Our instructors are highly experienced, qualified teachers, who are dedicated to bringing out the best in each student. They take pride in their quality of instruction and excellence in the field of martial arts and child development. Their goal is to make a positive impact in the lives of each student by sharing the importance of good physical fitness and a positive “can do anything” attitude toward achieving their goals.
Vernard Williams, Jr.
Founder of Snap Kick Martial Arts
Founder of the Martial Arts Leadership Association
5th Degree Black Belt - Karate
1st Degree Black Belt - Jujitsu
Brown Belt - Judo
My journey to Black Belt Excellence has taken me on a quest to raise awareness of the martial arts and self-defense, the importance of physical fitness and most importantly character development. This is why I established Snap Kick Martial Arts (SKMA) and the Martial Arts Leadership Association (MALA) in 2015.
As a career and lifelong martial artist and martial arts school owner, I have worked diligently with my staff to develop a leadership and martial arts program that is not only effective in building students up physically but also mentally and spiritually. Through our programs, we have assisted thousands of students to not only become triumphant in the martial arts but also in life.
Our mission is to empower people of all ages and help them to develop their ability to effectively defend themselves and their loved ones against an attack, maintain great levels of physical and mental fitness and develop exceptional strength in their character. In doing so, we are “Transforming Lives Daily and Building Tomorrow's Leaders Today!”. I believe an individual must train the mind, body, and spirit as one to develop their full potential.
I began my training in Philadelphia, PA at the age of three, which provided a firm foundation of discipline and determination to always strive to be the best. As a result, I have skillfully combined my martial arts expertise, spiritual training, formal education at the University of Pittsburgh (B.S. Business Management and Marketing with focused studies in Engineering and Math, 1996) and acute business acumen to provide a complete experience for my students.
In 2015, I received the “WHO’s WHO Masters Award” in the WHO’s WHO in the Martial Arts Legends Hall of Fame and the Lifetime Achievement Award in the American Freestyle Karate Association Hall of Fame. In 2011, I was inducted into the American Martial Arts Alliance Hall of Fame and the same year won the "Karate Instructor of the Year" award. My professional career in the martial arts began in 2006 and since our schools have been awarded “School of the Year” in 2009 and 2010 by the American Martial Arts Association, received the Century Martial Arts “Mark of Excellence Gold Award” from 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2019 and is one of the fastest growing and largest martial arts schools in the area.
I am ranked with the American Freestyle Karate Association, American Martial Arts Alliance, the International Shotokan Karate Federation and the United States Judo Association. Over the years I have assisted thousands of students as well as professional and semi-professional athletes attain their performance goals, by combining intense and focused training, catered to each individual’s needs. I take an individual from their goals and dreams to reality.
My athletic background is a mixture of contact and team sports, including more than 30 years of martial arts training. As a fierce competitor I have won several national, regional and state martial arts competitions. In the early 90’s I won tennis championships in the USTA/NJTL. As a tennis coach I led teams to victory as well as assisted individuals looking to enhance their skills. In high school I became the first freshman captain of the varsity wrestling team and as a youth was awarded “Rookie of the Year” in the Keystone State Football League. In college I played intramural football and won a championship in intramural basketball.
My training is a lifelong journey and will never be complete, as I will always continue to refine both my skills and character. As a student, highly skilled instructor, motivational speaker, personal development coach, author and fierce competitor I have quickly established myself as a recognized authority in the industry.
My experience as an entrepreneur has allowed me the honor of owning and operating several successful businesses. I was co-founder of “Pages INK, Inc.” a web publishing and design firm, while also attending the University of Pittsburgh. My love for music and entertainment led to the creation of “Nivlek Entertainment” a mobile entertainment and booking agency in Pittsburgh, PA. Once I relocated to the Raleigh/Durham, NC area I established “Williams Furniture Direct” a furniture and bedding distribution center and founded “Way of Life Personal Training and Fitness” both in Raleigh, NC. I owned and operated “Karate International of Garner, Inc.” from 2008 to 2015 and started the “Williams Leadership Academy, LLC.”, an afterschool enrichment program and lastly the “Carolina Fit Club, LLC.”, which provided personal and group fitness instruction. In 2005, I was appointed by the Wake County Commissioners to serve on the board of the Wake County Council on Fitness and Health and was an active member of the Garner, NC Y.M.C.A. Board from 2011-2013.
I have enjoyed being a children’s ministry teacher at World Overcomers Church in Durham, NC from 2010-2017 and Hope Community Church in 2018. My other interests include playing golf, guitar, writing novels and poetry, riding motorcycles and designing model railroads. I am always available to speak, provide private instruction, demonstrations, and facilitate life skills and leadership workshops.
