Brandon W. Maynard, Psy.D. is a 2017 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Santa Barbara.

Dr. Brandon Maynard

Dissertation Committee:

  • Daniel Schwartz, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Christopher Howard, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Christine DiBlasio, Ph.D., Committee Member


Karate, Martial Arts, Exercise, Self Esteem, Spirituality, Phenomenology, Masters, Mental Health, Kata, Kumite, Dan, Black Belt, Emotional Regulation, Qualititative

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The contributions martial arts training can make to mental health treatment have scarcely been explored by researchers in psychology. Practitioners of martial arts, such as karate, report that the training improves self-esteem, concentration, and emotional well-being. Several studies have provided empirical evidence in support of these anecdotal reports, but very few have utilized participants who have advanced training in martial arts to examine the emotional impact such training has across time. This study takes a phenomenological approach to studying the emotional effects training has had on master-level martial artists (fourth-degree black belt or higher) in the discipline of karate. Eight participants were interviewed to identify how karate has impacted their personal lives as well as the lives of the students they have trained. The themes identified verify that practicing martial arts increases self-esteem, emotional well-being, memory, prosocial behaviors, and humility. These expert participants also voiced that many of their students – who suffered with a range of emotional conditions – experienced similar benefits from even brief (three to six months) practice of their martial art. The eight karate masters interviewed all report that their martial arts training positively impacted their emotional lives and mental functioning, but empirical research is needed to verify and quantify the positive effects karate training can have on emotional health. This Dissertation is available in Open Access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLink ETD Center,


ORCID: 0000-0003-0093-5052


Brandon Maynard began his tutelage at Antioch University in Santa Barbara in 2012, in the Masters of Clinical Psychology program. During this time, he worked extensively with at-risk youth in foster care for his traineeship, before finishing his practicum with a substance abuse clinic in Santa Maria, California.

He was accepted into the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program at Antioch University, and followed his passion for crisis and forensic work. During his academia, he individualized his training surrounding working with the courts or law enforcement. His practica work included Santa Barbara County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health as well as their Justice Alliance Program, supporting severely mentally ill patients in the court system. This passion carried him into working for San Luis Obispo county’s Psychiatric Health Facility for involuntary, often incarcerated, individuals dubbed incompetent to stand trial. He also worked for Santa Barbara county Mobile Crisis as a senior evaluator for over eighteen months.

He relocated for his predoctoral internship, to Casper, Wyoming providing psychotherapy and psychological evaluation for at-risk adolescents as well as the homeless population, many of whom were involved in the legal system. He was happy to accept a position in Cheyenne, Wyoming with the Peak Wellness Center to lead their developing crisis team.

Brandon plans to obtain licensure as a Clinical Psychologist in Colorado and Wyoming, while working towards board certification as a Law Enforcement/Public Safety and Forensic Psychologist with the American Board of Professional Psychology. He plans to continue his career working in the front range area with Law Enforcement for crisis evaluation and work to promote client success and community safety.

Brandon has provided trainings in Psychological First Aide in Santa Barbara, California and Casper, Wyoming. He has previous training in Search and Rescue during his undergraduate work in Southern California.

Outside of academia, Brandon is an avid martial artist and obstacle distance runner with Spartan Races. He is ranked as a Shodan (first degree black belt) in Keichu Ryu Karate, Kendo, and intermediate rank in Tae Kwon Do. He also trains in Shaolin Kempo and Jeet Kune Do during his spare time. It was this passion that he was able to merge his two worlds of Psychology and Martial Arts in his dissertation: From Dawn to Dan: The Journey of Karate Masters. Which he presented successfully at Antioch University in June of 2017. Additionally, his dissertation will also be presented in Division 37 at the 125th American Psychological Association Convention in Washington DC.

He is a proud father of three and enjoys the outdoors, frequenting national parks throughout the United States with his family. He is also an active Catholic. Additionally, he is heavily involved in the International arenas of mental health, having counseling and traveled throughout the Western United States, South Korea and Japan.

Presentations and Lectures:

Maynard, B. (2017) From Dawn to Dan: The Journey of Karate Masters. Academic Presentation at the 125th American Psychological Association Convention in Washington DC.

Maynard, B. (2017) From Dawn to Dan: The Journey of Karate Masters. Academic Presentation at Park Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in Casper, Wyoming.

Maynard, B. (2017) From Dawn to Dan: The Journey of Karate Masters. Community Presentation at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.

Maynard. B. (2016) Psychological First Aide. Didactic Training at Park Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in Casper, Wyoming.

Maynard, B. (2015) Psychological First Aide; Introduction and Overview. Training and Lecture at Santa Barbara County Mental Health in Santa Maria, California.