Happy Birthday

Updated: Apr 25


Introduction

Over the last three decades MMA Academy has had the honor and privilege of teaching men, women and children self-defense and fitness skills to live safer and healthier lives.


From what started as a personal interest from Michael Mihalkanin and the humble beginnings of teaching students on the dance floor of a night club, later subletting space to teach a few classes in the mid to late eighties turned into a lifelong passion to teach people how to be safe!


MMA Academy led by Mr. Michael Mihalkanin has grown into one of the most respected training centers locally in San Diego, nationally as well as internationally from his peers.


He is a 6th Degree Black Belt with the World Martial Arts Ranking Association (WMARA). He is an Advanced Certified Civilian Law Enforcement instructor through Krav Maga Worldwide’s elite Force Training Division instructing Law Enforcement Officers and the Military defensive tactics. In addition, he holds an Advanced Certification as a FAST Defense Instructor teaching reality training from open hand to weapon defense. He has been used as an Expert advisor numerous times (over 50) for local television and radio segments on personal protection including being the technical advisor for an Emmy Award winning short documentary tilted “Surviving an Active Shooting”.


From the Beginning

The basis for Mr. Michael Mihalkanin martial arts skills began by training at the World Martial Arts Ranking Association (WMARA) facility under Master Chuck Hawkins. WMARA is headed by Grand Master J. Pat Burleson and has notable directors such as Steve Armstrong ‐ Judo, Jim Harrison ‐ Kickboxing, Joe Lewis ‐ Boxing ‐ Wrestling, J. Pat Burleson ‐ Karate ‐ Boxing, Chuck Norris ‐ Tang Soo Do, Bob Wall ‐ Jiu-Jitsu, Jhoon Goo Rhee ‐Tae Kwon Do, Robert Trias ‐ Martial Arts, Bill Wallace ‐ Kickboxing, Edmond Parker ‐ Kempo. All of these styles combined created the foundation from which Michael’s mixed martial arts skills have been forged.


In 1984 He received his first First-Degree Black Belt. That same year he began providing security services for a local nightclub which included crowd control and personal protection for celebrity performers. During the next three years, Mr. Mihalkanin continued his study of other martial art forms to develop diverse tactical defenses. Mr. Mihalkanin continued his training with WMARA and achieved the rank of Second Degree 1989 in Baja California.


Michael opened his first Academy in 1990 to supply the demand for his instruction in the coastal area. His curriculum included traditional martial arts techniques as well as progressive boxing, throws, takedowns and joint manipulation. He’s competed locally in open and invitational tournaments since the late eighties continually placing in the top three spots for point and continuous fighting competitions.


In 1992, he began the first martial arts program for physically and mentally challenged students in the coastal area. That same year, Mr. Mihalkanin earned his Third-Degree Black Belt with WMARA.


Mr. Mihalkanin began instruction full time in 1993 to meet the needs of his expanding academy. He continued to perform security work and crowd control at an internationally recognized roadhouse that catered to live entertainment seven nights a week. As a hands-on owner of that night club, Mr. Mihalkanin continuously tested his self‐defense techniques as well as controls and joint manipulation providing personal security for national and international recording artists as well as crowd control security for that music venue.


Mr. Mihalkanin worked with Combative Concepts a company created in part by retired Navy Seals. Combative Concepts trained civilians in close quarter gun fight tactics. The instructors and students assisted several local law enforcement agencies in tactical gun fight training as an armed aggressor. This scenario training included tactical gun defense, room entry and hostage rescue.


August 1996 in Palm Desert, California Mr. Mihalkanin was promoted to Fourth Degree Black in the World Martial Arts Ranking Association under Master Chuck Hawkins and Grand Master J. Pat Burleson.


July 27, 2002, he was promoted to Fifth Degree Black Belt in Big Bear, Ca. by The World Martial Arts Ranking Association. Grand Master J. Pat Burleson, Master Chuck Hawkins presiding.


Mr. Mihalkanin is a senior instructor of F.A.S.T. (Fear Adrenaline Stress Training) Defense and teaches multiple seminars throughout the year to military, law enforcement, martial artists, corporate executives and non‐martial arts practitioners.


