Thursday, July 31, 2008

2008 SMAA Seminar (3)

Saturday--July 26, 2008
H. E. Davey kicked off the event on Saturday morning with instruction in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation. Since many students had experience with stretching exercises, and due to time constraints, he skipped the basic stretching exercises he typically starts classes with. Actually, instead of focusing on the stretching, meditation, breathing exercises, and other disciplines that comprise Shin-shin-toitsu-do, he chose to concentrate on the art’s Four Basic Principles to Unify Mind and Body. Through unification of mind and body, people can realize their full potential in many activities, including the martial arts.

The photos in the post are of H. E. Davey teaching mind and body unification exercises created by Nakamura Tempu Sensei. Students can be seen practicing these disciplines.

2008 SMAA Seminar (2)

As usual, this year’s SMAA Seminar was an exceptionally joyful affair, filled with smiling participants. The tone for the event was set by the teachers, all of whom are old and close friends. Joe Rippy Sensei, Steve Fabian Sensei, Nicklaus Suino Sensei, and H. E. Davey don’t get to see each other as much as they’d like; the students could clearly see how happy they were to be teaching with each other again. The mutual respect among the teachers at the event was palpable. This set the tone for the entire weekend.

Friday--July 25, 2008
The event began on Friday evening with testing for dan grades. The tests were observed by the four sensei featured at the seminar. A high degree of skill was displayed by everyone being examined. Following the tests, Suino Sensei, Rippy Sensei, Fabian Sensei, and Mr. Davey enjoyed a fine dinner and had an informal SMAA officials meeting. They agreed that the group is continuing to grow, while still retaining the excellent quality and attitudes we associate with traditional Japanese budo.
The photos in this post are of one of the tests that took place on Friday evening. Brian Barnes Sensei and Matthew Hawthorne Sensei of Kentucky were testing for dan rank in the SMAA Jujutsu Division. They performed the kata of Hontai Yoshin Ryu.

2008 SMAA Seminar (1)

The 2008 SMAA Seminar in Michigan was a resounding success. Each class at the Japanese Martial Arts Center (JMAC) was packed with students, some of whom traveled long distances to attend this sold-out event. The seminar in Ann Arbor was international in scope with participants from Canada and multiple U. S. states, including California, New Jersey, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Michigan, and other locations. The theme was “Budo Bridges: From Ancient Jujutsu to Modern Budo.”

This post shows the beautiful Japanese style interior of JMAC, where the seminar took place.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

2008 SMAA Seminar & Conference

July 25 - 27, 2008: Join us for the 2008 SMAA Seminar & Conference on July 25 - 27, 2008 in Ann Arbor, Michigan! This year's event, titled "Budo Bridges: From Ancient Jujutsu to Modern Budo," will feature training with four of North America's best known martial arts instructors: Steve Fabian, H. E. Davey, Nicklaus Suino, and Joseph Rippy. Space is limited — visit the conference website and register today!

Member Profile: Joseph Rippy

Joseph Rippy Sensei was born in 1946 in San Mateo, California. He has, however, lived most of his adult life in Tennessee. Married with three sons, aged 32, 29, and 24, Rippy Sensei received a University of Tennessee degree in Asian Studies (Japanese) in 1980. His interests include Chinese metaphysics and the art of Wado Ryu karate-do, which he teaches privately to a select group of children and adults.

The name Wado Ryu is composed of three characters: Wa means "harmony," do means "way," and ryu means "system." From one viewpoint, Wado Ryu might be considered jujutsu rather than karate-do. When the founder Ohtsuka Hironori Sensei first registered his art with the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai in 1938, it was called Shinshu Wado Ryu Karate-Jujutsu, which reflects its hybrid nature. To the untrained observer, Wado Ryu might look similar to other styles of karate-do; many underlying principles, however, are derived from jujutsu.

Rippy Sensei began karate-do training in 1964, when he was invited to join the Wado Ryu system by Cecil T. Patterson Sensei (1930-2002). Wado Ryu is one of the most widely recognized karate-do systems in Japan, and it is known as one of the four major styles of Japanese karate-do (as opposed to original Okinawan systems).

