In January, 1995, I stepped into a small martial arts class at the Madison Rec Center. Sixteen years old and armed with my first real paycheck, I had no idea how much Sensei Kevin Swanner was about to change my life. Over the next twelve years I followed Sensei Swanner and Spirit Made Steel dojo through five moves and multiple knee injuries (for each of us). Eventually I became an instructor myself as his program grew.

In 2007, my wife Morgon and I moved to Georgia where I first began teaching on my own. After I moved back home and finished my master’s degree, I continued that by opening Madison Martial Arts Academy.

When Sensei Swanner decided to step back from running his own dojo in 2016, he asked me to help keep his program going. My lease at Madison Martial Arts was about to expire, so the timing was perfect. We merged our programs and I came back “home” to Spirit Made Steel to continue our multi-decade tradition of excellence.

In my day job I work as a software developer. I am also a blogger and editor-in-chief at Silver Empire publishing.

– Sensei Russell Newquist

Sensei Russell Newquist performs the kata "Bassai."
Sensei Russell Newquist performs the kata “Bassai.”


Ranks and Awards

  • Yondan (4th degree black belt), Renshi Sho, Shin Nagare Karate
  • Eagle Claw Level 1


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