Student Reviews

Reviews for Rifkin Professional Karate Center Columbia, MO

“My six year old son has been attending Master Rifkins karate program for four months. I can't say enough how much I love this program. My son has had amazing improvement in strength, balance, focus, and his flexibility has surprised me completely. He use to fall over plenty, couldn't reach his he has his first stripe for kicking, which requires plenty of balance and he can practically do splits. My son loves showing off his skills to his family and friends.”
This is the first martial arts center I've been to in quite some time that doesn't pride itself in how many black belts they turn out in a given period of time, but are rather interested in the quality of the students and material covered. RPKC is definitely not a 'pay money for your belt' kind of school; you pay for your belt with hard work and dedication. Master Rifkin and his training staff are very knowledgable in all that they teach, and being a practitioner of martial arts for most of my life, I feel very comfortable in recommending RPKC as a school to give a look at.
DUANE (NOV. '13)
Can I just tell you that I have never seen (our son) so passionate about martial arts before? He enjoys being a part of your karate family. I have seen drastic changes in him. Before we enrolled him to your studio, he had the worst attitude. Part of it was boredom and just "growing pains" of being a teenager. Now, he is much more calm, smiles alot more, and the attitude has changed for the better. I can't say, he's fully cured, after all he is a teenager (lol) but he's better. I just want to say THANK YOU so much for everything that you do! (We) are glad we have found your karate center. You guys are AWESOME!
A Shively-Gott
A Shively-Gott
Hands down, the staff is amazing! I've seen a noticeable (positive) difference in my child's self esteem since he's been enrolled at Rifkin Karate & he feels like he really belongs. I cannot thank Mr.Rifkin & his staff enough for having such a positive influence on him! I only wish I'd enrolled him sooner.
Miles Schroeder
Miles Schroeder
Amazing place to train and learn to defend yourself in actual world like situations. Also a great way to work out. Highly recommended.
Nalinda Wasala
Nalinda Wasala
If you are in Columbia, MO area or closer and looking for martial arts for your kids (or yourself), you are looking at the very best & absolutely right place. The program is very high in quality. Master Rifkin delivers what he promises. He is very professional, fully committed and a good role model for the kids. Expectations are high and your kid will learn to work towards reaching a goal, be resilient and persistent. My son has been here for more than 2 years and loves it. I have been in the studio for pretty much every class (prior to COVID-19) and have seen the training and instructions, simply amazing. Once you are there, you’ll know the difference.
Brandie Jordan
Brandie Jordan
My twins have been seeing Master Rifkin for about 9 months now and the amount of confidence I have seen in them is staggering. If you're looking to add to your child's confidence and self defense at the same time, I HIGHLY recommend RPKC for this. Well worth it. My twins love going to karate every week.
Chris Eidson
Chris Eidson
Very professional while still being a very caring staff. Rifkin is an excellent instructor and our 11 year old daughter has thoroughly enjoyed her time here.
Jason Oliver
Jason Oliver
I dont often give 5 stars but this facility and its staff are truly there for the students always. Yes it's pricey compared to some others but the respect and results speak volumes about the owner and his ways, making the cost more than affordable.
Amy Pescaglia
Amy Pescaglia
My son is getting great instruction at Rifkin Karate Center. Once the COVID crisis hit, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Master Rifkin quickly put all classes online for easy to access, while the studio formulated a plan for return. I am so impressed with what they are doing. Online or in person classes so we each have options or backup plans. Temp checks, masks and hand sanitizer are used and a limited number of people are allowing in the building at a time. I feel that he is looking out to keep everyone safe and engaged at the same time.
Jeff Markowski
Jeff Markowski
During the COVID-19 stay at home order, our son is using the virtual, private lessons and they are beneficial both physically and emotionally. These lessons help him stay in shape, in practice and mentally connected to the discipline. They are helping him stay on track, and motivate him to practice every day. I highly recommend these virtual lessons.
Shawn Mccoy
Shawn Mccoy
Master Rifkin has been teaching my son for over two years now and this review is long overdue. I wouldn't consider taking him anywhere else. The growth I have seen has been amazing to watch and I attribute it to the skill that Master Rifkin has as an instructor. It is of utmost importance to him that his students get the best possible teaching that can be delivered to them, and it shows in his students. Lately, with the social distancing, he has gone to private lessons via zoom and my son has loved it. It has been the highlight of his week and allows for 1 on 1 instruction time ,maintaining the quality that is so important to Master Rifkin. I highly recommend the virtual training that he is offering right now
"Just love this! So happy to have found Rifkin Professional Karate Center! It's such an important aspect of our life now!! Thank you, Master Rifkin!"
HELEN (OCT. '16)
"Talk about blessed! I got to watch my best friends daughter compete in a karate tournament and my own daughter as well as so many amazing people! We truly have found a family with Rifkin Professional Karate! Proud of everyone today!"
"We are so thankful we had our son, Owen, join Master Rifkin's class 6 months ago. We have noticed a huge change in his behavior and he's finally doing something he wants to do as he gets older!"

