Arizona Budokan

Traditional Martial Arts Dojo Chief instructor Hanshi Rudy Crosswell founded the Arizona Budokan in 1973, making it one of the Valley’s oldest and most distinguished martial arts training facilities.

For nearly three decades, the Arizona Budokan has hosted world-class martial arts masters from Japan and around the world, and continues to be the dojo of choice for serious practitioners both locally and worldwide. We offer three different traditional arts - Sh*toryu Karate, Okinawan Weapons and Japanese Sword, and each is available to every student of our dojo. Each one of our arts has a rich, d

Operating as usual


Success in the Sandbox: Soke Crosswell on Perseverence

In Soke's last months, I was able to record some of our conversations as he shared his insights and stories about the martial arts and life in general. Here is a short clip where he discusses PERSEVERANCE, and it could not be more relevant to what we are going through today--whether in our training or life in general.

I added historical photos as well. To all who loved and respected this man, thank you. His magic lives on, and we will persevere❤️

This is "Success in the Sandbox: Soke Crosswell on Perseverence" by Arizona Budokan on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.


We have been through so much, but we are ready. The new Arizona Budokan officially opens its doors on January 4.

Come see us at Tatum and Thunderbird in the New Year! We are bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than ever.


SO INCREDIBLY PROUD of these passionate, dedicated warriors. Our dojo family has been through a lot in the last six months, but everyone's steadfast commitment to their training and to each other through all the ups and downs has been inspiring, healing, motivating, and humbling. Promotions well-earned for outstanding technique and fierce, loving hearts. Your future is so very bright, and we are honored to be a part of it. Keep walking the path and the rewards will be immeasurable. Soke is surely smiling down on us all.


I COULD NOT be more humbled, proud, and honored to lead this little band of ronin on the intense and bittersweet journey that the last six months has been in the wake of our beloved sensei’s passing. The outpouring of support from Sensei Demura and the entire Iaido community this weekend was deeply touching, while my crew’s emotional and stellar performances brought me to tears again and again. It has been such a hard road but I am honored to have been chosen to walk it with these stellar men. Thank you, gentlemen. You are true warriors and I am honored to train alongside you.


Our beloved and respected Sensei, Shihan, and Soke--Rudy Crosswell--passed away peacefully, at home and surrounded by family, on September 25, 2018.

Allow me to start by apologizing for the piecemeal way in which information of his passing got out, particularly on Facebook. This was the result of unintended leaks, and I can only try to make it right from where we stand.

Many of you did not even know (or were not sure) that he was ill, and for that I extend my heartfelt apologies. A proud warrior until the very end, his wishes were that almost nobody be informed of his condition, and it was the duty of his inner circle to respect them.

That said, I hope people will take comfort in the fact that for Soke and those closest to him, this was not a sudden passing--and he had lots of time (though never enough) to fully enjoy life--to travel, to teach, to be with family and friends, and to do everything that he truly loved and wanted to do in the two years that he lived, nearly without symptoms, after his very serious diagnosis. He fought until the last, pushed himself to get to the dojo just days before leaving us, and will forever be an example of fortitude, courage, and strength to us all.

As his wife, closest confidant, dedicated student, and co-keeper of his legacy, let me assure you that the Arizona Budokan and the dojo family will go on, heartbroken and feeling our way through the dark a bit at first, but ultimately tighter, stronger, and more fiercely committed to his teachings than ever. Like the man who dedicated his life to it, the Arizona Budokan is unlike any other. It is a sacred place for those who have made it a part of their lives, and it must be preserved for our own sakes as well as for that of future generations.

Many of you will ask what you can do, and the answer is simple: Train. Train with heart, train with passion, train with fortitude, and train with dedication. If there is any quality that you admired in Soke (and I'm sure there are many), do everything you can to embody and develop it in order to honor his legacy and the inspiration he brought to your life. Here at AZB, I and the other instructors are even more galvanized than ever to ensure a vibrant and bright future for our tribe. I hope you will see him forever shining bright through our ongoing evolution as a center and a sanctuary for authentic martial arts traditions.

Whether you knew Soke as a lifelong friend or passing face, I thank you on his behalf for the kindness and respect that you showed him during his lifetime. He was a complex man, but there was not a soul on earth who questioned his dedication to his art and his life’s purpose. He has now taken his rightful place among the great departed masters, and those of us he has left behind as keepers of his legacy are honored to follow humbly in his footsteps.

With love and in budo,


AZB had some landmark promotions this week. Rose, who has been training with us since she was six years old, delivered a fantastic performance that earned her a 1st kyu brown and an apprentice black belt test date 😎; Sarah (also a lifelong AZB student) moved solidly and confidently into first-degree black belt from apprentice black belt 😎; and Dawn became the first female student ever to reach 4th degree black belt under Soké Crosswell 😎. To top it all off, Sensei Jerry celebrated a lifetime of achievement by earning a rare 5th degree black belt from Soké--only the second 5th degree black belt he has ever awarded in half a century of teaching martial arts 😎.

