Every one of our instructors has a long history in the martial arts and possesses detailed knowledge of our extensive traditional curricula. Rank is not easy to come by, and only a handful of Shihan Crosswell's black belts have ever been awarded the distinguished title of sensei. Subject to these exacting standards and armed with over 170 years of combined experience, our elite instructor team is able to provide every Arizona Budokan student with careful, nuanced instruction suited to each individual.
Shihan Rudy Crosswell is internationally acclaimed as one of the most accomplished and versatile martial artists in the world today. A second-generation student of the founder of Shito-ryu and a lifelong practitioner of Okinawan kobudo and Japanese sword, he has trained consistently with dozens of legendary masters for over half a century. With 10th dan rankings in both Shito-ryu karate and Okinawan kobudo, he is unique among living martial artists for his level of technical expertise, depth of practical application, and nuanced historical understanding of his chosen arts. As Chief Instructor, he holds every one of his assistant instructors to the same set of exacting standards, ensuring that the priceless martial arts knowledge he has accumulated over his lifetime is passed down to the next generation intact.
Click here for a complete biography of Shihan Crosswell, featuring rare photos and detailed historical information tracing the life of this celebrated and exceptional martial arts master.
Sensei Takawaki has been training at the Arizona Budokan since he was a boy, and is one of the few students ever to be awarded a 4th degree black belt by Shihan Crosswell.
He is highly respected as Shihan Crosswell's most senior practicing student in both Shito-ryu karate and Okinawan kobudo, where his painstaking attention to detail in both performance and application have earned him an outstanding reputation as a top-notch performer and expert technician in his chosen arts.
Sensei Willett began training in Shinkendo under Shihan Crosswell in 1995. He now holds the coveted instructor rank of Chuden Renshi and practitioner rank of Jie in Shinkendo, and is steadily adding Toyama-ryu Iaido to his extensive sword repertoire.
Sensei Willett's meticulous dedication to both the practice and instruction of traditional Japanese sword technique has earned him a distinguished place as Shihan Crosswell's premiere assistant instructor in this beautiful and deeply historical samurai art.
Sensei Barry joined the Arizona Budokan in 1994, and has now been training consistently in Shito-ryu karate, Okinawan kobudo, and Japanese sword for over 15 years. His passion for kobudo and practical karate application is an invaluable asset to other students, who turn to him for his ability to skillfully unpack the endless hidden applications found in our myriad open-handed and weapons forms.
His detailed and fun-loving approach to instruction has earned him a prominent place as Shihan Crosswell's top assistant instructor in the AZB kids' program.
Sensei Lopatin first began training with Shihan Crosswell in 1975, leaving and returning to the martial arts several times before coming back permanently in 2001. Ten years later, Shihan Crosswell was delighted to award his most loyal lifetime student a rare 3rd degree black belt and the coveted title of sensei.
As an instructor, Sensei Lopatin combines a subtle appreciation for kata performance and application with a career schoolteacher's ability to clearly explain even the most difficult concepts to his junior practitioners.
John began his martial arts training in Wado-ryu the 1980s, eventually joining the Arizona Budokan in 2005 to begin his study of Shito-ryu karate, Okinawan kobudo, and Japanese sword.
His dedication to the dojo and the AZB kids' program earned him a statewide award in 2011, and he continues to lead the kids to winning performances while steadfastly devoting himself to his own training in the arts. His passion for kumite, combined with a deep understanding of the philosophy of budo, make him a valuable resource for both kids and adults.
Dawn first encountered martial arts in 1993, spurring a lifelong love of both the budo arts and their country of origin. She joined the Arizona Budokan in 2008 after an eight-year stint living and working in Japan.
Since then, she has worked to promote and organize the dojo curriculum while serving as an assistant instructor for the AZB kids' program. During her time at the Arizona Budokan, she has made use of her writing skills and extensive knowledge of the Japanese language to assist Shihan Crosswell in several historical and promotional projects.