Cory Schafer earned his black belt in Wado-Ryu Karate in 1982 and embarked on a career as a professional martial arts instructor. While successfully establishing himself as a martial arts competitor and kickboxing trainer his interests moved towards officiating. During his tenure as the chief official and arbitrator for the FAME (Florida Affiliated Martial Arts Events) tournament circuit, he began working his way through the certification levels as a kickboxing official. By the mid 1980’s Cory had earned his “A” level judging certification, necessary to officiate professional world title events.

Moving on to serve as an ISKA (International Sport Karate and Kickboxing Association) Event Representative at both the national and international levels he also earned his certification as a kickboxing referee. With growing experience and a solid reputation his opportunities grew in conjunction with the expansion of the sport itself.

While further developing his role as a kickboxing official, Sensei Schafer continued to teach martial arts regularly at his professional studio, and expand his involvement in sport karate as director of the US OPEN World Martial Arts Championships, largely recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious martial arts competitions.

After gaining years of experience in all aspects of officiating, Mr. Schafer was asked to become the chairman of the ISKA Official’s Certification program. He instituted a new certification protocols and led seminars and clinics often coordinated with some of the world’s highest profile events.

Since 1990, Schafer has presided over world title contests held throughout North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. In early 1997 he was offered and accepted the position as President of the ISKA. Since taking office he has combined his passion for the martial arts with business acumen and tireless effort to advance the safe and fair promotion combat sports and competitive martial arts world-wide.

Despite his leadership role in this global industry Sensei Schafer still teaches regularly and supervises the instructional staff of the World Martial Arts Center program.

Professional Highlights

  • Fourth Degree Black Belt; Wado-Ryu with 37 years of professional teaching experience
  • Black Belt Magazine Contributing Author
  • ISKA “Class A” Referee, Judge and Event Supervisor
  • American Wado-Kai Karate Association (AWKA) Director and Curriculum Committee Chairman
  • U.S. Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships: Co-Director
  • K-1 USA Chief Official and Rules Director
  • ISKA President: 1997 – present. ISKA regulates kickboxing, mixed martial arts, world championship breaking Sport Karate and thirteen other types of competitive martial arts contests. Many ISKA sanctioned events are seen regularly on ESPN, ESPN2, SHOWTIME, NBC, CBS, EUROSPORT, SPIKE and regional networks throughout the world.
  • Chuck Norris’s World Combat League: Commissioner 2005-2008
  • Strikeforce MMA Rules Director: 2007-2011
  • Association of Boxing Commissions Unified Amateur Rules of MMA Committee Member and MMA Scoring Criteria Revision Consultant
  • Bellator MMA Director of Regulatory Affairs: 2014 – present
  • Glory World Series Kickboxing Regulatory Director: 2013 to present
  • Bellator Kickboxing Director of Regulatory Affairs: 2016 to present