We are proud to host an incredible group of self defense instructors that provide a unique and deep view of our art. Each has expertise in coaching students towards individualized techniques and personal success. All instructors have a unique method and safe style of instruction.
Discovery Martial Arts is under the direction of internationally recognized instructor and founder John Poliquin. Hanshi Poliquin has been a personal student of Stephen K. Hayes (founder and Grandmaster of To-Shin Do) and Ninjutsu Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi since the early 1980’s. An absolute master of enlightened self defense.
His extensive martial arts background dates back to 1977 and includes a 10th Degree Black Belt in Budo Taijutsu (awarded by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi in 2003), an 8th Degree Black Belt in To-Shin Do (awarded by Anshu Stephen Hayes in 2011, and a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Judo (awarded by Ramon Ancho in 1982).
Mr. Poliquin teaches private clients and regularly conducts seminars on self-protection and personal development worldwide. His teaching specialty is assisting senior martial arts instructors in their ongoing skill development. Hanshi Poliquin founded and directs the Discovery Martial Arts Association, an international network of schools and instructors dedicated to providing authentic, meaningful instruction in the timeless art of the Ninja.
Mr. White started training in 2001 under the guidance of Hanshi Poliquin. A native of the Rangeley Lakes area, he has spent his whole life in Maine. Mr. White moved to Portland shortly before training in Ninjutsu. “It was a friend of mine’s idea. He wanted something to try it and I was 26 and up for anything. After about two and a half years, he got done and I just kept going”. In 2014, along with Mr. Labbay, they assumed ownership of the dojo and leadership of the Kyu Rank students. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business, it’s always been a goal. To marry it up with something I truly enjoy doing is a real pleasure.”
“It’s hard to express in one sentence what this art has meant to me. I could go on and on about the fascinating history, the amazing body mechanics, the ability to train for a lifetime and still learn, or the magic that is felt in the effortlessness of a perfectly timed technique. The part above all else that continues to fascinate me is the reflection of the art and life....and vice versa. The art has taught me so much about dealing with the aspects of living and relationships with other people without even trying to impart that knowledge. On the flip side, that change comes back and shows itself in my teaching and training. Perspective (emotion and thought) make up all of life.....it also makes up the essence of this art. They can draw upon and learn from each other and most of the time they walk hand-in-hand”
Zach began his training in Ninjutsu in 2005, earning his black belt in 2009. In 2014, he and Mark partnered in ownership of the school. His interest in physical fitness and training others lead him to a degree in Health and Fitness, and he gained subsequent experience in working with both the general public and combat athletes.
"I grew up fascinated by the martial arts and was lucky to find this school early in my adulthood. Ninjutsu has a special draw to it that I found fascinating, incredibly creative, and straightforwardly effective. While I have appreciated my outside training, I found something deeper in this art that always felt like coming home. Under Hanshi Poliquin's guidance, this art didn't just teach me how to fight well; it taught me to understand how the principles of martial arts could be implemented in one's life in a real and practical way. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share those lessons with our students. Studying martial arts gives students important insight into themselves and their relationship to others."
Heidi started training in Ninjutsu in 2001 with Kyoshi Brett Varnum in Presque Isle. She has extensive training experience including multiple schools in Quebec. In 2018, she moved her training under Hanshi Poliquin with us here at Discovery. With a variety of instructors and background, Heidi can help any students develop strategies and techniques in dealing with larger and stronger opponents.
In her spare time, she is an avid fitness enthusiast and enjoys long endurance events.
Ian Pratt began his training with Hanshi John Poliquin in 2003. He also had a former training in karate and kendo as well. Ian earned his black belt in 2019. Ian is highly focused on the fundamentals of proper movement and is well known around the school as a powerhouse!
Lana is an absolute powerhouse! Always excited to be in the school and enthusiastically playful, Lana embodies the powerful and joyful spirit of our school. She can be found alongside Mark, and bear in mind: She loves treats and rawhide; if you bring her enough food, perhaps you may earn her favor.