Instructors – Master List

From its beginning in 2004, the Hoitsugan Seminars camps have set and maintained a high bar for instructor rosters as well as depth, breadth and number of seminar sessions. People come from around the world to teach and train at this groundbreaking camps.

With few exceptions, all instructors at the Hoitsugan Seminars camps spent a minimum of six months doing Karate in Japan and during that time spent a significant amount of time training with Nakayama Sensei and/or at his private dojo, the Hoitsugan.

Below is a list of all of those who were official instructors at these camps. Please note that we have had others in attendance who also trained at the Hoitsugan dojo but were not on the official list of instructors

(Listed in order of when they first trained at the Hoitsugan Dojo and/or with Nakayama Sensei while in Japan)

Vincent Cruz – Cruz Sensei began his Shotokan training in Japan in 1956 while in the US Air Force. In 1959, he was selected to be a Combative Measures Instructor for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) through which he trained directly with Senseis Nishiyama and Obata, among others. Cruz Sensei founded International San Ten Karate Association and has written 2 books about Shotokan.

James Yabe – Yabe Sensei’s training with Nakayama Sensei in Japan pre-dates the Hoitsugan’s founding.  He lived and trained in Japan in the 1960’s, having been involved in karate since the 1950’s.  His tournament success in the US in the 1960’s and 1970’s is well-known.  He teaches in Torrance, California, at the ASKC dojo there and holds senior positions in multiple Shotokan organizations.

Kensuke Seto – In addition to having spent time training at the Hoitsugan in the early 1970’s, Mr Seto trained in the Instructors’ Class (under Nakayama Sensei and others) in Japan and is a very senior member of the JKA in Tokyo. He was sent by the JKA to teach in Hawaii in the 1970’s for several years. He is also a close personal friend of notable non-Japanese karateka CW Nicol, author of “Moving Zen” (in which Seto Sensei is mentioned numerous times). For more information, please see the following page from his dojo in Tokyo:

Steve Ubl – The first Hoitsugan resident, from 1972, Ubl Sensei also trained at the Hoitsugan later in the 1970’s.  A very personal student of the late Nakayama Sensei, from whom he learned some things not taught to more than a handful of the top Shotokan instructors.  He was also one of the most personal students of Senseis Nishiyama and Kanazawa in the 1970’s.  Considered by many of the most highly-regarded Shotokan instructors as the ultimate “teachers’ teacher,” Ubl Sensei operates a dojo in San Diego, California and is the Technical Director for several organizations, including the WTKO.

Kousaku Yokota – Yokota Sensei began his training in Japan in 1960. He moved to the US and was Okazaki Sensei’s right-hand-man for most of the 1970’s. He moved back to Japan in the early 1980’s to further his training, spending a brief time training at the Hoitsugan and spending 2 years training with his orginal instructor (Sugano Sensei) in Hyogo prefecture. Yokota Sensei heads the “ASAI” organization.

Gary Friederich – Friederich Sensei was the first westerner allowed to join the elite JKA Instructors’ Training Program in Tokyo. He had also trained at Takushoku, Komazawa, and Toritsu Universities and competed in the 1965 and 1966 JKA All-Japans as the only representative of the USA. Although he may not be a very well-known name in most Shotokan circles, it is worth noting that he was mentioned several times in both CW Nicol’s ‘Moving Zen’ and Stan Schmidt’s ‘Spirit of the Empty Hand.’ Friederich Sensei was chief instructor for the Nevada Karate Association, for over 40 years. Please note that assisting with instruction of Friederich Sensei’s sessions was the legendary Shapoff (Bob) Sensei, a very successful competitor in the 1960’s-70’s.

James Field – Trained in Japan in the early 1970’s.  Among the first graduates of the JKA Instructors’ Training program in the USA (under Nishiyama Sensei in LA) and one of the seniormost non-Japanese JKA instructors in the Americas.  Very successful tournament competitor and coach from the 1960’s onwards.  Many Hoitsugan alumni have trained at Field Sensei’s dojo in Santa Monica over the years, including about half of those teaching these seminars and he is one of the most senior instructors in the ISKF

Malcolm Fisher  – Lived at the Hoitsugan for a total of 9 months during 1979-81.  Graduated from the JKA Instructors’ Training in 1985 and during the early 1980’s appeared in many demonstrations and videos assisting Tanaka Sensei. Successful competitor in Japan, Canada and the US spanning over 20 years.  Some notable tournament successes include 2 Firsts and 1 Second place in Kumite for Kogenei City Championships and on kumite teams that placed 4th and 2nd in the All-Japans and 1st (twice) in the Kanto Championships.

Michael Berger – Berger Sensei trained in Japan for several years in the 1980s & 1990s, beginning in 1983.  While there, he trained at multiple locations, including both Takushoku and Komazawa Universities.  He has placed in numerous tournaments in the US and Japan in both JKA and mixed-style events and produced several books and video’s.  He also studied various martial arts in China while there pursuing an advanced degree in traditional Chinese medicine. He currently operates a dojo in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he also practices acupuncture and Zen Buddhism, as well as trains MMA fighters.  Mr Berger was one of the organizers for Hoitsugan Seminars II, in 2005.

