Born and raised in the Roseland area of Santa Rosa, Dennis graduated from Elsie Allen High School in 1999. He then entered Santa Rosa Junior College in the Culinary Arts Program and started training in Judo. Under the skilled guidance of Professor Terry Kelly (7th Dan), Dennis trained hard and rose quickly in knowledge, skill and rank in Judo. He started competing while at the SRJC and has placed in the top three competitors in many tournaments since.
He earned the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black belt) by recommendation of Professor Terry Kelly. Shortly thereafter, Professor Kelly left SRJC and Dennis moved to Seika Ryu Martial Arts. While at Seika Ryu, Dennis served Judo as a student, Assistant Coach and eventually as Head Coach. During his time, he continued to coach, train and compete. Always a student, Dennis has networked and trained with many renowned Judoka, including Professor Charlie Robinson (8th Dan) under whom he earned the rank of Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt.)
As a martial artist, Dennis is influenced by the teaching and principles of Terry Kelly, Charlie Robinson, Dale Kahoun, Phil Porter, Brett Barron and Willy Cahill. Will Cahill has had the single biggest impact on Dennis and changed forever how he views training and coaching. Coach Cahill taught Dennis to be a better student and opened his eyes to a different approach to Judo and a right mindset to competition. His selfless nature, ensuring everyone gets help who enters his dojo regardless of skill level, fitness level, focused on competition or the art of Judo, and his willingness to coach the blind and disabled, are central principles upon which Dennis wanted to build his own program and are what Shining Together Judo is all about.
Dennis is a member of the USJA, USJF, USA Judo, The Kodokan, and is a certified National Level Coach.
Dennis is married to Laura McCarter and has a 10 year old son. His wife used to practice Judo, but in recent years rekindled her passion for golf. His son is his pride and joy. Jayvyn joins him on the mat and has been practicing Judo since 3 years old.