Mike Bern began his journey into the martial arts at the age of twelve in the art of Kenpo by a family friend. His family lived in a rough area of Southern California and his parents wanted him to be able to protect himself. A few years later they moved to Lake Tahoe, where he studied Kung Fu for about a year and a half before his instructor left the area.
He eventually found the Kenpo Karate of South Lake Tahoe club and began studying Kosho ryu Kenpo Jujitsu with Sensei Zane Graham and Sensei Susan Kezich. He earned his shodan (first degree black belt) there in 2002.
High Desert Martial Arts was founded in 2004 by Sensei Bern as a way to continue the teachings and traditions of his teachers, past instructors and the American Jujitsu Institute (AJI).
“The Martial Arts have always fascinated me. The principles (physical, mental and spiritual), the philosophies and the history have influenced practitioners for millennia. The application of these principles to everyday life and the physical training has been the best form of exercise for me that I have found to keep in shape.”
Shortly after, it was recommended that Sensei Bern seek out Professor Ken Eddy to continue his martial arts training in Reno, NV. The level of expertise and understanding of the Arts that he found with the teachers and students of the Mizu Shin Tao school amazed him. He continues to travel to Reno several times a week to train there in Kodenkan Danzan ryu Jujitsu, and the healing arts of Professor Henry Okazaki. He considers himself fortunate to also train with Professor Thomas Rennie at the same dojo. Prof. Rennie has an extensive backround in Aikido and Danzan ryu jujitsu, where he blends his Aikido training to enhance the motions in jujitsu.
Sensei Bern is ranked through the American Jujitsu Institute, founded in 1939 and the oldest Martial arts organization in the United States. He is currently ranked a godan (5th degree black belt) in Kosho Ryu Kenpo Jiujitsu and godan in Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu. He earned a teaching license in Seifukujutsu, the Okazaki system of healing massage. He is a life member of the AJI.