Thursday, March 19, 2009

London Seminar

On August 24 through the 29th, John Evans Sensei will present the SMAA European Seminar in London, England. Evans Sensei is a direct student of the late Nakamura Taisaburo Sensei, founder of Nakamura Ryu battodo, a form of Japanese swordsmanship. Evans Sensei is the head of the Battodo Fudokan Dojo in London, a seventh dan in Nakamura Ryu, and an SMAA Senior Advisor. The unique instruction he’ll be offering at our London seminar will be the result of his many years of training and living in Japan.

The SMAA European Seminar will focus on tanren (“forging”)—the Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship conditioning exercises that integrate internal and external power to forge the spirit and body. Evans Sensei will demonstrate how these exercises can be applied in kata (forms), kumitachi (sparring) and tameshi giri (test cutting). For tanren to be effective one must be able to access tanden breathing, special breathing exercises centered in the lower abdomen. As the result, morning classes will begin with abdominal cleansing and strengthening exercises. Internal energy (ki) will then be made to flow through the use of deep stance work together with tanren tools (tetsubo and tanrenbo). In the afternoon sessions, this increased awareness and access to the tanden—a natural center in the lower abdomen—will be utilized in basic kata, kumitachi exercises, and tameshi giri. For maximum benefit participants are asked to refrain from alcohol and heavy evening meals until the last day of the course.

Here’s some more information about the topics that will be covered in August at the SMAA European Seminar:

The practice of the sword in Japan has long been used to develop health, coordination, concentration, and equanimity. "Batto" refers to a quick drawing and striking with the sword. "Do" refers to a path of training that aims at full development of the individual. The Fudokan Dojo follows the principles set out by Nakamura Sensei, tenth dan and the founder of Nakamura Ryu. The teaching combines four kinds of training necessary to develop complete swordsmanship.

Suburi (swinging of the sword) is practiced slowly with the heavy tanrenbo (practice pole) and with slow breathing in a sequence of movements and stances. This develops strong and flexible hips and legs. It also cultivates the coordination of movement, breath, and sword essential for effective sword technique. Misogi refers to the breathing and meditation techniques used to cleanse the inner energy system in order that the abdominal center (tanden) awakens.

The eight stances, eight sheathings, and eight cutting techniques, which constitute the heart of Nakamura Sensei’s school, are practiced in basic flowing combinations (kihon) and then applied in the set forms, or kata, of the Toyama and Nakamura Ryu. Students also study five elemental forms derived from the Kurikara Ryu.

Maai (timing and distance) are learned through the partner forms (kumitachi kata) and through sparring exercises with bokken (wooden swords) and fukuroshinai (leather covered bamboo swords). Full sparring is done using shinai (split bamboo swords) and kendo armor.

When students have become proficient with mogi-to (non-bladed practice swords), they are encouraged to practice the solo forms with bladed swords. They can then begin to master correct cutting technique through test cutting (tameshi giri) using straw and bamboo targets.

You can learn more about what will be offered at the SMAA European Seminar, and see videos of the topics outlined above, by visiting Evans Sensei is looking forward making new friends at the first SMAA event ever offered in Europe.

August 24th through the 29th

London Buddhist Arts Centre
Eastbourne House, Bullards Place
E2 0PT (Bethnal Green Tube)
London, England

John Evans Sensei (Featured Instructor, biographical sketch at

Monday evening: Demonstration and lecture
Tuesday – Friday classes: 7:00 to 10:00 AM and 3:30 to 5:30 PM
Saturday class: 7:00 to 10:00 AM, lunch at Sasa Sushi, Islington

Required Equipment:
Keikogi/Hakama/Obi or loose clothing and shorts
Bokken (also iaito and katana if you have them)
Tetsubo (2 x 1 kilo steel rods) and tanrenbo (2-3 kilo training pole)
(Evans Sensei can make arrangement to sell you these items, or find weapons for you to borrow, if you contact him well in advance of your arrival in London.)

