Maureen Browne began the study of DanZan Ryu Jujitsu in 1970 at the age of 16, at the urging of her brother, the late Prof. Pat Browne. As a student at NIU, Maureen began training in Aikido as a founding member of the NIU Aikido club. She also trained and competed in Kodokan Judo as a member of the NIU Judo club. In 1975 Maureen continued her Aikido training as one of the founding members of the Midwest Aikido Center, which was established under the direction of Akira Tohei Shihan. In 1978 Maureen moved to Tokyo, Japan, to train intensively at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Upon arrival at Hombu dojo in 1978, Maureen had the privilege of meeting and training with T. K. Chiba Shihan. It was at Hombu in 1978 that Maureen received her Shodan in Aikido from Aikido Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba. In 1986 Maureen and her husband John Gussman founded the Fox Valley Judo and Jujitsu Club. Classes were held at the Aurora park District and later the Naperville Park District. In 1992 Maureen and John established the Martial Arts Training Service. Maureen began teaching Aikido at MATS in 1992 and established the Fox Valley Aikikai. In 1994 the Fox Valley Aikikai affiliated with T. K. Chiba Shihan. Maureen currently holds the rank of 8th Dan, Professor in DanZan Ryu Jujitsu from the Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai and 6th Dan, Shidoin in Aikido from Birankai North America. Maureen also has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and is an experienced child and family therapist.
Coach John Gussman began the study of Kodokan judo in 1962 with Frank Hubbard Sensei in Dearborn, MI. He competed on a national-level until 1978. Since that time, he has coached and trained judo competitors on the national and international level. He currently holds the rank of Godan (5th Dan) in Kodokan Judo and is an Internationally Certified Judo Coach through USA Judo. John began the study of DanZan Ryu jujitsu in 1975 with Prof. Pat Browne and has been teaching DanZan Ryu jujitsu since 1986 when he and his wife Maureen founded the Fox Valley Judo and Jujitsu Club. John currently coaches national and international judo competitors at the Junior and Senior level. His assistant coaching staff comprises judo champions from around the world.
Sergey began his Aikido training in 1998 at the Martial Arts Training Service. Sergey joined the MATS Uchi Deshi Program in 2002. As a member of the Uchi Deshi program Sergey trained intensively a minimum of 30 hours per month and assisted with teaching the Children’s Aikido Program. Sergey currently holds the rank of 5th Dan and Shidoin (Licensed Instructor) in Aikido and assists with teaching the Aikido program.