Hanshi Dave Kovar, the visionary behind Kovar Systems and Kovar's Satori Academies, embarked on his martial arts journey in 1972 as a young teenager, inspired by his older brother, Tim. His passion ignited when he delved into the world of Kenpo Karate under the guidance of Hanshi Bruce Juchnik. Dave's initial exposure to martial arts left an indelible mark, instilling him with newfound confidence after mastering his first self-defense technique. At a mere 15 years old, he took on the role of an instructor, setting the stage for a lifelong commitment to learning.
Dave Kovar wholeheartedly embraced the essence of various martial arts disciplines, continuously seeking out new styles, training partners, and knowledge to enhance his growth as a martial artist. In 1974, he commenced training in Japanese Jujitsu under the tutelage of Bob McKean. The following year, he began his journey into Serrada Escrima with the esteemed Angel Cabelas Organization. With dedication and perseverance, he earned his first black belt in Kenpo Karate, attaining the rank of 1st degree in May 1977. Throughout his training, Dave went on to achieve black belts in nine other styles, always nurturing his passion for Kenpo.
Thriving on the spirit of competition, Dave Kovar engaged in over 200 martial arts tournaments from 1974 to 1989, showcasing his skills in forms and fighting. With exceptional talent, he emerged victorious on more than 90 occasions, securing four "grand champion" sparring titles. In 1982, his outstanding accomplishments led him to be honored as the "California Competitor of the Year." Notably, he triumphed in the men's heavyweight division of the United States Martial Arts Championships held in Reno, Nevada, in 1988.
However, the true essence of Hanshi Dave Kovar's martial arts career lies in the way he prioritizes his roles. As he frequently imparts to his team and acquaintances, he identifies himself first and foremost as a Martial Artist, followed by an Instructor, and finally as a Businessman. This fundamental perspective has fueled his perpetual dedication to personal growth, always remaining receptive to learning from others. From the outset, Dave sought out esteemed pioneers and luminaries in the industry, including training in Okinawan Kobudo with Shihan Mikio Nishiuchi, Serrada Escrima with George Santana, and Modern Arnis with Remy Presas. In the late 1980s, he commenced formal training in Tae Kwon Do under the renowned Grand Master Jhoon Rhee, often referred to as the father of American Tae Kwon Do. In the early 1990s, Dave expanded his expertise, incorporating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar and Ralph Gracie, Jeet Kune Do under Burt Richardson, Tai Chi under David Dernhardt, and CDT and LRT under Tom Patiere. Continuously enriching his list of instructors, Dave Kovar embodies the spirit of an "empty cup," always ready to absorb new knowledge.
Unsurprisingly, Dave Kovar's insatiable thirst for learning has transformed him into a veritable repository of martial arts wisdom. He has dedicatedly shared his expertise through numerous seminars across continents and, more recently, online through The Satori Alliance—an esteemed martial arts association committed to elevating the standards for Martial Arts Instructors via Instructor Certification and Ranking. Renowned globally, Hanshi Kovar stands as an innovator, shaping ethical practices for martial arts school operation. His unwavering belief in prioritizing students and the martial arts aligns with his guiding principles.