Danzan Ryu Jujutsu
Sensei: Ward Melenich and Sohn Wehseler
History of the Kuroinukan:
The beginnings of the Kuroinukan actually started with the Hayashi No Dojo, under the tutelage of Gene Esala. Gene's original instructor was Al Roberts, who was taught DZR by Verne Brekke. Gene attained his Shodan under Professor Pat Browne in 1984. In that same year he registered the Hayashi No Dojo with the AJJF.
Ward Melenich began in 1986 and with Gene's patient instruction, Ward received his Shodan in 1987. The fall of 1987, he began the Kuroinukan in a nearby storefront. The Kuroinukan's other sensei, Sohn Wehseler, began studying DZR with Gene in 1985 and achieved his Shodan in 1990, joining the Kuroinukan in 1994 as a co-sensei. DZR Jujutsu was supplemented with Kodokan Judo for both Sohn and Ward in 1990 when they joined the Duluth Judo Club under the instruction of Roger Jensen. With the nearest DZR Professor 400 miles away, Roger's 30 years of judo wisdom has proven invaluable to Sohn and Ward.
Through the years the Kuroinukan moved from a storefront to several basements to a storefront, Ward's three-car garage and finally landed at its current location in downtown Duluth. It was at this time that Roger Jensen moved the Duluth Judo club in with the Kuroinukan. An average of 14 students show up regularly for jujutsu classes and 7-10 students for judo.
From an article by Jason Davis in the Kiai Echo:
Even the cold winters of Duluth can't extinguish the spark of Danzan Ryu spirit found in the Kuroinukan ("Hall of the Black Dog"). When the blasts of arctic wind give way to sweltering summer heat and humidity, Lake Superior breezes keep the dojo moderately cool. Sohn Wehseler, Nidan and Ward Melenich, Sandan combine their experience to teach Danzan Ryu four nights a week. The fifth night is reserved for Kodenkan Judo. Teaching with over thirty years of Judo experience, Sensei Roger Jensen, Yondan is assisted by Duane Reick, Nidan and Ward Melenich, Shodan. Practice in both disciplines often spills over into the weekend, and the dojo is open to students twenty-four hours a day. Many of the Kuroinukan students, as well as both Sensei, compete in Judo tournaments regularly, as the Duluth Judo Club. Duane Reick also brings Wing Chung experience into the Dojo, while Sohn Wehseler adds Tai Chi knowledge and Ward Melenich often taps into his extensive college wrestling background. Traveling Jujutsukas, Judo players, and new students are always welcome.