In 1968, Rippy Sensei met and trained under Ohtsuka Hironori Sensei. He later studied directly with Ohtsuka Sensei (1892–1982), who tested Rippy Sensei for his third dan in 1976. Ohtsuka Sensei was a licensed Shindo Yoshin Ryu jujutsu expert when he met the famed Okinawan karate-do exponent Funakoshi Gichin Sensei (1868-1957), founder of Shotokan karate-do. After learning karate-do from Funakoshi Sensei, Ohtsuka Sensei merged Shindo Yoshin Ryu with karate-do to create Wado Ryu.

In 1979, Rippy Sensei began practicing with Suzuki Tatsuo Sensei (Wado Ryu eighth dan). He continued to study with Suzuki Sensei from 1979 to 1988, primarily when this teacher visited Tennessee and Florida each year. In 1984, Rippy Sensei successfully represented the USA at the 50th Anniversary Wado Ryu Invitational Tournament in Tokyo, Japan. While there, he trained at Sakai Kazuo Sensei's dojo in Yokohama. Sakai Sensei (now tenth dan) was then Wado Ryu Chief Technical Director, and he further practiced with Sakai Sensei whenever he visited the USA.

In 1988, Rippy Sensei received his sixth dan certificate from Ohtsuka Hironori II (the current Saiko Shihan, or Grandmaster, of Wado Ryu). In 1989, he also trained with Osaka Toshio Sensei (seventh dan) of Salt Lake City, Utah. Rippy Sensei currently receives direction from Ohtsuka Kazutaka, the son of the current grandmaster and grandson of the art's founder, via the U.S. Eastern Wado Ryu Karate-Do Federation.

At present, Rippy Sensei is nearing the completion of a book on teaching karate-do to children. He is also preparing to return to Japan in 2008, where he will continue his lifelong study with the Ohtsuka family.

Member Profile: Mark Colby

Mark Colby Sensei began studying Kodokan judo in 1969 in the USA. The majority of his training took place under Japanese and Japanese-American teachers at Seikikan Dojo, one of Washington State's oldest schools of judo. He successfully competed in numerous tournaments, often placing first, qualifying to compete in the United States Judo Federation Nationals, and winning medals in the AAU Junior Olympics.

He received his first dan in 1976 from the Northwest Yudanshakai, United States Judo Federation, and Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan. His tournament success continued, and in 1979 he began training with the U.S. Olympic Judo Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

He married a Japanese woman, and he moved to Japan in 1980, where he started practicing judo with the Koichi Riot Police. The training in Japanese police dojo is notoriously rough, and the riot police are known as the roughest of the rough. Colby Sensei practices with the Koichi Riot Police to this day, and he has trained weekly at the Kodokan for over 20 years. The Kodokan is the birthplace of judo, and it's widely regarded as an international Mecca for judo practitioners. He also trains at the Nippon Ne Waza Kenkyujo, a dojo devoted to researching ground grappling within judo.

Two of his biggest tournament wins were the USA-Canadian Championships in 1981 and the 1985 Maroto Kaigai Championship in Japan. He was the Grand Champion at both events, winning every weight class. This is a feat usually accomplished today by heavyweight competitors. Colby Sensei is of average height and build. His win at the Maroto Kaigai Championship harkens back to the days of classical judo when smaller judoka competed in tournaments without weight classes and sometimes won overall.

The Maroto Kaigai Championships is a particularly important event, and Colby Sensei's victory is significant. So impressive was this triumph, that he was featured on NHK national television in Japan.

Colby Sensei teaches and practices traditional judo in the USA and Japan. His daughters have both studied at the Kodokan since childhood, with Julie Colby winning the United States Judo Association Nationals in her weight class in 1997.

Colby Sensei currently lives in the countryside of Chiba Prefecture. An author and artist, he is also a successful businessman. He is CEO of CGIKK. Based in Tokyo, CGIKK creates and implements innovative solutions for medical associations, healthcare professionals, and the medical industry.

Given his belief in preserving traditional judo and his lifetime of training, much of it under legendary teachers in Japan, the SMAA is honored to have Mark Colby Sensei on our Board of Advisors.

Member Profile: Iwasaki Hisashi

Iwasaki Hisashi Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, is the Soke (Hereditary Headmaster) of Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu. One of the highest ranking martial artists in Japan, he teaches and preserves a very rare and esteemed form of ancient bujutsu.

