Our Instructors & Staff Members

Combining almost 150 years of training experience in Budo Taijutsu with various Japanese and American Shihan, our staff has attained a high degree of proficiency in this martial art and enjoy sharing their skill and passing it on to their students. The years spent devoted to training in the martial arts and the expertise attained through their extensive training uniquely qualify them as teachers and mentors. Although each instructor brings his/her own perspective to teaching, all of our instructors continue to view themselves as students as well. This outlook provides for continued growth of both the teacher and student. Below is a list of teachers currently training at the dojo:


Karl 2012

Karl Koch (DaiShihan, Ju-Godan, 15th degree black belt) 
A personal student of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, Dai Shihan Karl Koch is a 15th Dan in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu with over thirty-eight years of experience in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. Drawn to the martial arts by his interest in ancient and medieval weaponry and armor, Shihan Koch began training in the late 70’s in various western martial arts such as fencing, archery, boxing and medieval infantry techniques. In 1981, he was introduced to Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu through the books by Stephen K. Hayes and has trained in the Bujinkan ever since. In addition to his extensive training with senior instructors in the US such as DaiShihan Phillip Legare and the late Shihan Dick Severance, Shihan Koch travels to Japan annually to train with Soke Hatsumi,  the senior Japanese Shihan and other longtime western students of Soke living in Japan.

His training credits are as follows:

  • 1990 - Established the Virginia Tech Ninjutsu Club/Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Shibu
  • 1993 – Assisted Shihan Phillip Legare with Baltimore Tai Kai
  • 1995 - Established the Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo as a subsidiary of the Bujinkan Hombu.
  • 1996 – Successfully passed the Sakki test under Soke Hatsumi at the 1996 Atlanta Tai Kai
  • 1998 – Coordinated the Smokey Mountain Tai Kai with host Shihan Legare
  • 2001 – Aided Shihan Legare with Washington DC Tai Kai
  • 2010 - Awarded 15th Dan by Soke Hatsumi
  • 2011 - Awarded the Golden Dragon Medal for his contributions to the Bujinkan.
  • 2013 – Awarded the Bufu Ikkan award by Soke Hatsumi
  • 2015 - Awarded Yushu Shihan by Soke Hatsumi while traling in Japan

Since the mid-90’s, Shihan Koch has sponsored numerous Bujinkan training groups throughout the Southeast and Midwest regions of the US. He continues to travel heavily throughout the US, Europe and Japan to teach and train with students and instructors from around the world in order to share Soke’s art. In 2017, Shihan Koch was awarded DaiShihan by Soke Hatsumi during his annual training trip to Japan.

Carol 2014

Carol Koch (DaiShihan, Ju-godan/15th degree black belt)) 
DaiShihan Carol Koch is one of only a few women in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu to have been awarded DaiShihan. Having trained in archery and kung fu previously, Carol and her future husband Karl became intrigued with Ninjutsu in 1981 through books by Andrew Adams and Stephen Hayes and began training exclusively in Ninjutsu/ Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu in 1983. While on her annual training trip to Japan in October of 2000, she successfully passed her Sakki test administered by Soke and was awarded the rank of Godan. In 2008, Soke awarded her Judan. She was one of the featured instructors at the first Kunoichi Tai Kai, held in Hannover Germany. In September 2013, Soke Hatsumi promoted Carol to Ju-godan and awarded her the Golden Dragon Medal. In addition to training, Carol’s background as a licensed Rolf Practitioner provides unique insights into body motion which aid in conveying the movements of taijutsu to students.


Bryan Frey  (Judan, 10th degree black belt)
Shihan Bryan Frey began his training in Tae Kwon Do. After attending classes with Shihan Koch, he began training exclusively in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and has traveled to Japan regularly with Shihan Koch. In May 2018, Shihan Koch recommended him for Judan.

Gabriel Rael (Godan, 5th degree black belt)

Stefanie Chen (Godan, 5th degree black belt)

For more information about the Bujinkan Kakure Yama Dojo (The Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo) staff or training programs, please contact us by clicking here.