David Sensei currently holds the rank of Nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Danzan-ryu Jujitsu. I began training in Jujitsu in 1991 while stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, AK, while serving in the U.S. Air Force. My instructor was Daryl “DJ” Johnson, a 6th degree black belt in Sanucas-ryu Jiu-Jitsu (street-effective system of Jujitsu). I was asked by Sgt. Hassett to check out a Jujitsu school on base. When I saw them training for the first time, it reminded me of an effective martial arts that you would actually use on the street. There was no Jujitsu competitions at the time, just Karate and tough-man competitions in Alaska (DJ won one of these). So our Jujitsu had more stand-up and striking than groundwork compared to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ).
After returning to the Washington, DC area, I briefly trained in Aikido (Tohei style) in Fairfax, VA. This improved my blending and softness required in my standing joint locks already found in Jujitsu. In addition, it formalized movement exercises, extending from one point, mediation and Ki Breathing (a no-nonsense meditation and ki breathing which I still use today).
In approx. 1995, I began training in Danzan-ryu Jujutsu under Prof. George Arrington in Falls Church, VA. I found this to be a complete martial art that encompassed all of the standing, ground, weapons, and healing (Kappo and Seifukujutsu). It has been a catalyst system that brought together much of my training and show me jujitsu as a whole. I also went to the Jujitsu America Convention in Boston held that year and met Prof. Sig Kufferath for the first time. I didn’t know who he was at first, but noticed everyone paying their respects. He was kind and very approachable. I sat next to him, made small talk, and continued to stay in contact after the convention.
In 1995-6, there was a “Martial Arts Lecture Series” that George Arrington and Karen Panker put together. One of the guests was Forest Morgan, who wrote “Living the Martial Way”. I received a signed book and remembered him explaining about the martial way and clarifying martial being war (as in war art or way). Another instructor was Joe Aldrige, former student of Dillman when he was with Oyata, and now under Moneymaker. He explained pressure points and meridians in easily digestable way. George gave a good lecture on kanji from a pictoral standpoint. This lecture series truly showed a cognizant approach to martial arts that is seldom seen today.
On November 26, 2002, I received my Shodan (1st degree black belt). I flew out to California to review the boards with Prof. Arrington, Prof. Guth, Prof. Okomoto, Sensei T. Webb, and Prof. Janovich. Everyone was kind enough to share (kokua) their knowledge and keep with the Ohana spirit of Danzan-ryu. By the end of my trip, I was called up before class and told I would be testing. I passed my exam, but realized in the process that I had much more to learn. Prof. Okomoto presented me with my “chop”, which is used as signature on certificates. After my exam, she said there were some black belts that were already ready and some that grow into the rank. I honestly said I was the latter and realize it more as I began teach and grow into my rank. The purpose for all the preparation became clear and it was a memorable experience that I will always be grateful for. On September 1, 2007, I received my Nidan (2nd degree black belt) at Ohana Convention from Prof. Arrington and Prof. Janovich. Emotions went from surprise to a stark realization that more would be required of me.
Since this time, I have devoted myself to perfection of technique, application, and training others in Danzan-ryu Jujitsu. I attend regular seminars in Danzan-ryu Jujitsu to continue my growth and better understanding of our art. My goal as an instructor is to produce the best students I can through excellent technique and the positive attitudes found in Danzan-ryu Jujitsu. I take pride in the success of my students and am constantly striving to find a better way to impart knowledge or come up with training drills that improve application in techniques learned. In addition to Danzan ryu, I continue to cross train in Moy Yat Ving Tsun (Wing Chun), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and Arnis/Escrima. My goal is to discover Jujitsu as a whole, create a community, and respect all martial arts styles while learning from them.
You may contact me 703-298-4560 (cell) or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org