Sensei Maria Van Dessel began her martial arts training in Eizan Ryu Jujitsu in 1981. Upon attaining her black belt in that style, she sought to expand her training and, in 1989, began studying at World Oyama Karate Headquarters, as well .During her time at Oyama Headquarters, she competed in semi-knockdown tournaments, and served as both corner judge and referee for many tournaments. At Soshu Shigeru Oyama’s request, she taught a weekly jujitsu class at Headquarters Dojo from 1999 until the Dojo closed in 2004.

Sensei Maria followed Shihan Jose Cotton and Sensei David Sheeger to Kanreikai Karate, and now teaches classes at the New York City Kanreikai Dojo. She always endeavors to push her students to reach the next level. Sensei Maria holds the rank of fourth dan in Kanreikai Karate. She is also the chief instructor at the New York Eizan Ryu Jujitsu Dojo, and holds the rank of sixth dan in that art.