Please scroll down to read about our instructors. Kaizen Dojo also hosts many guest instructors from other martial arts, including BJJ, Kenjutsu and Escrima
William Christopher Ford
Sensei William Christopher Ford is the Chief Instructor at Kaizen Dojo in Torrance, CA.
Sensei Ford began his lifelong study of the martial arts in 1974 at the age of 7 (at the urging of his mother who is from Japan) in the Okinawan art of Shorin Ryu Karate-Do (Kobayashi Ryu) under the late Sensei Richard Rabago. He was tested for and was promoted to black belt at the age of 13 by Master Tadashi Yamashita, but only after he had failed the test on his first attempt months earlier. The take-away for him from this experience was to never give up and always do your best. He has never looked back and has continued his martial arts journey to this day.
Sensei Ford is highly regarded for his warmth, patience, open-mindedness, high energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and dynamic teaching style.
“I look forward to our journey of growth and continual improvement together.
Strength and Honor. Infinite Peace, Love, Respect and Gratitude” -William Christopher Ford
Sensei Rich started his martial arts training in 1974 in Judo at the Long Beach Navel Base. Shortly afterward he began training in the arts of Tang Soo Do and Kenpo under Ceasar Lomibao and Chris Bada. From 1980-1983 he studied at the world famous Filipino Kali Academy which was owned and operated by Bruce Lee's protege Guro Dan Inosanto. Here he received instruction from Inosanto, Sifu Richard Bustillo, Alfonso Tamez and Cameron Rico (with whom he has recently resumed training). In recent years, he added Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to his martial arts tool box as studied for a brief while at Let's Roll Jui-Jistu with Glenn and Jocelyn Chang.
Sensei Rich was promoted to Shodan (1st level black belt) in Shorin Ryu karate by Sensei Ford in Feb 2015. His assistance with the children's classes is invaluable to the dojo. He is great with the kids and they always look forward to learning from him, sharing laughs or discussing (or debating) Sempai's beloved L.A. Lakers with him.
Lynn received her 1st degree black belt from Sensei Ford, one of his first students to be promoted to Sho-Dan. During her years of karate training, which began in 2000, she has acquired knowledge from several accomplished teachers. Her yin yang philosophy of karate is the blend of physical power with spiritual awareness. Where each technique should be dynamic yet flowing and a martial artist should encompass the martial spirit. Otherwise, as she jokingly says, “Karate would just be a good skill to have if you are ever attacked by a stack of boards”.
As a Sensei, her teaching style is that of expectancy not expectation. Lynn feels that expectation is the basis of judgment and she doesn't believe that how high one kicks or how hard one punches determines one's value as a martial artist. Whereas, expectancy is attuned to the martial spirit, being faithful, respecting others, endeavoring to excel and refraining from violent behavior.
Debbie Minabe began her martial arts training in 2000 in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate. She received the rank of Sho-Dan (1st degree black belt) from Sensei William Christopher Ford.
Debbie began her training in the martial arts at the Karate Center in Venice, CA. She trained under several knowledgeable and skilled instructors whose teachings emphasized a more formal, traditional approach to the martial arts.
Since training with Sensei Ford, his dynamic approach to the martial arts has elevated her skills to another level. Debbie has received the "best of both worlds" combining her traditional background with a more dynamic approach to the martial arts.
A Sensei of Debbie's once said to her, "you are not just a martial artist, you have martial spirit". Sensei Deb believes that this is the true essence of the martial arts, to find your own journey and path to that "martial spirit".
Anthony began his martial arts training at the age of 14 in the style of Kajukenbo. As time passed, he decided to continue his martial arts journey as a karateka. In 2010, he received his black belt in the style of Shotokan under the Shotokan Karate International Federation.
Having recently moved to Southern California, Anthony has been training with Sensei Ford since 2012 in Shorin Ryu Karate. Recently, he also received his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under the Gracie Barra system. Anthony strongly believes in continual improvement and learning. That one should always strive to improve themselves in mind, body, and spirit while displaying determination and never forgetting the importance of humbleness. Anthony was promoted to Shodan in Shorin Ryu Karate by Sensei Ford in February 2015.
"The major value in life is not what you get, but what you become."
The love of dancing and moving her body is what originally drew Yvette to her first Yoga class thinking it was just a physical workout. As she gradually started to feel the benefits of Yoga and notice how it is so much more than “just stretching”, she decided to take her 500 hour Teacher Training at YogaWorks and eventually quit her full time corporate job to become a Yoga instructor. Yvette likes to focus on safe alignment while challenging students to explore their strength, flexibility, concentration and inwardly searching for their own inner guide.
Yvette also studies massage therapy to deepen her knowledge of the body and believes that unconsciously held stress and tension could be released over time.
Having lived in Japan for over fifteen years, she speaks the language fluently and enjoys visiting her family in Japan every year.
Larry Fouts has been training in karate since 2004 and was promoted to the rank of Nidan (2nd-degree black belt) in 2015. He started with his oldest daughter in a child-parent class and hasn't looked back since.
Larry has had a fascination with martial arts his whole life and although he started his training late in life, he has a passion for excelling and for passing his knowledge and experience on to future generations. His drive is realized in his continuous desire to learn and expand his horizons. He currently owns the Progressive Martial Arts Academy in Orange County (Placentia) where he teaches the Kaizen Dojo curriculum under the guidance of W.C. Ford sensei.
Larry continues his martial training under W.C. Ford in Shorin Ryu karate and Nurys Saldana in Okinawa Kobudo. He believes that physical strength (hard work), mental strength (perseverance) and spiritual strength (love and acceptance) are keys to continuous personal growth while humility and integrity are important for lifelong happiness.