Course fee: £250 pounds/ £125 students (Fee includes tameshi giri)

A non-refundable deposit of £100 is payable in advance to book a place, with the remainder to be paid by July 1st. This event is sponsored by the Shudokan Martial Arts Association. Paid up SMAA members will receive a 20% discount. Non-SMAA members will receive SMAA membership as part of their course fee.

Housing and Meals:

Contact Evans Sensei for help locating lodging and meals, or drop by

Space is limited. Contact Evans Sensei soon to reserve your place.


Visitor & Tourist Information:
London Visitor Information:

Airports & Transportation:
Go to or contact Evans Sensei if you have questions about flying to the SMAA European Seminar.

Contact Information:
John Evans Sensei


The SMAA is a federally tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation. As such, your donations to our association are tax deductible.

Send your donations, in the form of a check or money order (made out to SMAA), to our headquarters in Michigan. We’ll send you a letter back acknowledging your contribution, which you can than use for tax purposes. We hope you’ll support the SMAA in our goal to preserve and promote traditional budo and koryu bujutsu.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More about April SMAA Seminar in Utah

Kicking off our SMAA Anniversary Seminar Series will be an extraordinary event in Utah, which will take place on April 10, 11, and 12, 2009. Special discounts will be available for SMAA members, who are up to date on their annual dues.

The seminar host is Max Roach Sensei, an SMAA certified teacher of iaido and aikido. Roach Sensei hosted the first SMAA Seminar & Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah back in 2005, and it was an outstanding success.

The featured SMAA instructor will be Nicklaus Suino Sensei, who will be teaching Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, which he learned from the late Yamaguchi Katsuo Sensei, tenth dan. Suino Sensei studied budo extensively in Japan for several years, and he has received Shihan teaching certification and a seventh dan from the SMAA Iaido Division. An SMAA Judo Division Shihan and sixth dan, Suino Sensei will offer a class in classical Kodokan judo in Utah as well. Suino Sensei is also the SMAA General Manager and the Co-director of our iaido division. Moreover, he is the author of several popular books on budo and iaido.

Cyndy Hayashi Sensei will be a special instructor at the seminar, where she’ll teach Aikikai aikido. Hayashi Sensei, sixth dan and an instructor at Aikido West in California, began training at Aikido of San Francisco in 1977. She trained there under Frank Doran Sensei, Robert Nadeau Sensei, and Bill Witt Sensei. She then traveled to Japan to practice with the legendary Saito Morihiro Sensei. After returning to the USA, she trained and taught at the Aikido Institute of Oakland and at Aikido West in Redwood City. She later became a dedicated student of Frank Doran Sensei. She has taught seminars in the U.S., Israel, and France.

Here’s all you need to start making plans to attend the SMAA Utah Seminar, our first event to commemorate the SMAA’s 15th anniversary:

April 10, 11, 12

Wasatch Academy's Yama Oroshi Dojo
120 South 100 West
Mt. Pleasant, UT 84647

Nicklaus Suino Sensei
(Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, biographical sketch at
Cyndy Hayashi Sensei (California Aikido Association)

(a = iaido, b =aikido, c =judo)

Friday, April 10th
3:30 to 5:00 PM (a)
6:30 to 8:00 PM (b)
Saturday, April 11th
9:00 to 11:00 AM (a)
12:30 to 2:30 PM (b)
3:00 to 5:00 PM (a & b)
8:00 PM (Party with bonfire, music, food, and refreshments)
Sunday, April 12th
9:00 to 10:15 AM (c)
10:30 to 11:45 AM (b)

$30 per session. $175 for the entire seminar. For SMAA members, an additional discount of $5 per session. If purchasing the entire seminar, SMAA members receive an additional discount of $20, making the entire weekend of classes just $155.

Housing and Meals:
Some housing for out-of-town guests may be available upon request. The Horseshoe Mountain Lodge is just two minutes from the training and dining facilities. (Horseshoe Mountain Lodge: 850 S Highway 89, Mount Pleasant, UT 84647-2400, Telephone—435-462-9330) Meal plans are available upon request.

Space is limited for aikido and judo sessions. Contact Roach Sensei to reserve your place.

