Marvin Carmona was born in San Jose, Costa Rica in 1960. He came to live in the South Bronx, NY when he was 7 years old with his grandmother and join his mother and new sister. While living in the Bronx, Marvin would spend many Saturdays in the local movie theater watching the Bruce Lee movie marathons. He frequently ran home kicking garbage cans and watching for ‘attackers’ in the shadows.
It wasn’t long until he began training in Shotokan under Willy DeJesus for free. This kind man taught Marvin and other youth in his neighborhood for free. Often he and the other students would be seen training in bathrobes as there was no money for gis. His sensei ran small tournaments, purchasing ‘trophies’ out of his own pocket and did not charge a dime. This was not only the beginning of his martial arts career, it was the start of Marvin’s drive to give back to others and touch lives.
When Marvin came home one day wearing ‘colors’ from a made-up gang he and his friends formed, Marvin’s mother quickly moved him to Dover, NJ. He trained for a short time under Robert Murphy in Rockaway, NJ in the Isshin Shorinji Ryu Okinawan-te style but it wasn’t long until he found his ‘home’ at Jersey Judo Karate in Kenvil NJ, training under Shihan Dale Jenkins (IHOF 1990). Marvin remained with Shihan Jenkins until his death in 1984. Marvin was the last person promoted by Shihan Jenkins before he died, earning the rank of Ni Dan.
In 1986, Marvin opened his own dojo, North Jersey Martial Arts Academy and quickly changing the name to New Jersey Martial Arts Academy. He chose the name ‘Academy’ because the vision for his school was big. And big it grew. After Shihan Jenkins death, Marvin trained under Hanshi Nick Adler (IHOF 1988) thru the 90’s, and under Hanshi William Duessel (IHOF 2000) to present. In 1994 Marvin became a full time professional martial artist.
At the 25 year mark, Marvin is currently blessed with two active, full time professional schools in NJ, with well over 300 active students. He has had a very successful career in competing, winning multiple local and world grand championships. His dojo has been honored with recognition by the IHOF as School of the Year (2009), Sensei of Sensei’s (2010), and the Humanitarian Award (2011). He continues to travel, promoting Isshinryu across the country.
In addition to studying Exercise Science in college, Marvin holds an 8th degree black belt in Isshinryu, and multiple black belts in Kendo/Iado, JuJitsu, Kobudo No ‘commercial’ dojo here, only pure professionalism. Marvin is honored to join his Sensei, and his hombu brethren in the Hall of Fame, Richard (Rick) Norris (IHOF 2011) and Scott Klinger (IHOF 2012), and his kai brethren Robert Kristensen (IHOF 2005).