Instructors

Our instructors are qualified and experienced individuals who truly care about your personal growth and work very hard to help make sure you maximize your potential.

Head Instructor

Shawn Forristall

Shawn Forristall-

Shawn Sensei is the owner of GAMASD. He has been training in Martial Arts for over 30 years. He is married with four children and has been teaching martial arts full time for the past 16 years. Shawn Sensei has a BS in Physical Education and kinesiology.

  • 5th degree Black Belt in Aikijujutsu /Aikido
  • Black Belt in Alliance Brazilian Jiujitsu under Professor Jacare Calvacanti and Professor Ian McPherson
  • Certified Alliance BJJ Instructor for Adults and Children
  • 2nd degree Black Belt in traditional Karate (Kyokushin style)
  • Kyoshi (expert instructor) in Shinkendo (Samurai Swordsmanship) under the direct tutelage of Toshishiro Obata
  • 3rd Degree Black Belt in Toyama Ryu (Swordsmanship)
  • 1st Degree Black Belt in Bojutsu Tanrendo

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Lead BJJ Instructor

Ian McPherson

Ian McPherson

Ian is the head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor here at Georgia Martial Arts & Self Defense.  He has a Masters Degree in Exercise Science from Kennesaw State University.  Ian is a third degree black belt who has trained in the art since 2002. 

  • Competed as a world class athlete
  • Won IBJJF World and the Pans Championship as a brown belt
  • Received his black belt in 2010

Ranked #5 in GraciesMagazine’s  “Fighters To Keep Your Eye On”

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Kids Aiki Instructor

Abby Forristall

Abby Forristall

Abby is the Children’s Program Coordinator and Business Manager for GAMASD. She has been training for over a decade and is now a Black Belt in Aiki-Jujutsu. She is our senior Kid’s Instructor for our Aiki-Jujutsu program

  • Kenshuin teaching rank for Aiki-Jujutsu
  • Current Rank of Shodon 1st degree blackbelt 
  • Training Alliance BJJ for two years
  • Certified Fitness Kickboxing Instructor by the I.S.S.A.
  • Assist with Women’s Self Defense Program
  • Leads our Female Empowerment Program for girls age 8 to 17
  • Dojo Summer Camp Coordinator

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Fitness Instructor

Jennie Maldonado

Jennie Maldonado

Jennie Maldonado is the fitness instructor for Georgia Martial Arts & Self Defense.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Health and Science from Kennesaw State and a Master’s in Psychology from Capella University. Jennie is married and has two daughters, one who trains with us.

  • Certification in nutrition coaching
  • Certification in behavior change and youth exercise from National Academy of Sports
  • Jennie is an avid obstacle course racer
  • Has competed in several races 
  • Competed in the World Championships and North American Championships

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Judo Instructor

Gerry Tena

Gerry Tena

Gerry  is one of the Judo Instructors at Georgia Martial Arts & Self Defense. Gerry’s family includes his wife Rachel and daughter Natalia. He graduated from KSU in 2011, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems. Gerry currently works in the IT Infrastructure field.

  • Judo practitioner and competitor since 2002, received his black belt in 2006 from Sensei Bob Byrd and Bruce Toups.
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student since 2008, received his black belt from professors Steven Broughman and Juan Guevara in 2018.
  • High School and college level wrestling (2 years)
  • Mixed Martial Arts starting in 2008, retired in 2011 due to an injury (amateur record 7-1, pro record 3-1).
  • Muay Thai kickboxing student under Steven Broughman (5 years)
  • Boxing student under coach Nathan Livramento (deceased).
  • Ran and coordinated the Kakuto Submission Challenge tournaments
  • A member of the Georgia Judo board of directors.

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Aiki Instructor

Kevin Mason

Kevin Mason

Kevin Mason joined Georgia Martial Arts & Self Defense in 2001. He assists with the Aiki Jujutsu program and is a senior level instructor.  His current teaching rank is Shodan Renshi.

  • Is a third degree black belt in AIki Jujutsu
  • Black belt in Kemvo karate and Gojuryu 
  • Practices Kali

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Kids Instructor

Lyle Forristall

Lyle Forristall

Lyle is one of the kids instructors here at Georgia Martial Arts & Self Defense.  He has been training with us since he was four, and is a Shodon 1st degree blackbelt.

  • Has been training with Alliance BJJ for the last four years
  • Rank- Shodon 1st degree blackbelt
  • Going into the navy after he graduates highschool this May.

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BJJ Instructor

Brian Daniel

Brian Daniel

Brian is a brown belt under Professor Ian McPherson.  Brian has also been in law enforcement officer in the metro Atlanta area since 2005.  Brian began training Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu in September 2014 to help with defensive tactics in his law enforcement career.  

  • Tough competitor in tournaments since he was a white belt
  • Has won multiple Superfights at professional BJJ events

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Shinkendo Instructor

Eric Babb

Eric Babb

Eric has been training with us for 11 years now, and has been teaching Shinkendo for 5 years.  He is a long time martial artist and is a second degree black belt in Aiki-Jujutsu.

  • Teaching rank of Jun Shidoin in Aiki Jujutsu
  • Rank of Hyaku-e in Shinkendo
  • Teaching rank of Shoden Renshi Kami 
  • Practices and teaches Filipino Martial Arts or Kali under the FCS organization lead by Tuhon Ray Dionaldo 

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Account Manager

Celeste Babb

Celeste Babb

Celeste is our Accounts Manager here at Gerogia Martial Arts & Self Defense. She has been training with us in Aiki Jujutsu and Shinkendo for the last 5 years.

  • Rank of Gokkyu in Aiki Jujutsu
  • Rank of Ichimonju in Shinkendo

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