Sensei Johnny Polanco, the Chief Instructor has trained for over 30 years in Goju-Ryu. He has trained with a number of the top Goju-Ryu practitioners in the world today, such as Domingo Llanos Sensei 8th Dan, Mike Clarke Sensei 8th, Jean Frenette Sensei 9th Dan, Chuck Merriman Sensei 10th Dan, Tsuneo Kinjo Sensei 9th Dan, Gima Tetsu Sensei 9th Dan, Yurio Nakada Sensei 9th Dan, Mike Mancuso Sensei 9th Dan and Morio Higaonna Sensei 10th Dan to learn more about the lineage of our instructors, which traces back directly to Miyagi Sensei, CLICK HERE.

Domingo Llanos, was born in the Dominican Republic. In 1971, he moved to Haverstraw, New York. In 1973, at the age of fifteen he had his first Goju-ryu Karate experience through a friend of the family. Two months later, he was introduce to Black Belt Hall of fame member Sensei Chuck Merriman, from whom he received his 4th dan, and still trains with today. Llanos has also trained under other famous Goju-ryu Karate teachers such as Teruo Chinen and Morio Higaonna. As a member of the organization presided by Sensei Morio Higaonna, he was awarded 5th dan. In 1997, he visited the island of Okinawa to compete in the Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Tournament and to train at the Jundokan under Eiichi Miyazato and some of his most prominent student. At the end of his stay in Okinawa, Llanos was awarded the rank of 6th degree black belt by Eiichi Miyazato. In August of 2010 was promoted to 7th dan and on April 2016 he also was promote by his lifelong teacher Sensei Chuck Merriman to the rank of 8th Dan. Llanos began training karate primarily for self-defense, but in 1975, it all took a different turn when he was invited to compete for the first time at the Latin American, Caribbean, and United States Championships held in El Salvador. This was the turning point of his competition career that lasted more than two decades. In 1977, Llanos extraordinary ability earned him a place on the National AAU Karate Team. While competing for AAU Llanos set and broke many records. His accomplishments included being a five time National Kata Champion, 4 time overall Champion (Kata, Kumite & Weapon) and being the light weight Kumite Champion. He competed in the AAU until 1983. Llanos also competed professionally with the Transworld Oil Karate Team (formerly known as Atlantic Oil Karate Team).
He competed successfully in most major USA National open tournaments. Some of his international victories included the World Union Karate Organization (WUKO) Championships in Tokyo, Japan (5th place in Kata), 1981 World Games in Santa Clara, California (3rd place Kata) and 1982 World Championships in Taipei, Taiwan (silver medal).
A highly respected teacher, as well as competitor, Domingo Llanos is the head instructor for Karate International in the Dominican Republic, Salem Massachusetts USA and Haverstraw, NY. USA. His schools have consistently turned out students who are champions not only in Karate but also in life.

Professor Carlos Terrinha 4th degree BJJ 15 times Pan-American Champion,

3 times World Champion, 3 times European Champion, and Naga Hall of Fame.

Carlos Terrinha was born on December 27, 1969 in Belo Horizonte capital city of the state of Minas Gerais – Brazil.

Terrinha’s martial arts journey started in 1988 through capoeira, a combat style Carlos trained for about 8 months before finding jiu jitsu. Carlos’ interest for grappling grew organically, by watching classes at his local gym. He had not heard of jiu jitsu before, but found the concepts interesting and decided to sign up to the Gavião Academy, a group led by instructor José Adilson.

Vinicius Draculino established his Gracie Barra affiliate school in Belo Horizonte during 1996, bringing with him modern jiu jitsu to the Minas Gerais state. Draculino’s reputation grew in BH and by the end of 1997 Carlos Terrinha decided to join Vinicius’ classroom, seeking to improve his own technical abilities. Carlos was a brown belt then.

Much of Carlos’ success is owed to a police chief from his town, Mr José Farah Junior who saw Terrinha’s potential and helped sponsor many of his trips outside Minas Gerais to compete. Farah also helped Carlos find other sponsors, including Vide Bula, a famous clothing manufacturer who supported Terrinha’s first run at the IBJJF Pan American Championship back in 2001, a title conquered by Carlos (also placing 2nd in the absolute).

In 2003 Carlos got divorced and decided to leave Brazil to try his luck in the US. He first intended to settle in North Carolina, where he heard there was a jiu jitsu coaching vacancy, but decided against it as per his friend Warley Tomas’ advice. Instead Terrinha decided to move to Milford in Massachusetts, where he could live among friends, who could help him ease into the American culture.

Although he arrived without speaking a world of English, within 6 months Carlos was well adapted to the local lifestyle and started living on his own, while developing his academy.

As Carlos’ academy developed, so did jiu jitsu in the United States. Being a seasoned competitor and very knowledgeable in the rules of the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), Terrinha started being called to referee the federation’s main events. His work was well taken and Carlos became one of the most recognizable jiu jitsu refs in the world.

Sensei Marcelo Kobayashi is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by the IBJJF, a 2nd degree black belt in Judo from the Kodokan in Japan and Muay Thai level 3 Kru.

Marcelo Kobayashi has taught and successfully competed in his career of Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Mixed Martial Arts in countries like Brazil, Japan, and United States. Here is a brief list of his accomplishments:


At 17 he won 3rd Place at the National Judo Tournament in São Paulo, Brazil

Muay Thai

Tenkaichi-Budokai 75kg Champion May 4, 2008 (Japan)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

2nd Place Dumau International Competition 2010 (Japan)

2nd Place Caxcudo World Championship 2015 (USA)


All Japan Champion 2000

Pride Challenge Japan Champion 70kg Division 2005

All of the competitions listed here were national or international tournaments. The entry requirements for the international competitions were broken down according to rank and age.

Anyone familiar with mixed martial arts will remember that the Pride organization became what is now the Ultimate Fighter Championship (UFC), which is the largest and best known mixed martial arts organization in the world.  Pride Japan became UFC Japan. Their requirements and ranking system are well documented, and competitors rise according to athletic ability. Winning the Pride Challenge put Marcelo at the top of mixed martial artists in Japan in his weight division at that time. Due to his victories in different martial arts, in different countries, Marcelo Kobayashi has developed an international reputation as a strong competitor and teacher.