Suiei-jutsu is the age-old Japanese martial art of combative swimming. Unlike modern budo, such as judo, karate-do, or iaido, the old martial systems (koryu) were often sogo bujutsu. A sogo bujutsu incorporates a number of martial disciplines that are linked by a set of unifying principles as espoused by the art's founder. While not all bushi, or "warriors," studied every one of them, generally speaking there are 18 classical martial arts that often comprise bujutsu. Although the exact arts that made up the bugei juhappan, or "18 martial arts," varied according to martial system, and sometimes according to historical period as well, suiei-jutsu is often described as being one of them.

While not as widely practiced as swordsmanship, samurai swimming was often a part of the bushi's training. It was natural for the Japanese warrior to develop swimming skills in that the sea surrounds Japan, and combat could therefore potentially take place in water. Eventually, swimming and engaging an opponent in water reached a high level in certain clans of warriors. Depending on the speed, size, and depth of the water that was near a particular clan, different skills were developed. For example, some ryu of suiei-jutsu featured methods for swimming under water, while others focused on swimming in fast moving rapids.

Suiei-jutsu served various purposes, ranging from allowing the bushi to silently sneak up on an enemy, to floating for long periods, to fording strong rivers. Bushi needed to be able to swim while wearing armor, carrying flags, weapons, and banners; and they needed to be able to use a bow and arrow while almost submerged. Some ryu also featured grappling while in the water.

At present, suiei-jutsu is seldom taught in Japan. Most of its contemporary practitioners are studying it as a means of recreation, as a way of maintaining their health, and as a method of disciplining their minds and bodies. But make no mistake, the small number of suiei-jutsu teachers that are still extant have not forgotten the martial origins of this rare art form, and they are also preserving it as an important cultural property of Japan.

Iwasaki Soke lives in Kyoto.

Member Profile: Wayne Muromoto

Wayne Muromoto has a lifetime of involvement in the Japanese cultural arts. A resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, he graduated with a BA in Japanese literature and languages from Cornell University. He also received a MFA in Fine Arts, specializing in printmaking and painting, from the University of Hawaii. (Mr. Muromoto has extensively studied traditional Japanese paper making under Fujimori Yoichi Sensei in Tokushima, Shikoku, Japan.)

Beyond his interest in Japanese paper making and painting, Mr. Muromoto has been a practitioner of chado, or the "way of tea," since 1980. He received extensive instruction in the tea ceremony while training at the Urasenke Foundation school of chado in Kyoto, and he studied tea ceremony full-time at the Urasenke Foundation from 1983 to 1984.

Mr. Muromoto also has a long history as a student and teacher of budo and bujutsu (Japanese martial ways and martial arts). He is presently a sandan (third-degree black belt) in modern seitei iaido (the "way of sword-drawing") and a student of classical Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido under Ohmori Masao Sensei of the Rakuto-Kai at Butokuden in Kyoto. He also is a Shihan-Dai (Associate Professor) in the ancient Bitchu-den Takeuchi Ryu. (Takeuchi Ryu specialize in jujutsu grappling but also includes a vast array of weapons training.) His official permission to receive students and issue rank was granted by the current Headmaster of Bitchu-den Takeuchi Ryu, and he is the only American in history to have received this position. Mr. Muromoto is also one of only two or three registered foreigners given a teaching rank in Bitchu-den Takeuchi Ryu. He is, furthermore, a Senior Advisor for the Shudokan Martial Arts Association and holds the title/rank of Shihan/6th dan in its Traditional Jujutsu Division.

In addition, he is a former writer for the Hawaii Herald. Currently working as a freelance writer, Mr. Muromoto is also the publisher of Furyu the Budo Journal and
Furyu Online. Furyu is one of the most highly regarded magazines in the traditional Japanese budo field. Mr. Wayne Muromoto is also presently head of student media and an instructor at the Mid-Pacific Institute, a private, college-prep middle and high school in Hawaii.

Images of Stephen Fabian Sensei

Stephen Fabian Sensei is a Director for the SMAA Jujutsu Division. A sixth dan with the SMAA, he specializes in classical Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu and related weapons. The images above are from his classes at the 2006 SMAA Seminar & Conference in Michigan. If you'd like to attend this special event in the future, visit for more information.

Member Profile: Stephen Fabian

Anthropologist Stephen Fabian Sensei has been involved in the Asian martial arts for many years. Dr. Fabian lives in New Jersey and trains in classical Hontai Yoshin Ryu, a ryu that specializes in jujutsu and the study of classical weaponry. He lived for several years in Japan and is a direct disciple of Inoue Soke, the 18th generation Headmaster of the Hontai Yoshin Ryu. Fabian Sensei has received a high-level teaching certification from Inoue Soke in Hontai Yoshin Ryu. Fabian Sensei is believed to be the first American ever licensed to teach this ancient ryu in the U.S.

