Sword pic camp

Mike Esmailzadeh is the head instructor of Suigetsukan. He holds the following ranks and licenses:

Kudan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu
Professor in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu
Kyoshi in Toyama Ryu Battodo
Rokudan in Toyama Ryu Battodo
Shihan in Shinkendo
Godan in Aikido

He has been actively involved in martial arts since 1976. Mike was born in Germany, and immigrated to the US at the age of 12. Months after arriving in the United States, he began learning Jujutsu under Professor David Bellman. Other Jujutsu Professors, instrumental to his education, are Prof. Tony Muran, Prof. Tim Lynch, Prof. Dom and Helen Carollo. He is equally grateful for the many years of Aikido and Toyama Ryu Battodo instruction he received from Obata Kaiso in those arts. Michael Esmailzadeh is also thankful for having studied the Inayan system of Eskrima under the direction of Mangisursuro Mike Inay, Suro Jason Inay and Masirib Guro Jena Inay. He also wants to thank Shihan Russ Rhodes for the teachings he has provided in that system.

Mike has also trained in a variety of other martial arts/sports, including fencing, wrestling and Iaido. He trained and taught within the Chinese Gung Fu schools of Tai Mantis (Kam Yuen) and Wu Tang (Jason Tsou). He is currently continuing his education in Chinese Martial Arts by studying Bagua Zhang under Maija Soderholm.

In 1990 he left Los Angeles for Oakland, and founded the Suigetsukan Dojo. Suigetsukan now consists of 1700 sq./ft of mat space, and living quarters for Mike and five others. Mike currently teaches Toyama Ryu Battodo, Aikido and Jujutsu. He also co-teaches women’s self-defense classes.

Gina Rossi Rehal began training martial arts at Suigetsukan in 1992. She has been an instructor at Suigetsukan since 2003. She holds the ranks of Rokudan in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, Yondan in Aikido, and Yondan in Toyama Ryu Battodo. Gina was an uchi-deshi (live in student) at Suigetsukan for 18 years. She has developed and is the head instructor of the youth program at Suigetsukan. She taught martial arts and self-defense classes to youth at two Oakland Public Schools, Urban Promise Academy and Street Academy. She has taught many self-defense workshops for community organizations around the bay area. Her focus is on providing a supportive and integrative teaching environment that challenges the students involved. She believes that martial arts should be made accessible to everyone both through offering classes at a sliding scale and by working on a variety of teaching modalities. She was born and raised in Oakland, California.

Timothy Sheehan began his martial arts training under Mike Esmailzadeh at Suigetsukan in 1997. Japanese martial arts became a significant obsession over the years, leading to an extended stay in Japan from 2006 to 2007, where he studied traditional jujutsu and sword-drawing. Upon returning to the US, he refocused his efforts on Danzan-ryu, and currently compliments this practice with study of Chen-Style Taijiquan. Tim holds the rank of Yondan in Danzan-ryu jujutsu.

Ocean Mottley began training martial arts at Suigetsukan in 1999. He found the dojo through the Free Skool at the Long Haul (Berkeley). He took his first class as a requirement for a women’s studies class [Politics of Sexual Violence] at City College of San Francisco that he was enrolled in along with Sensei Tim Sheehan. He holds the rank of Godan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. His home school is Suigetsukan, and he has trained at Shinbukan and Redding Jujitsu Academy. He also holds the rank of Sankyu in Judo and has trained at UC Berkeley, UCLA, City College of San Francisco, Hollywood Judo, and Modern Combatives where he also trained in Muay Thai and competed in four smokers. He began teaching classes in 2006 and has also worked with Girl Army. Ocean is the lead instructor of Suigetsukan’s sparring class.

gwyn Gwyn Brookes began training at Suigetsukan Dojo under Sensei Mike Esmailzadeh in 2001 and holds a Godan in Aikido, Yondan in Toyama Ryu Battodo and Sandan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. Gwyn is also a coach at the barbell gym Bay Strength in Berkeley, and is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher.

Sequoia Patterson

Michael Risher has trained at Suigetsukan since 2003. He holds the rank of Yondan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu and Toyama Ryu Battodo. In addition, he holds a shodan in Kenpo, an ikyu in Aikido, and trained in Muay Thai in Bangkok, Thailand and gungfu in Chengdu, China in the early 1990s. 

Nathaniel Nelson

Innosanto Nagara has trained at Suigetsukan since 2005 and holds the rank of Yondan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu and Shodan in Aikido. Inno has competed in Sport Jujitsu, Grappling, and BJJ tournaments, and is a former Sparring Class instructor. He is also honored to have had the opportunity to cross-train in a number other martial arts, including kickboxing at Modern Combatives, and San Shou under Sifu Vince Vasquez.

Bryan Reiss is a Filipino American  born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has studied kickboxing, MMA, and holds the rank of Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) in Dan Zan Ryu Ju Jitsu. He has taught martial arts and self defense for over 10 years to both youth and adults.

