Zen Budokai

Our System

Zen Budokai is a complete, modern, self-defense system based on Japanese jujutsu. Our techniques include throws, joint locks, chokes, submission holds, strikes, ground defenses, and non-lethal control techniques. We differ from many Brazilian Jiu-jitsu & MMA schools in that our focus is on self-defense from a standing position as opposed to competition ground fighting. Students learn not only how to defend themselves, but how to control threats (including weapons) and protect others. We have a long history in San Francisco and welcome everyone. There is no macho “gym” culture and no previous experience is required. 

Our Classes

Classes are small, fun, and informal, with an emphasis on safety and mutual respect. We have a large curriculum with a variety of techniques, so there is always something new to learn. An unusual aspect of our system is that all students help teach the ranks below them (under supervision of an instructor, of course). We find that teaching is a great way to reinforce learning and foster positive character traits necessary for development in martial arts. Everyone progresses at their own pace, or as we say, “The only person you are competing with is yourself.”

Zen Budokai can also be a great compliment to other martial arts. Students of striking arts have used Zen Budokai to expand their repertoire to include chokes, throws and restraining holds. Students of competitive grappling arts have chosen Zen Budokai to practice grappling techniques that would be illegal in competition.

We do not accept students under the age of 14, except under special circumstances, and only when they are accompanied by an adult family member. (We recommend younger children study Judo as a good foundation for Zen Budokai, since the two share many techniques.) New students are welcome to drop-in on any class. If you do not have a jujutsugi or judogi (uniform), sweats or other loose-fitting athletic clothing is ok.

Our Instructors

Zen Budokai is led by Professor Tim Delgman, 10th degree black belt. Tim is a San Francisco native and has been teaching and training in martial arts for over 50 years. Tim received the bulk of his jujitsu training from Master Professor Duke Moore, the founder of Zen Budokai, who promoted him to Soke (Head Master) of the system in 2004. Tim received a black belt in karate from John Pereira and a black belt in judo from Dr. Neil Laughlin. All of our other instructors are trained under Professor Delgman and have cross-trained in other martial arts. 

Come by during any class and try your first week for free!