Sensei Nerissa Freeman, Godan (5th degree black belt), is the founder and school head of Wasenshi Kan Martial & Healing Arts. In 1990, she began studying Danzan Ryu Jujutsu at Makoto Kai in Woodland, California under Sensei Cynthia Frueh. She received her shodan (1st degree black belt) in 1995 and then began expanding her studies of the martial arts. Sensei received a sandan in Kodokan Judo under Coach Willy Cahill and studied pentjak silat ratu adil under Gabriel Torres, Sr., a direct student of Rudy Ter Linden. Her jujutsu training then continued at Makoto Kai Dojo and she became co-school head in early 2005. She continued in this role until founding Wasenshi Kan in October, 2012. She is always looking to advance her training, and studied muay thai under Ajarn Andy Khensamphaph for five years. She also graduated from Okugi® 2013 under Professor Tony Janovich with her kaidensho and Danzan Ryu Jujutsu instructor title of kyoshi. Currently, she studies Toyama Ryu Battodo under Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh, school head of the Suigetsukan. Her training has also included the healing arts, and she is a Licensed Physical Therapist as well as a Certified Massage Therapist in the State of California. Her massage therapy training began shortly after she started practicing jujutsu and has focused on Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy and Seifukujitsu. She is also a graduate of the Basic Level of the Original Okazaki Restoration Massage under Sensei Keith Okazaki, grandson of Master Henry S. Okazaki. The emphasis on personal growth, service to others and the community, as well as the many lifelong friendships she has made are what have kept Sensei Freeman with the AJJF, Danzan Ryu, and the martial and healing arts. Sensei Freeman is guided by her current sensei, Professor Sheryl Hager, school head of Redding Jujitsu Academy.
Sensei Dianna McKinzie, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) began studying in DZR in 1987. After a temporary hiatus, Sensei resumed training and progressed through the ranks. She earned her nidan in 2015. She is co-school head of Hale O Lima Kokua in Newcastle, CA and trains under the tutelage of Professor Sheryl Hager. However, she calls Sensei Freeman one of her instructors and has committed herself to teaching and training at Wasenshi Kan. Sensei McKinzie is the lead instructor for the juniors program at Wasenshi Kan.
Sensei Mike McKinzie, Shodan (1st degree black belt) began training in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu in 1998. Sensei McKinzie is co-school head of Hale O Lima Kokua in Newcastle, CA and trains under the guidance of Professor Sheryl Hager. However, Sensei Freeman is also one of his instructors, and through his contributions on and off the mat, has dedicated himself to the success of Wasenshi Kan!
Sensei Rodrigo Garcia, Shodan (1st degree black belt) began practicing Danzan Ryu Jujitsu in 2007. He earned his shodan in 2012 and has devoted himself to a lifetime of study of DZR. In addition, he is a P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standard Training) certified weaponless self defense instructor through the Sacramento Regional Public Safety Center and has been a Yolo County juvenile corrections officer since 2002. He has also been studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as part of his comprehensive martial arts training.
Sensei Jason Zanghi, Shodan (1st degree black belt) began DZR training in 2009 with Sensei Murph Stevens and Sensei Nerissa Freeman at Makoto Kai Dojo in Woodland, CA. Departing there to join Sensei Freeman at her new dojo, he became the first promoted blackbelt of Wasenshi Kan in February, 2013. Off the mat, his artwork can be seen on several shirts as well as the Wasenshi Kan logo. Overcoming the odds of drug addiction in his late teens, he is now a devoted husband and father, with the streets well in his past. Sensei Zanghi also studies the healing arts, learning the techniques of Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy.
Sensei Erica Zanghi, Shodan (1st degree black belt) began training Danzan Ryu Jujitsu when she moved from Philadelphia to Sacramento in May 2009. Sensei Erica started jujitsu to learn self defense but quickly realized that Danzan Ryu would be part of her life. In 2012, she completed Module 1 of the Danzan Ryu Seifukujitsu Institute massage program. She earned her black belt in 2015. Sensei Erica is the head instructor of our peewee class for our youngest martial artists!
Sensei Joe Bendorf, Nidan (2nd degree black belt) began training in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu in 1999 in the Makoto Kai children’s program. He was Sensei Freeman’s first blackbelt student, earning his shodan in 2008 and his nidan in 2011. He has also studied pentjak silat, tai chi, and has spent time studying and competing in judo. Sensei Bendorf has also studied the healing arts, learning the techniques of Danzan Ryu Restorative Therapy. Sensei Bendorf teaches at Makoto Kai Dojo in Woodland, CA.