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LIGO DOJO of BUDO KARATE

Martial Arts in Chapel Hill. Community-Minded, Family-Oriented, Behavior Based.

Our Instructors

Nathan Ligo.

Nathan Ligo.

Nathan Ligo has been practicing karate for 30 years. He was orriginally a student of “Master” Seong Soo Choi in Chapel Hill, but after six years Master Choi sent Nathan to learn from his uncle, Masutatsu Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate, in Japan. Nathan spent two years training under Mas Oyama in Japan before he was 21 years old. Nathan later graduated from Davidson College with a BA in English, before traveling to Korea for two more years of traning, and then to Hungary, for two more years of training after that. In Hungary, Nathan was a students of Sensei Sandor Brezovai. Since 2003, Nathan has been learning from Kancho Hatsuo Royama, and from the instructors of Kyokushin-kan International. Nathan is 42. For more information please see the About Nathan Ligo page. 

All Ligo Dojo instructors are Nathan’s students who he has “brought up” to instructor’s level since their very first lesson. Nathan was the only American uchi deshi (private student) of Mas Oyama to learn from Kyokushin’s founder for such a sustained period of time, and hence Nathan is very strict concerning what is taught, and how lessons are to be taught at Ligo Dojo, with the top priority being the maintenance of a high standard of training, behavior, and human interaction.

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Amy Kaufman, here shown training in Japan.

One of the instructors listed below, Mervin Taylor, is currently volunteering to teach 2 classes per month (in addition to his own training), making him unique among our staff, because unlike the others, he is volunteering without first having been a paid instructor. As in Japan, all students should endeavor to guide their koohais (juniors) in the dojo from the time they get their very first colored belt, and, one step better than that, all adult Ligo Dojo students should aspire to one day volunteer to teach a couple classes per month after reaching black belt level. New students should not worry! The Americanized for-profit martial arts model includes using a wide variety of volunteer instructors (often teens) who are rarely qualified to teach. Students at Ligo Dojo, however, are not given black belts just for “doing their time.” Nor are they intermediate-level students who are required to teach in order to gain senior rank. Ligo Dojo students have to earn their leadership role, having shown a command of the material, and an ability to guide their koohais as role models. 

Amy Kaufman started learning karate from Nathan Ligo at Ligo Dojo in Durham in 2007. She has her shodan (1st degree black belt) but is currently training for her nidan (2nd degree) promotion. Amy was formerly a paid Ligo Dojo instructor, and has been on the Ligo Dojo Board of Directors, but is currently working as a volunteer. Amy has fought in numerous full-contact tournaments, including Kyokushin-kan’s World Open Tournament held in Budapest, in October of 2009. Amy has been to Japan five times to attend Kyokushin-kan seminars offered by Kancho Royama. Amy has her Masters Degree in Social Work from UNC, has extensive nonprofit experience, and currently works for the federal government in research program management at the VA in Durham. Amy is heavily involved, in an above and beyond the call of duty sort of way, volunteering as well to support our Young Warriors Program serving disadvantaged youth. Amy is currently responsible for teaching 12 classes per month in conjunction with Sensei Ligo.

Erin Krellwitz.

Erin Krellwitz.

Erin Krellwitz started learning karate from Nathan Ligo at Ligo Dojo in Durham in 2009. She has her shodan (1st degree black belt) but is currently working towards her nidan (2nd degree) promotion. Erin was formerly a paid Ligo Dojo instructor, but is currently working as a volunteer. Erin is heavily involved, in an above and beyond the call of duty sort of way, volunteering as well to support our Young Warriors Program serving disadvantaged youth. She has fought in numerous full-contact tournaments and has been to Japan to attend Kyokushin-kan seminars offered by Kancho Royama. Erin has a PhD from Duke in Biology. She is currently responsible for teaching 8 classes per month in conjunction with Sensei Ligo.

 

Mervin Taylor.

Mervin Taylor. This picture taken when he was still a yellow belt.

Mervin Taylor started learning karate from Nathan Ligo at Ligo Dojo in Durham in 2009. He has His shodan (1st degree black belt) but is currently working towards his nidan (2nd degree) promotion. Like Sensei Ligo, Mervin graduated from Davidson College, in Davidson, NC. He works as an Investigator in Product Development at Glaxo Smith Kline. He is currently responsible for teaching 2 classes per month in conjunction with Sensei Ligo (although he attends many others, with his son, a brown belt, who is 11).