NC Budo staff smiling in the lobby of their Blemont headquarters.

our vision

NC Budo got its start in 2016 when Sensei Michael Baez and Sensei Jena Hare teamed up to launch their flagship martial arts center in Belmont, North Carolina. Michael and Jena’s vision is to share the lifelong benefits of martial arts with students of all ages. We now proudly serve students from state-of-the-art facilities in Belmont and Gastonia, offering a variety of classes based on our guiding principles of mental discipline, emotional stability and physical conditioning. 

We’re excited to share our unique brand of martial arts instruction with Gaston County’s historic downtown communities! We look forward to helping you find your martial way. 

Sensei Michael Baez with a young karate competitor showing off his winning medal

Classical Okinawan Kempo Karate is the foundation of our school’s teachings, giving martial artists a deeply-rooted core curriculum to develop mind, body and spirit. Led by expert martial artists, we offer instruction from novice to elite-level competition.

Our popular afterschool, day camp, and summer camp programs reflect our belief that a strong academic foundation, combined with high-quality martial arts training and fun extracurricular activities, will set students up for a lifetime of success.

Girl with tutor helping with homework
Children seated on mats in yoga meditation class

To round out your personal development journey, take advantage of over 20 classes each week on topics ranging from mindfulness and yoga to self-defense and conditioning. This multifaceted approach helps students build the strength and endurance to tackle any challenge — from personal well-being to the competitive arena.

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"It's so exciting to have a martial arts center located in Belmont. My 4-year old goes to karate classes twice a week and looks forward to seeing Sensei Michael and the other kids all the time. Sensei Michael is very patient with his classes and his kind and positive attitude is something that has always encouraged me to do better in the year and a half that I've learned under him. All of the other instructors in the center that I have met have all shared similar passion for their respective areas. Check it out!" 

- Dan N.

"NC Budo's school days program is a great option for childcare on remote school days, full time, or after school. The rates are cheaper than any daycare and they have a schedule that includes assisting children with that day's remote school work, mindful child program, martial arts and crafts, free play, etc. They have been a lifesaver for us this year. I highly recommend getting registered before they fill up! I am VERY picky regarding my son and I literally have no complaints.

- Sabrina G.

"Thank you to NC Budo for not only being an awesome place for martial arts and yoga, but for being so incredibly welcoming (especially for a beginner like myself!) NC Budo feels more like a family than a company, I look forward to coming more and more each week. You're in the best hands at NC Budo, I highly recommend joining for any type of class there!

- Jess B.

"I absolutely love this place! My son has been taking karate for a year now, he has learned so many new techniques but even better than mastering palm strikes and blocks is the time and energy NC Budo puts into making the class fun as well as educational. Sensei Mike and Sensei Jena are so great with kids and I'm honored to have them in my son's life. I also take Self Defense once a week, it's a great class that is informative on a practical level. Tell all your friends, you need to try it and see what you're missing." 

- Jenn T.

"Awesome Instructor! My grandson takes karate here and absolutely loves attending! They are wonderful, always make you feel welcome, answering any questions or concerns you might have and just a nice group of people to associate with." 

- Vicki R.

"I've known Sensei Baez for a few years now but I put off writing this review. Simply put, I did so because it was difficult for me to accurately describe how much I respect this man. Our first spar, not long after our first meeting, was a treat and I came away with more knowledge of myself from that clash than I have from all others, save for one. To put it bluntly, he became my first goal. I've watched him teach all ages, and been taught by him, and with each person he breaks it down to suit the individual while still teaching the whole group. I'll likely edit this another twenty times but the five stars won't change." 

- John B.