Akayama Ryu Instructors
Founder - Alex Marshall
Sensei Alex Marshall held advanced rank in Kodokan Judo, Tomiki Aikido, Shinin-Ryu Jujutsu, and Jikishinkage-Ryu Aikijujutsu before creating Akayama Ryu Jujutsu. Beginning his study of the Japanese grappling arts shortly after World War I, Sensei Marshall continued to seek out and train with some of the finest instructors in the world. Time after time, black belts were awarded to him, only to be left in his bag when he entered a new dojo seeking further training. Sensei Marshall's primary instructors were Okabayashi Sensei, Shishido Sensei, and Toshiaki Takikawa, all very talented judo and jujutsu Sensei. Shihan Takikawa introduced Sensei Marshall to the Aikijujutsu system of Jikishinkage-Ryu developed by his family in 1600 and handed down from generation to generation.
Along with teaching Judo at various YMCAs, colleges and community centers, Sensei Marshall taught self-defense to police cadets for almost 20 years as the Defensive Tactics instructor for the Birmingham Police Academy. He also taught a handful of senior students jujutsu at his home on weekends. This core group of students and the intense training sessions provided the foundation for Sensei Marshall's development of Akayama Ryu. Until shortly before his death in 1994 at the age of 87, he was the first on the tatami and the last to bow out. It was his strength of character and his exceptional ability that forged the system we teach today.
Mark Barlow - Hachidan - Florida
Mark Barlow is the Senior Instructor of Akayama Ryu Jujutsu. He started training in judo and jujutsu under Akayama Ryu founder Alex Marshall in the mid-70s. He has also studied jujutsu under Toshi Takikawa, Aikido with Karl Geis and Tetsuro Nariyama, and Muay Thai with Riki and Terry Chamkow. He has taught Defensive Tactics since the 1990s, including a week-long session on bladed weapons defense at the Alabama SRT Conference. In addition to Akayama Ryu Jujutsu, Mark holds black belt ranks in Tomiki Aikido, Seki Ryu Jujutsu, Jikishinkage Ryu Jujutsu, and Judo.
Richard Worthington - Hachidan - Alabama
Richard Worthington has been training in martial arts for over 40 years, including many as a direct student of Alex Marshall, the founder of Akayama Ryu. He has earned the rank of Hachidan in Akayama Ryu Jujutsu, Sandan in Judo, and Nidan in Aikido.
Ed Byers - Shichidan - Indiana
Ed Byers has over thirty years of federal law enforcement and counter-terrorism service, including the National Park Service, U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, where he also served as a Defensive Tactics instructor. He holds a 7th Dan in Akayama Ryu Jujutsu, 4th Dan in Judo, and 3rd Dan in Jujutsu (USJA). He has been certified as an instructor, coach, kata instructor, and referee. Ed also founded the LadySafe Society, promoting free self-defense seminars for women.
Chris Dewey - Shichidan - Wyoming
Chris Dewey started training in martial arts in 1969, and has gone on to earn a seventh degree black belt in Jujutsu, sixth degree in Judo, fourth degree in Taekwondo, and third degree in Hapkido. Chris has been a national-level competitor, coach, and referee in Judo. He owned his own martial arts school from 1996 until he sold it in 2012. Chris now makes his residence in Laramie, WY.
Mark Burton - Shichidan - Louisiana
A former Marine Corps Judo Team member, Mark Burton received his initial martial arts training while stationed in Japan in 1973, before training in Akayama Ryu Jujutsu. He has trained local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and is a retired federal law enforcement Senior Special Agent. Burton Sensei also holds the ranks of Shodan in Judo and Ikkyu in Tomiki Aikido.
Doug Bedsaul - Godan - Mississippi
Doug Bedsaul actively competes in Judo (3rd Dan) and Taekwondo (4th Dan), and is a nationally certified coach. He has taught martial arts for local schools, non-profit organizations, and businesses. A Godan in Akayama Ryu, Doug operates Downtown Martial Arts Academy in Starkville, where he advocates practical self-defense training for all.
Tim Knight - Godan - Alabama
Tim Knight is a retired detective with the Gulf Shores Police Department. He is also the dojo cho of Gulf Coast Jujutsu. He holds black belts in Taekwondo, Tomiki Aikido, and Akayama Ryu Jujutsu.
Jim Hunt - Yondan - Mississippi
Jim Hunt is an accomplished Judo competitor and referee. In addition to his Yondan in Akayama Ryu Jujutsu, he is also a Godan in Judo with over twenty-five years of experience. He opened Gulf Coast Judo in Ocean Springs, MS, in 2000.
Nathan Williams - Nidan - Louisiana
Nathan Williams began his martial arts training in 1992 under the instruction of Mark Barlow Sensei. He received his Shodan in 1996. Upon returning to Birmingham, AL, Nathan studied under Richard Worthington Sensei for several years before moving with his family to Louisiana. For four years, he studied and earned a first-degree black belt in American Kenpo. His first love has always been Akayama Ryu, and now he owns Williams Martial Arts Club in Covington, LA, exclusively teaching the Akayama system.
Larry Camejo - Nidan - Ontario
Originally from Trinidad, Larry Camejo now heads Mu Shin Kan Dojo in Toronto. Along with holding the rank of Nidan in Akayama Ryu, Larry is also a Tomiki Aikido black belt and instructor.
Matt Hudson - Nidan - Arizona
With over ten years as a federal law enforcement, including serving as a Defensive Tactics Instructor, Matt Hudson is a nidan in Akayama Ryu Jujutsu. In addition to training in Akayama Ryu for over sixteen years, he is also a Shodan in Kokoro Aikido.
Rob Thornton - Nidan - Tennessee
Rob Thornton is a Sandan in Judo and Nidan in Akayama Ryu. With over 20 years of experience, he is the Chief Instructor for the Tiger Judo Club at the University of Memphis. He also teaches the Judo classes at Border Martial Arts Academy in Collierville.
Other Akayama Ryu Jujutsu Black Belts include: