About Dan Rotnem

I believe that martial arts training relies on strong interpersonal communication. While you should take a hard look at me as a martial artist and my qualifications, I also want you to be aware of who I am and my story. Obviously I can't put it all here, but just to get it started...

I grew up in the Akron, OH area before coming down to Columbus, OH for college at The Ohio State University. I studied Chinese Language and International Relations for both my bachelor's and master's degrees. I worked a couple jobs before starting a career in international education as a student recruiter based in China. Through my 20's I spent about 4 years there and relocated back to the US in 2014.

I'm lucky now to be able to spend most of my time with my family and love being a father and husband. My eldest daughter is Laura, my youngest is Harlow. My beautiful wife Lindsey is extremely supportive of my crazy dream to live life as a professional martial artist.

My Martial Arts History

Official Rankings

  • Jujutsu: 2nd degree black belt
  • Shotokan Karate: 2nd degree black belt
  • Tae Kwon Do: 2nd degree black belt
  • Kyokushin Karate: 3rd degree brown belt

Other Methods Studied (Formal & Informal):

  • Philosophy of Jeet Kun Do (15 years)
  • Wing Chun (8 years)
  • Bokator (8 years)
  • Tiger Claw (5 years)
  • Okinawan Karate (5 years)
  • Small-circle Jujitsu (5 years)
  • White Crane Kung Fu (2 years)
  • Judo (1 year)
  • Kenjutsu (1 year)
  • Iaido (1 year)
  • Numerous others less than 1 year

Current as of June 2017

"Peace and tranquility are what he [the warrior] holds most dear 

so he does not obtain weapons,

but when their use is unavoidable

 he employs them with fortitude and zeal."

 - Dao De Jing

Becoming a Zen Warrior


A drop falls...

I was taken to a "karate studio" by my mother at 5 years old. Little did anyone suspect that a passion for the martial way would begin its ripple effect and change "Danny's" life forever. 

creating a ripple... 

From my first class on, I could never get enough training in that "karate school", which taught Seiei Kan Ju Jutsu. Seiei Kan Ju Jutsu is a blended style that incorporates Shotokan karate katas and Tae Kwon Do kicks into Japanese jujutsu. Starting in such an open-minded school established the thirst to seek the best of the best from all styles. These classes all began and ended with seated meditation, introducing me very early on to Zen, though it wasn't until much later that this practice matured. The elements of bushido were also emphasized and our character was as scrutinized as our technical ability. 

that grows to..

I had a passion for competition and my sensei helped me develop my sparring and forms to a high level. Competing gave me valuable experience stress-testing my techniques and exposure to other martial arts, which furthered my willingness to accept any technique or training method that worked.  Two of my more significant competitive achievements are taking Silver in the AAU Nationals (kumite) and a bronze medal in the 1999 AAU Jr. Olympics (kumite). 

form higher peaks... 

In college, I began training in both structured and unstructured environments. Primarily digging deep into the roots of Japanese karate, I also explored Okinawan, Cambodian, and Chinese martial arts and philosophy (Daoism). Moving to China and training with individuals with extensive real-life experience further broadened my horizons. All of a sudden everything I knew came into question: "Does what I do work in the real world?!?" 


The rise of cage fighting and a better understanding of violence convinced me that school yard fights and competitions were not representative of the skills required for self-protection. Beyond that, though, was the deeper question... how does this positively impact my life and how do my values integrate with martial arts?

with a rolling crest... 

Now with a deep repertoire of technical skills and a wide variety of experiences I began what became an obsession... To follow great philosophers and warriors, such as Funakoshi, Oyama, Musashi and Bruce Lee in truly internalizing and personalizing my martial arts. I chose to apply all of my intellect to understanding the mind, body, violence, human psychology, martial philosophy and training methods. I became determined to learn what it takes to be a true warrior; and to pass that along to others.  I keep no secrets and do not demand faith in mystical methods. I only provide a structure to give us all the tools we need to be safe, healthy and free. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. 

and a crashing wave.

This process began in 2008 and now, years later, the continually evolving result is a highly effective method of training that creates warriors for the 21st century. People who are true masters of themselves. A training structure that encourages everyone to deeply understand themselves and the power of their mind-body connection. Most importantly, I promise to provide an environment where you are encouraged to become the best expression of yourself that you can be.