Our Founder: Shihan Rich Pelletier was known throughout Lewiston-Auburn simply as “Sensei” (pronounced Sen-say, it means teacher). Sensei was a 7th degree black belt who studied the martial arts for over 40 years. In addition to Okinawa Kenpo, he also studied Tai Chi, Shorin-Ryu, Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, various systems of Kung Fu, and the Blauer Tactical System. His main instructers include Sensei Kurk Lalemand (Shorin ryu), Sensei Forrest Blair (Tae Kwon Do), Kyoshi Marcus Devalentino (Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo), Coach Tony Blauer (Blauer Tactical Confrontation Systems Management-SPEAR SYSTEM), and Ian Gambell (Tai Chi Chuan).
Sensei was a member of the National Association of Professional Martial Artist, Personal Defense Readiness (Blauer Tactical), Martial Arts Industry Association, and the Lewiston-Auburn Chamber of Commerce. Before teaching martial arts full time Rich worked as a critical care nurse and was a member of the US Army Reserves for 13 years.
Shihan Pelletier passed away on March 31, 2013 after a 13 year battle with brain cancer.
Shihan Sadie Landry is a 7th degree black belt who has been teaching martial arts and fitness for over 20 years. She has her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification from the ShivaShakti School of Yoga and Healing Arts in Rockland, ME, and is a RYT® (Registered Yoga Teacher) with the Yoga Alliance and is certified in Thai Body Massage. Shihan Sadie resides in Lewiston with her husband Jay and her daughters, Cecilia and Fiona, and her son, Rocco.
Deshi Sensei Mathew Vattaso is a 6th degree black belt whose first exposure to the martial arts was studying Muay Thai with his uncle as a child in Laos. He now has over 40 years of experience and training in self-defense and the martial arts. In addition to his black belt in Okinawa Kenpo Karate Kobudo, Sensei Matt has extensive knowledge of grappling, self-defense, and Muay Thai, learning from masters including Shihan Richard Pelletier, Renzo Gracie, Mario Sperry, Roy Harris, and Tony Blauer. Sensei Matt first joined Pelletier’s Karate Academy in the early 1990s.
O Senpai Michael Bourget is a 4th degree black belt who has been studying martial arts for over 25 years. He studied Shotokan under Sensei John Jenkins for eight years and studied with Shihan Pelletier starting in 1995. Mike has studied several styles and systems including grappling and joint locks and manipulations. Mike says, “There will never be enough time to study or learn everything, just keep plugging away and someday you will get it.”
Dai Senpai Per Almquist is a 3rd degree black belt who has been with Pelletier’s for 10 years. His three sons are all black belts who began their studies under Shihan Pelletier. Sensei Almquist is the pastor of Free Grace Presbyterian Church in Lewiston.