Focus Karate Instructors

All of Focus Martial Arts' instructors have been trained in the philosophies and training techniques that make us unique. Our instructors are hand picked and nurtured over years of training in order to earn the honor of teaching our students. We don't place just anyone in front of you or your child, we make sure that they are qualified; have leadership ability and big hearts! Each instructor utilizes their own unique gifts which make them special and will bring out the very best in our students both young and older. Focus is also the industry leader in requiring each of our instructors to submit to a yearly background check assuring every parent of the quality of each of our instructors and the safety of our students.


     Sensei Marianne O'Hara

                   Head Instructor

Sensei Marianne O'Hara has been teaching children for over 24 years. She has a  Master's Degree in Special Education  specializing in the areas of Learning Disabilities  and Behavior Disorders.
  Sensei O'Hara is the Head Instructor of our Little Ninja and Young Samurai Programs. As a  competitor, Sensei has numerous state,  regional and national rankings in Kata and  Kumite.
  Sensei is an Amateur Athletic Union's (AAU) and ASEP certified coach, a loving  wife, mother of five beautiful children and role  model to hundreds of young children and  adults. Her passion for teaching and the  gentleness she conveys in her teaching style  are second to none.

                Sensei Jim O'Hara
                      Chief Instructor

Sensei Jim O'Hara has been teaching Shotokan Karate for over 22 years. He is an  NFICA (National Federation Interscholastic  Coaches Association) Certified Instructor and  holds a 4th degree black belt in the Japanese Martial Art of Shotokan Karate. He's a Junior and Senior United States Karate Team Coach  for the Amateur Athletic Union and the World  Karate Confederation's (WKC) US Teams, as well as a  senior level AAU Referee.
  Sensei O'Hara has numerous state, regional,  national and all-American titles in Kata (forms)  and Kumite (sparring). He is also the 1996  World Karate Organization (WKO) World  Champion in Kumite. Sensei has been awarded  the Coach of The Year awards on two occasions, has been nominated and inducted   into the prestigious AAU Karate Hall of Fame  and has won the Presidential Leadership Award  from the Amateur Athletic Union for all sports.  He has coached eight world championship teams  for the WKO/USA (World Karate Organization) and the WKC/USA (World Karate Confederation).
  He is the loving father of five children as well  as a father figure and role model to hundreds of  children and adults.

                   Sensei's Bio
  Pete Nenni has earned the rank of Nidan through his 18 years with Focus.
  Mr. Nenni teaches Adult Advanced and Mixed classes as well as Parent/Child
and Youth classes. In his teaching, he enjoys being able to share what he has learned as well as the benefits Karate has given him in his life. Mr. Nenni states he enjoys "watching people progress and develop in some small way because of my involvement in their  life."
  Besides being a certified Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Referee, Mr. Nenni holds rankings in several State and Regional Championships in Kata and Kumite. 
In addition to Karate, Mr. Nenni studies the Krav Maga Force self-defense system.
  Mr. Nenni has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northern Illinois University with a minor in Political Science. He has been married to his wife, Betsy, for 29 years and they have 3 adult children.
  Austin Smith started Shotokan Karate with Focus Martial Arts when he was five years old; he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. Eighteen years later he is not a Ninja Turtle, but he is still very passionate about Karate. The opportunities presented to him at Focus have allowed him not only to grow and develop as an athlete, but as a human being as well. Austin encourages his students to be the best they can be and always be confident in their actions. For Austin, karate is
a passion he hopes to instill in others. He knows what Focus and Karate have done for him, and it is his time to give back. Austin currently holds the rank of Nidan-Ni and teaches the Young Samurai, Youth Beginner, and Parent-Child classes.
  Austin holds an English/Secondary Education major from Augustana College. He currently works at Glenbrook South High School. When Austin is not training for Karate, fitness, or Krav Maga, he enjoys reading, playing guitar, and spending time with his family and friends.

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9342 Virginia Rd., Lake In The Hills, IL, 60156          Phone: 847-458-0938          Fax: 847-458-0936          Email:

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