Owner/Chief Instructor, Kimber Hill Tyree, founded Modern Martial Arts Academy, Inc. (now DBA Kimber Martial Arts) in 1994. She is currently a 6th Degree Black Belt in American Karate as well as a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Savate Kickboxing. Passionate about competition karate, Kimber has competed, coached, refereed and promoted many tournaments over the years. In 2000, Kimber won the National Championships at the Disney Wide World of Sports in Women’s Black Belt Point Fighting. However, her biggest passion is assisting children in dealing with bullying which led her to earn her certification as a Master Trainer for the Martial Arts for Peace Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children conflict education and character development. Utilizing her resources and connections, Kimber has partnered with local law enforcement and school guidance counselors to teach MAP curriculum to thousands of kids locally.
On an international level, Sensei Kimber revolutionized the martial arts industry when she created the Lil’ Dragon Curriculum for Century Martial Arts in 2001. When Sensei Kimber opened her school in 1994, it was unheard-of to teach martial arts to children under age 8. Kimber’s daughter, Sarah, was 3 years old and wanted to train so she created a program to address the special needs and abilities of young children. Utilizing her experience as a mother, her knowledge of AMI Montessori methodologies and her creativity, she created a radical new approach to teaching martial arts to children. The success of this program caught the attention of Century Martial Arts Supply, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of martial arts training equipment and apparel. They quickly brought her onboard as a spokesperson and co-author of their Lil’ Dragon Program. Their sister organization, the Martial Arts Industry Association, also brought Kimber on faculty when they were formed in 2001 and she continues to support students, instructors and schools through consultations, trainings, speaking at conferences and updating her curriculum. Today her work has been translated into German and is being taught on nearly every continent by over 3000 schools world-wide. Additionally, she has been featured in Tae Kwon Do Times magazine and multiple issues of MASuccess magazine as well as European periodicals as one of the most influential women in the martial arts. In 2005, Kimber was featured on the cover of Martial Arts Success magazine as a pioneer in the industry.
To this day, Kimber continues to run her school in DeLand with her husband, Chris Tyree, retired Lieutenant Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, specializing in self-defense and committed to empowering students of all ages.
Head Instructor, Steve Wagner, holds a 4th Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo. He has over 14 years of experience in teaching martial arts to all age groups. Originally from the Midwest, he was head instructor and program director for American Family Martial Arts in Alton, IL and also a Veteran Instructor for ACTIVSTARS Midwest where he operated multiple locations. Sensei Steve applies concepts from multiple martial art styles in order to create well rounded students. In addition to running the Karate program, Sensei Steve is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and uses his expertise to help develop the KMA Fitness programs. He is also a former professional chef and has a passion for health and fitness as well as developing the future leaders of tomorrow.
I’m Mr. Aaron Burgess, I’ve been with Sensei Kimber since the 7th grade, and I couldn't imagine where I would be if it wasn't for her and her school. I’m a 2nd Degree Black Belt and responsible for all the 3-7-year-old students. Some words of advice? Never give up because, you never know where your black belt journey will take you.
I am a 300 hour Certified Yoga Instructor in the style of Precision Alignment Yoga, and I am also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with the Yoga Alliance. I left a career as a litigation paralegal to pursue my passion and train as a Yoga Instructor under Emma Tranter at the Southern Institute for Yoga Instructors (the Yoga Shed). This calling was very personal to me, as I personally gained and learned so many life tools through my participation in yoga and developed a drive to bring those same tools to others. I am also a long time runner, a former swimmer, and am currently training in Karate at Kimber Martial Arts, which is turning out to be another great passion! I married my high school sweetheart George and we are the proud parents of Ivy, who also happens to enjoy Karate at Kimber Martial Arts!