If there's one thing AZB is known for, it's our MASSIVELY BROAD, in-depth curriculum and exceedingly high standards. Promotions do not come easily or frequently, and promotions at this level are virtually unheard of in our dojo. Wear those ranks with pride, AZB seniors! They are world-class quality and so are you 💕🥋🥋🥋🥋 💕



REPORT FROM THE EVENT: Rose and Leeza competed at the USA National Championship in Reno, NV. Both managed to earn simultaneous NATIONAL medals for the first time. Leeza’s bo and tonfa techniques earned her two bronze medals. Rose’s sai gained her a silver medal. They both were eliminated in the kata divisions, but came back on the final day of the competition ready to fight. It was a tournament of state champions. Leeza got all the way into the semi-final eliminating champs, then suffered a split decision defeat with 4-4. Because it was a semi-final defeat, she got an opportunity to battle for the bronze medal. This time, she was solid - with a beautifully timed 2-1 victory. She takes the USA bronze medal for Arizona. In Rose’s division, the competition was tough. This didn’t slow Rose down as she defeated her 1/8 and quarterfinal champs from California (8-0) and New York (6-1). In the semi-final, she was defeated 2-4 by the Illinois champ. She also got a chance to compete for the bronze. The match started out with Rose losing. She kept a cool head though and came back winning 5-4. It was quite dramatic. She too received the USA bronze medal.


BREAKING BOARDS is tons of fun, but it's also an incredible way to test the accuracy of your technique, the depth of your control, and the purity of your mental game. Everyone had some fantastic successes--but it was the failures that taught us the most and will push us to be even better next time. Thanks to everyone who came out for an awesome breaking session! 💥👊😎💥


Despite our tiny team, AZB placed third in gold medals out of 37 participating dojo and about sixth in overall medal count at this year's Arizona State Championships, which had a record 348 contestants--most of them from much bigger dojo with an almost exclusive focus on sport karate. We're so proud of our versatile, hardworking students and so very thankful for the parents who support them!! 💕


The Arizona Budokan took a small team of three to the national Batto-do sword championships hosted by Sensei Fumio Demura in California last weekend, and came away with a first place medal (women's black belt cutting), two thirds (intermediate kata and cutting), and a second (in team cutting). Meanwhile, we made some mistakes and learned some valuable lessons for our future training. Thank you to Shihan Crosswell and our sword sensei in Japan for your great knowledge and patience. For now, it's back to work--we'll see you on the mat!!


Top Karate Video

Rina is a student of my long time friend Sensei Shigeki Uemura. We visit his dojo every year for training and teaching. She has improved dramatically over the last few years. Congratulations to a new World Champion!!

Junior Kata Female, World Champion MORIMOTO RINA (JAPAN), WKF Junior, Cadet & U21 Championships - Tenerife 2017


Haven't seen the footage yet or want a second look? Join us on the 90-second ride from our two-week adventure!! 07/19/2017

Murakami Sensei: FULL MOVIE

The Arizona Budokan was honored to host Toru Murakami-sensei in the 120-degree heat of the Arizona summer last month! Here is the full 10-minute romp through our adventures on and off the mat. We can't wait to see Sensei and the rest of the Minowa-kai for training in Japan in October! Breathtaking samurai skills meet Old West adventure in this fast-paced romp through our summer 2017 adventures with Murakami-sensei, at the Arizona Budokan, Grand…


America's Got Talent

Never give up. Perseverance ! A life lesson. 🤗

Mandy Harvey is proof that you should never give up on your dream. 06/06/2017

AZB SMASH Full Feature

SMASH!!! The FULL VERSION is here!!
See the AZB karate practitioners in action, plus valuable instruction from Shihan Crosswell on proper breaking techniques. Three minutes of rock-and-roll fun! Enjoy the full-length feature film of our latest breaking session at AZB!!



The karate practitioners recently held their first ever official board-breaking session!! Watch the trailer below to get a slice of the action, and if it looks cool, come on down to AZB and join us!!


Timeline Photos


We're so proud of our students who participated in the 2017 annual Gembukai International Championships in LA this weekend. Bill brought home the Gold in Intermediate kata and Willy the Bronze in intermediate cutting, facing a tough set of competitors from all over the country. These wonderful results are a testament to our Toyama Ryu Iaido program at the Arizona Budokan and the hard work of our dedicated students. Way to go, guys!



Join us for AZB's newest ancient tradition! Following our New Year's osoji cleaning event on on Saturday, January 7, Sensei Al Krever will lead us in making a thousand cuts with bokken, iaito, or jo to cleanse and energize us for a powerful year of training ahead. Cut away the stale energy and disappointments of 2016 and get ready for a fresh start in your martial arts practice and your life. Starting at 11:30AM and open to all students (including kids!) training in karate, kobudo, sword, and aikido. See you there! :D


Arizona Budokan's cover photo


Great shots from our demo in Seki, Japan last Saturday for the annual blade festival. Thanks to Miyamoto-san for the excellent camera work!



An intense and amazing journey reaches a milestone with AZB's two newest third-degree black belts in Kurobayashi-ha Sh*to-ryu Karate-do and its first female sensei ever.

A huge thank you to Shihan Crosswell, the impressive (and super intimidating) testing board, and all of the teachers and students who helped us along the way.


