Sensei Henry Kaku, Head Instructor: Godan, 5th Dan
Henry is the head instructor with a Black belt from Kodokan Judo, and has over 50 years of experience in Judo and over 25 years of experience in teaching. He has competed and placed in the top 4 in many National Judo competitions, High school Nationals, AAU Nationals, and many other State and regional competitions and was a member of the Varsity Judo Team for SJSU, the top collegiate Judo Team. Sensei Kaku is a life member of the United State Judo Federation (USJF) and U.S. Judo Association (USJA). Sensei Kaku is a certified USA Judo National Coach and a certified Regional Referee with USJF.
Sensei Kaku also has a teaching credential, having taught Math and worked as a high school counselor for several years and is currently a substitute teacher in the Petaluma area schools and for Sonoma County Office of Education.
Sensei Davin Tillman, Assistant Head Instructor: Sandan, 3rd Dan
Davin began his training with Deleon Judo Club in 1992 at the age of 5 years old. At the age of 20 in 2008 he received his rank of Shodan and in 2011 received his Nidan and in 2017 Sandan from USJF. He has also studied Judo with Santa Rosa Jr. College and has competed in many local and regional tournaments placing in the top 3 numerous times. Davin is a certified Regional Referee with USJF and an registerd Coach for USJF. Davin serves on the Board of Directors of our Judo Club.
Assistant Sensei Chris Bertoli: Nidan, 2nd Dan
Chris began judo in 1980 under Sensei Terry Kelly (7th Dan) with Redwood PAL. Chris competed in local, state, and national levels. In 1985, Chris was promoted to the rank of Shodan, and in 1987 promoted to Nidan. Since 1986 Chris has been a certified instructor through USJA and was an assistant instructor to Sensei Kelly at the SRJC. He is a certified National Coach for USJF.
Chris is a retired Sergeant of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, where he was the Defensive Tactics instructor. Chris was able to incorporate the sport of judo into the techniques used by deputy sheriffs. These techniques allowed deputies to have a tactical advantage in combative situations, and gain compliance from people.
Chris re-joined DeLeon Judo in 2015 with his two sons, where he has become a key asset to our group of assistant senseis.
Assistant Sensei Ion (Mickey) Mihalca: Shodan, 1st Dan
Mickey began his martial arts career in Shotokan Karate in Romania while in high school. He studied Karate for several years before coming to the United States and continued his karate in 1986 with ASK (Association for Shotokan Karate) in Santa Rosa, earning his Shodan in 1990 and his Nidan in 1994. He joined DeLeon Judo club in 2008. He attained the level of first degree black belt in November, 2014.
Assistant Sensei Ryan Sorensen: Shodan, 1st Dan
Ryan has been studying Judo in 1999 when he was 7 years old with DeLeon Judo Club. While in High School he began to compete in local and regional tournaments always challenging himself to do better. He grew as a competitor developing his judo skills and as a young man. His knowledge of Judo skills and techniques one of the best in our Club. He earned his Black Belt, Shodan in November 2014.
Assistant Sensei Alma Valverde: Shodan, 1st Dan
Alma Valverde has been a member of De Leon Judo Club since 2009. When, as a freshmen in college, she discovered her love for the sport. As a brown belt, Alma helped help the senseis work with our beginner and under ten years old students. Alma earned her Shodan in November 2017. While she is currently attending Harvard Graduate School of Education, Alma will be rejoining our club on the summer of 2018. She serves on the Board of Directors for our Judo Club.