Instructors

August 2019    L-R   Dean Shiraki, Sanford Kaga, Scott Morifuji, Aimee Morifuji, Wayne Nakamoto, Lindsey Cambra, Donald Espiritu, Head Instructor Mark Muranaka, Shaena Peralto, Nicole Ward.

New Shodans!!    Front row:  Aimee Morifuji, Lindsey Cambra, Danielle (Dani) Nakamoto.    Sensei Mark Muranaka (not new)  : )

Mark Muranaka,  Head Instructor
Shichidan (7th DAN)

Professor Mark was promoted on Nov. 8, 2018 to the rank of Shichidan (7th degree black belt) at the USJF Promotions Meeting in Seattle.  Professor Mark has been named the PRESIDENT of the USJF (United States Judo Federation) for the upcoming term starting in late 2018!!  Professor Mark has been donating his time and knowledge of judo since the beginning of the Judo program held at the Mililani YMCA.  Presently, he is also an Assistant Instructor at the Kaimuki YMCA Judo Club.  A while ago, Professor Mark was also the Head Instructor at the Mililani Hongwanji Judo Club for many years until giving the club up to his former student, Sensei Terry Otsuka.  Yes, he was at all three clubs at ONCE!  and trained at Shobukan Judo Club at the same time!  At that time, it was said that Sensei Mark was married to JUDO.  Professor Mark has also served on the JBBAH (Judo Black Belt Association of Hawaii) as President.  He is currently the Vice-President of Hawaii Judo Inc.  (HJI).  A few of his accomplishments in judo, besides reaching the rank of Shichidan (7th degree), was becoming the Gold Medalist at the 2001 USA JUDO SENIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS held in Orlando, Florida.  He was also the Gold Medalist at the 2002 USA JUDO SENIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS held in San Diego, California.  In 2003, Professor Mark became the Bronze Medalist at the 5th WORLD MASTERS JUDO CHAMPIONSHIPS held at the Kodokan in Tokyo, Japan!!!!!   Keep in mind, there is more to Mark's accomplishments but these are the most recent.  Sensei Mark has since gone through medical therapy for an eye injury and was told by his doctor NOT to compete anymore!  Not many know, but Sensei Mark is also the owner of MURANAKA ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS, INC., so if you have an asbestos problem at work or home, give him a call.

 

Dean Shiraki, Guest Instructor
Head Instructor at the Mililani Seidokan Judo Club
Godan  (5th DAN)

Sensei Dean has been helping Sensei Mark for many years at the Mililani YMCA Judo Club, while heading his own Judo Club at the Mililani District Park Gym.  Sensei Dean was once the Instructor/Coach for the McKinley High School Judo Team.  At every local tournament here on Oahu, you can find Sensei Dean behind the computers, making sure the brackets for each weight division is running smoothly and organized.  His work for each tournament begins way before the actual tournament, as he is the one that handles the pairing for the brackets and making sure everyone is in the right weight division, among many other things.  Sensei Dean has been a very valuable asset to the 50th State Judo Association.  He has also been a very valuable asset to Sensei Mark, getting the kids ready for tournaments with both of their knowledge of tournament play and techniques for those competitors and the non-competitors as well.  Without asking him, I know some of his passions are diving and fishing.  His long overdue promotion to Godan (5th degree), was awarded to him on September 2014.

Wayne Nakamoto, Assistant Instructor
Sandan (3rd DAN)

Sensei Wayne comes to us as a former High School competitor.  He received his Black Belt during his junior year in high school.  He started judo from about 7 years old at Waipahu Hongwanji Judo Club.   He was in their FIRST judo class!!  At about 10 years old, his family moved to Pearl City where he joined the Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club, who were also starting their Judo Program!!  At Pearl City Hongwanji Judo Club, Sakabe Sensei came to Hawaii from Japan and became the highest ranking Judoka in Hawaii as a Rokudan (same as Sensei Mark now).  Sensei Wayne was a computer programmer for Kaiser Permanente working on mainframe programs and has been doing this type of work for 48 years.  He has retired and apparently enjoys traveling a LOT!  His interests has been pretty much anything his kids are into... softball, soccer, gymnastics, helping out when he can as a coach or chaperone.  His youngest daughter Dani, who just graduated from Northern Arizona University, was a member of the Iolani School Judo Team and was also on the VARSITY Cheerleading Team.  She was on the Northern Arizona University Cheerleading team!  Dani's interest in judo has stirred up Sensei Wayne's passion for judo again, this time in the form of teaching/coaching.  He also has two other "children".  His oldest daughter is Meagan, age 29 and a Graduate of Santa Clara University.   He also has a son, Paul, age 28, a Graduate of Puget Sound University in Washington and now a Chiropractor in Honolulu (Foundation Spine and Posture).  You will also see his wife, Janice, at judo practices and tournaments watching and supporting both Sensei Wayne and Dani.  Janice works at Hawaii State Federal Credit Union as the Vice-President of Information Systems.


Sanford Kaga,  Assistant Instructor
Sandan  (3rd DAN)

Sensei Sanford has been in judo since 1996 starting at the Mililani YMCA under Sensei Mark.  Jiu-jitsu was his first passion in martial arts and trained in jiu-jitsu at the Relson Gracie Waterfront Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Honolulu.  Judo was taken to improve his stand-up game in jiu-jitsu tournaments.  Sanford quickly learned how judo can add to jiu-jitsu and how jiu-jitsu can help in judo.  Helping the younger ones learn judo has been a very gratifying experience for him.  Seeing a kid or teen escape a pin or slap on a submission that you just showed them has been very gratifying.  Sanford was an Air-Traffic Controller for the Federal Aviation Administration for just over 32 years - Retired October 2018!!   Present passions are teaching judo, spending time with Tyler (25) and Jason (29), and snowboarding .... when possible and affordable!!