7th Degree Black Belt - Karate
3rd Degree Black Belt - Jujitsu
Ranked in Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu - Japanese Sword Art
Brown Belt - Judo
My journey to Black Belt Excellence has taken me up mountains and through many valleys and has allowed me to not only train in the martial arts but assist others as an instructor and mentor.
It all began at a local Taekwondo school in Raleigh, NC where I trained for a year until the school closed. I then began training in Shotokan karate and eventually left to attend another martial arts school that offered training in multiple arts.
My father, a Vietnam War veteran, encouraged me to pursue my black belt training at a more serious rate since I had a goal to join the United States Marine Corp and become a warrant officer once I graduated from high school. During my training I noticed how the martial arts was changing my life for the better. It was helping me to become stronger, more confident and a more focused person. It was at that time I discovered my ability and love for teaching and mentoring students. Therefore, I decided to change my life plan and pursue my passion and love of learning, teaching and development in the martial arts.
During my training from 1991 to 1996, I consistently attended 2 classes a day 6 days a week, trained at home 2-3 hours daily and worked part-time jobs. In 1996, I decided it was time to give back to the community and share what the martial arts had done for me. By 1997 I was ready to open the doors of my first martial arts program. In 2008 I ran three programs in health clubs in Cary, NC. In 2010 however, I showed up to teach a class at one of the health clubs only to find the doors chained, and the club closed. I took this as a sign that my future needed to be in my own hands. That same year I combined all three programs into one location. I owned and Operated Karate International of Cary from 1997-2017 and the United Martial Arts Academy from 2017-2020. Now, as a senior instructor at Snap Kick Martial Arts I continue to pursue Black Belt Excellence in my own life and get great joy and satisfaction assisting others in doing the same.
I was awarded “Karate Instructor of the Year” and inducted into the American Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2016 I was inducted in to the “Who’s Who in the Martial Arts Legends Hall of Fame. I have won hundreds of trophies and medals in competition and always strive to be a champion not only in the martial arts but also in life. I have also been a member of several business / financial groups and have received numerous awards for my success in martial arts business and development.
Over the years, I have expanded my training to include judo, jujitsu and Kyusho jitsu and my desire to learn has taken me all over the region learning more and expanding my knowledge of the martial arts. In doing so I was officially inducted into the Shuri-te family as an honorable dojo in 2019.
My experience as a student, instructor and school owner has allowed me to take my passion for the martial arts and grow it beyond what I could have ever imagined possible when I started my training back in 1987. Every opportunity I find, I try to give back to the community by offering seminars in personal development, self-defense and fighting. I have worked with several local daycare centers teaching leadership skills to children starting as young as three years old.
My other hobbies include playing guitar, singing, wood working, hunting and collecting sports cards.
2nd Degree Black Belt
My journey to Black Belt Excellence began in 2008, first as a parent and coach of my children and in 2011, my journey became more personal as I became a student. My journey continues now as a certified instructor.
The value of martial arts to me as a student and instructor, extends well beyond learning self-defense. I believe that making martial arts a part of life, enables a deeper understanding of one’s self, physically, mentally, philosophically, and spiritually.
With twenty-five years in the field of Information Technology with a focus in the discipline of Disaster Recovery, I’ve been able to get some additional perspective on the benefits of martial arts. Humility, learning, repetition, and resilience are foundational skills learned in martial arts, that strengthen us in every aspect of our daily lives as professionals in our career, as parents, and as humans on this beautiful and precious planet that we share.
While I continue to train and teach traditional martial arts such as karate, jujitsu, and judo; I am also the lead instructor of the SKMA Krav Maga program.
Two of my favorite adages are “Fall down seven times, get up eight” and “Push your limits or suffocate in your comfort zone”. I believe very strongly that growth requires, being humble enough to fail, and courageous enough to get up and try again. We all need encouragement to try and we all need encouragement to get back up. This is the simple guiding principle I follow as an instructor.
My other interests include reading, robotics, photography, and more recently, learning to play the guitar.
2nd Degree Black Belt
My journey to Black Belt Excellence goes back to when I was a quiet and shy kid, nervous, without a lot of confidence and having no idea what to expect from this new journey called the martial arts. However, the Snap Kick Martial Arts family welcomed me with open arms, love and care.
Growing up I watched loads of martial arts movies and wanted to be just like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li combined. One problem, I had never played any sports or participated in any organized activities other than in the backyard with my brothers. I figured this was going to be challenging, but I figured if I gave it my best effort everything would work out just fine.
That was back in 2012. After three years I received my 1st Degree Black Belt and quickly realized it was not the end of the journey but only the beginning. Around that time, I decided to begin competing on the tournament circuit. It probably was not the best idea, since this is when many students take it more serious and I did not realize that at the time. However, I really pushed myself to the limit to be the best. I started competing more and got even better. I began to win and became a champion!
Once I became an instructor, I began to understand that true champions in the martial arts serve others. Some of my greatest joys and memories in the martial arts is assisting students on their journey to Black Belt Excellence.
