About Sifu Dwight Woods of Miami’s Unified Martial Art Academy
UMAA’s Chief Instructor Sifu Dwight Woods, is a martial artist who has over 40 years of experience, 33 of which have been dedicated to the study and practice of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do.
Sifu Dwight is a native of Trinidad, West Indies who grew up on the neighbouring island of Barbados. In 1983, he was the first Caribbean resident to attend a California Martial Arts Academy seminar where he met and trained under Dan Inosanto, Cass Magda, Francis Fong, Paul Vunak, Larry Hartsell and Tim Tackett.
Sifu Dwight Woods’ Development Path
In Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do
- In 1985, he received his Apprentice Instructor certificate from Dan Inosanto and UMAA was started. At first, UMAA operated out of the garage of Dwight’s home in Barbados.
- That “backyard JKD mentality” continued in 1986 when he relocated to Miami, Florida as UMAA moved through a succession of parks, basketball courts, living rooms and garages.
- In April 1988, the first step was taken to provide instruction to a wider clientele with the opening of the first “bricks & mortar” Academy in the warehouse district of Tamiami Airport. This small group, semi-private/semi-public tradition continued for 4 years as the word about JKD was spread through the South Florida area.
- In December 1992, UMAA moved to its first “commercial” location on busy Kendall Drive in southwest Miami-Dade county.
- In March 1996, in its second Kendall Drive incarnation, UMAA provided students from ages 7 and up with 2400 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities, including heavy bag and wooden dummy stations, a pro shop (under construction) and separate men’s and women’s shower and bathroom facilities.
- There are also UMAA affiliate branches in Barbados and Trinidad, where Sifu Dwight conducts annual seminars.
- In October 1996, Dwight Woods was awarded the rank of Full Instructor in Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial arts by Dan Inosanto. His other instructorship rankings are in Muay Thai under Surachai Sirisute as well as teaching diplomas in Boxe Française-Savate under Salem Assli and Wing Chun Gung Fu under Francis Fong.
- Dwight has also trained with and been trained by Rick Faye, Chris Kent, (the late) Ted Lucaylucay, Jean-Jacques Machado, Cass Magda, Yorinaga Nakamura, Erik Paulson, Burton Richardson, (the late) Edgar Sulite, Paul Vunak and other luminaries in the martial art world.
- Since its first seminar in April 1989 with Pendekar Paul de Thouars and Burton Richardson, UMAA has afforded martial artists the opportunity to train with the world’s best.
- In October 1989 Dan Inosanto conducted his first Miami seminar and continued to do so the first weekend of June every summer until 2006.
- In April 2014 after 20+ years as a solo operator UMAA merged with TOTL Martial Arts and Fitness and moved into its third Kendall location. However, this association ultimately proved incompatible and dissolved in July 2015.
- Since then UMAA has returned to its original roots as a small group class Academy located inside The Health Joint located at 8015 SW 40th Street (Bird Road) in the Westchester area of Miami.
- UMAA has also hosted (or co-hosted) seminars with Salem Assli (Boxe Francaise-Savate), Willem de Thouars (Kuntao Silat), Francis Fong (Wing Chun), Samuel Kwok (Wing Chun), Jean-Jacques Machado (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), Cass Magda (JKD, Kali, Silat) Erik Paulson (Combat Submission Wrestling), Surachai Sirisute (Muay Thai), (the late) Herman Suwanda (Pencak Silat Mande Muda), Tim Tackett (Jeet Kune Do) and Paul Vunak (Jeet Kune Do, Kali).