“Serving Martial Artists of All Styles” has been the purpose of the Independent Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) since Robert Shook, Kirk Simmons and Chuck Harrison founded it in 1999 to provide practioners, regardless of style or affiliation, with rank recognition, school support and training opportunities.

The three, with combined martial art experience of over 70 years and black belts in hapkido, jujitsu and kenpo, had suffered the ups and downs of training in schools that frequenty changed locations or instructors. Even more frustrating were the organizations that dictated where, when and what they could learn. Confident that others had the same experiences, Shook, Simmons and Harrison decided to create a federation where the member came first.

They laid out five guiding principles as the foundation for the Independent Martial Arts Federation:

* To establish an independent organization to support martial artists of all Styles;
* To function without arbitrary decision-making, dictates and exorbitant fees;
* To recognize members' rank based on demonstrated skills;
* To promote the growth of instructors and their schools;
* To promote the growth of members as martial artists.

Since 1999 almost 1,000 independent martial artists have joined the IMAF because of these principles. And the federation’s service has been recognized by a number of prestigious groups: World Martial Arts Masters Society, Budokaikan International, International Assembly of Sokeship, World Nibuikai Budo Federation, International Alliance of Martial Arts Masters, the Universal Martial Arts Hall of Fame and Who’s Who in Martial Arts.

Martial artists seek out the IMAF because, for whatever reason, they have lost contact with instructors or associations. They seek a place to call their martial arts home, a place that does not tell them what or how to teach, what to study or who to associate with but one that is open and encourages growth.

The most important way the IMAF serves its members is through rank recognition at reasonable prices. Shook, Simmons and Harrison believe that a good martial artist is a good martial artist regardless of system or style. Skill always shines through. A lifetime IMAF membership costs only $45.00 USD and includes one rank recognition certificate. A new member must submit a copy of his/her most recent rank certificate or a video demonstrating the skills required for that rank. Every three years, the member may promote to the next rank. A video test is required, and the fee is only $10.00 USD. Members may also purchase special 11 inch by 14 inch hand drawn rank certificates on parchment for $14.95.

The IMAF recognizes the importance of serving members who run schools. The difficulties of running a martial art school and business are well-known. The IMAF stays out of an instructor’s way. The IMAF does not demand that members force students to join, does not dictate curriculums nor extract exorbitant fees from promotions. The IMAF offers instructors a student membership package if the instructor wants his/her students to join. The normal $45.00 USD fee is split between the IMAF and the instructor who may invest his portion in his school or give it as a discount. When students promote, the instructor merely sends a list of the names and new ranks, and the IMAF provides rank certificates. The fee is only $.00 USD for each student.

Finally, the IMAF offers learning opportunities. Robert Shook and Kirk Simmons have created a library of video courses members can use to learn new techniques and arts. Members may also test for rank. The systems are organized into three ranks – green, brown and 1st black – and teach effective, real-world self-defense skills that are easily and quickly learned.

“Serving Martial Artists of All Styles” guides everything the Independent Martial Arts Federation does. And its record of success and support to its many members stands as proof of the IMAF’s commitment now and to the future.

We hope you find our site informative and useful. We have information and histories on various styles of martial arts, lineage charts for several styles including Kenpo, Jujitsu, Hapkido and Tai Chi, and more detailed information on our products and services. Please contact us via email if you have any questions. Whether you choose to join us or not, we wish you the best in your martial arts endeavors!

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