Our Team

Our Team

Our Instructors have spent many years devoted to training in the art of Tang Soo Do, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts and have attained a certain level of expertise to qualify them as teachers and also mentors.

Through extensive testing, certification and tournament level competition, our staff has attained mastery in this martial art and now enjoy sharing their skill and passing it on to their students.

Instructors

Carson Fortner
Owner & Master Instructor
Carson Fortner started his training in 1994 under Charles Prescott in Sylvania, Georgia. In 2005 he recieved his first degree Black Belt in American Tang Soo Do under the American Tang Soo Do Alliance. In 2007 he recieved his second degree Black Belt , and in 2011 he recieved his third degree Black Belt in American Tang Soo Do. He earned is 4th degree in December of 2014 earning him the title of Master. Mr. Fortner recently tested for his 5th degree Black Belt in November of 2019. He has always had a passion for teaching children and enjoys watching them develop into amazing young people. It has always been Mr. Fortner’s dream to have a martial arts school and to create a home for his own students.
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Michelle Padget
Chief Instructor
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Our Lineage and Grandmasters

Mark Cox
Grandmaster
Mark Cox started his training in 1983 under Grand Master Dennis Ichikawa in Tarzana. His love for the Martial Arts and teaching even when he was a lower ranking student was evident from the beginning.

Mr. Cox was born and raised in California. He earned his 1st degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do under Dennis Ichikawa in 1987. He has a 7th degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, a 4th degree Black Belt in Krav Maga, and holds a Black Belt in Hap Ki Do. Mr. Cox had very meager beginnings; in 1987 Mr. Cox was a machinist and part time pool man with a mega dream. His dream was to have a martial arts studio that impacted the lives of 1000’s. His goal was to have over 100 Black Belts. Through God’s direction and perseverance Mr.Cox now operate one of largest schools in the San Fernando Valley that presently has over 500 Black Belts.

Mr. Cox believed in himself and overcame very trying times and his school now impacts this community in a very positive way. As a Deputy Sheriff, Mr. Cox understands and works hand in hand with law enforcement to help keep our officers safe.
Danny Hazan
Grandmaster
Mr. Hazan is a native of Israel, and started martial arts at the age of 10 with Shotokan Karate, Krav Maga, and Russian Wrestling. He currently holds 8 Blackbelts in different styles (2nd Degree BJJ, 2nd degree judo, 8th degree in karate, 8th degree in Krav Maga) and currently has an academy in Israel AIKMA.

Mr. Hazan served in Israeli Defense Forces special operations for three and a half years, with service during the Lebanon war. After completing his military service, he served as a Krav Maga instructor for special operations units. Currently, Mr. Hazan travels the world sharing his Krav Maga expertise.
Dennis Ichikawa
Grandmaster
Mr. Ichikawa is the Chief Instructor and owner of Thousand Oaks/Westlake Karate Studios. He began his martial arts study in 1970 in the Chuck Norris system of Tang Soo Do. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Service from U.C.L.A. in 1969. In the early years, he trained under such martial arts greats as Chuck Norris and Pat Johnson.

In November of 1971, at the rank of 4th gup (level) green belt, he became manager and daytime instructor at the Norris studio in Sherman Oaks, California. After earning his first dan (degree) in November of 1973, he opened his own studio, the Tarzana Karate Studio, with partner, Harold Gross in 1974.

Mr. Ichikawa moved his residence to Thousand Oaks in 1981, and started a Tang Soo Do program at the Thousand Oaks Community Center under the Department of Parks and Recreation in June of 1983. By 1986, the program grew to over 170 students. The Thousand Oaks Karate Studio was opened in 1987.

Then, in 1987, Mr. Ichikawa created the “AMERICAN TANG SOO DO ALLIANCE” to join together all the studios of his Black Belt students as a formal organization. The Alliance currently consists of the Thousand Oaks, Acton, Eagle Rock, Chatsworth Karate, Statesboro Karate and The Way Studios. Many of his students have gone on to form their own studios throughout the state of California, and enjoy the close attention and leadership that Mr. Ichikawa provides to all his students, from first-time members all the way to black belt studio owners.