Meet the Team


Yan Profile-min

Yan Agrest

Yan was born in the town of Sukhumi in the former Soviet Union on the Black Sea. When he was twelve, his family moved to Charleston. He was enrolled at the West Ashley location of Masters Studios at the age of fourteen. With his natural athleticism and high energy personality, Yan quickly became an instructor under Masters Studios’ co-founder Phil Beauregard in 1997. Yan was the director of North Charleston Masters Studios for nearly twenty years, passing on the torch to CJ in the spring of 2020. Currently a sixth-degree Master Level Black Belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. A large part of Yan’s martial arts philosophy and passion is guiding his students towards their unique and natural rhythm, allowing them to do things they previously thought impossible.
Billy Profile-min

Billy Ilderton

Master Instructor
Billy began his martial arts training in 1984 at the age of five years old and became a certified martial arts instructor at the age of fourteen. He is currently a fifth-degree Master Level Black Belt Instructor in Shaolin Kempo Karate and has deep knowledge in Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chaun. Billy has coached a number of high level competitors in the National Blackbelt League competition circuit. He loves mentoring his five year old son Dillon into the world of martial arts. Billy excels at inspiring students to grow as martial artists as well as individuals. He is the director of the Summerville Masters Studios and is viewed by his peers as a very skilled and talented martial artist and teacher.
CJ Profile-min

CJ Johnson

Mentorship Director
CJ Johnson was born in the Bronx and moved to the Charleston area at a very young age. When he was twelve, he started taking classes at the North Charleston Masters Studios, where he rose to the rank of third-degree black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. It was also around that time when CJ’s mother became a foster parent. This gave him a very unique opportunity to be an older brother and role model to many children. CJ is very good at helping youth overcome their challenges. He is also very capable at working with children with special needs. As an instructor, he believes in helping those he comes in contact with to be the best versions of themselves. CJ is the director of the North Charleston Masters Studios.

Board Members

Yan Agrest President Founder of Kaizen Way and Master Instructor at Masters Studios
Billy Ilderton Board member Master Instructor and Director of the Summerville Masters Studios
Jeremy Ross Board Member Owner / Operator of Ross Printing
Emmanuil Agrest Board Member Math Professor @ Johnson & Wales University



Kaizen Way is partnered with Masters Studios, whose instructors are responsible for the actual hands on work with the Mentorship as well as Apprenticeship Programs. Masters Studios also provides fundraising opportunities like the Shaolin Kempo Classic as well as Tai Chi workshops and retreats.

Masters Studios has been serving the Charleston area since 1984 and has five locations. It is Masters Studios’ mission to facilitate a safe, professional, and motivating environment for students to reach their goals in health and fitness, self defense, mental focus, and confidence.


With the help of Be A Mentor, Kaizen Way is given the opportunity to work with the students in Title 1 schools who are "on the brink of success".  All KW instructors go through Be A Mentor training and background checks before they are able to work with children in public schools. Using already in place processes by Be A Mentor saves KW valuable resources and allows the focus to be on producing high-quality instructors.

Meet the Board

Why we do what we do and how we will get it done


Learn the story behind what sparked Kaizen Way

Mission And Vision

Why we do what we do and how we will get it done

“The teachers report that the students show increased focus and discipline in the classrooms. The students have also shown a decrease in the number of office referrals received at school for conduct problems that are related to a lack of focus or lack of positive attitude.”