Interested in Japanese conversation classes but live far away and/or are pressed for time? We will soon be offering an ONLINE Japanese conversation class open to anyone and everyone who is motivated to learn. This will be the last (and only) post on this, so please message the dojo or comment here right away if you are interested and want more info! :D


Ready to learn some basic Japanese? The new Japanese class at AZB is open to EVERYONE, whether you train at the dojo or not. Small-group environment, four times a month on Monday afternoons/evenings 4:45–5:45 PM. Best for beginners and almost-beginners. Comment or message me if interested! (Also, please share and spread the word!


The Zach girls do it again at the Scottsdale Championships! Six medals overall in kata, kumite, and weapons. FIERCE


The Joy Bus

WE DID IT!!!! :D :D :D
I just received word that a very generous donation directly to The Joy Bus from one of Cindy's co-workers has put us over the top for our goal of $2,500!! YAYAYAYAY Thank you so much to the Arizona Budokan family, who were rockstars of giving, and to all the love pouring in from those we don't know directly but who loved Cindy or were inspired at how she inspired others. I will be visiting Jennifer at the Joy Bus Diner tomorrow for an official victory photo and picture in front of the upcoming honor wall. In the meantime, you guys can watch this groovy video showcasing all the rad stuff the Joy Bus does! May all your generosity return to you and your friends and family many, many times over.

Building it Forward. Recently we had the chance to be apart of a really great project. The Joy Bus is a local not-for-profit organization that provides chef ... 04/13/2016

Click here to support AZB Honors Cindy Craver: Joy Bus by Dawn Croft

The Arizona Budokan is honored to sponsor a memorial fund for Cindy Craver, which will benefit an amazing charity that she was passionate about: The Joy Bus. Please consider honoring Cindy's memory by supporting this worthwhile cause, which delivers hot meals and warm companionship to homebound Valley residents battling cancer. THIS amazing person on the right is the Arizona Budokan's beloved Sarah Craver, who has trained with us at the dojo since she was a little girl. Just behind her is one of the most loving, joyful, fierce, caring, and powerful women I have ever met--Sarah's mother, Cindy Craver. Beautiful Cindy end...


AZ Qualifier 2016

The highlight reel is here! Watch as Team AZB sweeps the National Qualifier again this year, with our tiny team of eight competitors earning 21 medals in four events!

(Apologies for the lack of FB preview; the soundtrack is copyrighted so it has to be published on our YouTube channel. Please click and enjoy!)

The highlight reel is here! Watch as Team AZB sweeps the National Qualifier again in 2016, with our tiny team of eight competitors earning 21 medals in four ...


The patchless boutique dojo cleans up again at the Arizona State National Qualifiers this year, with eight competitors raking in twenty-one medals! Thanks to the patience and tireless dedication of Shihan and our seniors, we managed to make a splash again this year at the regional championships. Most exciting are the medals on our three first-time state competitors! Way to go AZB!


2016 Batto-do Championships, Los Angeles

Proud moment for Shihan with his two competitors back from Orange County this weekend. Congratulations to Joe, who placed third in beginner kata, and Dawn, who placed second in black belt kata. The competition was fierce, but our training carried us through. Looking forward to even bigger and better things next year!


Wise words from one of Shihan's oldest and dearest friends. Martial arts is a journey that gives and gives at any age, life stage, or level of athleticism. Having found that path is such a precious gift! May we all have the strength to discover what it holds for us decades down the line.


Thanks to the hard work of our amazing kids during the last karate test, we can now showcase the entire AZB ranking system! Looking good, warriors!


Great news! The new-and-super-improved AZB 4.0 website is now live! Our own amazingly talented Bill Tantana has created a sleek, professional, super-functional-on-all-devices site that is sure to delight old and new visitors alike. Go check it out, click on all the fun little buttons, and stay tuned for more additions and features soon!

Our Story

Chief instructor Hanshi Rudy Crosswell founded the Arizona Budokan in 1973, making it one of the Valley’s oldest and most distinguished martial arts training facilities. For nearly three decades, the Arizona Budokan has hosted world-class martial arts masters from Japan and around the world, and continues to be the dojo of choice for serious practitioners both locally and worldwide.

We offer four traditional arts - Sh*toryu Karate, Okinawan Weapons, Japanese Sword, and Aikido - and each is available to every student of our dojo. Every art has a rich, detailed history backed by an intact lineage of lifetime instructor-student relationships, and all are taught by an accomplished instructor team with well over a century of combined martial arts experience. If quality and tradition are what you’re looking for, the Arizona Budokan is the gold standard in martial arts.

Videos (show all)

JAPAN TRIP 2017 TRAILER!!Haven't seen the footage yet or want a second look? Join us on the 90-second ride from our two-...
Awesome cutting session last week! A special congratulations to Willie and Matthew, who did a great job handling a live ...




4744 E Thunderbird Rd
Phoenix, AZ

Opening Hours

Monday 6pm - 9pm
Tuesday 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Wednesday 7pm - 8pm
Thursday 6pm - 9pm
Friday 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Saturday 7am - 12pm

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