Timothy Smith, who is known as “Smitty” amongst his friends and peers, is an explorer of the Arts. Originally from Nashua, New Hampshire, he has traveled and lived all over the country with eventually finding Oakland in 2001, where he found it as a place of Artistic and Cultural growth for him to expand his knowledge, skills and understanding of many Artistic forms and Mediums for him to explore. He first started training Yoshinkan Aikido, as a student of Mike Esmailzadeh Sensei at Suigetsukan in the fall of 2011, to which he now holds the rank of Sandan and in 2023 was invited to become a resident Aikido instructor at the dojo. Shortly after starting his training as an Aikido Practitioner, in the Spring of 2012, he started training in the Art of Toyama Ryu Battodo, where he now holds the rank of Nidan. Looking to expand even further in his Martial Arts education, in the year of 2023, he started training Danzan Ryu Aikijutsu and has thus far has achieved the rank of Rokyu. In his years of Martial Exploration, he has continued to strive for a deepening understanding of the connections of mind, body and spirit through the quiet stillness of smooth and fluid motion exhibited from emotional content. When he considers that he had desired to learn Aikido for years, before attending Suigetsukan, where he would try to find an Aikido school within his means. It was the circumstances and occurrences that took place months before he started attending classes at Suigetsukan and being accepted by its amazing Community which has nurtured, supported and mutually challenged his training and development for a collective benefit, he will from time to time contemplate on whether it was he who found the dojo or was it the dojo that found him.

Annie Danger

Bram Svoboda discovered his passion for the martial arts at the age of 10 with Shorin-ryu Karate. He continued to train through highschool, obtaining the rank of Ikkyu. While attending the Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington in 1996, he was introduced to Danzan Ryu Jujutsu by Sue and Ron Jennings from the Kaishinkai dojo. After moving to the California Bay area, Bram discovered the Suigetsukan dojo in 2012. Since joining the dojo, he has trained Danzan Ryu Jujutsu (Nidan), Aikido (Shodan), and Toyama Ryu Battodo (Shodan). Bram has been supporting the Suigetsukan youth program with Gina Rossi since 2021.

Uchechukwu Chiedu Cabral Mowete


Rebecca Wong has been training at Suigetsukan Dojo since its founding in 1991. She is an instructor and Board member of Suigetsukan, and has a 3rd degree Black Belt (Sandan) in Aikido as well as in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. She also holds a rank of Nidan in Toyama Ryu. She taught with ASAP – an API collective teaching awareness and self-defense for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls. She also serves as an active Board member for Girl Army women’s self-defense collective. Rebecca works in a community mental health services program providing case management and money management services to the homeless in San Francisco.

David Leighton started training with Mike Sensei when Suigetsukan was founded in 1991. He holds a Sandan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu, a Shodan in Aikido, an intermediate level rank in Battojutsu, and was participating in the Apprentice instructor program in Kadena de Mano. Before finding Suigetsukan as a youth, David trained in striking arts, consisting primarily of Karate and Tae Kwon Do. He also trained and competed in western style Foil fencing for many years as a youth and adult. 

Jorin Bukosky began his training with Mike Esmailzadeh Sensei in 1991 when Suigetsukan opened in Oakland. When Suigetsukan could house students, Jorin saw this as an excellent opportunity to further his training and teaching skills and leapt at the chance to become an uchi-deshi. After nine years as an uchi-deshi Jorin left the program, but continues to train and teach at the Dojo. Jorin has trained in all the arts offered at Suigetsukan and holds the rank of Godan in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu, Sandan in Aikido, Sandan in Toyama Ryu Battojutsu and is a Level 3 Apprentice Instructor in Kadena de Mano.

Jonathan Largent has studied martial arts and Danzan Ryu Jujitsu since 1984. He began his martial arts career at the young age of 7 years old with Shihan Richard Pietrelli at the Fusuikan Martial Arts Center, where he eventually became the Senior Youth Instructor. Upon finishing his college studies, Sensei Largent moved to the Bay Area in 2003 and began studying DZR with Professor Michael Esmailzadeh at Suigetsukan Dojo. In 2007 Sensei Largent co-founded the Kiriishi Kai dojo in Arcata, California and served as the President of the Kilohana Martial Arts Association from 2010 through 2011. He has also cross trained in various other martial arts over his lifetime. He holds the rank of Godan in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.

Sam Larson has began studying at Suigetsukan in 1995, and is a Yondan in Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu and a Sankyu in Aikido. He is originally from North Carolina, and moved to the Bay Area in 1991. 

Alexander Ang-Angco holds the rank of Sandan in Aikido, Sandan in Toyama Ryu Battodo and Gokyu in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu. He began training Danzan Ryu Jujutsu at Suigetsukan in 1996, then Aikido and Sword in 1997. Since then, he has participated in various demonstrations for Suigetsukan with Professor Mike Esmailzadeh. He continues to train and teach. Alex was born in the Philippines and spent his childhood in Papua New Guinea. He moved to California in 1995.