A Triad is a collection of three things, at Triad Martial Arts you have the opportunity of learning three effective and traditional martial arts: Kobudo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Karate-Do. Founder Shihan Johnny Lee Smith has trained across the country gathering knowledge on all three arts to develop a system of contemporary self-defense that has been proven effective in all fields of hand-to-hand combat.  Conditioning the mind is taken very seriously at Triad Martial Arts, our students of all ages learn to sharpen their mind while strengthening the body, learning respect and discipline to a fine point.

Below, you can read more about each of our arts, their origin, and what to expect some class time. If you are already hooked and ready to setup an appointment, simply fill out the form below to begin your martial arts journey! Please provide your name, email, and what class you are interested in! If the page below doesn’t provide the information you are looking for, give us a call: (256) 509-5201. Or, use this link for an Instant Private Chat.




Triad Karate-Do is a unique style of Karate, with roots in Kobayashi Shorin Ryu, Tang Soo Do, and american style boxing. In this program students will learn stand up fighting, Kicks, punches, combinations and more.  A multitude of traditional katas at the fingertips of students, ranging from simple fundamental moves to advanced forms with over seventy difficult to master steps. Being a self-defense based program, students are taught how to escape difficult situations with proper technique, in a way where the size and strength of the opponent does not matter. Above all else students are taught how to live like a Martial Artist, showing respect and kindness to all others. Twice a year large scale Karate tournaments are held in the dojo for the students looking for a more competitive field. In these tournaments students compete in katas, weapons katas, sparring and board breaking. Students starting from 4 to adults compete and score points towards the grand champion award at the end of the year! These tournaments are a great entryway into the open field of competition Karate and many students have gone on to win at state and national levels.


Triad Jiu-Jitsu was founded by Johnny Lee Smith while training under Masters Carlos Machado and Rickson Gracie. Jiu-Jitsu is a great means of self defense working from the ground, as well as a great form of exercise. In each class, students will learn a few techniques, and plenty of live rolling. Gi is required for classes, and one week a month a no-gi classes are held. The classes for JiuJitsu will have the somewhat relaxed feel that goes with Brazilian JiuJitsu, but with the standards of respect of traditional martial arts. Like Karate-do, Triad harbors an absolute abundance of skilled instructors that train at all three locations to provide the highest level of instruction possible. Many of Triads students have traveled in and out of state to attend popular tournaments such as the Pan-Ams, Abudabi Trials, EBI, Kakuto and many others. Triad has also partnered with 10th Planet JiuJitsu in Decatur to start a twice a year tournament called SSL (Southeastern Submission League) right here in North Alabama that has brought high level competition right to our doorstep!


Our MMA (or Vale Tudo) Program is designed for students wanting to get in the cage; that being amateur, professional, or just the experience. Like the name suggests, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a combination of stand-up and ground work to maximize fighting potential. The MMA program stretches to both the  Cullman and Triad Huntsville, allowing a high volume of partners and competition!

As shown above, Triad is very dominant in the octagon, and we look forward to sending many more into the field, however, it’s not easy. No one from Triad fights under prepared. Our standards demand much from those wanting to fight under the Triad name, but promise much in return. Practitioners tend to pair BJJ with MMA, and our schedule supports these trainees, and we strongly encourage all newcomers to try both programs.



Ryu-Kyu Kobudo is one of the ‘Core-three’ at Triad, and we teach it with Pride. Originating from Okinawa, Kobudo means ‘Ancient Warrior Way’ or ‘Use of Primitive Okinawan Weapons’. There are six weapons we teach at Triad, all of which are incorporated into the karate-do curriculum.  In order of which they are instructed, we teach: Bo (staff), Nunchaku (two section staff), Tonfa (Baton), Kama (sickle), Sai (Dagger), and Eku (Oar). While it is not currently offered as a stand alone program, you can check our Instructors page to see who is currently offering private lessons in Kobudo.



Lil Dragons Karate

Designed for kids starting at age 3, our Lil Dragons program is built around learning the essential skills of a martial artist. Students are taught to apply these skills inside and outside of the dojo:

Respect – Above all, a martial artist should be respectful to their instructors, classmates, friends, and family. Ever class begins with a bow, symbolizing a respectful trust from student to teacher and teacher to student. In routine discussions, students are taught the value of respect, how to deliver it, and how to retain it.

Physical Fitness – To reach max potential as a martial artist, students must learn to stay physically fit. Students will practice many exercises in the form of enjoyable games, in an ongoing effort to make our students healthy and happy.

Discipline – Without discipline, a martial artist is no more than a fighter. Students at Triad Martial Arts learn the value of doing what they’re meant to do, even when they don’t want to do it.

Humility – Arguably one of the most important skills a martial artist should have, Humility is the ability to put aside one’s self for the betterment of others. This is very important in a martial artists growth, and to maintain a good relationship with classmates and friends alike.

Focus – By creating a serious-yet-exciting atmosphere in each of our classes, students can enjoy staying focused, and find that even when they enter a school classroom, it’s easy to stay focused on the class presented.



Triad also hosts summer camps, tournaments, and holiday parties. Information for these events is listed below. To see upcoming events with specific details like dates, pre-requisites, and sign-up, check our events page.

Summer Camp

Twice a year, Triad hosts a martial arts camp for ages 3-12, kids do not have to be enrolled in classes at Triad to attend these camps. Camps run from 8 AM to 2 PM from Monday to Friday. Kids will learn Jiu-Jitsu, Karate-do, and Kobudo. Every kid will be able to take home their own personalized weapon! A packed lunch is required, and plenty of instructors are present at all times to keep kids safe and happy.


Both Karate-do and Jiu-Jitsu tournaments are currently held at Triad, but Karate-do tournaments are held specifically for Triad students. Our Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, the Southern Submission League (In collaboration with 10th Planet Decatur) is an open Jiu-Jitsu tournament, and has already brought in competitors from 5 different BJJ schools all over the state. There are two tournaments for each art each year, totaling in four tour tournaments per year. Check our events page for dates.


Every few months, our higher-level instructors lead 2-3 hour seminars showing more detailed or complex techniques than taught through the regular program. These seminars aren’t always bound to a specific art but instead have a concept that grows a practitioner’s game in general. Past seminar themes have included stand up fighting, Weapons Katas, Freestyle Weapons, Ground Defense, weapons. Taught by instructors like Daniel Whisenant, Daniel O’Brien, Chuck Talley, and Triad Founder Johnny Lee Smith. Triad has also hosted seminars with the great Rickson Gracie, Carlos Machado, Rigan Machdo, and more!


Parents Night Out

Three times a year, on Friday or Saturday we have a four-hour Parents Night Out, in which we play martial arts games, have costume contests, pizza, competitions, and prizes! These are open to students and non-students, though student discounts do apply. If your looking for a night out, drop your kids off at five in play clothes, ready to have fun!