About Us

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About Our School

We’re the Alton Riverbend’s and Metro East Area’s oldest premier martial arts training facility, specializing in bully prevention, anti-abduction, street self-defense, and birthday parties. We offer classes for Men-Women-Children-Teens and Families ages 5-up. Our classes are taught by the Area’s highest ranking Grandmaster in Tae Kwon Do with over 50+ years of martial arts experience. Founder Grandmaster Chris Lee started his training at the young age of 4 and achieved his Jr Black Belt at age 10. He tested for his 4th Degree Black Belt at age 21 and became one of the youngest Asian American Masters at the time. He trained under his father Yi In Soo as well as other several grandmasters including his uncle in Texas. He has taught and promoted over 500 Black belts on the east coast. He combines the ancient ways of martial arts learning with the modern ways of physical fitness and sports conditioning. He has taught and trained many local, state, regional, and national ranked champions in MMA, Olympic TKD, Sport Karate, NAGA, and Submission Grappling. We are a family friendly, no ego, martial arts fitness facility with an emphasis on life skills and character development that sets us apart from other programs. Our academy motto is “Empowering Lives through Martial Arts” as well as changing lives One Black Belt at at Time.

Chris Lee

Instructor/Owner Chris Lee

Grand Master Chris Lee has been studying martial arts since the young age of 4. He studied under his father Great Grandmaster Yi In Soo who at one time had multiple locations and satellite clubs throughout the entire Metro East Area including Alton, East Alton, Mt. Olive, Brussels, Staunton, Jerseyville, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Granite City, Litchfield, and Lewis and Clark Community College. At the of 10 Chris Lee attained the rank of 1st Poom/Dan Rank in Tae Kwon Do. He also competed in the first AAU Jr Olympics for Tae Kwon Do held in Springfield, IL earning a Double Gold in both Black Belt Forms and Sparring at the age of 13. During this time he also studied under several other Korean Master Instructors including Won Kuk KIm, his father GM Kim Bok Man, Master Sung Chae Kim, Master Pyo his fathers Uncle from TX as well as attended many seminars with martial arts celebrities like Dan Insosanto, Cliff Lenderman, Ted Lucay Lucay, Larry Hartsell, Joe Lewis, and Bill Wallace. When he turned 21 years old he became one of the youngest 4th Degree/Dan Asian-American Masters in the United States. He also trained with Rener Gracie, Royce Gracie, and various other BJJ Black Belts. He has continued his training and recently was promoted to 4th Dan in Jin Joong Kwan Hapkido as well as becoming a Combat TKD Certified Instructor completing all three levels. He also holds a Instructor rank in the Filipino Martial Arts Allliance as well as being a Level 1 Instructor in Tacosa Serrada Eskrima an offshoot of the Cabales Serrada Eskrima System. GM Chris Lee has travelled extensively through his years acquiring martial arts knowledge, sports conditioning, kinesiology, biomechanics, life coaching and personal development to bring you the best in martial arts training, coaching and skill development. GM Chris Lee has combined the ancient Asian methods of teaching martial arts with the modern science of sports conditioning, psychology, mental acuity, and street realism through street self defense scenarios and stress and aggression training drills. He has continued to update his training, teaching methodology and martial arts knowledge and evolving his repertoire of techniques to bring you and your family the best way to succeed in todays everchanging world of electronic distractions, cyberbullying, social media and violence.

So what are you waiting for??? Now is the time to LOOK BETTER, FEEL BETTER and GAIN EFFECTIVE SELF DEFENSE SKILLS!!!!!

Why Choose Yi's Martial Arts Fitness Academy?

Professional Instruction

Choosing a Martial Arts School is just as important as Choosing a Doctor or Lawyer!!! You wouldn’t go to the cheapest doctor to get your surgery done or the one whom just got a diploma from any second rate college???

Would you go to a Doctor or Lawyer who just does their practice part-time or as a hobby???

Grand Master Chris Lee has over 45 years of experience of teaching and instructing martial arts as well as curriculum development to bring out the best in your and your family’s training. Grand Master Chris Lee continually updates his teaching instruction every year through seminars, workshops, etc…. martial arts is a tool that needs to be sharpened to be effective, if you don’t keep your tool sharp when the need arises to use it for defense it won’t be as effective as it could be. We don’t just do martial arts we live it and breathe it!!!

More than just Punching and Kicking!!!

Many people want to learn to kick and punch and that’s great, but after the workout many people want more. At YMAFA we emphasize not only the physical but also the mental as well through character development, life skills, goal setting, anger management, etc….

Our classes will not only have you sweating from a good workout, but you’ll be smiling with the comradery and the friends you make. We want to empower you not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

We offer different classes for different age groups because not every child can be fit into a cookie cutter mold, that’s why we have Lil Dragons for Pre-School kids, Jr Mixed and Family Classes for ages 8-up.

Our Martial Arts Team Takes Great Pride In The Reviews We Receive

See What Our Community Members Say About Our Programs

Jenny Tuzzo

All of the instructors are wonderful and it is such a positive environment. I love being able to watch my daughter's confidence and skill grow. She loves it so much that now her dad is taking classes with her. It is such a great bonding experience.

Hillary Nelson

Our son loves going to YMAFA! He has learned so much from discipline to having more confidence in himself! I highly recommend!

Kristine R.

From the first time Lily experienced a one on one class w/ Master Chris, she showed obvious signs of increased Focus and Balance. Prior to starting Little Dragons, Lily needed help with both of these skills. In 5 short weeks, Lily has decided that her goal in life is to be a Black Belt like Master Chris! As a parent, we always want the very best growth opportunities for our children. We are so excited to see her progress as she works towards her goal and we know made the right decision for our child’s life. Thank you YMAFA