Michael Thomas is the Kung Fu instructor at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy. He joined the school in June of 1997 with his son, (then 4 year old) Michael Thomas, Jr., when it was originally located on Winters Lane sharing space with the Baltimore Judo Club. Both Mike and his son studied a style of mixed Martial Arts called ‘Modern Kung Fu’ under the instruction of Sifu Gary Berger, the school’s owner and founder. His style incorporated detailed instruction in Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu. Mike Jr. earned his black belt on October 22, 1999 while Mike Sr. earned his black belt on December 18, 1999 (coincidentally the date of his 10th wedding anniversary).
Mike continued studying at the school and also taught’ Modern Kung Fu’ to the kid’s classes for a few years. In February of 2001, he began 10 years of instruction of Traditional Tien Shan Pai Kung Fu under the supervision of Sifu Mark Umholtz. He earned his Black Sash on May 14, 2005.
Mike’s exposure and instruction in the various arts encouraged him to seek specific instruction in the other martial arts offered at the school. In November of 2005, he began and continues to study and practice Aikido through Sensei Jeffrey Mims. He currently holds a brown belt.
He later began studying Chen Tai Chi Chuan from Sifu Stephen Thomas, and various other pertinent arts including Kali, Escrima, Wing Chun/Jeet Kun Do, Chin Na, Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, and Hung Gar Kung Fu through private instruction with Sifu Steve Burwen.
Mike understands the definite value of martial arts. He is a retired Criminal Investigator from the Maryland State Police and is currently a Private Investigator. During his previous career and currently he has dealt with people of various types and temperaments 32 for years. Prior to becoming a Trooper, he had three years of training in Tae Kwon-Do. The skills acquired were useful, at the time, in managing violent criminals when it became necessary. It wasn’t until after he retired that he continued to further his knowledge and training in the martial arts.
It is because of the many years of training, teaching and assisting other instructors, that Mike has a passion for teaching martial arts which is undeniable. He is and always has been a dedicated member of this school and valued member its teaching staff.
“My philosophy about martial arts training is very simple and succinct. It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” –Michael Thomas, Sr.