. I am a student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy working towards my doctorate in Pharmacy. I am a Veteran instructor and a first degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. I earned my black belt through Activstars in 2008 and became a certified instructor for Activstars…
I am a 1st Dan Shotokan Karate and a Veteran Instructor for ACTIVSTARS since 2012. I received my Black Belt through the ACTIVSTARS program in 2010, under the most capable tutelage of Kyoshi Ray Wright. In addition to Shotokan Karate, I have also studied Xing Yi Chuan and Tai Chi…
PROFILE/BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE: Martial Arts: I began taking lessons in 2006 strictly as a means to rehab my knee after tearing my ACL in 2005 and to share something with both of my kids. In 2010, I was awarded my Black Belt. I currently hold the rank of first degree Black Belt…
I am Mark Theiss. I am a Veteran instructor and a First Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. I became a certified instructor for Activstars in 2011. I teach with my family of Black Belts, Lori Theiss, Jonathan Theiss and Zachary Theiss. We were taught and trained within Activstars and…
I have always had a passion for the martial arts since I started practicing Karate in the Activstars program back in 2003. I was able to earn my black belt back in 2011 under Sensei Kelly Balliet in the Isshin-ryu style of Karate. I have trained in numerous weapons, such…
Hello, my name is Mike Tope and I will be your child’s karate instructor for the semester. After thirty-one years, I recently retired from public school education. Several Hickman Mills students may know me, as I have worked in every school as an assistant principal or instrumental music teacher. I…
Noah began his martial arts career with Activstars in 2002 at the age of six. He earned his black belt in Shotokan Karate in 2012 at the age of fifteen. He is in his fourteenth year of martial arts studies. Noah is a homeschool graduate and part time college student.…
Ray W. Wright
My mother was a grade school teacher for over 35 years and always thought I would make a good teacher. I saw how little money she made and decided to enter another profession. Much later I learned that it’s not about the money! Fortunately… I became involved in ACTIVSTARS when…
Richard Barrette earned his Black Belt in Shotokan Karate in October of 2017 after studying with Kyoshi Ray Wright for seven years. Richard has twenty-four years of teaching experience in middle school and high school classrooms, as well as in the homeschool setting. His volunteer work includes serving as a…
Se Han Kim
PROFILE/BACKGROUND/EXPERIENCE: Born in South Korea and raised in the city of Seoul, I began my training in Taekwondo at the age of 9, under the watchful eye of Grand Master Kim. 1st Dan Black Belt evaluation took place at Kukiwon, The World Taekwondo Headquarters, where I earned my 1st Dan…
I am Mark Theiss. I am a Veteran instructor and a First Degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate. I became a certified instructor for Activstars in 2011. I teach with my family of Black Belts, Lori Theiss, Jonathan Theiss and Zachary Theiss. We were taught and trained within Activstars and now teach for them.
In addition to Shotokan Karate, we have also trained in Hung Gar, also called Hung Ga (洪家) and Hung Kuen (洪拳). The Hung Mun claimed to be founded by survivors of the destruction of the Shaolin Temple. We trained under Gongfu Master Mark Houghton at the Lau Family Hung Gar Academy in Hong Kong, China. He was taught by the legend Lau Kar Leung himself. He has also gained a great deal of fame from the 60+ movies he has been in with some of the greats actors like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. It was an incredible experience and we gained a wealth of knowledge from this legend in the martial arts.
We have also trained under the great Wu Bin (吴彬), who coached and trained the Chinese Olympic Team for a number of years. Wu Bin has countless students that have trained under him including Jet Li, Li Jinheng and Kenny Perez (his first American Wushu student). He is the first instructor that we learned Wushu from and it was another incredible experience. We continued learning Wushu from Kenny Perez a few years later, who is an excellent instructor and a Master in Wushu. Kenny Perez has trained with Jet Li and has been in several movies with him.
We have also had the distinct privilege of training in Kung Fu with Shi Yang Qing, a Shaolin Priest. Shi Yang Qing came to America on a cultural visa and was able to stay for several years.
Mark Steuver is a friend of Shi Yang Qing and was the first American to train within the walls of the Shaolin Temple in China and achieved the rank of Monk, also a first for an American. We have trained with Mark a few times over the years and have greatly enjoyed the experiences.
We have learned several katas and weapons from Weapon’s Master Jerry Cook. Jerry has numerous black belts in the martial arts, such as Budo Kan Ju-jitsu, Tai chi, Kenpo and Okanawan Go-Ju-Ryu to name a few. In 2005, Master Cook was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and was put on the International Grandmasters Council. It has been a great honor to take training from this great martial artist.
Currently, we are training with Master Kraig Hollingworth and the Toushi Kan Martial Art Institute. Master Hollingsworth is a tremendous instructor and was inducted into United Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2013.
We also have certificates in Chin Na and Dragon Form. We train and teach a wide variety of weapons in our classes and we are proficient with the Quan Dao, Single Broadsword, Twin Broadsword, Broadsword and Shield, Twin Tigerhead Hooked Swords, Straight Sword, Katana (Bokken), 9 Ring Broadsword, Nunchaku (Single and Double), Fan, Bo Staff, Tonfa (Single and Double), Double Daggers, Shuriken throwing, and Double Butterfly Knives.
We also have trained and performed the traditional Southern Lion Dance. The Lion Dance originated in China close to a thousand years ago. It is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon good luck and fortune. The southern lion exhibits a wide variety of color and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head. The lion dance also symbolizes the myth of the Chinese New Year and is performed during this time throughout the world.
I enjoy teaching classes with my family and encourage my students to do the same; to practice and learn as a family. Practicing as a group makes it easier and fun and builds relationships that last beyond a lifetime.