i Mark Szalajko is the esteemed founder and chief instructor of Bujutsu Martial Arts and Fitness Centre. With a remarkable career in both martial arts and policing, Sensei Mark's expertise and contributions have earned him recognition from the Parliament of NSW. In 2017, he was honored with the prestigious title of Renshi, denoting his status as a polished expert instructor.
Sensei Mark's martial arts journey commenced in 1987, within the confines of his high school hall, under the guidance of the Japanese Karate Association. Since that initial lesson, he has embarked on a global quest, traveling to numerous countries to expand his knowledge and skill. Annually, Sensei Mark makes a pilgrimage to Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate and Kobudo, for further training. It is worth noting that he holds the distinction of being one of the few Australian martial artists to have received grading in Okinawa. Throughout his journey, Sensei Mark has had the privilege of training with legendary martial arts figures such as Grand Master Kotaro Iha, Master Mitutada Iha, Grand Master Tsuyoshi Uechi, Grand Master Kiichi Nakamoto, Grand Master Toddy, Soke Richard Norton, Hanshi George Adams, Sensei Benny Urquidez, Jovan 'The Stinger' Stojanovski, Sensei O'Hara, Shihan Robert Slywa, and Professor Jean Jacques Machado.
Notably, Sensei Mark's professional career also encompasses an illustrious tenure as one of Australia's most senior police officers. He achieved the rank of Detective Superintendent with the New South Wales Police Force, becoming the youngest officer to attain such a position. After 23 years of service, Sensei Mark made the bold decision to follow his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time martial artist. During his time as a police officer, he undertook the responsibility of close personal protection for state and federal politicians, as well as visiting international dignitaries. He also led major operations that involved specialized units like the State Protection Group and the Riot Squad. On numerous occasions, Sensei Mark had to apply his martial arts skills in encounters with both unarmed assailants and those armed with blades and firearms. Throughout his police career, he received comprehensive training in unarmed combat, self-defense, control and restraint techniques, as well as close personal protection. Today, Sensei Mark imparts these valuable skills, acquired from his experience with the NSW Police Force, to his students at Bujutsu Martial Arts and Fitness Centre.
Sensei Mark's extensive exposure to criminal investigations involving homicides, sexual assaults, and robberies provides him with unique insight into the types of attackers and confrontations individuals may encounter on the streets or in their homes. Many of the techniques taught at Bujutsu have been developed by Sensei Mark himself, specifically tailored for use by police officers in Sydney's urban environment