Discovery Defense Arizona was started with the goal of teaching real world self defense techniques, that can be utilized from day one, in a fun, friendly, and family type atmosphere. We do not teach sport martial arts, and we do not spend time “punching air”. We teach the ninjutsu art of Budo Taijutsu, which is based on Samurai battlefield hand-to-hand combat. We will not teach you to vanish in a puff of smoke, but we will teach you how to handle common self defense scenarios. Not only will you learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones, but you will get a great workout (1 hour of martial arts can burn up to 800 calories!), make some new friends and develop self-confidence.

Taijutsu is designed as a full spectrum martial art, ranging from striking and kicking to joint locks and throws, ground fighting skills, and weapons skills, both defending against them and the proper use of various weapons.

We are part of the Discovery Martial Arts Association, founded by Hanshi John Poliquin.

We also offer a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program, in association with Michael Evangilista, owner of MyStyleMartialArts, the only Prof. Roy Dean certified instructor in the state of Arizona.

All of our instructors are certified trainers, and they all have received CPR and first aid training and have close to 40 years of instructing experience between them.


Senior Instructor and co-owner Leonard Rickmers – 2rd Degree Black Belt

Mr. Rickmers has a 2nd degree Black Belt in Go-Shin-Taijutsu (Ninjutsu), and has been a personal student of Stephen K. Hayes Since 2007, and now is direct student of 8th degree Black Belt John Poliquin.

Since 2012, he has been teaching Ninjutsu and Real World Self-Reliance skill to adults and children.  Throughout his life, he has invested great amounts of time gathering skills and knowledge.  He was a member of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and is a US Army veteran who served in the Military Intelligence community during Operation Desert Storm. 

Mr. Rickmers is also an NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Firearms Instructor for Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun, and is passionate about promoting safety and firearm education.  These skills have transitioned into the study of the ninja arts. 

Senior Gracie Instructor Michael Evangilista


Michael’s martial arts journey started young with Tae Kwon Do, which led him into Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Capoeira, karate, Wing Chun, Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.  He holds a black belt in Japanese Jujutsu, a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and has coached Wrestling for nearly two decades. 

Michael continues to train in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under the world renowned professor Roy Dean, and is the first BJJ instructor and affiliate in Arizona representing the Roy Dean Academy.  

Senior Instructor and co-owner Maynard Breese – 2Nd Degree Black Belt

Mr. Breese comes to Budo Taijutsu after trying several other martials arts, rising to middle level belt rankings (Shorin Ryu Karate – Red Belt, Daito Ryu Jujutsu – Green Belt, and Hapkido – Blue Belt) and not feeling he had found a complete system. Having followed Stephen K Hayes since he was a teen, Mr. Breese jumped on the chance to study Taijutsu, eventually earning his 2nd degree Black Belt and his instructor certification.

Mr. Breese has been a student of Taijustsu for 14 years, and an instructor for 9 years.  He also had earned his 4th stripe in the Gracie Combatives system before it was blended into their current format, and is currently training with Michael Evangilista.  

Maynard also had the pleasure of watching his two children rise through the ranks of the children’s class, eventually earning their children’s black belts and gaining self-discipline and important physical skills.