Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Robert Wolfe Sensei

Robert Wolfe Sensei

Dojo Founder and Chief Instructor

Robert Wolfe, the founder and chief instructor of Itten Dojo, began martial arts training in 1975 and has taught since 1985. Wolfe Sensei has trained in swordsmanship since 1990 and aikijutsu since 1992. He holds the ranks of rokudan (sixth-degree black-belt) in aikijutsu, rokudan in Isshinryu karate, shodan (first-degree black-belt) in Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iaido, a kirigami menjo (certificate) in Ono-ha Itto-ryu (Sokaku-den) kenjutsu, was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Japanese Studies from Bucknell University in 1978; and is certified by the NRA to teach the Refuse To Be A Victim® crime prevention and personal safety seminars. 

Wolfe Sensei retired from federal civil service after a long career supporting the U.S. Navy as a logistician. His final position was Director of Maritime Industrial Support, managing a staff of more than 40 individuals responsible for ensuring the proper material was delivered to the four Naval shipyards for on-time maintenance of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. A highlight of his career was receiving the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the third-highest decoration possible for civilian employees of the Navy.

An interview with Wolfe Sensei discussing Itten Dojo and the benefits of training in heritage martial arts can be heard here, on the Speaking From The Heart podcast.

As an author, Wolfe Sensei has published numerous articles addressing the martial arts in a variety of periodicals, ranging from popular magazines such as Inside Karate, Martial Arts Training, and Aikido Today Magazine, to internationally distributed, academic publications such as the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. He served as assistant editor and was a frequent contributor to Bugeisha—Traditional Martial Artist magazine. His first book, A Journey of Sword and Spirit, was published in March 2024 and is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions..

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Alan Starner

Alan Starner

Dojo Co-founder and Assistant Instructor — Jujutsu and Iaido

Alan Starner helped found Itten Dojo and holds the grades of yondan (fourth-degree black-belt) in aikijutsu (Tendokai), shoden menjo in Ono-ha Itto-ryu (Sokaku-den) kenjutsu, sandan (third-degree black-belt) in Isshinryu karate, and shodan (first-degree black-belt) in Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iaido. Mr. Starner serves as assistant instructor for jujutsu and iaido.

In his professional career, Mr. Starner is a Sales Team Lead for Advantage Solutions, a sales and marketing agency in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Randy Manning Sensei

Randy Manning Sensei

Group Leader — OHIR Kenjutsu

Randy Manning leads our Ono-ha Itto-ryu study group, having trained in swordsmanship since 1993, the year he joined Itten Dojo. He holds shoden menjo in Ono-ha Itto-ryu (Sokaku-den) kenjutsu.

Mr. Manning earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Shippensburg University. He is licensed to practice patent law before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Mr. Manning retired from Tyco Electronics and was Development Engineering Manager for the Fiber Optics Business Unit. Since retiring, he has worked as a consultant to corporations and law firms both domestically and overseas.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Rie Hashimoto Bailey Sensei

Rie Hashimoto Bailey Sensei

Instructor — Shodo (Calligraphy); Japanese Language and Culture

Rie Bailey was raised in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, but has also lived in Spain, Italy, Washington State, and now Pennsylvania. She speaks Japanese, English, Spanish, and Italian, and is a professional international travel coordinator. Bailey Sensei is ranked 7th-dan in the Tonan school of shodo, is a Reiki master and teacher, and an alternative medicine practitioner. As a calligrapher, Bailey Sensei has taught shodo everywhere she’s lived and has received numerous awards for her art.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Jevin Orcutt

Jevin Orcutt

Assistant Group Leader — OHIR Kenjutsu

Jevin Orcutt joined Itten Dojo in 2002, is graded nidan (second-degree black-belt) in aikijutsu (Tendokai) and is assistant leader of our Ono-ha Itto-ryu study group. He began his martial arts training with Isshinryu karate in 1985, and currently holds a teaching license in Taikyoku Budo, shoden menjo in Ono-ha Itto-ryu (Sokaku-den), Shoden in Taikyoku Aikido, and 1st-dan in Chin Mu Kwan Tae Kwon Do. Mr. Orcutt’s current training focus includes mainline Ono-ha Itto-ryu kenjutsu, Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iaido, Taikyoku Budo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Mr. Orcutt graduated magna cum laude from Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, with a concentration in Public History. He currently works in organizational development for a 501(c)3 non-profit supporting a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett

Assistant Instructor — Jujutsu

Jennifer Bennett began training at Itten Dojo in 2008. She is graded nidan in aikijutsu (Tendokai), and serves as an assistant instructor. Ms. Bennett was a regular contributor to Bugeisha—Traditional Martial Artist magazine, writing in the “Yin—Women in the Martial Arts” column.

Ms. Bennett holds an associate of applied science degree in health information management and occupational therapy and a bachelor of arts degree in communications. In 2017, Ms. Bennett founded Velocity Medical Billing LLC, which she owns and operates. 

