Paul Sensei began studying martial arts as a student at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) in Amherst in 1986. His first teacher was Kimo Wall Sensei, an instructor who had spent many years living in Okinawa and learning karate from a number of sources, mainly the Higa Seko dojo. Master Matayoshi Shinpo was his kobudo, or ancient weapons instructor. Paul Sensei began teaching as a brown belt in the UMASS physical education department. He taught beginning karate and women’s self defense courses before going to Japan for a year as an exchange student. During that time, he was awarded his black belt while training in Okinawa. After graduating from UMASS in 1991, he returned to Japan to work for the Japanese government for 3 years and founded his first dojo – Takikawa Kodokan. The novelty of a foreigner teaching karate and kobudo to the Japanese was not lost on the locals and his club was featured in a number of newspaper articles and television programs. The Takikawa dojo is still operating today under one of his students, Akemi Niwano. Paul Sensei continues to be a gentle and supportive teacher.
Paul Sensei works by day at Oracle in global sales operations.
Barbara Sensei moved from Canada to Japan in 1991 after graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree. While teaching English in Northern Japan, where she learned to speak Japanese, she began training karate and kobudo at Takikawa Kodokan in 1992 and received her black belt in Goju Ryu karate and kobudo upon returning to North America in 1995. She started teaching martial arts in 1995 to children and adults in Boulder through Lifelong Learning and the YMCA, always with great patience and attention to detail. She is known for her strength, wit and endurance.
Barbara Sensei works as a professional commercial and film actress through a Denver-based agency, is a founding member of the international improv comedy trio, A.C.E., and co-starred in the martial arts film Dragon and the Hawk. She is the co-writer of Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women which has played in over a dozen cities across the US and Canada.