About Us

Welcome to the Kobudokan

The Kobudokan Dojo offers one of the largest selections of Japanese martial arts training in the Champaign Urbana Area. We provide the most complete martial arts curriculum found in Central Illinois. We offer Aikido, Iaido, Judo, Karate, and Kobudo classes. At the Kobudokan classes cover a wide range of traditional Japanese Martial arts for the student to choose from. Thus allowing the student to better individualize their training to their own personal tastes in a art of their choice. Additionally, students can become more well rounded when they experience more than one martial art. We offer both armed and unarmed martial art classes. Click here to learn more about the martial arts that use weapons offered at the Dojo and Click here to learn about empty handed arts.  

Click here to sign up for 2 Trial Classes, good for any of our scheduled sessions!

Also, Please fill out a waiver prior to coming in for class

Want to become a member of our dojo? Fill out your training agreement here!

Contact Info

Weapon Martial Arts


Iaido is the Japanese martial art of drawing, cutting and sheathing the sword. Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaido, which means “ the unequalled, unbroken lineage of Eishin style iaido” traces its lineage back over 500 years to its founder Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu.Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Seitei Kata was developed to provide a series of kata for kendo students and a common set of kata for various ryus (schools) of swordsmanship. Each of the major iaido ryus are represented among the kata. The main weapon in iaido is the katana, the long sword of the samurai and a symbol of their place in Japanese society. The sword used by students is an iaito, which is an unsharpened metal blade. Iaido students learn kata, solo movements using an iaito; katachi, partnered exercises using a bokken (wooden sword) and tamishigari (cutting exercises) using a shinken (sharp sword) as part of their training. Iaido students learn mental discipline, balance, physical conditioning, an awareness of their surroundings and a determination to never lose in a confrontation. In iaido there is a saying – “Victory comes while the sword is still in the scabbard.”


Okinawan kobudō is a Japanese term that can be translated as "old martial way of Okinawa". It generally refers to the classical weapon traditions of Okinawan martial arts, most notably the rokushakubo (six foot staff, known as the "bō"), sai (dagger-shaped truncheon), tonfa (handled club), kama (sickle), and nunchaku (chained sticks), but also the tekko (knuckledusters), tinbe-rochin (shield and spear), and surujin (weighted chain). Less common Okinawan weapons include the tambo (short stick), the hanbō (middle length staff) and the eku (boat oar of traditional Okinawan design).It is a popular story and common belief that Okinawan farming tools evolved into weapons due to restrictions placed upon the peasants by the Satsuma samurai clan when the island was made a part of Japan, which forbade them from carrying arms. As a result, it is said, they were defenseless and developed a fighting system around their traditional farming implements. However, modern martial arts scholars have been unable to find historical backing for this story, and the evidence uncovered by various martial historians points to the Pechin Warrior caste in Okinawa as being those who practiced and studied various martial arts, rather than the Heimin, or commoner. It is true that Okinawans, under the rule of foreign powers, were prohibited from carrying weapons or practicing with them in public. But the weapons-based fighting that they secretly practiced (and the types of weapons they practiced with) had strong Chinese roots, and examples of similar weapons have been found in China, Malaysia and Indonesia pre-dating the Okinawan adaptations.

