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At Modern American Warrior our mission is to create a family friendly environment where people of all ages are welcomed and taught real life skills to help them take back control of their personal safety. We believe in creating awareness, building confidence, and teaching life skills. We focus not only on personal protection but also on accountability. Learning to respect ourselves and to show respect to each other. We are not a training academy where everyone "gets a trophy" but we do believe that everyone has the ability within them for greatness, if they put in the work! 
Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"

Chester Peterson

CEO and Head Instructor

As a child, Chester was raised in a violent, abusive household. This difficult upbringing drove him to the streets and by the age of 16 he was emancipated and living on his own. The unforgettable ordeal he experienced early in life provided him with powerful insights into how manipulation was used to control and abuse women. He knew that he wanted to educate and empower others to take control of their safety and after successfully running a flight school for 8 years, teaching students to fly both helicopters and airplanes, he opened Modern American Warrior Academy.


Chester's formal combative training started in the military and continued into the art of Tae Kwon Do to black belt.  He shifted his focus to American Kenpo in 1992 under the tutelage of Grand Master Michael Robert Pick of the Universal Kenpo Federation achieving the rank of 5th degree black belt and his 6th degree black belt from Progressive Kenpo Systems for his continued growth and innovation in American Kenpo. He has spent the last 20 years enhancing his own skills and educating others in military combatives and the Kenpo knife in the Universal Kenpo Federation. His training has been utilized on the US Army 10th Special Forces Group (A), the Ft. Bliss Combative Instructors, NRA Shooting Classes and a C.A.R. System Instructor license.

He holds the following certifications, Texas License to Carry Handgun Instructor, NRA Refuse to be a Victim Instructor, NRA Basic Handgun Safety Instructor, NRA in Home Personal Protection Instructor and NRA Range Safety Officer.

Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"


Operations Director

Bio coming

Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"

Russ Upton


Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"

Tonya Upton


Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"

Russ was raised mostly on the outskirts of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico towns in the 1970s. Around the age of seven after being coached in firearm safety by his father, his BB gun became a frequent companion while knocking around with friends plinking at targets. It was when Russ joined Boy Scout's and went to camp that he began to receive formal training with firearms. He then traded up from his trusty BB gun to pellet guns and rimfire rifles and attended the New Mexico Hunter Safety training and coached NRA small-bore shooting. Shortly after turning 21, he competed in IHMSA and IPSC. He became increasingly more aware of the violent crime around and he and his wife Tonya started to focus primarily on defensive handgun use, "We realized that each person is ultimately responsive for protecting themselves." 

Russ, while enjoying raising his family, was involved in 4-H as a volunteer. Leading rabbit, goat, bovine and photography projects and became 4-H Certified Pistol Coaches. In an effort to offer safe learning opportunities for kids and adults he also became an NRA Basic Pistol Instructors and Chief Range Safety Officer. Russ stated, "We each have a passion for shooting sports and the safe and proper use of firearms for defense, and we are thrilled at opportunities to share our knowledge and experience with others as we continue to learn."

He holds the following certifications: NRA Basic Handgun Safety Instructor, NRA in Home Personal Protection Instructor, NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor, NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, Texas License to Carry Handgun Instructor, Texas 4-H Certified Pistol Coach, Texas 4-H Certified Rifle Coach, and Montgomery 4-H Shooting Sports Safety Trainer.

Tonya grew up learning to respect firearms and enjoy using them from an early age. Most of what she did until recent years was marksmanship/bulls-eye shooting. My father, my husband and I competed in Pistol Silhouette and “Quick Draw” competitions for several years in the mid to late 1980’s.  After our 2 children came along our time was invested in our family but we found ourselves looking into personal defense options. We began participating in shooting sports again. We also began working with 4-H Youth Shooting Sports. We both became 4-H Certified coaches as well as NRA Range Safety Officers and eventually Chief Range Safety Officers to augment our work with the 4-H program.

My profession is nursing so safety is of the utmost importance – Russ and Tonya became the Shooting Sports Safety Trainers for their 4-H Club and Montgomery County 4-H Shooting Sports Project. Tonya continues to develop her own personal safety skills not only for her own benefit but to be able to pass that along to the women she trains. Tonya stated, "the more I learn about personal defense and situational awareness, the more I want to share this with other women. While I do not consider myself an expert, as I strongly believe you never stop learning, I am more than happy to share my knowledge of shooting to help build a firm foundation for safe participation in shooting sports and personal defense. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with other women and youth so they can become more confident and safe. I also hope to share the fun and joy I receive from shooting sports".

She holds the following certifications: NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor , NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home Instructor, NRA Refuse To Be A Victim Instructor, NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA Basic Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, 4-H Certified Pistol Coach, AHA BLS Instructor. 

Jax had a rough start but Shali found him and knew he was a Modern American Warrior. He can be found monitoring classes and attending all events. Jax wants to be part of the action and enjoys making people smile! 



Martial Arts "The Woodlands, Texas"

Champ started out as a foster but quickly became a part of the team. You can find Champ monitoring team meetings, cuddling, and taking walks with the team. Don't let his smoldering stare intimidate you, unless you are up to no good!



Shali continuously works with Jax and Champ to ensure that they can remain active team members at MAW!

The Team at MAW is a family and we can't wait for you to join our family! 

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