Meet Our Instructors

Each of our instructors have been trained by Renshi Michael Bunton to teach our students martial arts. 


Renshi Michael Bunton

Owner and Head Instructor of Phoenix Martial Arts. Fourth Degree Black Belt.

I began my official martial arts training in 1993 studying the styles of Muay Thai kickboxing and Brazilian Jujitsu obtaining a black belt in a system the instructor composed. I began teaching classes prior to making black belt asking to help out however I could. Teaching became a big part of my learning process, and this is something I pass along to my students as well.

1997 began my study with American Open Karate (Shuri-ryu) and obtained the rank of 3rd dan (Third degree black belt). American Open Karate finds its roots in Okinawan Shuri-te (karate) which was brought to America by Robert Trias, founder of Shuri-ryu. 

In 2000 I began to study Kung Fu and obtained black belt certifications in Chang Quan (Northern Fist) and Nan Quan (Southern Fist) contemporary Wushu, and went on to learn and incorporate Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Taizu Chang Quan, Eighteen-Arhats Boxing Kylin Fist, Tai Chi, and the many weapons systems that go along with these arts.

Other certifications I hold are in Escrima, Arnis, and Kali.

At Phoenix we teach all these systems in a curriculum we call Take Nami Do.

In 2001 I became a certified Level 2 ropes course facilitator and facilitator trainer for Iredell County Recreation Department and currently with Challenge Towers Aerial Adventure as well. In 2005 I joined the team of Competitive Edge as a Global Leadership Developer. Experiential learning and helping to challenge individuals and teams in physical and metal growth has greatly impacted the way I instruct. This is why we feel we are the best martial arts school around!

It is my hope and desire to pass my lessons on to my students so they may better themselves as a whole and to understand how to use the martial arts as a tool for conflict resolution inside as well as outside.

In my experience a true master is always a student. There is a quote I like to use to represent this. "Seek those who seek the truth, avoid those who have found it." The path to perfection is an endless one, and as such I continue to learn as well.


Sempai Southern

Office Manager and Lead Instructor. First Degree Black Belt

I started training at Phoenix Martial Arts in 2006 when I was three. I worked through all the belts with the help of Renshi. Anytime I struggled with any material, Renshi was always willing and eager to help me. When I tested for my purple belt, Renshi made me an instructor rank. Since then, I have worked with students. I love to teach students and pass what I know to others.

In 2014, I received my Junior Black Belt. Since I was only 11 at the time, I was not old enough to receive my adult rank. Four years later in 2018, I tested for my First Dan. I have continued to teach as a black belt and have learned more and more. Once I received my black belt, I began to learn even more. Many people ask me why I continue to do martial arts since I have finished because I have a black belt. I tell them that a black belt is not an ending but a beginning.

A few years later in 2020, I received my title of Sempai and took more of an office manager role. I have taken on many tasks throughout the school, doing my best to help Renshi out in as many ways as I can. I have taken on larger leadership roles in classes since the title change, and I hope I can continue to teach the students around me and inspire others.  


Miss Sloan

Instructor. Purple Belt


I am an instructor here at Phoenix Martial Arts. I have had an amazing experience here, both through learning and teaching. I started in 2017, and I plan to continue. My fellow instructors and I want to help give the best time to anyone, and Phoenix is the best place to do that. 


Mr. Sloan

Instructor. Purple Belt


I have been doing martial arts since I was 5. The first style of martial arts I did was Taekwondo. I did Taekwondo until I was 9, then I came to Phoenix Martial Arts Academy. My hobbies are football, music, video games, and reading.


Mr. Hesson

Instructor. Purple Belt


I have been doing martial arts at Phoenix since I was five years old. As I have grown through martial arts, I have learned how to be a better leader, gained more responsibility, and have learned how to take constructive criticism. I have made new friends that have helped me along the way and I have a great teacher, who has been patient with me when I mess up. This is why I love Phoenix Martial Arts.


Mr. Bridges

Instructor. Blue Belt


I have a younger brother that also does martial arts with me. I like to play nerf guns with him. I enjoy helping to tech others. A big brother is a type of teacher, and I have loved helping my brother and the other students. Some of my favorite things are the color green, cooking, and riding bikes and skateboards. 

For more information about our instructors,