Jon Keeling – Keeling Sensei lived at the Hoitsugan Sep 1985 to July 1988, July-Aug 1990 and for a few other short stays.  He lived & trained in Tokyo for a total of 8 years and for a few years taught most of the Saturday classes at the Hoitsugan. On Hoitsugan kata teams that placed 3rd, 2nd and 1st in different years at the JKA All-Tokyo Championships.  Chief Instructor, Silicon Valley Karate.  He is the one who originally conceived the idea of these Hoitsugan Seminars camps and has been the organizer/host of the 1st, 3rd, 4th & 5th Hoitsugan Seminars Camps in northern California in 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2020.

Leon Montoya – Lived at the Hoitsugan from 1986 for several years and still today lives in Tokyo (but no longer at the Hoitsugan).  Graduate of the JKA Instructors’ Course in Tokyo (1996).  For many years was an instructor at the Hoitsugan Dojo, assisting Kawawada Sensei.  On Hoitsugan kumite teams placing in the top 3 several times at the JKA All-Tokyo Championships and has competed many times in the All-Japan JKA Individual Championships.

Jeremy Peck – Peck Sensei lived at the Hoitsugan 1987-88 and July-Sep 1990.  He spent an additional year+ living and training in Japan prior to staying at the Hoitsugan and during that time trained regularly at the Aoyama Gakuin University dojo. On Hoitsugan kata team that placed 2nd and 1st in 1987 and 1988 in the JKA All-Tokyo Championships. Peck Sensei has taught at several dojo on both US coasts and currently teaches in Monterey, California.

Glen Michel – Trained at the JKA Honbu, the Hoitsugan, and Seto Juku from 1987 to 1991. In the US, he has trained with Field Sensei in Santa Monica, California and with Yabe Sensei in Torrance, California. Presently, he is Assistant Instructor with Michael Berger (see above). Mr. Michel was one of the organizers for Hoitsugan Seminars II in 2005.

Greg DuBois – Lived at the Hoitsugan 1987-88.  Taught karate in Alaska for many years.

Bob Ehling – Lived and trained in Tokyo in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s.  Ehling Sensei previously trained with Yokota (Kosaku) Sensei and now trains under Field Sensei (another Hoitsugan alumni) in Santa Monica, California, where he sometimes helps teach classes at ISKF Santa Monica.

Aaron Hoopes – Trained at the Hoitsugan 1987-1989, where he was a member of the dojo teams competing in All-Tokyo tournaments. Was also living and training in Japan for an additional 2 years.  Author of several books and many articles relating to martial arts and yoga. Instructor of Tai Chi and Zen Yoga in addition to Karate.

Richard Amos – Lived in Japan for 9 years from 1989 to 1998, having been a Hoitsugan member Jan 1989 to Sep 1990.  On the Hoitsugan kumite team (along with Rene Vildosola and Leon Montoya) which placed 1st in the All-Tokyo tournament in 1989, winning all rounds 3-to-0.  That same year, he was on the Hoitsugan kata team (along with Rene Vildosola and Rai Wibawa) that placed 2nd in the All-Japans.  Graduate of the Asai-JKA Instructors’ Course in Tokyo.  Placed in finals of the Asai-JKA All-Japans and World Championships on numerous occasions. Amos Sensei teaches at his dojo in New York and is also Chief Instructor for the WTKO.

Erik Passoja – Trained at the Hoitsugan in 1989.  Presently trains under Field Sensei (another Hoitsugan alumni) in Santa Monica, California, where he teaches classes at ISKF of Santa Monica.

Errol Mahoney – Mahoney Sensei trained mainly at the Hoitsugan dojo with the Saturday afternoon military group (Kenoukai) under Colonel Kawamoto from June 1990 through November 1993, while stationed at Yokota airbase. Currently, he teaches at the JSKA Florida’s Jupiter dojo with Fred Bonomo.

Fred Borda – Trained with Kawawada Sensei at the Hoitsugan 1991-94, as well as at the JKA Honbu.  Instructor at Silicon Valley Karate.

Dan Cook – Lived at the Hoitsugan in the mid-90’s and has spent a total of approximately 20 years in Japan.  Sensei Cook used to help teach classes in Santa Monica and now assists Kawawada Sensei at the Hoitsugan.  On Hoitsugan kata team that placed 3rd in JKA All-Tokyo Championships in 1996.

Mario Kadena – Trained at the Hoitsugan many times starting in 1991, usually for several months at a time. Kadena Sensei teaches at his dojo near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has been doing Shotokan for over 45 years.

Brian Thompson – Lived at the Hoitsugan for total of about one year in the mid-1990’s, training both there and at the JKA Honbu dojo.