William Bernales began training martial arts with Korean Tang Soo Do at the local Chuck Norris School of Karate in Norfolk, Virginia, when he was 11 years old. As a teenager, he discovered Muay Thai, the Filipino Martial Arts, and Jeet Kune Do (JKD) from Ajarn Frank Cucci of FDC Academy of Martial Arts (now Linxx Academy of Martial Arts). After receiving black belts in these systems and working as an apprentice instructor at FDC Academy, Mr. Bernales moved to Utah in 1996 to train under Pedro Sauer, one of the most sought-after Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructors in the world.
The Founding of BIMA
Mr. Bernales founded Kalista Academy of Martial Arts in 1999, where he taught Muay Thai, Kali, and JKD, and once he received his black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, changed the name to Bernales Institute of Martial Arts. He has been teaching and training in multiple martial arts for more than 25 years and is an active member and instructor in five international martial arts organizations. He is also experienced in the design and implementation of highly customized tactical defense and combatives training for military and law enforcement.
During his time in Utah, Mr. Bernales has coached and cornered for professional and amateur fighters and competitors in the field of MMA, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai kickboxing. He continues to train and maintain his own martial arts certifications in every organization for which he is a member. For example, he has attended 13 of the last 15 years of the World Thai Boxing Association’s Annual Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp, missing only twice because of the births of his daughter and son (he has also received Outstanding Instructor/Most Dedicated Instructor awards at this camp 10 times). In 2010, he co-founded the Wasatch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Youth Tournament in order to provide his young students with more opportunities to gain tournament and competition experience. He has been happily married since 2006 and has two wonderful children, Lila and Rhys. When the snow is deep, he also tries to track frequent powder mileage along the Wasatch Front’s finest snow with a snowboard. Carpe diem.
- Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Third Degree Black Belt (Professor) - Under Master Pedro Sauer (8th Degree Black Belt under Master Rickson Gracie and Grandmaster Helio Gracie)
- Thai Boxing/Muay Thai Kickboxing Ajarn (Master Instructor) - World Thai Boxing Association under Sardsadajarn (Grandmaster) Surachai Sirisute
- World Thai Boxing Association - State Representative for Utah, 1996-present
- Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) Lead Coach - CSW Association under Sensei Erik Paulson
- Combat Submission Wrestling Association - State Representative for Utah, 2008-present
- Filipino Martial Arts (Kali, Eskrima, Silat) Senior Associate Instructor Level 6 - Inosanto International Martial Art Instructors Association (IIMAIA) under Guro Dan Inosanto
- Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do Senior Associate Instructor Level 6 - Inosanto International Martial Art Instructors Association (IIMAIA) under Sifu Dan Inosanto
- Pekiti-Tersia Kali Certified Instructor - Pekiti-Tirsia Global Organization under Supreme Grand Master Tuhon Leo T. Gaje, Jr.
- Black Belt Instructor – Linxx Academy of Martial Arts, Norfolk, VA, under Ajarn Frank Cucci
Mr. Bernales' daughter, Lila, in the Tiny Tigers class
Luke Smith started training at BIMA for several months in 2009, and he has been training regularly at BIMA since 2013. He has attended two of the World Thai Boxing Association's Annual Pacific Northwest Muay Thai camps, and he passed his kick test to earn his Muay Thai shorts in Fall 2014.
Luke is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, and amateur MMA and BJJ competitor. He also serves in the U.S. Army Reserve and recently won the 96th Sustainment Brigade's 2015 Best Warrior competition, which pitted him against some of the state's best soldiers in grueling physical and mental events. Luke is a dedicated student and teacher of strength and martial arts and is enthusiastic about helping people reach their goals, whatever they may be.
Sonny Nguyen has been training Thai Boxing, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) with Will Bernales since 2004. Khru Sonny is an Apprentice Instructor under the World Thai Boxing Association, and he has earned his purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu. He has been teaching at BIMA since 2010 and is one of our instructors for Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, and CSW.
Jocelyn Fugit teaches our Women-Only Muay Thai / Thai Boxing and Women-Only Jiu-Jitsu classes.
Khru Jocelyn is an Apprentice Instructor under the World Thai Boxing Association. She is also a competitive amateur Muay Thai fighter under BIMA's founder, Will Bernales.
Jocelyn is also a first-degree blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Jocelyn is dedicated to helping her students to reach their self-defense and fitness goals within a safe and welcoming environment for women who prefer to train in a non-coed environment. Jocelyn enjoys sharing her experiences with Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu being useful for self-defense, great and technical arts to compete in if desired, and fun and practical ways to get in shape.
I started training Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Sauer in 1999 when I was 7 years old. My brother and I started with just two classes a week for years but eventually made it through all the kids belts and made it to the adult belts. I currently have my brown/black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I started training Muay Thai and MMA with Ajarn Will when I was 14. I have tested for my Muay Thai shorts under Ajarn Will. I have been helping Khru Will teach the Dragons class for the past 3 years and I also teach the teens class. Outside of the gym I attend Salt Lake Community College. I like anything outside from skateboarding to rock climbing.
Ray Rosales is the primary instructor for BIMA's Friday night Silat classes and also teaches Kali and Jeet Kune Do. Ray has dedicated his life to maintaining his own health and sharing that knowledge with others. He maintains an intense training schedule and studies in natural remedies and herbalism.
Ray has 25 years of experience in the Natural Foods industry. Ray is also a professional musician who has shared the stage with many regional and national artists, has worked with many songwriters, and has appeared on several recordings with these artists. A long-time resident of California, he now resides in Utah with his wife, two dogs, and three cats.
Nutritional consultant - Ray has guided clients to better choices in order to increase productivity, fitness, and longevity.
Level 2 Crossfit Trainer - Ray has received his 2nd-level certification in this elite organization that focuses on cutting-edge technologies and methods for the most efficient and effective physical training methods for all individuals. Ray is also certified to teach the following martial arts and has shared this knowledge with thousands of clients and students.
Silat Buka Lingkaran / Silat Open Circle - Alvin Guinanao
7th Degree Black Belt Kajukenbo - Gary Forbach
Filipino Martial Arts - Lakan Guro
Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do - Apprentice Instructor
Maphilindo Silat & Majapahit Martial Arts - Guro
All under Guro Dan Inosanto:
Muay Thai Level 1
True Arts Alliance 1st Degree Instructor under Burt Richardson
Red Glove - Savate under Nicolas Saignac
Colin started training at BIMA in 2007. He studies Muay Thai, Kali, JKD and Jiu-Jitsu. Colin spends most of his free time at the gym, but when he's not in class, he's usually working on his other hobbies or skills. He loves to exercise, take pictures, play music, and ride motorcycles. He studies martial arts to become physically strong and mentally unbreakable--two necessary traits that will help him become his ideal version of himself.
Colin has attained Associate Instructor status through the World Thai Boxing Association.
Ryan Lehner is an Associate Instructor in the Thai Boxing Association of the U.S. and holds a Purple Belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Ryan is an Iraq War Veteran with six years of military and law enforcement experience. While in the military, Ryan was involved in counter-drug and counter-terrorism efforts as well as teaching law enforcement teams and militaries around the world. Ryan has been studying and training martial arts for the past eight years under Khuen Khru Will Bernales and is an avid outdoorsman.