1st Degree Black Belt
My journey to Black Belt Excellence began at six years old. One Christmas, I received the Karate Kid movie (the remake), and I wanted to be just like the main character. I was running around the house jumping and chopping everything, so my parents decided to put me in karate.
When I started, I was very uncoordinated and could not even do jumping jacks. My mother became concerned and was afraid that maybe this wasn’t going to be my thing. Little did she know, this was just the beginning of my journey to Black Belt Excellence. I beat the odds, see not everyone who walks through those doors stays, they quit, they give up, but I didn’t! Even though I faced several challenges along the way, I proved that a black belt never gives up, even when it seems impossible.
One of my favorite quotes is from Walt Disney. He said, “it’s fun to do the impossible”, and what seems impossible to some I see as fun. My journey has been filled with lots of hard work and loads of fun! I have made so many friends along the way and my very best friends are found inside Snap Kick Martial Arts. They are family to me and every day my family grows larger. I look forward to coming to the dojo, not just for the martial arts, but also because I get to spend time with my family, friends, and mentors.
The martial arts as a whole has helped me become a champion in life at school, church, home, and essentially everywhere I go. I received my 1st degree Junior Black Belt in 2016 and my 1st Degree Senior Black Belt in 2019.
I know that my journey is a journey of a lifetime and I am humbled and grateful that I have been chosen to be your instructor.
1st Degree Black Belt
I began my journey to Black Belt Excellence as a Little Samurai in 2011 when I was in Kindergarten. My parents wanted me to train in the martial arts so that I would be able to interact with people who shared the same interests as me as well as to build my confidence.
To tell the truth, I was initially overwhelmed by the new environment on the first day of class and didn’t want to continue. I was encouraged to try one more class before I made my final decision. I went to class for the second time and loved it. Since that time quitting in the martial arts or life, no matter how challenging, has never again been an option.
The opportunities that the martial arts have given and the relationships I have made are innumerable. Snap Kick Martial Arts has always provided me the friends, mentors and instructors that I have needed to excel and be my best.
My faith is very important to me and I believe that through faith I can achieve all things and one of the things that is near and dear to me is teaching others about what I have found. It is an honor to have been chosen to be an instructor at Snap Kick Martial Arts.
1st Degree Black Belt
My journey to Black Belt Excellence began simply because I wanted something different. My parents also believed that it might be a good way for me to tame my high levels of energy. On my very first day I realized very quickly that the martial arts were more about the development of my character than just kicking and punching.
I was initially challenged to not only do my best in the academy but also at home. Upon being nominated and becoming a member of the Black Belt Leadership Program when I reached the level of orange belt, I began to expand my training to include both karate and jujitsu. But possibly one thing I wanted more than anything was to be able to assist other students in their journey to Black Belt Excellence.
I began my journey as a Junior Assistant Instructor, assisting with the Little Samurai classes (ages 3-5) and was fascinated by the thought of mentoring and molding young minds to do their very best. Once I began to teach Little Warrior and Junior level classes I fell in love with being able to have a great time bonding with the students as well as the other instructors.
I have learned many lessons along the way and have persevered through my challenges. That is my testimony and why I enjoy and also feel, that it is my responsibility as a role model to give back to others both inside and outside the martial arts academy.
I am very grateful to be a part of the Snap Kick family!
Junior Assistant Instructor
1st Degree Black Belt
My journey to Black Belt Excellence began with an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants called “Karate Choppers”, and it was after that episode that I decided to hang up my dance shoes and in 2013 put on my first karate uniform.
Walking in the doors of Snap Kick Martial Arts was one of the best decisions I and my parents could have made for me. Right from the start I had to earn the right to advance from one level to the next and knew that nothing would be handed to me. My passion is to train and compete in the martial arts and led me to the tournament circuit. Having competed in more than 50 tournaments my hard work has allowed me to become the number one ranked female under belt point fighter for three years running as well as being ranked number one in traditional forms, weapons and point fighting with both NBL/SKIL and NASKA Mid-Atlantic for 2019.
Goal setting and goal achievement is one of the many things that being in the Black Belt Leadership Program at Snap Kick Martial Arts has taught me, so I set my goals high. In the summer of 2019, I reached my first goal and won gold at the WKC National Championships. I was then invited to compete as a member of Team USA the same year at the WKC World Championships where I accomplished my second goal and brought home the gold medal for my country giving me my very first World Title! It’s true what they say, “You cannot hit the goal if you don’t set the goal, therefore goals we set are goals we get!”
My next goal is to become a top ranked female fighter at both the national and world levels and continue to win both National and World Titles. One day I will win the biggest fighters’ tournament in the world, the Irish Open. More importantly, I want to give back by being an inspiration and role model to other girls interested in the martial arts.