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Meet our Staff

Shihan Thomas M. Evans







Shihan Thomas Evans has studied Sullivan's American Kenpo for over 30 years under Grandmaster Hanshi Larry Sullivan and Vice President of USA KARATE Shihan Robin Sullivan. He started training in the martial arts at age four and has been actively training his whole life. He currently holds black belts in three different systems and the highest being a 8th-degree black belt in Sullivan's American Kenpo. Shihan Tom achieved mastery in martial arts at the tender age of 26 which makes him the youngest master in all of the New England region. Shihan Tom continues to train under USA Karate's founder Hanshi Larry Sullivan. Shihan Tom was ranked number one by the New England Karate Commission in the years of 2000 and 2001 for Jr. Black Belt sparring, forms, and self-defense. He is well known for his strong karate tournament background.

Shihan Tom graduated from the University of Rhode Island with his bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies.  He is currently enrolled at Salve Regina University pursuing his masters degree in Criminal Justice Studies and Leadership. He formally worked as an Academic Advisor with the College Crusade of Rhode Island at William E. Tolman High School in Pawtucket RI and Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence RI, for more than three years. Shihan Tom also served on the College Crusade committee for college completion and readiness. Shihan Tom then took a role in Information Technology with Pomeroy Desktop Services as a Team Lead and VIP Support tech for Citizens Bank after achieving his Comptia A+ certification. Shihan Tom later took a job with Citizens Bank as a Business Analyst for HR Security and Solutions.

"Captain America" Tom Evans had and 8-1 Muay Thai/American Kickboxing Amateur Record and competed in three Amateur MMA Fights. Shihan Tom has six Professional MMA Fights. Shihan Tom also made his Pro Muay Thai kickboxing debut for the largest organization in the country, Lion Fight Promotions on May 23rd, 2014 at Foxwoods Casino. He was the first fight on national television. He performed well enough to sign a three fight contract deal with the largest Muay Thai Promotion in the United States. Shihan Tom returned to in-ring competition on February 3rd, 2018 with a 1st round TKO win for Lion Fight Promotions.  He then took another fight on July 28th, 2018, and won a Unanimous Decision victory on nine days notice.  Shihan Tom is now 2-2 as a Pro Muay Thai Fighter under the Lion Fight Promotions banner. Shihan Tom won his last Professional MMA Fight on January 28th, 2020 with a 2nd round TKO victory for CES MMA on UFC fight Pass and donated the proceeds to Central Falls Youth Baseball, an organization of which he is Founder and President. 

Shihan Tom graduated from the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy in December 2020. He has been proudly sworn in as a Patrolman for the town of North Providence.  He has the honor of being on the RIMPTA Use of Force Cadre teaching all incoming police recruits proper Arrest and Control tactics. 

He has been blessed with daughters Leila and Melanie and his son Julian. He enjoys nothing more than spending time with them and his wife Laura Evans.

Other Accomplishments:

Crisis Intervention Certified

L.O.C.K. U.P Arrest and Control instructor certified 

Law Enforcement Active De-escalation Strategies certified

Triple Cert (Pepper Spray, Baton, and Handcuffing) instructor certified

NLTC instructor Handgun Retention certified 

Crises Intervention Autism certified

Professional Kickboxing Federation 5th degree Black Belt/ New England Representative issued on 11/11/2017

Professional MMA ABC Certified Referee under Kevin Macdonald issued on 1/19/2014

Professional Muay Thai Judge under Alan Lau issued on 9/23/2018 

Founder of Kids Kumite Championships beginning in 2018

Certified New England Karate Commission Master Karate Judge issued on 4/27/2014


Shihan Thomas M. Evans
Founder, President, Master Instructor
Certified Muay Lao Instructor
8th Degree Black Belt

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Dr. Dioscaris Garcia
Vice President of Operations




Dr. Dioscaris Garcia




















Dr. Garcia is an experienced pharmacologist and microbiologist specializing in cell signaling and infectious diseases. Through a diverse multidisciplinary approach, He has amassed extensive experience in drug development and characterization at both the academic and industrial level. He earned his doctorate in Molecular Pharmacology at Brown University in the prestigious Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology Department under the mentorship of Dr. Wayne Bowen. Dr Garcia received recognition for his work in the characterization of the Sigma-2 Receptor and his leadership and dedication to teaching. These attributes earned him a full-membership induction into the Sigma Xi Society. Dr. Garcia earned a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology from the University of Rhode Island (URI), with a minor in Chemistry. His work on antibiotic development led to the discovery of active compounds against the then emerging threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Currently, Dr. Garcia holda a dual-appointment as a Visiting Scientist at Brown University and a Senior Research Scientist at Rhode Island Hospital where he is the recipient of the Stein-Bellet Fellowship in the Diane N. Weiss Center for Orthopaedic Trauma Research. Dr. Garcia is an active researcher in novel cancer targets and therapeutics, as well as the development and characterization of antibiotic-independent antimicrobial surface coatings.