JD Rifkin’s gym in Columbia is as professional as it gets. My family and I have been involved in TKD for over twenty years with another organization. It was time to find a new gym and I joined Rifkin Professional after a private lesson with Master Rifkin. We are completely impressed. Rifkin is a complete martial artist with an exceptional skill-set. He is on the mats every day and teaches his own classes, beginner through advanced – he is an excellent instructor. Because of Rifkin’s own athletic abilities and martial arts knowledge, this gym offers the “next-level” experience. You will be challenged regardless of your current skills. If you are looking for the first time as a beginning student or shopping around for a new gym, Rifkin is a great choice.


Master Rifkin’s teaching does not only pertain to karate classes and training only! In order to succeed one must apply the rules in every day life! This will make you not only a comprehensively physically strong person, but also mentally. One must conquer himself first, conquer his/her mind and then the physical conquest will become possible. Such conquest must first target the weaknesses of the mind, doubts and fears. One step toward this goal is when you step on the karate floor for the first time. We all have seen the difference. Being a positive psychologist and employing many rules in every day life, I nevertheless needed to hear that support, enthusiasm and encouragement from someone else. And this person was and undoubtfully is Master Rifkin.


Thank you! Master Rifkin. For teaching so many women and children self defense. But the one thing we want to thank you most for is teaching our daughter and granddaughter to be very self assured and stronger. Thank you, to the entire team. You Rock!


Thank you! Master Rifkin. For teaching so many women and children self defense. But the one thing we want to thank you most for is teaching our daughter and granddaughter to be very self assured and stronger. Thank you, to the entire team. You Rock!

Jennifer (June ’16)

Great school. Master Rifkin is fun and approachable while still being a thorough instructor; that being said, he maintains high expectations of his students. He pays attention to what is happening in class and knows when to push students harder and when to let them digest new information. I started as a white belt last year and have made significant improvements to my flexibility and endurance.I particularly like the way he is with children. My daughter is only 5 and within one day of starting, understood what was expected of her in class. Master Rifkin is kind but direct when she needs to change something and, because he keeps the class active and engaged, she adjusts quickly. He takes time to talk and joke with the children before and after class, which I really appreciate. He’s demanding but not frightening. My girl and I both have a lot of fun. I highly recommend this school. 

Natalie( 2016)

When my son said he wanted to learn karate I knew nothing about where to go or who to chose. Thankfully I happened to see Rifkin Professional Karate before any other listing. I read the reviews and thought ok this is the one we’re going to check out. I felt good with that choice after just talking to Master Rifkin on the phone the first time…. I have seen my son become so much more confident in everything he does, not just karate. He’s started to figure out the “rewards” of hard work in ways my husband and I weren’t fully able to show him but most of all, Master Rifkin has taught him to never give up. That seems so simple and something you’d think my husband and I would have already taught him. We have tried trust me! My son knows he always has us in his corner to cheer him on, believe in him and celebrate when he accomplishes one of his goals but now he also has Master Rifkin. If you’re looking for somewhere for you or your child to learn karate- this is the place and Master Rifkin is the one, hands down.

