Renshi D. Michaels, our owner and head instructor, has 35 years of experience in martial arts.

In Japanese, Renshi is a prestigious title meaning “polished and expert instructor” and only awarded to those ranking 5th or 6th Dan, who have spent 20 plus years in the martial arts. He began his martial arts training in 1983 as one of the original students of Shihan Takeshi Sato, the founder of kokuryu. At the age of nine, he received his first-degree blackbelt, and by the age of 27, he had received his fifth-degree blackbelt allowing promotion later on to the rank and title of Renshi. During his younger years, he competed heavily in sparring tournaments all over the Eastern Coast of the United States. Whether it was Karate, Tae Kwon Do, or Judo and JuiJitsu, no contact or full contact, he took on all challenges he could find. In a span of 6 years, Renshi Michaels amassed an astounding fight record of 72 wins and 0 losses. When he was 17 years old, he culminated his tournament career with back to back national championships, winning both the Can-AM Tournament and the Northeastern Grand Nationals. He was the number one ranked junior amateur at the time of his tournament retirement as high school was ending and he moved on to the next chapter of his life.

Military Experience

After high school, the United State Marine Corps welcomed Renshi Michaels, who had already excelled at high school football and wrestling, while keeping his grades up to graduate Salutatorian with a 4.05 GPA. While enlisted in the Marine Corps he continued mastering the strength and skill needed for combat and self defense while climbing the ranks quickly, eventually leaving the service as an E5 Sergeant. He was initially trained in the military fighting systems of LINE, then later added SPEAR and SCARS combat training, along with SERE training, and multiple other combat courses. Operating for years in the elite Special Forces Force Recon division, as a Scout Sniper, he was deployed all over the world, working within the Special Forces of the United States, while cooperating and joint training with other Elite Special Forces around the globe. Renshi was able to train with the British SAS, the Australian SOC, and the Israeli Sayerat and Mossad, where he learned Krav Maga from the masters and inventors themselves. As soon as the Marine Corps rolled out their Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, Renshi signed on to further improve his talent and knowledge of the practice. In a very short time he earned a brown belt, instructor level in the MCMAP.

The New Black Dragons

Renshi Michaels’ experience in the Marine Corps, along with his 20 plus years of experience studying martial arts, has helped him to perfect his teaching of Kokuryu — an already effective and combat-based martial art — into an even more intense and complete form. Building upon the proven concepts of Kokuryu he added new experience in Close Quarter Combat, weapons training, weapons disarming, critical offense and defense, situational awareness as well environmental awareness and usage. The results ensure a combative and practical use for personal development and self defense whether you are facing one opponent, or multiple attackers, bare handed or armed, in ideal and in less than ideal situations such as darkness, or quiet, sensory deprivation, or even injury, the new Black Dragons are more effective and versatile than ever before.

To learn from the best, contact us today to sign up for your first, free introductory class.