Event Locations:
(For location photos, see:

1. State Street Gymnasium Dojo: 120 North State Street, Mt. Pleasant, UT 84647 USA
2. Roach Motel (Max Roach home): 120 South 200 West Mt. Pleasant, UT 84647 USA
3. Dining Facilities: 120 South 100 West Mt. Pleasant, UT 84647 USA

Visitor & Tourist Information:
Mt. Pleasant City—

Contact Information:
Max Roach Sensei
(435) 462-1438

We’re looking forward to seeing many new faces, and old faces as well, in beautiful Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Attendance is limited and may sell out; so be sure to contact Mr. Roach soon to reserve a place. Don’t miss your chance to study with two of the top teachers of traditional Japanese martial arts living outside of Japan.

June SMAA Seminar in the SF Bay Area

On June 27 and 28, the SMAA will offer a special seminar in conjunction with the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. It is one of several seminars commemorating the 15th anniversary of the SMAA, and the featured instructor will be H. E. Davey, SMAA Primary Director and SMAA Jujutsu Division Shihan and seventh dan. The theme of the weekend will be “Unification of Mind & Body in the Martial Arts,” and instruction will be offered in Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a form of Japanese yoga and meditation, along with Saigo Ryu, a traditional martial art emphasizing jujutsu and several weapons. The event will take place in quaint Albany, California, just across the bay from San Francisco. Instruction is open to anyone above the age of thirteen.

Through unification of mind and body, martial artists and average people alike can learn to manifest their full potential in a wide variety of situations. Instruction will emphasize how mind and body unification principles created by Nakamura Tempu Sensei in the 1920s lead to enhanced concentration, calmness, relaxation, and willpower in both life and budo. Since Mr. Davey will be showing how these principles relate to budo, attending the Japanese yoga and meditation training is required for this event.

Saigo Ryu training will focus on the wide variety of dynamic throws, unique immobilizations, powerful strangle holds, and rarely seen grappling methods that make up the unarmed portion of this Japanese martial art. Emphasis will be placed on how an understanding of ki (“life energy”) and the hara (a natural abdominal center) can lead to greater power, balance, and grace in any martial art. Students will also be introduced to the art of subtly influencing an opponent’s mind and ki (ki o michibiki), resulting in effortless throws and pinning techniques.

Classes will be offered in a time-honored Japanese atmosphere, and Mr. Davey’s classical dojo is traditional in appearance and intimate in size. Attending these classes as special guest teachers will be at least three SMAA Senior Advisors: Kevin Heard Sensei, Ann Kameoka Sensei, and Ohsaki Jun Sensei. Space is limited, and early registration is strongly suggested.

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Book your flight and make your hotel reservations early. Plenty of time has been built into the schedule to allow for sightseeing and fun.

Mr. Davey and the various attending instructors look forward to offering you a life-altering training experience in June, an event that will present new ways of approaching budo and daily living. Registration forms have been sent to most of our members via e-mail. Members without e-mail should call soon to request a registration form.

Mr. Davey and the various attending SMAA officials are hoping to make new friends and meet old training partners at the first SMAA event ever offered in California.

June 27 and 28

The Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts
1053 San Pablo Ave.
Albany, CA 94706

H. E. Davey
(Featured instructor for Japanese yoga/meditation and Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu, biographical sketch at
Kevin Heard Sensei (Attending instructor, biographical sketch at
Ann Kameoka Sensei (Attending instructor, biographical sketch at
Ohsaki Jun Sensei (Attending instructor, biographical sketch at

Saturday, June 27
8:45 to 9:45 AM (Introduction to Japanese yoga and mind/body unification. Wear a t-shirt and loose pants.)
10:00 to 11:30 AM (Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Wear a white gi.)
11:45 AM (Sightseeing in the San Francisco Bay Area)

Sunday, June 28
8:45 to 10:15 AM (Mind/body unification in Japanese yoga, martial arts, and daily life. Wear a t-shirt and loose pants.)
10:30 AM to 12:00 PM (Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Wear a white gi.)
12:15 to 2:15 PM (Informal party at Ruen Pair Thai Restaurant:
2:30 PM (Sightseeing in the San Francisco Bay Area)

General Public—$60 for all Japanese yoga and martial arts classes
SMAA Members--$40 for all Japanese yoga and martial classes (Save $20!)

