Martial Arts Instructors with the Experience but not the Ego

You want to know what you are learning is the real deal. You want an instructor that is both qualified and experienced. But you want someone who is going to help you, rather than feed their ego. Our Martial Arts Instructors consider themselves students and take both their training and your training seriously. We do it for love the art and sharing it with you.

Meet your Instructor with a Free Class

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Todai Instructors

These are the Martial Arts Instructors of Todai. Each hold regular classes at the dojo. We here to be your guides.


Scott Hamilton

Dojo Cho (道場長) - Owner/Head Instructor

  • Rank: Hachidan (八段) – 8th Degree
  • Began Training: 2006
  • Class Schedule
    • Tue/Thu 6:00-8:00pm
    • Sat 11:00-1:00pm

Scott Hamilton was able to achieve his 1st dan in a year under Shihan Woodard, and travels regularly to Japan to train. In 2012 he passed his Godan test to recieve the rank of Shidoshi (“Teacher of the Warrior Ways”) to become fully recognized as an official Martial Arts instructor by the Bujinkan.

Shidoshi Hamilton has also recieved in depth weapons and shooting training from Shihan Woodard and others. He also speaks conversational Spanish and Japanese.


Pablo Lazaro

Shidoshi-Ho (士道師補) - Assistant Instructor

  • Rank: Nidan (二段) – 2nd Degree
  • Began Training: 2013
  • Class Schedule
    • Wed 6:00-8:00pm

Pablo has a Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) and 5 years of training in Goju Ryu Karate, and 2 years training in Aikido. He began training at Todai in 2013, and has traveled to the Hombu dojo in Japan. In addition, he continues to study historic Japanese battle tactics.

Pablo also has experience in both real-world weapons (clubs/bats,knives, handguns) and survivalist experience.

Robbie Allen

Robbie Allen

Shidoshi-Ho (士道師補) - Assistant Instructor

  • Rank: Yondan (四段) – 4th Degree
  • Began Training:
  • Class Schedule
    • Sun 1:00-3:00pm
    • Mon 6:30-8:30pm

Robbie has been training in the Bujinkan for over 10 years under Shihan Bill Atkins. He also has extensive training in Kali (Escrima) and Jeet Kun Do, along with firearms and weapons training.


Rich Polakoff

  • Class Schedule
    • Every other Sat 1:30-3:30pm

Rich is a long time martial artist and has experience in Kung Fu, Judo, Aikido and is currently the Head of the California Ronin Kenjutsu Ryu. Rich is the top student of the founder of Ronin Kenjutsu, Mick Chambers. Rich offers specialized training in Tameshigiri (sword cutting) at Todai Bujinkan Dojo.

Guest Instructors

We also are happy to host the best Instructors and Practitioners of Martial Arts. These instructors are regular guests at our dojo for special seminars.

Want to host a seminar at Todai? Just contact us! All Martial Arts welcome!

Shihan Matthew Woodard

Matthew Woodard

Sogyo-sha (創業者) “Founder”

  • Rank: Judan Kugyo (十段空行) – 10th Degree 5th Level

Matthew Woodard has been training in Martial Arts for over 30 years, and has several black belts from various arts. He has specifically dedicated the last 20 years to his pursuit of Bujinkan Ninpo Taijutsu, and has the highest rank attainable for a Martial Arts Instructor in our art: Judan Kugyo Happo Biken (10th degree – 5th level black belt). Matt founded our Martial Arts School in 2003.

His experience includes being a former member of the Cincinnati Police Department, a Criminal Apprehension Team Member, and has been on the protection details of many high-profile clientele – including the Dali Lama himself.

In 2012, Matt gave the reigns of Todai Dojo to his student, Scott Hamilton who is now the current owner and head instructor.

Steve Olsen Nage

Steve Olsen

  • Rank: Judan Kugyo (十段空行) – 10th Degree 5th Level

Steve is a top level practitioner of our art. He has lived and trained in Japan for over 20 years, and regularly translates for the Japanese Shihan. He recently published “Masaaki Hatsumi: Dojo Art” at Soke’s request.

Joel Everett Snow

Joel Everett

  • Rank: Judan Kugyo (十段空行) – 10th Degree 5th Level

Joel is a senior instructor in the Bujinkan and Certified Personal Trainer/Strength Coach. He has been traveling to Japan to train with his teacher Soke Masaaki Hatsumi and the top Shihan for over 20 years. Joel has been featured in health and fitness magazines as well as on Discovery’s hit show Mythbusters. Joel has a no nonsense approach to training. He is known for being very outspoken with his ideas about training and living.

Mark Franco performing Jodan Uke

Mark Franco

  • Rank: Judan Kugyo (十段空行) – 10th Degree 5th Level

Mark Franco began his training in the Bujinkan in 1989 under Kevin B. Millis Shidoshi. In 1998, Mark earned a Masters of Science Degree in Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine, which he utilizes in the teaching of movement principles and other aspects related to martial arts. During a trip to Japan in the Spring of 2001, after passing the Godan test, Mark  received a Shidoshi (teaching) license. Upon returning home, he established the first Bujinkan dojo in the Santa Monica (west-side) area. Mark visits the Honbu Dojo annually, attending the classes of Masaaki Hatsumi Soké, and has had the opportunity to study with some of the top Japanese Shihan and their students.

Mark  makes a sincere effort to transmit the art in the way he has been shown. However, despite his in-depth knowledge and experience, Mark strives to remain humble as he pursues the art and shares its teaching.