In April of 2005 Mr. Mihalkanin opened, MMA Academy’s Sorrento Valley location, his second training location which specializes in Krav Maga, structured, non‐structured (mixed martial arts & conditioning) tactical defenses along with ten levels of reality-based seminars. This academy is now his base of operations.


Performing many lectures to San Diego corporations on safety and self-defense he also is an ongoing presenter at the Annual San Diego Women’s Resource Fair held at Golden Hall which attended by over six thousand women each year. He has been a presenter at The International Conference on Family Violence held in San Diego. He is a co‐founder of The Candle Light Foundation non-profit human services organization teaching empowerment seminars in shelters across San Diego County.


Mr. Mihalkanin along with the Mindset Self‐Defense team has been conducting children’s seminars dealing with anti‐bullying & anti‐abductions concepts in San Diego County schools as well as programs for the San Diego County Girl & Boys Scouts and the YMCA.



In April of 2005 and again in September of 2006 Mr. Mihalkanin was a FAST Defense instructor and an assistant firearms instructor at RMCAT, Rocky Mountain Combat Application Training Center, under Peyton Quinn and FAST Defense Founder Bill Kipp.


In April of 2005 Mr. Mihalkanin opened, MMA Academy’s Sorrento Valley location, his second training location which specializes in Krav Maga, structured, non‐structured (mixed martial arts & conditioning) tactical defenses along with ten levels of reality-based seminars. This academy is now his base of operations.


Performing many lectures to San Diego corporations on safety and self-defense he also is an ongoing presenter at the Annual San Diego Women’s Resource Fair held at Golden Hall which attended by over six thousand women each year. He has been a presenter at The International Conference on Family Violence held in San Diego. He is a co‐founder of The Candle Light Foundation non-profit human services organization teaching empowerment seminars in shelters across San Diego County.




Mr. Mihalkanin along with the Mindset Self‐Defense team has been conducting children’s seminars dealing with anti‐bullying & anti‐abductions concepts in San Diego County schools as well as programs for the San Diego County Girl & Boys Scouts and the YMCA.


MMA Academy is proud and honored to receive two proclamations from the San Diego Board of Supervisors! The first was for recognition of our 25th Anniversary and our community service work performed throughout the county.




The second was in recognition of becoming a Live Well San Diego Partner. Live Well San Diego is a vision for a region that is Building Better Health, Living Safely and Thriving. It aligns the efforts of individuals, organizations and government to help all 3.3 million San Diego County residents live well.


The end of 2016 Mr. Mihalkanin co-founder POC Enterprises a nonprofit California corporation with his wife Anne Marie. After years of funding all outreach projects out of pocket they formalized an entity so they can work with more groups on topics such as workplace violence lectures and workshops, Sexual Assault Prevention workshops and mentoring at-risk youth from gang induction or trafficking survivors.

After nearly 4 decades and countless hours of training, Mr. Mihalkanin was recently promoted to 3rd Dan Black Belt (1 of 24) by Darren Levine and Krav Maga Worldwide in October 2017.


Darren Levine, a sixth-degree black belt, U.S. Chief Instructor and CEO of Krav Maga Worldwide, imported Krav Maga to the U.S. in 1981 after studying in Israel from Grandmaster Imi Lichtenfeld, the late creator of Krav Maga.


Lichtenfeld, the son of a highly respected police detective and trainer, was a national champion of gymnastics, Boxing, and Wrestling in his native Czechoslovakia. He began to develop Krav Maga just prior to World War II after arriving in the Middle East. When Israel became a nation, he was handpicked to train Israeli military forces, Anti-Terrorist Units, and Security Forces for real combat.


Since Krav Maga emerged in an environment where extreme violence was common, it had ample opportunity to be tested. No defensive tactics program in the world is more battle tested than Krav Maga.


Some of the groups we had the honor and privilege to work with over the years


A partial list of entertainers that Mr. Mihalkanin provided security and production services for while the Owner/General Manager of the roadhouse for sixteen years...



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