Amy (2016)

Every once in a while an idea comes together to create a facility that sets a new standard for Excellence in Performance, Aesthetics, and Durability……visit JD Rifkin (Rifkin Professional Karate Center) and begin your journey!


Super Huge testing this time around!  I was so impressed! JD Rifkin your school is ON FIRE! Can I say it?…..We love you. Your dojo is pure AWESOMENESS!!!

Lisa B (2017)

I just had the privilege of representing Team Missouri at Ozark Mountain Nationals! It was definitely something I will never forget, what a great experience! Thank you Richard Osborn Jr. for asking me to fight with Team MO and for putting on a great tournament! Also, a HUGE CONGRATS to our school Rifkin Professional Karate for being the TOP SCHOOL at the tournament!! We had a lot of students in/at the tournament and everyone of us held our heads high and did our best with many many wins!! What a great day!!

Misty (2017)

My 9 year old daughter has been attending RPKC for almost two months. I have watched her go from being somewhat introverted to a self confident, out going individual. Master Rifkin is a much disciplined instructor and demands the same from his students. At RPKC each student receives encouragement along with positive feedback from the instructors. Master Rifkin not only teaches students the proper way to execute Karate moves, he incorporates words of wisdom in classes. One day he asked his students what the definition of a “black belt” was. No one knew the answer he was looking for. He told the students a “black belt” is a “white belt” that never gave up, and that hold’s true for anything you do in life. Never give up. RPKC is the best in town. I would highly recommend enrolling if you are serious about learning Karate.

Boyce (2012)

Dearest Master Rifkin, I cannot tell you how much you and your teachings have influenced my life. After the 9-11 attacks, I felt helpless. I imagined myself under a situation where my life would be put into someone else’s hands and I had no way to defend myself. Uncomfortable with this helpless feeling, I met you at Starbucks a few months later and my martial arts training began. I hoped it was obvious that I loved our forms. They are beautiful, artistic, and skillful. Whenever I practice them people always ask me what they are and where I learned them, or even to perform them again. When performing our forms-I not only think of the skills, precision, and tactics you have instilled-I envision how you, Mr. Bosque, Mr. Dang and Ms. Nagayama gracefully and whole-heartedly demonstrate how the forms are supposed to be…..flawless. I am proud to have been a student at our school and am proud to have learned from instructors who truly cared about my attendance and progress.

Rose (2008)

Rifkin Pro Karate is a truly inspiring place. My son just recently started his Martial Arts training there and the difference I have seen in him already is truly amazing! Master Rifkin and his staff are all amazing instructors and really take the time to actually teach not just go through the motions. Every belt at Rifkin is earned no one is just given a belt just because they have been in one level long enough. This is a great way to teach children that you don’t just get things for the sake of getting them you have to earn it. If you are looking for a place for your children or yourself Rifkin Pro Karate is the place to go.

Sara V.(2009)

Thank you Master Rifkin and Tammy Rifkin for being so supportive to all of us students, but most of all thank you for being so supportive to me and to my girl Madyson!! I don’t think I could have asked for a better school to train at and to call my family!!

MW (March ’16)

I’ve lived around martial arts and boxing since I was old enough to remember, and being in Rifkin Professional Karate for the last year has been a lot of hard work, but well worth all the time and effort. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher in Master Jd Rifkin. Even when you think your at your best, he can always find a way for you to improve.