Dr. Fabian also has received training in Toyama Ryu iaido. In November 1989, he became the Toyama Ryu Iaido All-Japan Champion in the Men's Shodan/Nidan Division. Fabian Sensei is a Division Director in the SMAA Traditional Jujutsu Division. His current SMAA title/rank is jujutsu Shihan/6th dan and iaido Fuku Shihan/4th dan.

Fabian Sensei received a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois and has received the following academic honors: Fulbright Scholar (Brazil 1982-3), Phi Beta Kappa, and Magna Cum Laude. He is also author of Clearing Away Clouds: Nine Lessons for Life from the Martial Arts, in which he shares insights gained from many years of practicing traditional Asian martial arts. At this time, teachers of bona fide jujutsu, like Dr. Fabian, are surprisingly difficult to find outside of Japan.

Images of Nicklaus Suino Sensei

Nicklaus Suino Sensei is the author of Budo Mind & Body and other books on Japanese martial arts. He also holds the position of Director for the SMAA Judo and Iaido Divisions. His present SMAA ranks are iaido 7th dan, judo 6th dan, and jujutsu 4th dan. The jujutsu images above were taken during the 2006 SMAA Seminar & Conference in Michigan. If you'd like to find out how to attend this event in the future, visit for more information.

Member Profile: Sawai Atsuhiro

Sawai Atsuhiro Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, is an expert in the ancient martial art of Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu. Suiei-jutsu is the time-honored Japanese technique of swimming and combat in water. Sawai Sensei started learning this esoteric martial art in Kyoto, Japan after World War II. He has received the rank and title of Kobori Ryu Shihan, the highest rank available in this form of suiei-jutsu.

Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu is a koryu, or "ancient martial tradition." Unlike modern budo, such as judo, karate-do, or iaido, the old martial systems were often sogo bujutsu. A sogo bujutsu incorporates a number of martial disciplines that are linked by a set of unifying principles as espoused by the art's founder. While not all bushi, or warriors, studied every one of them, generally speaking there are 18 classical martial arts that often comprise sogo bujutsu. Although the exact arts that made up the bugei juhappan, or 18 martial arts, varied according to martial system, and sometimes according to historical period as well, suiei-jutsu is often described as being one of them.

Suiei-jutsu served various purposes, ranging from allowing the bushi to silently sneak up on an enemy, to floating for long periods, to fording strong rivers. Bushi needed to be able to swim while wearing armor, carrying flags, weapons, and banners; and they needed to be able to use a bow and arrow while almost submerged. Some ryu also featured grappling while in the water.

Fumi-ashi was a method of treading water from which many others methods emerged. To leap from the water into an enemy's boat, some suiei-jutsu systems practiced inatobi. And ashi garami allowed the bushi to entwine an opponent's leg while grappling. This would force the opponent to either give up or drown.

Sawai Sensei also has training in Hakko Ryu jujutsu. Hakko Ryu is one of the modern forms of Japanese jujutsu, although it's training format is traditional. However, the art form that has had the greatest impact on Sawai Sensei's life is Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a unique form of Japanese yoga and meditation.

Sawai Atsuhiro Sensei was born in 1939 in Japan. At the age of 18, he entered one of Kyoto's top universities. Like many college students, Sawai Sensei was filled with dreams, aspirations, and ambitions, only to fall seriously ill. Despite the efforts of many doctors, he could not find a cure for his sickness. Filled with despair, he stopped going to university classes.

Thinking that his illness might eventually result in his death, Sawai Sensei read books on Buddhism and Christianity to attempt to discover what will become of a human being after he or she dies. He thought constantly about the purpose of life, and he reached a conclusion that amounted to nihilism. In short, Sawai Sensei felt that there was no such purpose of life, in that we are born without the knowledge of where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here. He felt completely lost.

Sawai Sensei's aunt advised him to attend the lectures of Nakamura Tempu Sensei, the founder of the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga. Sawai Sensei listened to one of his lectures, and he was fortunate enough to meet him. He began to study with Nakamura Sensei at that time, and he felt awakened by the universal truths of mind and body unification that he taught. This took place in the spring of 1958.

In a short time, after beginning to practice Japanese yoga, Sawai Sensei's health completely recovered. He continued learning the philosophy of mind and body unification from Nakamura Sensei for 11 years until he passed away in 1968.

Sawai Sensei eventually became a full Lecturer for the Tempu-kai, which is the highest teaching credential issued by this group. He became a Councilor for Tempu-kai and Tempu-kai Branch Manager of Kyoto in 1998. In 1999, he became Director of Publishing for Tempu-kai and Editor of their magazine, Tempu. He also wrote regular articles for this publication.

Professionally, Sawai Sensei was a full professor of English at Kyoto Sangyo University for 23 years, and he taught at the university for 33 years. He entered semi-retirement and became Professor Emeritus of English in March 2004. He has also had the following books published:

Devils of Adolescence (poetry collection), 1967
The Mirror (poetry collection), 1973
The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (translation), 1984
British Colonization of New Zealand (collected research essays), 2003

Sawai Sensei's teacher, the founder of Japanese yoga, was also an experienced martial artist, with training in Kodokan judo and kendo. However, his greatest skill was in ancient Zuihen Ryu swordsmanship, the one martial art he continued to practice throughout his lifetime. Because Nakamura Sensei's form of Japanese yoga emphasized the development of ki ("life energy"), a concept valued by many in budo, and because of his emphasis on coordination of mind and body, numerous influential budo experts came to study with him as a means of improving in the martial arts. Although Nakamura Sensei did not teach budo, his Japanese yoga proved valuable to people studying budo and bujutsu, and as the result, a number of Japan's top martial artists flocked to his dojo. Owing to his own background in budo, he was able to teach them in a way they could relate to. And owing to his friendship with the founder of aikido, many aikido teachers studied Shin-shin-toitsu-do, including Tohei Koichi Sensei, the only person to receive a 10th dan from the founder of aikido.

Sawai Sensei is writing a series of articles for the SMAA Journal about mind and body unification principles that develop ki. He will relate these principles not only to daily life but to the practice of budo and bujutsu as well. Such information is exceedingly rare outside of Japan, as Nakamura Tempu Sensei's writings have never been translated into English, despite the fact that he had several best-selling books in Japan.

Member Profile: Nicklaus Suino

Nicklaus Suino Sensei has studied and practiced martial arts since 1968. He began teaching at the Asian Martial Arts Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1983, where he spent a decade in the Instructors Training Program. He spent four years in Japan, learning from renowned martial arts masters such as Sato Shizuya Sensei, 10th dan Nihon jujutsu and 9th dan judo, and Yamaguchi Katsuo Sensei, 10th dan Eishin Ryu iaido.

Mr. Suino was four times the all-Kanto sword forms champion at his rank level and represented his region in the national tournament in 1991, only the second non-Japanese ever to do so. He has taught students from all walks of life, including children, adults and senior citizens, military personnel and police officers, in dojo all over North America. He teaches iaido, judo, and jujutsu in seminars all over the United States and Canada. Information about Mr. Suino's seminars can be found at

Suino Sensei also studied judo under the late Walter Todd Sensei. Todd Sensei trained at the famed Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, and he was a direct student of Mifune Kyuzo Sensei (tenth dan) and Ito Kazuo Sensei (tenth dan). Todd Sensei, one of the original members of the SMAA, received his eighth dan in judo from the Kokusai Budoin, a worldwide traditional martial arts federation that is headquartered in Tokyo.

Suino Sensei currently holds the SMAA title/rank of Shihan/7th dan in iaido, Shihan/6th dan in judo, and Fuku Shihan/4th dan in jujutsu. He is a Division Director in both the Iaido Division and the Judo Division within the SMAA.

Suino Sensei is the Director of the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offering instruction in iaido, Nihon jujutsu, and judo. The training approach at JMAC is to strive for excellence in technique and in personal development. For more information, go to

Member Profile: Ohsaki Jun

Ohsaki Jun Sensei offers a knowledge of traditional budo and Japanese cultural arts that is of great value to the SMAA. He brings over 50 years of martial arts experience to our association.

Ohsaki Sensei was born in 1948 in the Shibuya section of Tokyo. He was interested in budo as a child, and at the age of seven he began to study Kodokan judo. His instruction began at the Hatagaya Keisatsu Dojo, one of the numerous dojo sponsored by the Tokyo police department. These keisatsu dojo, or police dojo, are infamous throughout Japan for the severity of their training. His initial training began with soji, the ritualistic cleaning of the dojo. For some time, he was only allowed to clean and watch his sempai (seniors) practice. Eventually, having proven his sincerity, he began learning safe falling techniques (ukemi) and later throwing and grappling methods.

In time, he completed college, became an automotive technician, married, and had two sons, one of whom has trained for many years in kyudo (the martial art of Japanese archery). He is presently the owner of an automobile repair facility. His judo training continued successfully throughout most of his life.

Eventually, Ohsaki Sensei also began a comprehensive study of traditional jujutsu and classical Japanese weaponry, which he has excelled in for many years. A member of the Kokusai Budoin's prestigious kobudo, or ancient martial arts, division, he has demonstrated Nippon jujutsu at the Kokusai Budoin Sogo Budo Taikai. This important budo exhibition takes place early each spring at Otakumin Plaza in Tokyo. (Japan's Kokusai Budoin promotes all traditional Japanese forms of budo and bujutsu, and it is active in a large number of countries throughout the world.) Besides budo, Ohsaki Sensei has extensive training in Japanese forms of meditation and healing arts, along with a comprehensive background in shodo, the art of Japanese calligraphy.

Member Profile: Omi Koji

Born on December 14,1932 in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, Omi Koji Sensei is a member of the House of Representatives of Japan and a member of the elite SMAA Board of Advisors. He also serves as Japanese Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs. His support of the SMAA serves to illutrate the close ties the group has with Japan, and the degree to which the SMAA is respected in this island nation, the birthplace of budo.

Omi Sensei is also a direct student of the late Nakamura Tempu Sensei, founder of the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation. Omi Sensei was recently appointed as the new Chief Director of the Tempu Society, which oversees the teaching of Shin-shin-toitsu-do in Japan.

The following is a short list of Omi Sensei's many accomplishments:

1956: Graduated from the Faculty of Commercial Science, Hitotsubashi University

1956: Joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)

1970: Served as Consul at the Japanese Consulate General in New York until 1974

1981: Served as Director-General, Guidance Department, Small & Medium Enterprise Agency until 1983

1983: Elected to the House of Representatives

1990: Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Finance

1995: Chairman Standing Committee on Finance, House of Representatives

1995: Drafted and enacted Science and Technology Fundamental Law

1997: Minister of State for Economic Planning until 1998

Acting Secretary-General, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) until 2001

Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy

Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs

Minister of Finance

Selected Publications:

1991: Rebuilding Japan: A Country We Can Be Proud Of

1996: Towards a Science and Technology-Oriented Nation

SMAA Code of Ethics

The following Code of Conduct is for all members of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA). Members of this organization are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with this code. Furthermore, application for and acceptance of membership in the SMAA constitutes and/or implies consent to follow this code of conduct.

No member of SMAA will behave unethically, nor will such unethical behavior go unchallenged within the SMAA.

No associate member shall expressly claim or imply that they are a regular member.

No member, associate or regular, shall expressly claim or imply the awarding of rank from the SMAA which has not been properly and genuinely granted by the SMAA headquarters.

No member, associate or regular, shall expressly claim or imply the awarding of official instructor certification from SMAA which has not been properly and genuinely granted by the SMAA headquarters.

No member of SMAA will conduct themselves in a manner unbecoming to the ideals of the organization or in any way which would discredit the SMAA.

Honor is central to the ideals of SMAA. It is founded on the tenets of duty, respect, integrity, and courage. Duty means fulfilling one's obligations; respect is treating people as you would like to be treated; integrity is knowing the difference between right and wrong and doing what is legally and morally right; courage is willingness to face fear, danger, and adversity.

The reputation, honor, and future of the SMAA depend on the conduct of our members. It is expected that all members will become faithful supporters of the ideals and traditions of this organization, wherever they go and whatever they do.

Do these values appeal to you and/or your students? To get more information about SMAA membership, visit

How to Apply for Membership

The SMAA has attracted a number of prominent members. These distinguished martial artists include Dave Lowry, a well-known martial arts writer; Hunter Armstrong, director of the International Hoplology Society (founded by the late Donn Draeger); and Wayne Muromoto, editor of Furyu--The Budo Journal of Classical Martial Arts and Culture.

Prospective members: print the
Current members: print the Application for Current Members

Membership Levels

There are two levels of membership in the SMAA:

Associate Membership: allows you to be affiliated with the SMAA and receive an Associate Member certificate, our quarterly newsletter, and discounts at SMAA events. Associate members are not eligible to apply for rank or teaching titles. The annual membership fee at this level is $20.00 (US).

Full Membership: allows you to be affiliated with the SMAA and receive our quarterly newsletter and discounts at SMAA events. In addition, full members may apply for rank and teaching titles. The annual membership fee at this level is $25.00 (US).

How to Obtain an Application Form
You may request an application form using one of the following methods:

via the Web: print out the
online application form with your web browser

via e-mail: send a message to

via mail: send a letter to the SMAA HQ at the following address:

PO Box 6022
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-6022

SMAA Objectives

  • To promote and aid in the growth of Japan's traditional martial arts and ways.

  • To assist the public in achieving spiritual growth and physical development through budo/bujutsu training.

  • To further friendship and understanding between Asian and Western martial artists.

  • To establish goodwill and harmony among martial artists of various systems.

  • To offer Western martial artists access to legitimate budo/bujutsu organizations and teachers in Japan.

  • To give practitioners of authentic budo/bujutsu recognition for their years of devotion to these arts.

Want to learn how to join the SMAA and support these goals? Just go to

More About the SMAA

The Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA, Shudokan Budo-Kai) was founded in January 1994 by a group of martial artists who were concerned with promoting and safeguarding Nihon budo and bujutsu--the traditional martial arts and ways of Japan. The original members of the SMAA were Karl Scott Sensei (karate-do seventh dan, aikido sixth dan), Nicklaus Suino Sensei (judo sixth dan, iaido seventh dan), H. E. Davey Sensei (jujutsu seventh dan), and the late Walter Todd Sensei (judo eighth dan, aikido sixth dan). From the original core group, the association has grown to include many of the preeminent practitioners of martial arts outside of Japan such as Stephen Fabian Sensei (Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu), Hunter Armstrong Sensei (Owari Kan Ryu sojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu), Guy Power Sensei (Nakamura Ryu iaido and battodo), Herb Wong Sensei (Shorin Ryu karate-do), Mr. Dave Lowry (Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu), Mr. Wayne Muromoto (Takeuchi Ryu jujutsu), and others.

The SMAA is a small, fraternal organization with a decidedly noncommercial outlook on budo and bujutsu. It includes separate divisions for karate-do, aikido, judo, traditional jujutsu, iaido, and goshin-jutsu (modern self-defense systems stemming from budo or bujutsu). Both associate membership (without rank) and regular membership (with rank) are available to individuals sincerely interested in researching and training in the classical martial systems of Japan. Regular newsletters, access to this website, and examinations for dan/kyu ranking are benefits of membership. All members are bound by the
SMAA Code of Ethics.

The leaders of the SMAA all have close ties to the martial community in Japan. Although they are reimbursed for their expenses, they receive no salaries. Their rewards lie in the friendships that are born within the SMAA and the exchange of knowledge that takes place as the result of SMAA membership.

What's in a Name?

Shudokan means "an Institution for Cultivating the Way." (In this instance, do, or "the way," refers in a philosophical manner to discovering the right and natural way for human beings to live. It is the same character found in the terms budo--the martial way; sado--the way of tea, i.e. the tea ceremony; shodo--the way of Japanese calligraphy; as well as the names of various Japanese fine arts.)

It is important to note that no martial connotation can be found in the appellation Shudokan, no reference to karate-do or any specific martial arts is contained in the name, and the name has even been used on occasion by schools of Japanese cultural arts that have no connection to budo. Actually, any do form, ranging from judo to karate-do to iaido, or even fine arts such as shodo, could be considered a "vehicle for cultivating the way."

About the SMAA

The Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA) is an international coalition of enthusiasts dedicated to promoting traditional Japanese budo and bujutsu. The SMAA, a nonprofit corporation, is headed by an elite group of high-ranking Japanese and Western instructors whose backgrounds encompass many decades of studying and teaching the traditional martial arts and ways of Japan.

The SMAA invites all individuals who are interested in traditional Japanese budo and bujutsu to apply for membership. There are two levels of membership in the SMAA: full members are eligible to apply for rank and teaching titles; associate members receive all the other benefits of membership, but do not receive rank or titles. All members are bound by the SMAA Code of Ethics. For more information, see the Membership page and the Frequently Asked Questions page at