Shawn Forristall is the owner and chief instructor of Atlanta Budokan. He is a 4th degree black belt in aiki-bujutsu, 2nd degree black belt in karate-do and holds multiple other black belt ranks in weapon arts including Shinkendo, Toyama Ryu and Bojutsu. Shawn started martial arts training in 1988, while in college. He joined Atlanta Budokan in 1991, pursuing an interest in continuing his training. He has been under the direct tutelage of master martial artist, Toshishiro Obata, founder and headmaster of Shinkendo, Traditional Japanese Sword & Aiki-Bujutsu Tanren Kenkyukai.
Shawn graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology & Physical Education from California State University Fullerton where he played Division I football. He obtained his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist designation from the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 1993. He was a competitive power lifter for over a decade.
Under Shawn’s direction, Atlanta Budokan has continued to grow and expand as Shawn has seen a need and reached out to meet it, striving to create an environment with a traditional feel and a effective training style that is still non-threatening and family oriented. As a father and husband, Shawn’s personal life has helped direct the programs he designs. His desire to spend more time with his own four children prompted him to add children’s classes. His desire to keep them all safe helped guide his decision to start a women’s self-defense program. His corporate self-defense program grew from his desire to take all of what he could offer at the traditional dojo out to employers to empower their work force.
These programs have been successful, with his credits including a 2008 program with Q100 that reached over 4000 women in metro Atlanta; keynote speaker at Wellstar Healthcare System’s 2008 Annual Women’s Health Conference, presenting to 1200 women; and featured speaker for programs with 95.5 The Beat, Fox News, CBS, NBC, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the New York Times.
Shawn continues to enjoy both the training and teaching part of martial arts at Atlanta Budokan, and being a part of something that, on a daily basis, benefits others’ journey through life.