2023 - Sensei & Carrissa

Ms. Carrissa Merchant is certified at Sandan (3rd Degree Blackbelt) within Zen Shotokai, and under Sensei Brian Pena. Ms. Merchant has 15+ years of experience in training and teaching Martial Arts, originally starting in 2009. She has been teaching the art of Zen Shotokai Karate & Kobudo since 2011.

Ms. Merchant is the proud wife of Mr. Clint Merchant, Sandan (3rd Degree Blackbelt) and mother of Mr. Christian Merchant and Mr. Connor Merchant, both Nidan (2nd Degree Blackbelt).

Ms. Merchant is the Chief Instructor at The Karate Dojo, within Zen Shotokai Karate and Kobudo. She is ultimately responsible for the teaching and training of each of our students – Mind, Body, and Spirit. Her favorite place to be is on the floor teaching the next generation, while cultivating the discipline and love of Martial Arts.

In addition Ms. Merchant is the Director of the TCT Sport Martial Arts circuit since 2022, as well as is certified to Shodan (1st Degree Blackbelt) within the TCT organization. She was presented with the Jill Cadre Warrior Award in 2022 recognizing her Warrior attributes of Confidence, Strength, Discipline, and Bravery.

Ms. Merchant has competed in numerous tournaments over the years and has won several Grand Champion awards. Her first point of pride though is in how our students place and how they grow through the sport.

Ms. Merchant has made Karate a way of life – for life.  She loves nothing more than teaching Karate and loving the youth she serves as a mentor to.

Martial Arts Rank & Achievement

On Saturday – May 30, 2020 as the ‘Walk Alone Fire Walk’ to bless our new land at The Karate Dojo was ending, Sensei Pena pulled Ms. Merchant aside. Covered in smoke and with filled with pride Ms. Merchant was presented with promotion to Sandan (3rd Degree Blackbelt) within Zen Shotokai Karate & Kobudo. Well earned through knowledge, hard work, perseverance, loyalty, and helping solidify our Dojo’s Legacy for generations to come.

On Sunday – January 7, 2018 Ms. Merchant was voted in as Nidan (2nd Degree Blackbelt) within Zen Shotokai Karate & Kobudo by a panel of 37 Blackbelts of skill and character at approximately 11:30pm after being tested physically, mentally, and emotionally for over 14 hours the day before. The body will go as far as the mind tells it to, and we have witnessed it firsthand.

On Sunday – January 19, 2015 Ms. Merchant was voted in as Shodan (1st Degree Blackbelt) within Zen Shotokai Karate & Kobudo by a panel of 14 Blackbelts of skill and character. She was locked in the Dojo and could not leave from January 17-19, 2024 as she was tested physically, mentally and emotionally.