Joseph (2017)

When you hear how polite and respectful your kid is and how even though he wasn’t slacking, his teacher has seen a big improvement, focus and rice to improve-you take pride but know that it’s truly who you have chosen to surround your child and trusted to teach/coach him. So job well done to Ed and I, and HUGE thank yous to his awesome fitness family and as always, Rifkin Professional Karate – U.P.M.A.A. and his Master, Jd Rifkin. As much as I and Edward guide and raise him, you all have a giant impact on him and we couldn’t imagine better role models and teachers for him

Amy S. (2017)

Proud to be a student at RPKC. I’d like to thank Master Jd Rifkin for everything. This last year and an half has been a blast. Now I see the difference between us and everyone else.  #DETAILS. I would have loved to see Ms. Aaliyah Potes compete. Hopefully next time!!! I  have learned so much. I need lots of improvement, but I’m loving those charging kicks. I saw alot of double kicks in this tournament and alot of schools with hands down. As I get better, my skill level will improve. One day I hope to be as good as Master Rifkin. Can’t wait for class on Monday:)


In 2007 after 8 very long years of getting my butt handed to me on the mat, I received my first black belt under Master Rifkin and became the first female to do so at Rifkin Pro Karate. I had a few friends training at the time but after visiting various schools, watching or participating, I realized the difference in training I was receiving. Kicks and punches being held to a higher standard because when you throw them correctly, you can stop them as well, especially if you realize mid kick that it has more power than you anticipated. Watch other schools, do they point/flex their toes/feet on the varying kicks? Are they’re hands down when they kick? Are the arms flailing about with no control or sense over what your body is doing? Master Rifkin notices and they do not skirt by him because proper technique will save your life. I was never treated differently as a female as well which is an invaluable tool in learning martial arts……. because Master Rifkin has a way of pushing you towards your own excellence. I earned my Black Belt and I am humbled to have had such an instructor that cared about my training to see me through. He hasn’t changed a bit in all the years I’ve trained with him and I’m sure he never will…he just cares too much. Train here first, then go out and check other places and see just how much you’ve learned.

Leilani (Black Belt, RPKC)

Eva just tested for her third stripe and permission to try for her Blue belt this weekend. I have to tell you — it wasn’t looking good. In all it was OKAY, but there were wobbles and forgotten bits and such. Master Jd Rifkin asked Josh and I to stay after her class for a bit, then called Eva up to the front of the following class — the advanced class — and told them that their job was to keep her from earning the last stripe. He then told her that she could only get her stripe if she out-performed the class. Suddenly my little girl was on fire. She nailed that form to the wall with strength, determination and just… fire. She got that third stripe and is testing this weekend. I was literally shaking my head at how well Master Rifkin knows how to bring out her best. That performance just floored both Josh and me. Once again, I find myself thanking Master Rifkin for the wonderful job he is doing with her. We are blessed.

Nat (2018)

A remarkable place for kids of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Master Rifkin is demanding but fair and kind…just a great teacher. I’d give six stars if I could.

Scott (2018)

Master Rifkin works them hard and makes them earn everything. Every achievement is earned through hard work and sweat. That’s why he is the best at what he does.

Randy L. (2018)

….Karate has proven to be an amazing experience for them, which in turn, has blessed our family. Karate is one of the few interests these girls share, making it all the more special. Not only do they support one another, and constructively help each other perfect kicks, falls, and forms, they have taken their little brother under their wings. It’s heartwarming to see them helping him with the fine details he’s learning as a white belt. Countless thanks for the consistent direction from Master Rifkin. Always challenging them, inspiring them, and (most importantly to me as a mother) teaching them skills that will grow their confidence AND keep them safe. I have no doubt my husband will agree, this may be one of the most important decisions we will make as parents. They’re learning much more than karate.

Melanie (January ’20)

Rifkin Professional Karate Center

Although many people think the martial arts are just about fighting, the truth is that the physical “kicking and punching” are really just the tools that I use to teach the more important, and MUCH more valuable lessons about yourself.

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