Dr. Garcia  played a significant role in the COVID-19 response, and has been recognized by several entities at the national, state, and municipal level. 
He is also a very active leader in the push for a more equitable and diverse community within the university. 

Dr. Garcia along with Shihan Thomas M. Evans both actively run Central Falls Youth Baseball and The United Community Martial Arts Institute of RI

Shihan Stephen Lombardi










    Shihan Steve has a diverse law enforcement background as both an instructor and an active police officer with more than 20 years of experience. His career includes being a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to the Fugitive Task Force, a senior operator on his department's SWAT team for 10 years, coordinator of his police department's sex offender investigations, and acting as senior police advocate and expert in elder abuse and exploitation.  Steve instructs in areas of Active Shooter, Handgun Retention, Police Combatives, Elder Abuse, and Child Safety.


As an instructor, Steve has taught a broad range of individuals and ages; such as elder abuse and exploitation training for healthcare workers, corporate employees, and police departments.  He also has a passion for teaching child safety and empowerment programs specifically for children ages five to twelve, focusing on verbal and physical resistance strategies for sexual violence and abduction.  As part of his elder abuse work, Steve pioneered a state-wide, multi-disciplinary team, developing the curriculum as well as instructing.


Steve was a long time co-chair prior to retiring in 2017 co-chair of the Violence Against Women Act Curriculum Committee which develops a statewide curriculum.


On a more personal level, Steve has been an active practitioner of the martial arts for over 30 years and is a recognized subject matter expert in Kenpo Karate, having trained with both the late Professor Nick Cerio and Senior Grandmaster George Pesare. Shihan Steve has been recognized by the International Council of Grandmasters (IKCG) as a 9th Degree Black Belt.  He always says that by far his greatest achievement in the martial arts has been the positive impact he has had on his students over the years.



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Associate Director

Coach Todd Arrighi






Coach Todd is a former amateur competitor himself in the early 90's. He specials in American Kickboxing and has trained for many years with legendary New England boxing coach Peter Manfredo Sr. Coach Tood also serves as a Professional Lion fight Muay Thai licensed corner man and coach. Coach We are honored to have Coach Todd on staff here teaching our young future champions. 

Kickboxing Coach

Sensei Amelia Spalter

Director of Communications


Amelia Spalter has trained with Shihan Tom since the age of five. She has earned over 200 tournament wins, including a NASKA Divisional World Championship. In addition to her role as Director of Communications, Sensei Amelia teaches in our Little Ninja and Children's martial arts and fitness programs. Her favorite part of teaching martial arts is watching her students gain confidence and inter-personal skills applicable beyond athletics as they take pride in conquering physical challenges and advancing in the curriculum.


She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Religious Studies in 2021 and remained at Brown to pursue an MA in the same field. Before enrolling at Brown University, her formal education was stewarded primarily by television. As such, she now plans to pay it forward by pursuing a career in television writing and entrepreneurship. When not at the dojo Amelia runs an interviews magazine and writes for her school newspaper. Her other publications include graduate school application essays and an occasional letter of demand or manifesto. 

Thomas Dana Evans










Mr. Evans was president of the Central Falls Little League for 6 years; he was also the vice president for 3 years and served as the equipment manager for 1 year. He was inducted into the Central Falls Little League Hall of Fame in 2006 in recognition for outstanding dedication to the children of Central Falls. Mr. Evans also served as General Manager for the Pop Warner Football Central Falls Panthers organization for 2 years. Mr. Evans also serves as the director of operations at the Team United Martial Academy. He has dedicated his life to serving children from the inner city and is well respected for his years of service within the martial arts, baseball, and football recreational services. Mr. Evans works hand and hand with his son Shihan Thomas M. Evans running the day to day operations of The United Community Martial Arts Institute of RI. Mr. Evans servers as the treasure for our non-profit. 



Associate Director

RIP Carolyn A. Evans



Mrs. Evans was actively involved with The Central Falls Little League for over 10 years serving as a concession stand manger for the entire league for three years, as well as being baseball team mom during her time with The Central Falls Little League. She dedicated her life to serving children from the inner city and is was respected for her years of service within the martial arts, baseball, and football recreational services. Mrs. Evans worked hand and hand with her son Shihan Thomas Evans running the day to day operations of the Team United Martial Arts Academy. Mrs. Evans ran the Competiton Team fundraising budget as well as was in charge of helping run fundraising for our students. Mrs. Evans passed away in February of 2020 and her spirit and is alive and well here at the dojo.


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