 

Scott Morifuji, Assistant Instructor
Sandan (3rd Dan)

Sensei Scott had studied judo many years ago and came back with a passion for it.  He has filled most of his free time with the practice of the art.  He has also volunteered his time as a Certified Referee at Local and State tournaments.  Scott has 2 up and coming judokas, Jordan and Aimee.  Not all of you in our club know this, but Scott is also the Online Director for the Honolulu Star Advertiser. 

Donald Espíritu, Assistant Instructor

Sandan (3rd Dan)

Sensei Donald comes to us after taking a long break from judo.  He was a competitor in the 70-80's.  He has been a big help with instructing the young beginners .   He also is a big help instructing the older ones with chokes and armbars!  He was an Inspector for the State Department of Agriculture for 26 years and recently retired.

Very sad to say, Sensei Donald passed away in November 2019 but will definitely be remembered by ALL the Instructors and especially by the young ones he trained and definitely remember him as the "Fun Sensei".

 

Paxton Horiuchi,  Assistant Instructor

Shodan (2nd Dan)

Sensei Paxton has been a competitor since he first began about 10 years ago.  He is a Senior at UNLV this year and was on the MHS Judo Team and the Wrestling Team.  He has also competed at the Junior National level.  Paxton helps as a Referee at most local tournaments and was one of the youngest student that Sensei Mark has promoted to Shodan.  He is also one of the youngest Regional level Referee.  Paxton was one of Sensei Mark's youngest Shodan BUT is was DEFINITELY earned!!   Good job Paxton!!

Paxton was just presented with his USJF promotion to Nidan (2nd degree) by Sensei Mark on 1.15.2020.  Congratulations Paxton.

 

Shaena Peralto,  Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Sensei Shaena has been a student under Sensei Mark since she was about 5 years old!  She is our Multiple HJI State Champion.  She is also our 3-time Junior National Champion.   PHEW.  If you haven't noticed, Sensei Shaena practices a lot with the big boys and the men...which has made her as strong and determined as she is.   Sensei Shaena was the Coach for Waianae High School girl's team for the  2017 season.  That was Waianae High School's first year participating in judo, so Sensei Shaena has a lot of work ahead of her.  Sensei Jensen Hernandez is now the coach for Waianae High School.

 

Lindsey Cambra, Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Sensei Lindsey has been a student of Sensei Mark since her beginning of judo.  She was a fierce competitor up through high school until injuries prevented her from competing towards the last 2 years of high school.  She still helped out with the Mililani High School Judo team when she could.  Lindsey puts in a lot of time at practice despite her very busy schedule!  She graduated from Mililani High School and just graduated from UNLV in 2019.  She will now continue her studies in Arizona.  Study hard Lindsey.

 

Sean Masaki, Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Sensei Sean started judo a "long" time ago then took a break from judo.  He got his kids, Hunter and Chelsea interested in judo and joined them in class.  Sean is a Registered Nurse at Kaiser and also has his own photography business, MasakiPhotography.

I have seen his photos and plan on using him!!!   Check out his website, MasakiPhotography.com

Danielle (Dani) Nakamoto, Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Sensei Dani has been with our club for several years now.  She started as a white belt and rose up the ranks under Sensei Mark.  Dani is a Junior at Northern Arizona University.  In high school at Iolani, she competed on their Judo Team and was also a Varsity Cheerleader for Iolani Schools.    In 2012, Dani became Sensei Mark's 2nd Junior National Champion in Spokane, WA....the same tournament Sensei Shaena also won her second National Championship.  Sensei Dani just graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2019 and will now move to Fort Worth, Texas!

Aimee Morifuji, Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Sensei Aimee started as a white belt under Sensei Mark and has also rose through the ranks to black belt.  Daughter of our Sensei Scott, she has taken on the role of leading our first class through most warm-up sessions and has also taken on the role of helping with the younger beginners/intermediate students.  Aimee just graduated from Mililani High School and is Sensei Mark's youngest Shodan (black belt).  She has won or placed in several Kata-division competitions with brother Jordan (Shodan now).   Aimee's mom, "Aunty Keri" has been our TEAM MOM for several years now and deserves mention for all she does for our Club/Team.  Aunty Keri coordinates our parties, watches over our practices, and most importantly, she is our liaison between our parents and Sensei Mark and the rest of the Instructors!  Congratulations Aimee, and thank you Keri!

Jordan Morifuji, Assistant Instructor

Shodan (1st Dan)

Jordan was promoted to Shodan earlier this year and is now Sensei Mark's youngest Shodan!   Jordan is a student at Pearl City High School and a member of the Chargers Judo Team.   Jordan usually can be found with his sister Aimee, helping the young ones!   Good job Jordan!! 

Nicole Ward, Assistant Instructor

More info to come.....

Kyle Shiraki, Guest Instructor

(Assistant Instructor at Mililani Seidokan Judo Club)

Nidan (2nd Dan)

Sensei Kyle is the son of Sensei Dean Shiraki.  In July 2014 at the 2014 Senior National Championships, Sensei Kyle became the 2014 Senior National Champion in the Lighweight Division!!   Check out our VIDEO page to see his wins.

 

Jensen Hernandez, Guest Instructor
(Assistant Instructor at Mililani Seidokan Judo Club)
Nidan (2nd Dan)

Sensei Jensen also helps instructing at Mililani Seidokan Judo Club with Sensei Dean and Kyle.  Also In July 2014, Sensei Jensen placed 2nd at the 2014 Senior National Championships in the Middleweight Division!!  Check out our VIDEO page to see his match too.

Sensei Jensen coaches the boy's and girl's team for Waianae High School.

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