From Dream to Reality – The Story of Kogen Dojo Pt 1

About a year ago, Dwayne Bowie and I met up at my home dojo to do some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, just a couple of training brothers trying to help each other improve in budo and in life. We were both exhausted from work and our minds were elsewhere. No one else showed up to train that night so we decided to go to Smoothie King to chill and talk. We both expressed interest in doing something more with martial arts, creating a place where everyone could train, in both traditional martial arts and modern martial arts, somewhere everyone was welcomed and treated with respect.

Bowie and I are different in nearly every way, but not when it comes to our mutual respect for one another and for the passion we both share when it comes to learning and teaching others the arts that we love and have dedicated so much of our lives to learning. We both had different ideas about what we wanted and where we wanted our individual schools to be. We both agreed that we’d help the other get started. The more we talked though, the more we realized that what we each wanted and, more importantly, who we each were was a compliment to the other. What if we just started a school together?

Now here we are, it’s almost a year later and we have a lease for a 2500sqft space in Severna Park Village Center, right behind where this vision first saw light. We’re opening a martial art school together in Severna Park (, somewhere that offers self defense for everyone, somewhere that is positive, inclusive, and respectful of the differences between us and our individual interests.

So if you live in Anne Arundel County or know someone who does, please help us to spread the word so that our dream of passing on what we love to the community we live in can become a reality. More to come…

Robert Van Valkenburgh, Co-Founder of Kogen Dojo and Taikyoku Mind & Body

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Kogen Dojo: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Severna Park
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