Master Phil Ross - 7th Degree Black Belt
Master Phil Ross – 8th Degree Black Belt

Everyone involved in Martial Arts gains…. whether from the enjoyment of increasing one’s Athletic and Martial Arts Skills while learning The Science of Fighting, from the many health and appearance benefits of Physical Training and Fitness, from gaining The Mental Edges of Confidence, Discipline and Inner Peace, to the personal Challenges of Competition; if one chooses to do so in your studio, local tournaments or even the stage of Ultimate Fighting. No matter what aspect one desires, martial arts training is beneficial and attractive for anyone who desires to build their mind, body and spirit. – Saya Phil Ross

BGS, RKC, CK-FMS, CPT, Internationally Recognized Instructor, Trainer and Wrestling Coach with over 35 years of experience competing and training in the Martial Arts and Fitness.

Many people have asked me how and why I became an instructor. It can be summed up very simply. The Martial Arts and Fitness has become a way of life for me. Aside from the obvious health benefits, it has made me the man I am today. The lessons of hard work and discipline cannot be found anywhere else. The problem solving, the goal achievement and all of the dedication it takes to become successful has enabled me to overcome a multitude of adversities and reach levels of achievement and a belief in myself that would NEVER be possible without the rigors of training.

My personal, physical and spiritual gains have been so great, that I feel compelled to pass this knowledge onto others so that they too may experience what I have. There is no greater joy than to see someone persevere and achieve with the skills and knowledge that you have been able to pass onto them. I feel so strongly about the benefits of training that I have passed them onto to my family members. Witnessing my daughter attain the level of Jr. Black Belt, after 10 years of training, was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Having my son, niece and nephew training on my floor gives me great pride. I trained my younger brother for 22 years and my younger sister for over 12. It was incredible watching them grow, develop, achieve and change through their time with me. Now they are recognized internationally in the fields of Martial Arts and Fitness, respectively. It has given me great pleasure to have trained them.

There are many other very accomplished individuals that have trained and continue to train with me; The US Navy SEALs, UFC Fighters, Martial Arts School Owners, Professional Fighters, FBI Agents, DEA Agents, Police Officers, US Marines, Professional Athletes, Doctors, Attorneys, a High School Principal, Students with Special Needs, School Teachers, Computer Programmers, Wall Street moguls, moms and dads. The lessons that they learn are carried over into their everyday lives. It’s an incredible feeling to receive a visit from a college student as they relay a story to you about how the lessons you taught them had such a positive impact upon their lives. When the students that I have taught positively influence and guide others with the lessons learned from training with me, there can be no bigger thrill.

The people that I have met and the friendships that I have forged from my involvement in the martial arts and fitness fields is irreplaceable. The more people that share in the same joy and peace of mind that I enjoy, the better.

Master Ross was inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and is a High School Wrestling Coach for an NJ State ranked team. He has had the good fortune of either training under and/or receiving ranks from:

  • Professor Jon Collins: East/West Martial Arts Alliance/Bando
  • Dr. Patrick Finely: Bando/Arnis & Shootfighting
  • Frank Shamrock: Shamrock Submission Fighting
  • Professor Mitch Coats: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Team Alliance
  • Dr. Maung Gyi: American Bando Assoc.
  • Shihan James Martin: Shotokan Karate
  • Guro Dan Inosanto: Arnis (Through Patrick Finely)
  • Tom Patire: CDT
  • Dr. Mike Evangel: Taekwondo
  • Chris Catalfo: US Wrestling Olympian
  • Dave Pruzansky: Pan American Judo Champion
  • Carl Cestari: Combatu Defendu Jujutsu
  • Cosmo Ferro (Grandfather) – Western Boxing, Silk City Gym, Paterson, NJ


sabom_sandon_brendan_behrSabom San-Dan: Brendan Behr

Brendan Behr has been studying the martial arts for over 19 years. He currently is a 3rd degree black Belt under the instruction of Master Philip Ross III. He also holds a 2nd degree black belt in the East/ West Alliance of Combative Arts, and a 1st degree black belt in the art of Bando.

Behr attended Quinnipiac University for his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and minored in Computer Science. During his time at Quinnipiac, he taught night classes in Street Self Defense and Aerobic Kickboxing. He also held Rape Prevention Seminar’s for the University’s Residential Life Department on a regular basis.

