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Our Instructors Make the Difference

The instructors at Sabater's Martial Arts Center have been teaching in the community since 1993, and they bring a disciplined and well-balanced approach of practical instruction. Our teachers have risen up through years of hard work in traditional Japanese-style training to attain their instructor-level Black Belt certifications, and they take great care in the safety and instruction of each student.

Sensei Hershel Sabater, Owner & Head Instructor
( 5th Degree Black Belt )

A certified instructor, Hershel began his training in Gōjū-Ryū Karate in 1982, when he studied under master instructor Shihan Cornell Watson (7th Degree Black Belt). He has also studied the martial arts styles of Shotokan and Arnis, and has trained throughout Japan and the USA. He is ranked in the Japanese Karate Federation (JFK). Hershel has been teaching students at Sabater’s Martial Arts Center since 1993.

Sensei Maria Sabater, Owner & Instructor
( 3rd Degree Black Belt )

A certified instructor, Maria holds the 3rd Degree Black Belt, awarded to her by her master instructor, Shihan Cornell Watson. She has trained throughout Japan and the USA , and she is also affiliated with the Japanese Karate Federation (JFK).

Sempai Phillip R. Robinson II, Assistant Instructor
( Interim 2nd Degree Black Belt )

A certified instructor, Phillip began training in Gōjū-Ryū Karate in 1995, and also studied under master instructor Shihan Cornell Watson. He has also studied Tae Kwon Do, and brings a well-rounded approach in his instruction of students.

Our Founder: The Late Shihan Cornell Watson (1942 - 2014),
Master Instructor - 7th Degree Black Belt

Shihan Cornell Watson was our Master Instructor, who founded the original Gōjū-Ryū Karate school (Cornell Watson's Martial Arts Center) in San Jose, which later became Sabater’s Martial Arts Center upon his retirement and subsequent relocation to Texas. Shihan Watson visited our school from Texas from time to time, and he had also welcomed students and instructors when they visited him in Texas.

A certified instructor of the Japanese Gōjū-Ryū Federation,

Cornell Watson had over 40 years of teaching experience and

is a Kyoshi-grade 7th Degree Black Belt, which is a rare achievement,

equivalent to a Ph.D. level in knowledge and experience.

                  He began his ascension into the world of Gōjū-Ryū

                  Karate as a dare from friends in 1961, and he enrolled

                  atGōjū-Ryū school run by Shihan Gosei Yamaguchi,

                  the eldest son of Gōjū-Ryū Master Gogen Yamaguchi,

                  who was the founder of Japanese Gōjū-Ryū Karate.

                  Upon attaining his First Degree Black Belt in 1969,

                  Cornell traveled to Japan with the U.S. Karate Team

                  as a competitor in the first World Karate Championship.

                  Cornell returned to the U.S.A. undefeated.

                  Cornell returned to Japan again in 1973, where he

                  spent two years studying Gōjū-Ryū with Master

                  Gogen (the Cat) Yamaguchi. Cornell later was elevated

                  to 4th Degree Black Belt in 1975, and was given his

                  teaching certification. Cornell was summoned once

                  again to Japan in August 1996 to participate in a

                  promotional tournament for the rank of “Kyōshi” or

                  “Master Instructor”. As a result, he was later

                  promoted to the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt in

                  May 1997,which is symbolized by a red band running

                  the length of the belt. Such a rank is rarely achieved in

                  the lifetime of a Gōjū-Ryū practitioner.

                 Cornell personally trained Hershel, Maria and Phillip

                 as instructors, where they carry on the fine tradition of

                 instruction which Shihan Watson first established.


                 Shihan Watson passed away on Dec 13, 2014. His

                 memory and legacy continue on here at Sabater's

                 Martial Arts Center.

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