Housing and Meals:
Albany is located in the East Bay, across from San Francisco, and next to Berkeley. Restaurants are widely available, as are hotels. A Holiday Inn can be found in nearby Berkeley, just minutes from the dojo (, Telephone: 1-877-863-4780). The Hotel Durant is also located in Berkeley (, Telephone: 510-845-8981). Motels for almost every budget can be found by searching the Internet, so be sure to check around for the best possible deal.

Space is extremely limited for all sessions. Contact Mr. Davey soon to reserve your place. The SMAA, the Sennin Foundation Center, and H. E. Davey reserve the right to close registration at any time, once all available spaces have been taken.

Your fee and seminar registration must be received no later than June 20. Checks or money orders should be made out to Sennin Foundation Center. It will not be possible to register in person at the first class.


Visitor & Tourist Information:
Albany, California Visitor Information:
San Francisco, California Visitor Information:

Airports & Transportation:
San Francisco International Airport:
800-435-9736 or 650-821-8211

Oakland International Airport:

Rental cars are available at both airports.

Contact Information:
H. E. Davey

Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 Seminars!

The following events are tentatively scheduled to take place in 2009. Check the SMAA website and blog for the latest information. Please be aware that some of the details may be subject to change at a future date, and more events may be added to the calendar. Attendance will be limited at many of these seminars, so reserve your place early via phone call or e-mail.

SMAA Utah SeminarDates: April 10, 11, and 12. Location: Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Featured Instructor: Nicklaus Suino Sensei (SMAA Primary Director, iaido Shihan/seventh dan, judo Shihan/sixth dan, jujutsu Fuku-shihan/fourth dan). Guest Instructor: Cyndy Hayashi Sensei (Aikikai aikido sixth dan). Subjects: Eishin Ryu iaido, Aikikai aikido, and Kodokan judo. Theme: “Aikido, Iaido, & Judo in Utah.” Contact: Max Roach Sensei (Telephone: 435-462-1438, E-mail:

SMAA California Seminar (1)—Dates: June 27 and 28. Location: San Francisco Bay Area (Albany, California). Featured Instructor: H. E. Davey (SMAA Primary Director and jujutsu Shihan/seventh dan). Attending Instructors: Kevin Heard Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), Ohsaki Jun Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), and Ann Kameoka Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor). Subjects: Japanese yoga/meditation and Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Theme: “Unification of Mind & Body in the Martial Arts.” Contact: H. E. Davey (Telephone: 510-526-7518, E-mail:

SMAA Michigan Seminar—Dates: July 25 and 26. Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Featured Instructor: Nicklaus Suino Sensei (SMAA Primary Director, iaido Shihan/seventh dan, judo Shihan/sixth dan, jujutsu Fuku-shihan/fourth dan). Subjects: Eishin Ryu iaido, kendo, and tameshi giri (“test cutting”). Theme: “A Weekend of Swordsmanship.” Contact: Nicklaus Suino Sensei (Telephone: 734-645-6441, E-mail:

SMAA Europe Seminar—Dates: August 24 through 29. Location: London, England. Featured Instructor: John Evans Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor and Nakamura Ryu battodo swordsmanship seventh dan). Subjects: Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu swordsmanship. Theme: “Tanren—Forging the Spirit & Body.’’ Contact: John Evans Sensei (Telephone: 0208-533-5553, E-mail:

SMAA California Seminar (2)—Dates: November 21 and 22. Location: San Francisco Bay Area (Albany, California). Featured Instructor: H. E. Davey (SMAA Primary Director and jujutsu Shihan/seventh dan). Attending Instructors: Kevin Heard Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), Ohsaki Jun Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), and Ann Kameoka Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor). Subjects: Japanese yoga/meditation and Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Theme: “Meditation in the Martial Arts.” Contact: H. E. Davey (Telephone: 510-526-7518, E-mail: