Martial Virtues Academy of Soo Bahk Do
Member school of the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation Inc.
Linwood Recreation Center • 860 St. Clair Ave • Saint Paul • MN
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Instructors at Martial Virtues Academy


Head Instructor:Mike Kelly Sa Bom Nim (31402) - Certified Master Instructor, 7th Dan (7th Degree).  Sa Bom Nim Kelly has been involved in the martial art of Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) Moo Duk Kwan since 1984.  His initial instruction took place outdoors in Highland Park of St. Paul during the summer under the guidance of Jeff Goodwin Kyo Sa Nim (20597).  Kyo Sa Nim Goodwin demanded excellence from his students and highlights included weekend workouts in northern Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior.  Classes were extremely intense and helped to instill the concept 'fortitude of mind and body'.  In 1989, Kyo Sa Nim Goodwin moved to the East coast and turned over his Minnesota school (SG131) to then Kyo Sa Nim Dan Ellenbecker (27146) - now Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker.  Under the guidance of Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker, Mr. Kelly achieved 1st Dan - 3rd Dan ranks (1992, 1995 and 1998 respectively).  From Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker, Mr. Kelly learned about balancing strength and humility and helping students to find the best in themselves.  To this day, Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker remains a mentor and source of inspiration. 

In 2000, Mr. Kelly transferred his instruction under the guidance of his elder brother, Jack Kelly Sa Bom Nim (26098).  Under J. Kelly Sa Bom Nim's guidance, Mr. M. Kelly achieved 4th Dan, 5th Dan, and 6th Dan (2002, 2008 and 2014 respectively).  These master level tests have been among the true highlights of Mr. M. Kelly's experiences in Soo Bahk Do.  These "Ko Dan Ja" tests are held out of state for 8-10 days of intense instruction, performance, bonding, and self-discovery.  The days typically lasted from 6am until after midnight in conjunction with other master level candidates (4th degree - 7th degree) from around the country under the guidance of Grandmaster H.C. Hwang, the Technical Advisory Committee (T.A.C. - comprised of senior masters instructors) and the Senior Advisory Committee - the senior most practitioners / instructors worldwide.

In late 2020, Sa Bom Nim M. Kelly became a student of Sa Bom Nim Bill Nelson (21420) - 8th Dan, based out of St. Cloud, MN and head instructor of St. Cloud Soo Bahk Do.  Under the guidance of Sa Bom Nim Nelson, Sa Bom Nim Kelly tested for, and achieved Chil Dan (7th degree) in 2022.

Mr. Kelly began teaching as an apprentice of Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker in 1991 when Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker moved the school to Linwood Recreation Center.  After achieving Cho Dan, Mr. Kelly started the children's program at Linwood under the guidance of Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker.  Mr. Kelly soon realized the enormous thrill and satisfaction in teaching youth and a new journey of self-discovery began.  In 1995, Sa Bom Nim Ellenbecker started a new school in Stillwater, Minnesota, and Mr. Kelly officially became the Head Instructor of Linwood Soo Bahk Do (SG131) later that year. That same year, Mr. Kelly tested for and received his "Kyo Sa" certification (Certified Instructor).  In 2002, Mr. Kelly tested for and successfully completed the "Sa Bom" certification process earning him a "Certified Master Instructor" degree. Since 1995, hundreds of St. Paul youth and adults have received instruction from Mike Kelly Sa Bom Nim including his own three children.  In 2017, Mr. Kelly was appointed as a Regional Examiner for the 6 state area including Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Mike Kelly Sa Bom is an active member in his St. Paul (Highland Park / Mac-Groveland) church and community where he teaches and often runs into students in area elementary and high schools, community and neighborhood events, and simply out and about.  He also holds a full time job as an IT Manager at Fraser.

Instructors at MVA SBD:  

Sa Bom Nim Mike Kelly - Chil Dan (7th degree master - Internationally Certified Master Instructor)

Bu Sa Bom Nim Matthew Maxam - Sa Dan (4th Degree Master - Internationally Certified Instructor)

Kyo Sa Nim Carolyn Kelly - Sam Dan (3rd Degree - Internationally Certified Instructor)  - Also is the head instructor at Village Martial Arts in St. Paul, MN - Teaching Mondays and Thursdays in the Highland Catholic School cafeteria.

Jo Kyo Nim Sylas Kolb - Cho Dan (1st Degree - certified assistant Instructor)

This great group of instructors and assistants work hard to give the students of Martial Virtues Academy thorough, thoughtful and challenging workouts, discussions, and tests on an on-going basis.