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Founder and Chief Instructor


  • Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Fourth 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 Grandmaster Surachai Sirisute

  • Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) Lead Coach - CSW Association under Sensei Erik Paulson

  • Filipino Martial Arts (Kali, Eskrima, Silat) Senior Associate under Guro Dan Inosanto

  • Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do Senior Associate under Sifu Dan Inosanto

Will Bernales: Team Members

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 the Bernales Institute of Martial Arts. He has been teaching and training in multiple martial arts since 1989. He is also experienced in the design and implementation of highly customized tactical defense and combatives training for military and law enforcement.   

Unsurpassed Commitment

During his time in Utah, Mr. Bernales has coached and cornered for professional and amateur fighters and competitors in the fields of MMA, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai kickboxing.  He continues to train and maintain his own martial arts certifications in every organization in which he is a member. He is happily married and has two wonderful children, Lila and Rhys, who both train at BIMA. When the snow is deep, he also tries to track frequent powder mileage along the Wasatch Front’s finest snow with a snowboard.

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