Unarmed Martial Arts


To discuss the history of either Kenpo or Karate is a difficult task as both are inextricably entwined with the histories of the countries in which they originated. Although historians believe that the martial arts originated some where in India, what we know as the fighting arts today evolved mostly from China. It was there that the art was called “Ch’uan Fa”, meaning art of the fist. Its techniques were focused primarily upon striking and blocking with the hands and the feet. During the centuries of its practice in China Ch’uan Fa was also referred to as Kung Fu. As it was passed down through the generations, it evolved into a different styles and systems as individual teachers modified and improved their art.Then in 1392 36 families moved to Kume-mura Okinawa as part of a diplomatic envoy to the Ryukyu Kingdom. Along with them went their fighting art of Ch’uan Fa as well as other elements of their culture. In the Okinawan language, Ch’uan Fa is pronounced “kempo”(law of the fist). After being introduced to the citizens of Okinawa, Kempo slowly blended with the indigenous Okinawan fighting arts called “Tode”. Again, as Tode was passed down through the generations it began to be practiced differently in varying location around the island of Okinawa. In time it became divided into three main styles known as “ Naha-Te, Tomari-Te, and Shuri-Te”. The term “karate’ was first introduced in 1936 at a conference of notable martial arts masters who decided to change the name in attempts to unify their art at th same time distinguish it from those found on the Chinese mainland. Karate, meaning “empty hand” , continued to evolve into different branches , styles and systems. Some of which, continue to be practiced today. Some of these include, yet are not limited to, arts such as Shotokan, Shito-ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Goju-ryu and Isshin-ryu. Although these changes were accepted by the majority of the masters at that time, some continued to use the term “kempo” After the Second World War, American servicemen, stationed in Okinawa and Japan, began to study martial arts during their free time. Upon returning to the US after their discharge they too continued to study, teach and perfect their craft. As the arts they trained in began to also evolve and change. Why train in Karate? At first many believe that Karate's only benefit is that of self defense, or the ability to protect oneself through physical measures. Although this is true, the student of karate gains much more than simply the ability to defend. Training in Karate has proven to be beneficial to its students outside of self defense for centuries. Through the practice of those exercise, drills, and techniques found in Karate, the student builds a strong body. Improvements occur both in the student’s physical strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health as a result of dedication to hard work and training. Additionally the student finds that they develop a stronger sense of being and a higher level of self esteem. This is due to overcoming the many challenges placed in front of the student during their training of the art and by their Sensei. The ability to remain calm in tense times and to relax under pressure is also a benefit that many attribute to the study of martial arts. Because of this the practitioner has the ability to remain focused on the task at hand and maintain concentration throughout its completion. Once the student gains these insights, they become aware of other options and a state of clearer thinking which enables them to identify other options during troubled times, rather than that of aggression.


Aikido is a form of unarmed self defense in which the aggressor's actions are neutralized in a non-violent manner. It's movements are centered. around joint locks, throws and take downs. In addition to it's self defense applications, Aikido improves strength and suppleness while assisting in better posture. Students of Aikido develop quicker reflexes, a keener perception of things around them and an improved sense of balance and coordination. Aikijutsu is the ancient samurai art of unarmed fighting from which Aikido was developed. It's movements are centered around joint locks, throws and take downs which prevent further attacks from being issued.


An art of self defense and Olympic sport from Japan. Judo teaches suppleness, gentleness and coordination. Similar to Aikido/Aikijutsu, it makes use of throws and take downs as the opponent's strength and power are used against themselves. Jujutsu is another ancient form of samurai self defense from which Judo was created. Though a mixture of strategies and tactics are used, most are grouped into joint locks, throws and take downs.


Weekday Schedule- Sign up for 2 Trial Classes or buy a punch card here!

5:30 pm - 6:20 pm
6:30 pm - 7:20 pm
Iaido (runs until 8:30pm)
7:30 pm - 8:20 pm
Iaido (runs until 9pm)

No Class

No Class


Weekend Schedule: Saturdays

  12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm





Michael Kleppin

Kleppin sensei has been a member of the Kobudokan since its creation in 1988.

  • Kobudo - 7th Dan
  • Karate - 5th Dan
  • Aikido - 5th Dan
  • Iaido - 3rd Dan
  • Keno- 1st Dan

Art Beier

Professor Beier has been a member of the Kobudokan since 1994. He began his studies in Judo in the 1960s and currently teaches Aikido, Judo and Jujutsu at the Kobudokan.

  • Judo - 8th Dan
  • Jujitsu - 8th Dan
  • Aikido - 4th Dan
  • Iaido - 2nd Dan

Sal Belahi

Belahi Sensei has been a member of the Kobudokan since 2001. He currently instructs the Karate and Kobudo classes.

  • Karate - 4th Dan
  • Kobudo- 3rd Dan

Dan Keding

Keding Sensei has been studying at the Kobudokan in the art of Iaido since 2001.

  • Iaido - 2nd Dan

Class prices

Sign up for 2 trial classes here! Want to become a member of the dojo? Sign up here!

  • Karate - $90 per month (Meets 3 times per week)
  • Aikido - $90 (Meets 3 times per week)
  • Iaido - $90 (Meets 2x per week, but for 1.5 hours)
  • Judo - $55 (Meets 2x per week)
  • Kobudo- $55 (Meets 2x per week)
  • Discounted rates available for registering for multiple arts and additional family members. Please inquire in person or via Email