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Our Instructors

Our instructors all have at least twenty-five years of experience in Eizan Ryu Jujitsu, and have trained extensively in other martial arts as well. Each of them brings a unique perspective to their teaching, informed by an open minded approach to the martial arts. They are not paid to teach at the dojo; they teach out of love of the martial arts and a desire to share that with their students.

 
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Shihan Maria van Dessel

Head Instructor

Shihan Maria Van Dessel began practicing Eizan Ryu Jujitsu in 1981, drawn by techniques which allowed a smaller person to control a larger attacker.She trained at Biwa Ko Dojo under Shihan Felix Berrios, and was granted her black belt in 1987. Shortly thereafter, she began teaching at the dojo. She now holds the rank of Rokyudan and is the head instructor at the New York City Dojo.

In 1989, Shihan Maria began studying full contact karate under Soshu Shigeru Oyama. She trained with him until the NYC Headquarters dojo closed She currently holds the rank of Yondan in Kan Rei Kai Karate, and is an instructor at the style’s Manhattan Dojo.

She has also studied Vee-Arnis Jitsu and Tomiki Aiki-jujitsu.

Shihan Stephen Rittersporn

Instructor

Shihan Stephen Rittersporn is a lifelong New Yorker from the Lower East Side (LES) and has been involved in martial arts for over forty years. 

He began his studies in Shotokan Karate in 1979 under Sensei Vincent Butta and he trained in Judo under Sensei Shiro Oishi. In 1981, he moved to Shorin-Ryu Karate in which he currently holds the rank of hachidan. Grand Master Eizo Shimabukuro promoted him to Rokudan in 2005, and in 2017, Hanshi Charles R. Bonét promoted him to Kyoshi, 8th Degree Black Belt (red and White obi). Hanshi Charles R. Bonét also appointed him the International Coordinator of Shorin-Kai International (SKI). 

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Sensei Cari Brentegani

Instructor

Sensei Cari Brentegani has always been athletic. She was on lacrosse and netball teams in school, and has been a serious runner (completing the NYC marathon) and cyclist (participating in numerous long distance urban bike events).


Her martial arts journey began in 1995, when she started training in Shorin Ryu Karate under Sensei Robert Weinberg, and eventually attained the rank of Nidan. 


Sensei Cari began training in Eizan Ryu Jujitsu on New Year’s day in the year 2000, and currently holds the rank of Sandan. She is well-loved by her students, and is known as a helpful and patient instructor.

Sensei G

Sabbatical

Sensei G came to NYC from Dublin, Ireland, where they had trained in Kickboxing. They began practicing Eizan Ryu Jujitsu in 1987, when the NYC dojo was in the East Village. Their training was interrupted for a few years, but once they returned to the dojo, they became a truly dedicated student and, eventually, instructor. 

Always eager to learn, Sensei G has supplemented their jujitsu with training in Kan Rei Kai Karate, Aikido, and Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujitsu. They hold the rank of Sandan in Eizan Ryu, and are especially skilled at weapons work, and at teaching ukemi (falling skills).