Throughout his 19 years of training, Sabom Behr has become a fierce competitor at the local, national, and international levels. In June, 2000 Behr was inducted into New Jersey’s Black Belt Hall of Fame. He is the Chief Instructor of his school’s first satellite school, American Eagle Martial Arts of Connecticut.

sabom_sandon_john_holsterSabom San-Dan John Holster

John Holster has been training in the martial arts for 18 years. He currently holds a 3nd Black Belt under the instruction of Master Philip Ross III. He has been actively instructing students here at American Eagle Martial Arts Academy for the past 14 years.

John Holster is a graduate of Ramapo College, obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business with a concentration in accounting, with a minor in computer science. He has been working as a software developer for the last 20 years.

John Holster brings to American eagle 18 years of knowledge in the evolving curriculum taught at American eagle Martial Arts Academy. He has a strong focus on discipline and technique.

sabom_nidan_tom20gormanSabom Nidan Tom Gorman

Mr. Gorman has been training in the martial arts since 1991 and instructing students since 1995. He currently holds a 2nd degree black belt from American Eagle Martial Arts Academy and a 1st degree from the East-West Alliance. He also is certified in Survive A Violent Environment (S.A.V.E) and Compliance Direction Takedown (CDT). Mr. Gorman has competed in and won numerous martial arts tournaments both at the local and national levels.

Mr. Gorman is a graduate of Muhlenberg College (BA), Montclair State University (MA) and his doctorate in education from Rutgers, The State University. After seven years in business, Mr. Gorman obtained the state license to teach high school students history. He then became a vice principal and is currently the principal of Westwood High School.

After playing football at Muhlenberg College, Mr. Gorman was looking for a new challenge in life. He stated, “The classes offer a good physical workout. The eclectic style and skills taught at American Eagle has prepared me for any situation I may face. Sabomnim Ross has put together a nice product that provides a balance in life.” Mr. Gorman’s wife and three children are actively involved at American Eagle.

sabom_nidanrobert_poli_ddsSabom Ni-Dan Dr. Robert Poli

Dr. Poli has been training in the martial arts for 19 years.  He currently holds a 2nd Black Belt under the instruction of Master Philip Ross III. He has been actively instructing students here at American Eagle Martial Arts Academy for the past 16 years.  

Poli is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1976.  He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Dentistry for his postgraduate work, attaining his Degree of Doctor of Dental Medicine in 1980.  He is licensed to practice in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland, and has been a practicing dentist for the last 30 years. 

Also, he is a 26 year active member of the Fort Lee Rotary Club, providing service on club, community, vocational, and international levels.  On the international level, he was a participant in the Peace Conference of Population and Development in Dakar, Senegal, in 1995. 

Poli brings to American Eagle his knowledge of biology, physiology, biomechanics and nutrition, helping the student become more aware of how his body works.  His strong focus on discipline and the importance of an education has been demonstrated in all his classes.

Instructor Brian WaltersInstructor Brian Walters

Brian Walters is a 1st Degree Black Belt under the instruction of Saya Phil Ross. Brian has been training and studying the martial arts for 18 years, and is the second generation Black Belt in his family. As an instructor, he focuses on the individual needs of each student. Every student learns differently, and Brian hopes to teach the students at AEMMA not only how to protect themselves, but through their training find integrity, develop leadership, and maintain awareness for their well-being. Martial Art training informs every aspect of a student’s life, and it is an absolute joy and privilege to share the martial arts tradition with all the students at AEMMA.
Brian Walters works as a professional actor and performer, and earned his degree at Pace University. The Martial Arts training found its way into his career as well. Brian is active in the Society of American Fight Directors, and has choreographed fights for numerous stage productions. As an actor, Brian has performed in NYC, and across the country and Canada.

Nicole Ross, Black Belt Instructor, RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor

Nicole Ross, Black Belt Instructor, RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor

Nicole Ross has been training in the Martial Arts ever since she was a mere 2 years old. Like her father, she has made Martial Arts and Fitness her lifestyle. Nicole received both Junior and Adult Black Belts at American Eagle MMA. Her Adult Black Belt was earned in July 2011. She passed her HKC in August of 2012 and then her RKC Certification in June of 2013. Nicole has been a Martial Arts Instructor ever since age 12. She now instructs Adult Martial Arts, Kettlebells as well as Children’s classes and Personal Training Sessions.  Nicole is currently studying Dietetics and Nutrition at Montclair University and runs a healthy eating and fitness blog, which can be accessed at

Nicole also competed on the Varsity Track Team at Mahwah High School and won numerous Martial Arts contests in Sparring, Self Defense and Kata. Nicole is back in the ring and competing in tournaments on a regular basis.