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Charles Hudson

Charles Hudson

Assistant Instructor — Jujutsu and Iaido

Charles Hudson began training at Itten Dojo in 2012, is graded nidan in aikijutsu (Tendokai) and ikkyu in Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iaido, and serves as an assistant instructor. Mr. Hudson received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Fort Hayes State University and now works as a web developer with expertise in web design, development, and languages such as PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Gary Burkett

Gary Burkett

Assistant Group Leader — OHIR Kenjutsu

Gary Burkett joined Itten Dojo in 2016 and is an assistant leader of our Ono-ha Itto-ryu study group. Mr. Burkett graduated from Shippensburg University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Nicklaus Suino Sensei

Nicklaus Suino Sensei

Visiting Instructor — Iaido and Jujutsu

Suino Sensei has been called “one of North America’s foremost martial arts teachers.” His personal mission is to master the most profound aspects of Japanese heritage martial arts and offer the true Japanese budo experience to his students. Suino Sensei believes that proper practice of Japanese martial arts can have a profoundly positive effect on people’s lives—and we can attest to this! Since 2009, he has been consulting for businesses and individuals who want to improve their effectiveness using the physical, mental, and intangible principles of mastery.

In 1988, Suino Sensei decided to see the homeland of budo. He sold his belongings, bought a plane ticket, and moved to Yokohama, Japan. Between 1988 and 1992, he practiced judo, jujutsu, iaido, and kyudo (archery). He studied iaido at the home dojo of the late Yamaguchi Katsuo, one of the greatest of the 20th century swordsmen. In 1989, Suino Sensei was appointed secretary to the Foreign Department of the International Martial Arts Federation, Tokyo HQ. He was four-time All-Tokyo forms champion in iaido at his rank level between 1989 and 1992, and represented the Kanto region in the All-Japan tournament in Kyoto in 1992. He continues to visit Japan regularly, visiting and training with some of the world’s most respected instructors of aikido, iaido, judo, jujitsu, karate, and koryu bujutsu.

Suino Sensei is widely published in the martial arts, having sold over 60,000 copies of his books, including The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship, Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship, Arts of Strength, Arts of Serenity, and its revised version, Budo Mind and Body, Strategy in Japanese Swordsmanship, and The Flywheel. He is President and Managing Director of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association and a Michigan Regional Director for the US branch of the International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF-Americas). He was director of ITAMA Dojo in East Lansing, Michigan, from 1993 until 2003. In 2006, he returned to Ann Arbor to open the Japanese Martial Arts Center, offering classes in jujutsu, judo, iaido, and karate for kids.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Mark Hague Sensei

Mark Hague Sensei

Instructor in Residence — OHIR Study Group

Mark Hague provides leadership, technical oversight, and direction to the Ono-ha Itto-ryu Study Group. Mr. Hague’s martial arts career has spanned over 42 years, 19 of those years training in Japan. He started Ono-ha Itto-ryu in the Reigakudo under Sasamori Takemi in 2002. Awarded the Kanajisho license (mokuroku) in 2009, he is the most senior exponent of the art outside of Japan. As a certified instructor (shidosha) of the Ono-ha Itto-ryu America Branch, he teaches Ono-ha Itto-ryu on behalf of the Reigakudo in classes, seminars, and demonstrations in the United States.

Japanese Martial Arts Instructor Edward Castillo (Salahuddin Muhammad) Sensei

Edward Castillo (Salahuddin Muhammad) Sensei

Mentor and Visiting Instructor — Aikibujutsu

Castillo Sensei founded the Takeshin Dojo in 1984. He is an International Director of the Japanese Budo Association, under Asano Yasuhito Shihan. Castillo Sensei is a technical director for jujutsu and aikibujutsu for the JBA, and is the director of the Nihonden Aikibujutsu Senyokai. He represents an independent, comprehensive, and powerful expression of aikibujutsu, and is technical advisor to the Aikijutsu Tendokai for advanced concepts.

Castillo Sensei is the current headmaster of Hontai Hakkei Ryu Aikibujutsu, a contemporary, neo-classical martial art that is descended from some of Japan’s oldest, established martial arts systems. The art is a weapons-based system with many empty-hand techniques and applications. Besides jujutsu and newaza (ground-fighting), the curriculum contains classical Japanese weapons, including sword, tanto (dagger), staff, tessen (iron fan), jutte (truncheon), and more. Castillo Sensei received his training and inheritance of the system from his teacher, the late Okazaki Shuji Sensei

What sets aikibujutsu apart from other martial arts is its internal-power methodology, which is quite different from the traditional way in which most martial artists and athletes train to move and to create body stability and strength. Aiki myoden (Hontai Hakkei Ryu’s unique term) has long been considered the “secret ingredient” that makes the body more efficient and effective in both receiving and neutralizing an attacker’s force, and in powering one’s own techniques. Because of the focus on whole-body movement and utilization, aikibujutsu can be effective as self-defense and a fitness regimen for men and women of all sizes and ages.