Michele Elefante Sensei
The head instructor for OKC San Francisco (est. 2005), Michele Elefante Sensei holds the rank of Godan (5th degree black belt) in Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu and Shudokan Karate. She began her formal study of martial arts in 1990. She joined OKC Dallas in 1999 under Ilene Smoger Sensei (7th Dan in Shudokan and Shobayashi Karate). She was honored to have received her Shodan rank directly from Shimabukuro O’Sensei several years later.
With the encouragement and support of Smoger Sensei she began OKC San Francisco and later OKC UC Davis. She has instructed numerous times at the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) Special Training, the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists (PAWMA) training and the Association of Women Martial Artists (AWMAI) conference; additionally she has hosted and instructed at the OKC national seminars. She continues to teach Self-defense workshops throughout the United States, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California.
She currently resides in Washington and supports the OKC San Francisco dojo remotely teaching weekly virtual classes.
Deb Lee Sensei
Deb Lee Sensei, instructor at OKC San Francisco. A martial arts student since 1983, Deb has practiced Tang Soo Do, Shorin Ryu, Tuide, Iaido and Aikido. She's been a karate and self defense instructor since 1988, teaching adults and youth. She has taught numerous self-defense and personal safety seminars and workshops throughout the US and was honored to have taught at the National Women's Martial Arts Federation's (NWMAF) Special Training camp, the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors (AWMAI) conference, and the Okinawan Karate Club's National Special Training. Deb has an extensive background in law enforcement having spent many years as a law enforcement officer and special deputy assigned to the Space Shuttle Protection Team in Florida. Additionally Deb holds a degree in Criminology and a Master's Degree in Business Administration, and works in the field of Biomedical Informatics.
She currently resides in Washington and supports the OKC San Francisco dojo remotely.
Jen Collins is an instructor at OKC San Francisco. She started studying Karate in 2012, after Sensei Michele Elefante told her to "quit watching and get on the floor"! Since that moment, Karate has been a constant source of strength, challenge, and inspiration. She was awarded the rank of Nidan in Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu and Shudokan Karate in 2018. When she’s not training, Jen enjoys healing, gardening, volunteering in her community, and spending time with family and friends.
Emily Kemp, instructor at OKC San Francisco, began studying Okinawan karate under Sensei Dennis Branchaud in 1999. She was awarded the rank of Shodan in Ryukyu Hon Kenpo Kobujutsu in 2009 and continues to train at the Kodokai Dojo in karate and Udundi whenever she is back in Rhode Island. Emily has been training with Sensei Michele Elefante and Sensei Deb Lee at the Okinawan Karate Club of San Francisco since 2015. She was awarded the rank of Nidan in Shobayashi Shorin-Ryu and Shudokan Karate in 2018. She holds a degree in Economics from William Smith College and enjoys skiing, cycling, rock climbing, and sailing when she is not at the dojo.
(In Memory) Ken Lerseth
Ken Lerseth was an instructor at OKC San Francisco. A martial arts student since 1981, Ken practiced Goju Ryu from Budokanin Sacramento. He began training with Sensei Elefante and Sensei Lee at Okinawan Karate Club San Francisco in 2008. Ken held a degree in Business Administration, Finance and was a consultant for major brokerage and investment management firms.