Sensei Kurt Ecker is the founder of the Martial Arts Training Academy and its head instructor. He has been involved in the martial arts since 1974.His training began in Chinese Kempo and continued for about 3 years. After that he went on to study Shuri Itosu for a couple of years. It wasn’t until 1984 that he was introduced to Okinawa Kenpo under the guidance and instruction of Sensei Larry Gradolf. Sensei Gradolf had studied with both Masters Shieru Nakamura and Seikichi Odo in Okinawa, one of the few that could make that claim. Sensei Ecker studied with Sensei Gradolf for about 8 years and participated in many seminars whenever Master Odo would visit the U.S.A. Sensei Ecker received his Shodan (1st degree) through Yondan (4th degree) under Sensei Gradolf. Sensei Ecker was also awarded a teachers certificate from Master Odo in 1994. He had the opportunity to meet and begin training with Sensei Richard Gonzalez, who had over 30 years of time with Master Odo, in 1992.
Through Sensei Gonzalez, Sensei Ecker has continued his training and understanding of Okinawa Kenpo to this day. Sensei Ecker was awarded the the rank and title of Kyoshi (Senior Instructor) in 2010 and received his Senior Instuctors License in 2012 from Sensei Gonzalez with the San Toku Kan Federation.Mr. Ecker is a lifetime member of the Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Karate Kobujutsu Federation and a lifetime memeber of the San Toku Kan Federation. In 2010 Sensei Ecker met Sensei Roy Hobbs and began his study of Toyama Ryu Iaijutsu ( Japanese Sword). Sensei Hobbs is the head of the Sekai Dentokan Bugei Renmei. He is also the International director for the Dai Nippon Toyama Ryu Iaido Kyokai and Kokusai Budo Koryu Kyokai; Mugai Ryu Iaido, with schools around the world. In 2013, Mr. Ecker recieved his Nidan (2nd degree) from Sensei Hobbs under the Sekai Dentokan Bugei Renmei. Sensei Ecker had the privilege of attending a advanced Iaido course in Japan in Oct of 2016. After completion of the course he was promoted to San Dan from Atushi Shimojo, head of the DNIK. Sensei Ecker continues to train with Sensei Hobbs. Sensei Ecker has also been studying the draws of Master Odo under the guidance of Sensei Richard Gonzalez , President of the San Toku Kan Federation.